Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Firenze: Bistecca Mistak-ehs

Here is how to order that Florentine classic, the chianina bistecca.

First, eat nothing, for about a week or so.

Second, walk walk walk – a hike up the Duomo (no elevator, stairs only, 463 steps),

toss off a few “One day son, all this will be yours” jokes,

down the Duomo (463 steps), over to the Oltrarno,

around the Piazza Signoria, two or three times is a good start.

Third, gather a group of five of your hungriest friends to go in on the steak with you.

Fourth, do not order anything else to eat for dinner.

And fifth, do not listen to your waiter when he tells you that each person will need to order 500 grams of beef.

We spent our first night in Firenze at Trattoria Anita (Via del Parlascio 2/r at the corner of Via Vinegia, 055 218698), a low budget (yes, they actually do mean 6 (six, sei) euros for a three course lunch) with heaps of hearty filling food and probably the lowest price you’ll ever see for a bistecca.

We’re hungry, we, climbed the Duomo and walked the city. Plus we’re cold and not a little tired, read vulnerable.

We’ve already ordered an affetati misti to share, I’m getting a risotto and my Omnivore has a pici with boar sausage coming. But the specialty of the region, which everyone says we must try, is the bistecca fiorentina.

We’ll share it as a secondi, of course. We’re not stupid.

The waiter advises us that each person will need a half kilo of bistecca, so to share it, we should get 1 kilo. A thousand grams. Ten ettos. one “key” of bistecca.

Is that a lot? Is that too much? Hey, what do we know?

Omnivore and I agree though, after the affetati misti and the primi course, that we’re both a little full. Wow, maybe we won’t be finishing much of the meat. I hope it’s not too big.

The server comes by with a cart and a platter upon which rests the t-bone cut of what appears to be a fully-grown ultrasaurus. He begins happily carving away and plating it up, then our waiter plonks the plates down before us, and on a separate plate, the bone. “For the winner,” he says.

“Um…” I say weakly. “um…”

“I think there are no winners tonight,” says my Omnivore.

We have made a valiant attempt, but if I have even another bite I may explode. In fact, I may explode anyhow if I move too quickly.

We have him wrap up about five eighths of the steak (“we’ll probably still be eating this in Siena,” mutters my Omnivore) and we head out in the desperate hope that we can walk this off.

“Can’t breathe,” I gasp as we hit the cold air, “Lungs …crushed…by cow…”

“I think I have a pretty clear picture of a kilo now,” my Omnivore comments thoughtfully.

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