Just keep your mouth shut, Andy! Trattoria Righini

It’s 3.22 a.m.

Not really a great advert for a restaurant, you would think. After all it is the restaurant that we went to at lunchtime that’s keeping me up. I’m still digesting the food!

However, it’s BECAUSE the food was so good that I’m still digesting it. I simply ate far too much. My stomach feels fit to bursting. Still.

Oh it was good.

The restaurant is the Trattoria Righini. It’s in a little place called Monteleone, right next to a small place called Inverno and Monteleone (Winter and Lion Mountain). Even the name of it makes you want to go there. There is nothing in the village except this restaurant (and some houses, of course).

The restaurant at night

Trattoria Righini at night

It’s nothing to look at from the outside – in fact, if you didn’t know about it, you would drive straight past it. It was a holiday here, yesterday, so like a Sunday.

Inside, there are about four different rooms. The biggest room is the first which also houses the ‘bar’. You don’t pick different times to eat – there is one sitting.

To start with, you can stand at this bar and they serve plates of Lardo and plates of the thinnest shavings of a special Parmesan cheese (it is very young) that you eat with your hands or, in the case of the Lardo, with breadsticks. And you have a choice of white or red wine. Of one brand which I guess is either theirs or a friend’s.

Then we went to our table which was moved (by our friends A & P) into this first room. They serve another plate of this Lardo with a pile of Parmesan shavings on top. There’s a plate of pickled red pepper (very sweet) and pickled onions as well. Then there was some salami delivered. Just two slices. Then some small meat balls (about 4 each), then some cottechino, then some sort of piece of omelet thing, then some other cold meat, then something else, then something else. All tiny portions. All served separately. All leaving you wanting more – which you could have if you asked ……. but if you go here, resist the temptation to have more. That would be a mistake and would lead you to be up at 3.22 in the morning following.

Then we had pasta. A couple of pieces of ravioli. Then a couple of pieces of different ravioli. Then some risotto.

Then there was polenta – with Gorgonzola or mushrooms, or figs done in wine or something else that I’ve forgotten now.

I had something of everything.

Then there was the main course. s. First there was some veal or some guinea fowl pieces. Or you could have both. And, if you’re really lucky, like me, your partner will give you some of his in addition.

The owner serving sweet, I think

This is how they dish out the food

So, that’s it, you thought. But no. Then they had a couple of slices of Roast Beef Inglese – which was the best I’ve ever tasted. By now I was refusing second helpings.

Then there was sweet – This was a sort of large cake, sliced into small portions with a kind of white custard, some ice-cream and chocolate sauce. Or you could have some fruit with the custard, ice-cream and chocolate sauce.

Or you could ask for and get both of the above.

Which is what I did.

Because I am stupid, I guess.

Then there was coffee.

During the meal we got through three bottles of the ‘house’ red wine and one of the house white we had drunk with the Lardo and Parmesan shavings (the last being for F – who drank the whole bottle to himself).

Then we had a glass of grappa.

The waitresses and the people who owned it were some of the most pleasant people. Smiles and kindness abounded. It was all very efficient, with only short waits between the ‘courses’. And, in the end it cost less than €40 per head. We went into the restaurant at about 12.20 and came out about 5. It was like being at an Italian wedding but with really glorious food.

It’s about an hour (or less) south of Milan, driving. Without a car you couldn’t get there. It’s closed most of the time (like all of January and August) – Monday and Tuesday all day, Wednesday evening, Thursday and Friday mornings and Sunday evening. Oh, yes, and they only take cash. No credit cards.

But it was wonderful. And I am now suffering because of my inability to say no in the face of good food or even just keeping my mouth shut from asking for a bit more, please?

He was born yesterday (24/4/2012)

One of these is Piero

Piero and brothers and sisters and Mum

Above is a picture of Piero with his brothers and sisters and his Mum. I can’t actually tell you which one is Piero since we haven’t seen them yet.

But we’re going tomorrow.

