slow dinners, part 5

So in Milan a week after the Lanchetta debacle, we didn’t dare try to occupy space at a restaurant right after our gelato. Instead, we found a small park to sit in, sunning ourselves, commenting on how dreary Milanese shutters are, and watching children play. Once we judged that we might go find a table without earning too many nasty looks, we hauled ourselves off our bench and began circling the blocks around our hotel. The first promising place was closed on Tuesdays. Things got seedier as we approached the station. After that first disappointment, we passed bar after bar that held out no hope of food.

Finally, across from the southeast corner of the station, we found Ristorante Giglio Rosso. It was a quarter til, and the waiter informed us that they didn’t start serving until seven. We claimed jet lag, and J-P put the wine knowledge he gleaned the night before to good use, ordering a red d’Abruzzo to tide us over. This combination, along with sitting with more patience than the Brits behind us, seemed to score us some points. So did ordering primi and secondi, rather than trying to do with just one course, or get everything at once. We also ingratiated ourselves by apologizing for our pitiful Italian and asking the waiter questions about the language. In all, we were rushed less and treated with less contempt that any of the other parties we watched while we were there. We lingered for not quite three hours over risotto milanese, pasta with clams, grilled fish, and veal cutlets. We finally felt like we were doing it right.

For dessert we chose fruit: berries for me and melon for J-P. The waiter surprised us by bringing out two glasses of a dessert wine (as best I can guess from what he said, it was Zaccagnini Passito Bianco) along with a plate of little sugar cookies, which he promised were delicious dipped in the wine. They were. We finished the meal with espressos, of course, accompanied by little chocolate candies.


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