Thursday, December 2, 2010

Walkabout eats in Milan

I found myself in Milan again, and thought of eating Italian in Italy...hmm, makes my mouth water. Pizza (done correctly!), pasta (made properly), and bistecca alla Florentina.


Duomo Milano, the grand cathederal at the city center

Milano...an industrial city, some say. A place for style, others claim. But for me, Milano is always the big city (figuratively of course), when I spent time in my early career in Monza, attending meetings in a facility at Vimercate.


Tagliatelle alla Ragu...tagliatelle, in a meat tomato sauce at Da Willy, a chain restaurant in Milan

oops, sidetracking...back to food and steaks...It does not help that my friend Massi, a true Florentine, sings supreme about the beef in his home city. Bistecca is a product of Tuscany, where Florence (or Firenze, as the Italians call it) is a part of. I was in Florence as a day trip from Milan (again more later), but unfortunately travelling alone has its problems...one cannot order bistecca Florentina...as it is meant for at least 2...typically being sold by the kilogram.



So what is a man to do...but more of that later...

The market was abound with fresh and cured meats:



and beautiful cheeses



I did not have the time to seek out the temples of dining in Milan...but this time, I thought, what if I just wandered around, and ate at wherever I was at...seeking out what the locals and tourists would supp on.

I found the coffee...or cafe as the Italians refer to their espresso, is not always as wonderful as in the best bars (or in our Singapore cafes like Oriole and Papa Palheta, where the ristretto is truly a ristretto. In one of the small cafes I stumbled on...near via Monte Napoleone, I spied a nice espresso machine.



I ordered a doppio (double espresso), and when served, I took a seat at one of the tables...big mistake...which I was to found out later...a doppio at the bar...standing would cost Euro1.8, at the table, with the cover charge...it came out to be Euro6. Big difference!

Anyway, the espresso was nowhere near where Papa and Oriole can whip up. It was still good coffee, but not a nice, thick, syrupy pull.



But one of the things the Italians do right is pizza...unlike the Americans with their thick crust, oily pizza, the Italians have theirs done right. Super hot oven, dry, thin, crispy dough. And beautiful ingredients.



Quarto Formaggi...four cheeses. Divine! Interestingly also in Italy, pizza is served uncut. The diner cuts it into pieces according to his own needs.

The crust is thin, baked crisp, almost like a biscuit, and dusted gently with some of the flour.



Curiously in this restaurant, they serve a vino rosso - red wine, house pour in a carafe, chilled. It had an interesting almost efferverscent taste. Very refershing and quite nice.

I round off this blog entry with a look at the classical Italian humour...this huge sclupture outside the Bourse...the Stock Exchange...

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