So we missed an update on a really cool place. Wandering around aimlessly or as Gina would point out, focused consumer therapy of the ladies bag nature. Man, there are a lot of ladies bag stores here. And they stay open late – usually later than the pizza by the slice joints. So, as we were wandering, we passed by a lovely restaurant named Mama Gina’s. Hard to go wrong with a name like that. I stuck my head in and they said come back later, much later. Not a problem in Italy, you head down the block until you find a nice little outdoor patio and have an aperitif. Then you wander back. So Mama Gina’s was indeed a Mama’s place. Her picture was hung reverently at the front as you walked in for all to pay honour to. Our first inkling that this was going to be special was one of the head waiters waving around a pig leg. Fresh air cured proscutto, by now one of our staples as a dinner warm up. They shave it fresh off the hoof and it doesn’t get better than that. Another Mama special was Riboletta, a twice boiled pot of mama’s best. We ordered one, got two – the waiter indicated that it was our problem now and thats how mama rolls. It was tasty and filling, only as mama would have it. Gina however was apprehensive about finishing hers and insisted that I finish her bowl, least mama come out and give her a harsh tongue lashing.
Not a problem except I was already getting full. These are hearty potions. Next was the main. This was an OMG moment. I ordered a light chicken dish. Should have been something small. It wasn’t. Bloody chickens were working out at the gym and were the size of the plate. Mine was nothing in comparison to what Gina ordered. We had heard a few times that nothing compared to the beef from Florence cows. Must be something about a blue tongue. It was ordered rare because thats the way it’s ordered around here. When it showed up, there was an audible gasp from Gina and a snicker from one of the waiters. It took two of them to lift the plate into place. This was a seriously large T-Bone steak. There were entire families in africa that could have been fed for a week on this chunk of moo. Gina’s mission, to make it disappear. As the waiter mentioned before, it’s her problem now.
Some time later, after transferring many tasty – oh so tasty – morsels onto my plate, it looked like Gina was going to finish. This is why dinners can take so long in Italy. It takes time to chew your way through a whole cow. The char on this beef was to die for. Truly exceptional flavour that we have not experience anywhere else.
Gina’s note: Not sure I have ever seen a steak the size of the one at Mama Gina’s. I was very impressed with the char they got on it. The most amazing thing happened when I cut into the morsel. No bleeding. The steak was rare but truly allowed to sit long enough to avoid seepage. It was awesome. A tip for those to follow….the older the waiters…the better the restaurant. The young hip Italians work at new, hip places. The older Italians work at locations which were young and hip when they were young and hip. Or…their mother owned the restaurant. Either way, they are working in the places to go. Two more adventures yesterday (after the torrential rains which resulted in flooding in San Marco Square..which is common). Once the sun came out, we were off to Murano, the glass artists heaven and apparently a drooling place for Bryan. The Island is full of glass factories. There are stores selling items (all Murano made items are clearly marked…others just inexpensive). We added an “art piece” to our collection. Stunning actually. The gallery kindly threw in a 750 pound vase as their “thank you” gift. The glass piece will be sent home (insured but it is one of a kind). Then off to the opera…Vivaldi…in a Venetian Teatro….seriously how cool is that. It was mesmerizing and a must do. Of course, we hit high tide after the opera and had a failed attempt to stay dry by purchasing retail bags and using duct tape to set in place. Unfortunately, the bags slip on the marble (which is everywhere) so were too dangerous even for someone as graceful as me….:) Swam home and now we are off to Casa Ombuto in the Tuscan country side.