Mangia, Part 2

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So much food, so little time.  Heavy sigh.  The food here is just incredible.  So simple, so fresh, and so wonderful.  And so cheap.  We’ve had meals that made us cry they were so good and we paid about a third of what we would have paid for a comparable meal in Atlanta.  We had dinner at our favorite restaurant here, La Nena, the other night.  We had an appetizer, both had pasta, both had meat, a side dish, both had dessert and a bottle of wine.  It was 40 euro.  About $45.  How can you not love this?  We’ve eaten so much – it’s a little embarrassing.  Here are some highlights of the past week or so.

La Nena – love this place.  Here’s why:

I’m trying every ribollita I can find.  They’re all different – some are soupy, some very dense, some chunky, some very finely minced.  This was my favorite.  Seasoned so perfectly, it was more on the dense, chunky side.  Every time you order it, they ask it you want onion.  I always get it and it’s just a few little dices of raw onion sprinkled on top.  This time I was not asked, but was delivered my own spring onion to cut up as I chose.  Love that.  And the veal dish – I wish you could have tasted it.  I usually don’t get veal because, well, it’s veal.  This was so good with a divine sauce and underneath those tender slices of veal was a piece of toasted bread to make sure you were able to sop up all that sauce.  We stopped short of licking the plates – but we did a pretty good job of cleaning them up, don’t you think?

Pieve Vecchia – this is old farmhouse near Monterchi that’s now an inn with a great restaurant and gorgeous terrace.  It was too cold to sit on the terrace, but we had a fantastic meal all the same:

We met Livio and Anna and their two children for dinner at the new Gran Duca.  Gran Duca is directly underneath the apartment we lived in when we were here for six months.  We got to be good friends with the owners and ate there quite often.  They sold it to new people and we were very distressed to hear that.  However, they are a great young couple and the food is really good.  I won’t say it’s better than before, but it’s certainly as good.

Our good friends Jim and Judy from Atlanta have a place in Spoleto, which is about an hour and a half from Anghiari.  They happen to be here while we are so we met for lunch between Perugia and Assisi, which is about halfway for both of us.  We ate in a gorgeous, old hotel in a little town called Ospedalicchio and the hotel is Lo Spedalicchio.  It was a great place and we had a wonderful meal and an even better visit.  After lunch we went to the Leroy Merlin store nearby.  It’s kind of like a Target mixed with a Home Depot.  We both bought great treasures for our Italians homes.

We had lunch in Sansepolcro at a great place called Al Coccio.  We’ve been there a couple of times and it’s always good.

I’ll stop here.  I’ve left out lots of great meals, but I’m sure this is probably boring to you.  Food is such a central part of the culture here and we have really enjoyed tasting our way through the Valtiberina.  Today is our last day here and the first conversation we had this morning was what to do and where to eat.  We have our priorities in line.

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