F couldn’t wait

So he phoned them because he couldn’t wait for their reply to my email :-D

He’s more excited than me :-D :-D

And I’m pretty excited.

This might turn into a blog dedicated to Piero and Dino :-)

Everything’s golden.

He told me that I needn’t but I couldn’t really go there with nothing, could I?

And, so, last Saturday I went hunting.

Before that, I asked him, “What are you going to get them?”

I’m glad I asked – a bottle of grappa for his Dad with a gold top or something and a gold picture frame for his Mum. Damn because the gold frame was what I had thought of.

“What were you thinking of?”, he asked me back. Quick thinking got me to say, “Maybe some gold coffee cups since they drink coffee every day”. Good idea, I told myself.

However, I found that gold coffee cups are NOT that easy to find. I did find some on my foray in the morning – but they didn’t have handles and looked rather cheap. Well, they were rather cheap so maybe that’s why.

But I had a brainwave in the afternoon and trotted off to La Rinascente (a huge department store by the Duomo). They had a section for fine china and the thing about fine china is that often it includes gold decoration.

And, even if they’ve changed it so that resembles more of an up-market market, I did find some. They are Wedgewood (so an English company, which makes sense) and they are simple, white cups and saucers with a rather fine pattern in …. GOLD! Hurrah!

OK, so they weren’t exactly cheap but on the basis that I get fed and looked after when I’m there, it seems (and is) a very small price to pay.

F said they were really nice. He’s going to wrap them, obviously, being so neat as he is.

And so I am set for our trip down there to the Tuscan coast. We leave on Thursday (probably) and come back on the Tuesday ……… unless, of course, Piero is born and we can go and see him. In which case F wants to go and see him – so we might either delay the visit by a day or come back a day early.

And, on the Sunday, which coincides with my birthday, we shall be having the Golden Wedding Anniversary lunch at some rustic restaurant in the foothills, on the veranda, overlooking olive groves, etc. All the family and cousins and so on will be there. And me :-)

It should be a nice few days away.

Hidden Gems that make Milan a special city.

There are hidden treasures in Milan, should you be visiting. Some of them are more hidden than others.

There has been a link on the right of this blog for the Dialogue in the Dark for some time, and I’ve written about it before, but it’s still worth a reminder.

A hidden gem that has become less hidden since it was featured heavily in the film I Am Love is Villa Necchi.

It is a stunningly beautiful Art Deco house and should be ‘must see’ on your trip to Milan. When I went there with J towards the end of last year, F couldn’t (and didn’t really want to) come. However, last week he went there and was talking about it for the rest of the week. If you go to the link, make sure click on the slideshow to see wonderful pictures of the house.

Another place that is really a hidden gem is an apartment owned by people who collected art – and then gave the apartment to the state so that it could become an ‘art gallery’. It is just off Corso Buenos Aires but so hidden away that you’d never find it if you didn’t know. It is the Casa Museo Boschi Di Stefano.

Even better, the one above is completely free – i.e. no charge!

The stunning Bagatti Valsecchi Museum, right off Via Montenapolenone has been written about by A Welshie in Italy in her dedicated post and I’m almost certain it is also free!

Milan is a great place to live and visit – providing you can find these hidden places, of course :-)

A bit sad although it may not have been like this.

Someone ‘shared’ a photo from one of the community-style pages.

It made me go and have a look.

And, then I came across this photo of Harding’s of Hereford.

I don’t recall very well whether my Grandfather worked there as a plumber or, because he was a plumber, he used to go there a lot to buy the stuff he needed.

And then I thought about him and wished I could see him now. I would have a lot to tell him about my life. I don’t know he would approve of it all but that’s OK.

And I felt a bit sad even if my memories probably weren’t true to the way that it really was.

It’s like a party out there …… and here.

There are plenty of taxis – just none that are free for hire.

For that matter, there are plenty of cars too.

And there are plenty of people. In fact, in this street, normally fairly dead at this time of night. In spite of the fact that there are some nice hotels on the road, mostly it is shops, and the shops are closed.

