Right up near the Stazione di Santa Maria Novella train station and close to the Fortezza Da Basso is a hidden little gem of a restaurant called “Trattoria I due G“. I was hinted several times about this place having simply the best “fantastico” black truffles dish in Florence. I envisioned a crowded fancy over-plated dark environment but that perception quickly diminished after coming here 4 times. Yes, we came here 4 times in a span of a few days for many reasons. First off, we had to try the truffles, secondly we had to bring more people to experience the truffles, thirdly it was near our clients, and 4th, my group had little success in finding other good restaurants in Florence, hence returned here.
Imagine an extremely traditional, family run, local restaurant in Florence filled with only locals, wine staffed up high, pictures and paintings mounted on every wall, and a staff with much personality and charm almost from a book you had read when you were younger(maybe Lady and the Tramp) . Nothing too fancy, just simple, clean, and to the point. Cooks would come out to greet customers like family and serve dishes along with a story or joke each time. The environment was charming with bricks on plastered white walls, picture frames, checkered red tables cloths, and chandeliers draping from fairly high brick ceiling. Enough about the space, let’s see the food!
My first experience of an Italian restaurant brought me to a tiny cozy place called La Giostra Ristorante nearby the central Duomo and hidden in a small alleyway on Borgo Pinti Street. The cabin like space was lit up with a cascading assortment of flickering ceiling lights, aisles of rustic wine bottles, melting wax candles on every table, laughter, and a warm welcoming by the pirate like passionate owners. I came here my first day and last day, so I’ll be posting on both these occasions at this wonderful restaurant which I’d highly recommend for a tasty enjoyable meal. If you dig into their site, you’ll find a set of pictures taken by celebrities who have been there, which are also plastered on the restaurants interior.
My first stop in Florence was at TASTE, a 3 day food gathering of Italy’s finest foods ranging from jams, wines, cheeses, meats, chocolates, and much more from over 160 select exhibitors. This mouth watering event allowed attendees to eat, taste, question and buy products from a wide range of creators and distributors around Italy, though many of them seemed to be small independent family run organizations, which I liked. The highlight of the event for me is pictured above….it’s buffalo mozzarella! Simply Amazzzing!!
More pics and info about TASTE after the jump. (more…)
My trip to Italy/Milan started off with a frustrating cancellation during a crazy winter storm on March 16th in Boston. Snow lashed in multiple directions at 45 degree angles and a foot of snow dropped within an hours time. My flight with Northwestern Airlines was cancelled while the Boston airport closed at 8pm though it opened up spontaneously after 9pm to allow some flights in and out. Upon my cancellation, I was booked on a NW flight 4 days later which I found ridiculous. 3 phone calls to different NW operators resulted to no resolution. I asked about getting booked on another airlines, but their policy does not allow this if it is due to weather. Oh crap I said… my client meeting is in 3 days..I can’t show up the day after. (more…)
I’ve been dancing and prancing around Florence for the past week and will finally have time to check out the city over the weekend. A stop by the Duomo, the huge galleries, and famous churches is a must. The architecture here is charming, unique, and fluent thriving with colors and hand made rustic materials. Food so far has been ok….a few amazing meals (truffles above, egg noodles, mozzarella(buffalo), meat, salads), and a few misses due to my trust in touristy areas. An endless supply of amazing wine, cheese, coffee, and gelato exists in every corner while the weather has been cloudy, rainy, but sunny at times. If the weather is nice over the weekend, I’ll probably rent a Vespa and cruise abouts the hills fashionably with my camera in one hand.
The people I have met so far locally are incredibly friendly, fashionable, jazzy, and passionate about Italy. Many of them smoke, all of them ride Vespas, and all must have coffee. The city of Florence is annoying to an extent that there are toooo many tourists and some local businesses take advantage of that in unkind ways. The nightly streets are packed full of fake brand goods, but it gives the place charm in a funny way.
I’m trekking over to Milan on monday, so if you have any must do’s there, let me know..otherwise, I only plan to visit a few churches and the Italian Design Triennale as my flight is the next morning back to gloomy yet good ole Boston.
I’ll have a more visual report once I return, but for now, I’m going to experience Italy and try to stay away from my laptop as much as possible besides work reasons. Ciao!
I’m off to Italy this weekend for a brief research project dealing with experience design and fashion to some extent. While there, I’ll be diving into their culture, food, wines, and anything inspirational. If you know of any must see or eat places, let me know.(must eat restaurants are always welcome 😉 ) A majority of my time will be in Florence and surrounding areas, but a few hours will be in Milan. I’m not sure how much time I’ll have to post any finds while there, but rest assured that if I find a wireless network, I’ll post something. ciao!
update: The crazy thick winter snow cancelled my flight out of Boston, hence I’ll be a day or two late…..a small note from my experience during the cancellation….face to face works soooooo much better than byÂ phone….I spoke to 3 people by phone who could not get me anything within 5 days and even told me they could not tranfer me to another airline……then,Â I decided to give the customer service desk a go and bahm a business class seat on another airline the very next day… ;)Â (thanks Mariana!)
Here’s something I would have never thought up….serving dinner in total darkness as a restaurant theme. I love the idea of heightning your senses for food, but I wonder how many times I would flip food into my face or nose. I guess I’d avoid the noodles or soups and hot BBQ plates. Otherwise, I wonder if the users eat like blind cavemen using their hands. A dark room food fight with thousands of marshmellows could be fun.
“The first dark restaurant in Asia is officially opened on the 23 December 2006. This restaurant, located in Beijing, China, has its interior painted completely black. Customers are greeted by a brightly lit entrance hall and will be escorted by waiters wearing night vision goggles into the pitch dark dining room to help them find their seats. Flashlights, mobile phones and even luminous watches are prohibited while in this area.
The meal will be taken in this environment with the complete loss of vision. By starving oneâ€™s sense, your other senses are stimulated to full alert â€“ all so the theory goes â€“ and your food will taste like itâ€™s never tasted before. In case you are wondering about the washrooms, they are all brightly lit. Link [in Chinese] ”