Archive for the ‘Florence’ Category

J's caprese sandwich

J's apple

K's olive bread, ham and cheese sandwich

Jamie says:  The tickets were sold out for the earlier train out of Florence to Venice, so I pulled out a section of the newspaper I took from home.  It was too early for lunch, but I followed my Mom’s advice and grabbed a caprese sandwich (mozzarella, tomato, basil) from Chef Express at the train station. Kathryn absolutely loved her sandwich from the Chef Express at the Termini Station in Rome, so I figured I’d give it a try.  I packed my sandwich in my backpack and enjoyed it with an apple on the train.  It was a cheap and good lunch.  Venice, here we come!

Kathryn says: Only in Italy could a pre-made sandwich with no toppings be this good. I grabbed a sandwich made with a light, flat olive bread, soft provolone cheese and sliced ham. I enjoyed it while journaling on the train. I love how the meat and cheese were so flavorful and moist that I didn’t feel the need to add mayo, mustard or other toppings. Quality ingredients mean you need fewer ingredients, I guess.


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Cornflakes with chocolate milk and nocciola yogurt

Our family and the wonderful nocciola yogurt lady at Hotel Maxim

Jamie says:  Arrivederci (goodbye), Hotel Maxim, and arrivederci, Florence!  We ate our last breakfast at Hotel Maxim and said our farewell to the nocciola yogurt Italian woman.  I enjoyed my last nocciola yogurt and cereal.  I made chocolate milk by using the cocoa powder next to the coffee and stirring it in cold mix; I then added cornflakes and sliced a banana that my Dad got from the little vending stand he frequented.  Of course it was delicious- there was chocolate involved.  After lugging our heavy suitcases down the stairs and grabbing a few last-minute souvenirs (I got a perfume that I had been thinking about from Santa Maria Novella Perfumery), we hopped on the train for… VENICE!

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K's midnight gelato

Kathryn says: J and I had a fun night at Astor, a local bar that borders the Duomo. It was NFL football night, so we watched TV and met people from New York and Ireland. Our Mom said we had to come back before 1 a.m. because the hotel’s main entrance locked at 1, but we joked that she made that up to get us back at a decent hour. We left about 15 minutes before 1 but made a quick detour to the gelateria next door. J couldn’t believe that I wanted sweets at such a late hour, but when you’re in the mood for gelato, you’re in the mood for gelato. The man working there gave J and I a lesson in gelato etiquette since business was quiet and he felt like venting, I guess. He said it’s ok to ask for samples when a place isn’t busy, but if there is a line, don’t ask for samples, just order. Gelato shops in Italy generally haven’t seemed keen to giving samples, J and I noticed. I enjoyed stracciatella (vanilla with chocolate chips).

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Muesli with hot milk, nocciola yogurt, kiwi, and Nocita chocolate hazelnut spread

Jamie says:  The kind woman in charge of breakfast at Hotel Maxim again presented us with four of the coveted nocciola (hazelnut) yogurts. (There were still none in the little refrigerator at the breakfast bar…she must have been saving all of them for us.)  I enjoyed one along with muesli (uncooked oatmeal and dried fruit) with hot milk (no low fat or fat free milk options here).  I saved the kiwi and Nocita chocolate hazelnut spread for for later.

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J's salad

J's arugula pizza

K's antipasto

Jamie says:  We ate dinner at on a side street (at the restaurante Giannino) not far from the Duomo and our Florence “home” (aka hotel room).  I ordered a salad which turned out to have a rainbow of  veggies on top and an arugula pizza with some black olives. The pizza crust was  thin compared to American pizza.  We enjoyed eating outside.

Kathryn says: I was craving meat and cheese, so I ordered the antipasto platter for dinner. It came with thick slices of salami, paper-thin prosciutto, two blocks of provolone, arugula, bruschetta, chicken liver pate (which I gave to Mom since I’m not a fan of liver) and a little bowl of artichokes with olive oil and cooked mushrooms on the bottom. It was salty and oily and pungent – everything I was looking for (except for the liver, of course). Afterward, J and I met some nice Italian locals and chatted on the steps of the Duomo. We picked up a few more Italian words, like tesoro, which means darling.

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Nocciola (hazelnut) yogurts

Hard roll with Nocita chocolate hazelnut spread

Jamie says:  After expressing our love for the noccola yogurt, the kind woman who worked the kitchen of Hotel Maxim made special arrangements for us.  She saved us four nocciola yogurts and brought them out to me as soon as I arrived for breakfast.  I felt lucky.  I also enjoyed a hard roll with Nocita chocolate hazelnut spread and a kiwi.

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Red house wine

Fried zucchini flowers

Grilled vegetables

Pasta dish with olives in red sauce


Pear pecorino balsamic ravioli

Trattoria Da Garibardi

Jamie and Kathryn say: We were delighted to show Mom and Dad to a charming restaurant we found- Trattoria Da Garibardi (Piazza del Mercato Centrale, 38r – 50123 Florence, Italy; tel. 055212267; website: www.garibardi.it; email: info@garibardi.it). It served gluten-free pizza and pasta too – a rare find in the United States and in Florence. We sat outside under the cloth umbrellas. We shared a half liter of red house wine. We were also thrilled to order our first fried zucchini flowers, which Elizabeth Gilbert raved about in Eat, Pray, Love. The zucchini flowers were paper-thin with a light, salty fried coating.

J says:  I ordered grilled vegetables (it was nice to have some more veggies in addition to all the bread/pasta in the Italian meals) and a delicious pasta dish with olives and a red sauce.  With some parmesan cheese on top it was moto bene (very good).

K says:  For my appetizer, I ordered a salty, flavorful caponata of small chunks of oily eggplant, red peppers and green olives. For my main dish, I enjoyed pear pecorino balsamic ravioli. It was a nice, thinner pillow pasta with a savory mix of pear preserves and ricotta cheese drizzled fancily with light zigzags of balsamic vinegar reduction. Afterward, we wandered through the nearby paper store

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