Because of an amazing airfare deal I got, we flew in and out of Milan, which meant we are there the first night and our last night.
We got a gift for our wedding that included a note that said we had to use the money for having gelato everyday in Italy. Odeon was conveniently located across the piazza from the Duomo. (The Duomo is spectacular and not to be missed) After trying almost a dozen places, my gelato palate has become more refined, but that afternoon, eating my first gelato on the first day of my honeymoon, the hazelnut and pistachio gelato tasted like happiness.
Our first dinner was down in the Canal District, a bustling neighborhood filled with lively restaurants and bars. We had a nice table outside and enjoyed some classic Milanese dishes. Our first course was risotto Milanese with saffron and bone marrow sauce. The rice was a perfect al dente, and it was rich and flavorful.
Next was linguine with swordfish, leeks, and zucchini blossoms. Steve enjoyed this more than I did, I got the swordfish was overcooked and unevenly cut. However, I did love the zucchini blossoms.
Lastly, we can't be in Milan and not get veal Milanese. Their version was pounded extremely thin, cooked crispy and (strangely) served with homemade potato chips. I thought that the meat was tender, but needed more flavor.
We return to Milan on our last night. I did not have a dinner reservation for the night, so we wandered into Trattoria Milanese hopeful for table. The host told us he was completely booked up for the night, but upon looking at our disappointed faces he offered us a table, but with the caveat we would have to be done with dinner by 9:30. It was 7:30 - we smiled and told him that would be no problem. Yes, we basically stuck to our American eating schedule.
We had risotto Milanese again (don't forget, it had been 10 days since the first risotto). Trattoria Milanese's version was delicious, but not as flavorful without the bone marrow sauce. Next, was a simple linguine with porcini mushrooms. Our main course was a veal marsala served with mashed potatoes. The side of asparagus had thick, gorgeous spears, dressed in olive oil and parmesan. All of our classic dishes were simple, but delicious and well-made versions.
Our last gelato of the trip was at Cioccolatitalani. This is an upscale modern cafe serving gelato and coffee. They have three spigots of running chocolate sauce – dark, milk, and white. They would fill your ice cream cone with the chocolate sauce of your choice before scooping the gelato. Brilliant, I thought, why has no one ever done this before?! The chocolate sauce at the top cooled and became a thin layer coating the inside of the cone but when you got to the bottom there was still a pool of warm liquid chocolate. At last, both Steve and I discovered that this was better in theory than in practice. The last bite of the cone was extremely messy and the sauce made the gelato too sweet.
All my research said to go to Luini, but they closed at 3 PM that first day, so I had to go back on our last day. I am so happy I did. Panzerotti – where have you been all my life? Imagine the delicious love child of fried dough and a calzone. The outside was shatteringly crisp yet, the inside was tender and filled with prosciutto, mozzarella, tomato and basil. After confirming via Google there is nowhere to get Panzerotti in Boston, I told Steve that I was staying in Italy, learning the secrets of Luini, and then returning home to open up our own little Panzerotti shop. I'm sorry this picture does not do it justice.
Stay tuned - so much more food from Rome, Florence, and Venice to come!