And there aren’t any people, normally, since the road doesn’t really lead to anywhere to which people would want to go.

But not tonight. Or, rather, last night. Last night it was ‘buzzing’, in spite of the rain.

It is, of course, the week of the Furniture Fair – Salone Internazionali Del Mobili. Apart from the fashion weeks, one of the most important times for Milan (or maybe bigger than the fashion weeks), showcasing all that is good and great about Italian design.

Now, the main exhibition is at the Rho Fiera (the big, new exhibition centre) outside Milan.

And whilst, when it first moved, Milan became a bit dead, now there are many smaller exhibitions and parties and things around the centre of Milan. And so it was last night, the third (I think) night of the Furniture Fair.

F’s shop had a book launch and so there was a small party, of sorts. Of course, now, I must go. I like to watch him schmoozing the customers – and he is very, very good. Full of charm and jokes.

I know some people, of course, and get introduced to more by F, permitting F to go off and see other people. I chat a bit but I do find it more difficult. I’ve never really been that good at small talk. Still, I do my best and the party is nice.

I step outside sometimes for a cigarette – watching the taxis and cars and people in this unusually crowded street. Feeling kind of odd. I mean, I don’t feel like I really fit in but it seems nice and I want to fit in; to be part of this ‘world’ of art and design and ideas.

But it’s OK. I have a glass of prosecco in my hand and, after several, I’m more relaxed. I meet people that I recognise but can’t place. One is an author; another a buyer or something for Prada; some English woman who is a buyer for some shops out of Milan. But I am crap with names and crap remembering. Somehow I manage to get by, sometimes having to ask F quietly, who it was I have been talking to.

I mention the dog; the new puppy – but they all already know and most have seen the photographs. “Yes, I have seen you in the photographs with the dogs”. Of course they have. I say to one, “I don’t know whether he’s with me because of me or because of the dogs”, laughing as I do. In fact, both are true.

And I am tired. His colleague from Paris has gone (and she is really lovely) and two nights of going out, eating, getting back at half-past midnight have taken their toll. Tonight I would have preferred to go to bed immediately but it can’t be so. It’s part of the deal of a relationship. One does things for the other. And, anyway, F enjoys introducing me as his ‘fidanzato’, especially to people who have never met me. They always think I’m something in fashion or design and he delights in telling them that I’m not. It’s his thing.

We walk home, since there are no taxis. It’s not late but both of us are so tired it feels like it’s midnight anyway.

In the middle of the night, we both stir for some reason and, for no apparent reason at all, as he turns, he lifts himself up on his elbows and kisses my face. He doesn’t really show affection as such but sometimes I feel happy that I know he loves me.

Soon, very soon!

I emailed them. I’ve been wanting to email them for ages but don’t want to seem a pain in the neck.

However, as F keeps asking “When will they be born?”, I promised to write.

I asked how they were first.

Then I asked if everything was OK with Heidi (the mother).

Then I asked when did they think they would be born.

That was yesterday.

Today I get a reply. Heidi is very fat (with the puppies); The puppies are expected between 24th and 28th April; they will email me when they arrive.

I am excited. By this time next week, Piero may have been born!

I am like an expectant father hahahahaha.

Just thought you should know :-D

The Fallout

For every action you make or don’t make, there is fallout.

In this case, someone sent me a message. I felt sorry for him as he’d certainly paid some money for a service that wasn’t a good service. I thought, “I’ll just go on and do a reply to him”. It seemed the fair and right thing to do.

I told him that I was already in a relationship and wasn’t looking for anyone any longer.

I didn’t get a reply back but, then, I wasn’t expecting one.

What I did get, though, was a load more emails!

That’s because I logged on to reply to the message and, so, I’ve been ‘promoted’ so more people are viewing my profile.

Luckily they automatically go to my spam folder now.

As I said to someone recently, I would NEVER use Meetic again as it simply doesn’t give you a good service. If you sign up, the chance of finding someone ‘real’ is remote.