Friday, May 22, 2015

Italy 2015: Milano Eats

I thought about maybe saving this post for next week and doing a little lazy Memorial Day Weekend recipe roundup. But to be honest, I was too lazy to do that lazy post - I'm such a sloth. Anyway, if you need help, check out my grill tag and ice cream tag for some summer recipe inspiration.

Milano was our final city in Italy. Frankly, I wasn't that excited about it because it was a bustling huge city and compared to the four tiny gems we'd visited prior to, it was daunting and seemed a bit boring. However, it was still enjoyable and food-wise it was great, albeit, expensive.
We arrived in Milano super early in the morning. We flew in from Bari and after dropping off our bags, we went for a stroll. We headed to the Duomo - where else? - but before heading in, we grabbed a snack.

You can tell how great a place is when the queues are long and there are hordes of people standing outside, eating the fare.
Panzerotti is like a deep-fried calzone and we got three kinds: spinaci (spinach), salame (salami), and pesche (peach). The dough was chewy and soft, the filling was delicious, and the queues are justified.
EL BRELLIN
Since Milano is a busy city, I made dinner reservations for both nights and the first was at El Brellin, which is located along the canals. We were given complimentary prosecco but we also got a half bottle of Castello white wine. It was acidic and bright.
For a starter, we got carpaccio. This was in steep competition with the carpaccio that we enjoyed in Genova. The salad on top was dressed with a mustardy vinaigrette which made it super delicious. The beef was rich and tender and the richness offset by the salad made for a perfectly well-balanced dish.
For her main, my sister had the osso buco with risotto milanese. This was one of the best things I have ever eaten. The osso buco was incredibly tender and they provided a little scoopy spoon for enjoying the marrow. The risotto was cooked to a perfect al dente (I have no idea how they do that in restaurants) and the saffron flavor was bold.
For my main, I had the riso rossi with sea bass. The red rice was crispy - each grain was coated in olive oil and deliciously crunchy - and the sea bass was so fresh and tender.
After the entrees, I asked for a glass of moscato to accompany our desserts. It was fruity and sweet; just the way I like it.
For dessert, we shared a tiramisu. It was sweet and the mascarpone filling was whipped and creamy.
PASTICCERIA MARCHESI
For an authentic breakfast experience, we headed to the Pasticceria Marchesi. It doubles as a candy shop (perfect for buying some souvenirs) but they serve a mean pastry and amazing coffee.
We each got a brioche and I got a cappuccino. I rarely drink coffee but in Italy, I can't avoid it. It's just too delicious.
The pastries are fluffy and buttery and delicious. I wish I'd eaten two.
EATALY
For lunch, we decided to go to Eataly, since it was right by our hotel.
While we were here, we also picked up a bunch of souvenirs.
We got the special of the day, which was roast chicken and roasted pork ribs with a ratatouille and salad on the side. Both meats were cooked to perfectly - crisp exteriors with tender interiors - and the vegetable sides added freshness, which was much needed with the heavy proteins.

It wasn't necessarily the fanciest meal, but it was delicious and in a memorable setting.
BULGARI HOTEL APERITIVO
At the suggestion of a friend, we headed to the Bulgari hotel for aperitivo. Aperitivo is a fun concept. You buy a drink at an escalated price and it comes with unlimited food, which is a pretty good deal, in my opinion.
Bulgari is one of the fancier options and the ambiance is lovely. In the end, the food didn't end up being that spectacular but it was still a fun once-in-a-lifetime type of thing.
The drinks were super fresh and delicious, mixed expertly and brought over quickly. And the people watching here is pretty awesome. There are swanky businessmen and cool chicks walking around having a great time.
Due to the rain earlier in the day, it was a little too cool to sit in the garden, but if you have a chance to, I'd recommend it. The garden is beautiful.
BIANCA
Bianca gets its name from its all-white interior. Or perhaps, the all-white interior is due to its name? Anyway, it's a gorgeous little restaurant with a friendly staff. We were seated immediately and served crudite with a delicious vinaigrette.

The friendly bartender asked if we wanted a signature drink - he seemed like a super cool, super talented bartender - but since we'd just come from boozing at the Bulgari, we decided to skip it.
However, we weren't going to deny the complimentary welcome prosecco. We cheers-ed to a great trip.
To start, I asked for an oyster (the local Italian oyster available on the menu) and it was so incredibly good. It was the best oyster I ever had. It was incredibly fresh and briny and beautifully slimy. I know "slimy" isn't really a great adjective, but if you're an oyster lover, you'll know that that is exactly how it feels. The mignonette served alongside was bright and acidic and perfectly complimented the oyster.
For her main, my sister had the spaghetti with clams, which was almost as good as the one we enjoyed in Cinque Terre. The pasta was cooked perfectly, the clams were fresh and tender, and the portion size was perfect.
For my main, I had the black risotto topped with thinly sliced calamari sashimi. The calamari was so tender and paper thin. The risotto was seasoned beautifully and the squid ink added a lovely saltiness. This was one of my favorite dishes of the trip just because it was so different and Italian and beautiful.
We also got a lovely salad, which was brought to us after we'd finished our entrees (even though we asked for it with them) but it was fresh and a nice palette cleanser before dessert.
For dessert, we had tiramisu and panna cotta - two quintessential Italian desserts to end the trip.
Italy was super delicious and an amazing experience. I can't wait to go back.

xoxo.

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