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bread soup
After my big rant yesterday/this morning, i decided i should try to really push myself to find something Italian and delicious. I walked through the market this morning and saw a nice looking bruschetta with just some fresh chopped tomato on it. Of course it was the only Italian dish in an otherwise Hungarian food stand. It was perfect - fresh, oily and well-seasoned - exactly like something i would make at home. I also had a banana, which is pretty much my go-to fruit here in the absence of any decent restaurants. I did not have a lampredotto sandwich, because the line at the stand was insanely long. It was mostly Chinese in line, so it was probably amazing, but i hate waiting in line for food (or, well, anything).

But, never fear, i did go to a very fancy restaurant to make sure i would get a Michelin experience. The kind of place that has steak for 60€, and where a single glass of wine costs 6. I chose this one in particular because instead of only pasta and steak and ossobuco, they also had two Tuscan bread soups - ribolitta and pappa al pomodoro. They also had vegetable sides. So, for 25€ i got one glass of wine and a bowl of tomato and bread soup and a side of beans and an espresso.

It was... alright. The tomato and bread soup tasted exactly like canned roma tomatoes and bread with some basil and garlic. The beans tasted exactly like a can of cannellini with olive oil. Since tomatoes and beans are two of my favorite foods you can't really go wrong, though it didn't exactly blow me away with flavor. But what it did do was improve my mood immensely, and help me to not give up all hope that Italian food is universally awful. So yay. Now i am prepared to head to Palermo! First stop, Livorno. I probably won't have internet for another few days, so never fear if comments go unanswered. I always read 'em.
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Food wise - we are so different. Give me pasta ANYTHING, and I'm happy. It's the original comfort food for me. :) Bruschetta is the best, though must be made with fresh tomatoes for me to love it. I usually see it as an appetizer, but for me it could be an entire meal. :) Never been to Italy and wonder just how different (or similar) Italian food in Italy is to the American variety.

To be honest, i think it is fairly similar. Maybe 20-30 years ago it was different when all people knew was American-style spaghetti with red sauce and meatballs, but most fancy Italian restaurants i've been to around the world are structured fairly similarly to what i see here. That is, pasta is considered a separate dish to your main so it is only a small plate of noodles with oil or sauce. If you want a piece of meat or standalone veges you order that as a main course or a side.

At one restaurant i ordered penne arrabiatta (tomato and chili sauce) with grilled eggplant as a side, and that was i guess considered a decent light meal. I notice some other people who are in for a big lunch order both a pasta dish and a meaty main like fish or ossobuco.

One difference i have definitely noticed, however, is that the noodles are cooked much, much better here. In Canada and Australia Italian restaurants often cook noodles till they are mushy, but here they are still al dente, which is nice. I guess it makes the noodles more of an enjoyable dish by themselves, which is important when there isn't any meat or large veges to add texture.

Ha! I just looked up ossobucco in the Wikipedia and it seems pasta with that would be a faux-pas because risotto. Eh, what do i know? You get my point, though 😁

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