I suppose I kind of overestimated myself when I said I’d get this post out before leaving on my trip to Ireland and Scotland! But better late than never, right? I do apologize for the wait, I meant to post this one yesterday but time got away from me (as it is want to do) with the last anim8s meeting of the term and then my final trip into London today. I am definitely going to miss that city, and of course, the people I’ve met and become friends with while here. Alas, I’ll leave my lamenting for a later post and get on with this one! Let’s pick back up with our time in Tuscany and that one, special dinner I mentioned before. So read on, dear readers!
We made a gamble with the recommended restaurant as we did not make reservations, and this time the outcome was unfavorable. It’s true, however, that when one door closes another opens.
The recommended restaurant was on this barely lit dirt road path where other villa hotels where, yet we managed to get there. But when we walked in – though no one else was there – the tables were all set and ready for each and every reservation which would be filling the place. Oh well. So we backtracked onto the town nearby, that of San Cerbaia.
No Internet could be gotten from the car, so we couldn’t rely on trusty TripAdvisor this time. After driving around for a few blocks, we let my mom out of the car to scope out the street and see if there was anything down the block we found a parking spot on. Well, we saw her coming back with a thumbs up of affirmation. We pulled a bit closer as she said it was at the end of the street, then followed her to this place she had found called La Tenda Rossa.
And oh my goodness! Let’s just say it was the type of place where you rang a door bell to be let in! We entered into a very nice restaurant where each table had a little serving table attached with a cherub statue on it and candles. Though I especially would have liked to have been a bit more dressed up, the staff never made any sort of distinguishing remark or look on it…at least I was in the nicer sweater. The servers were extremely helpful in explaining our menu options (we each decided on the same four course set meal – the “terra” one), refilled every glass of water, served each course as it came, on a new plate each time, and were part of the reason that this dinner was truly an experience – a very good one at that!
Before anything else, we were brought a taste of what must have been the special for the day, carbonara with calamari. Then an assortment of breads was brought to the table followed by what we decided were the classy Italian version of a potato chip – I’m talking real potato chip here, not the oily, overly salty bagged things. Anyway, these were excellent and came to accompany the first true course of our meal, the salad! This salad was so good! It had perfectly cooked, light, and fluffy scrambled eggs, rocket lettuce (arugula), caviar, and a soft Gorgonzola cheese.
The next course was the pasta dish. It was beautiful! Delicate tortellini filled with either veal or beef and Pecarino cheese was arranged on the plate so that, to me, it looked like a rose. Fitting, I know (La Tenda Rosa). It even had a similar color due to the amazing orange sauce with orange zest and crushed pistachios. The final touch was the sprig of fresh rosemary on top.
The next dish was literally served to us with the staff lifting off a silver lid. This was the piece of lamb, still on the bone, Served with a smooth cream sauce. Little clusters of peas were placed around the plate as well. Did I mention that each dish was served on a different, and fun, plate or bowl? The lamb was cooked just right, wasn’t a huge piece which is great with so many courses, cut like butter and just seemed to melt in my mouth. The peas, too, we’re awesome and had crushed pistachio pieces mixed in their cluster’s as well.
Our last course came out on another beautiful plate with a silver goblet on it. This goblet was filled with Panforte gelato (a mixed dried fruits and nuts, fruitcake type of dessert) with a caramelized sugar cone filled with vanilla creme sticking out. On the side of the plate was a slice of panforte itself. It was delectable, not too sweet flavor-wise, and perfect at the end of the meal.
But wait – did I say final course? So we thought. After taking our dessert plates away, we were brought out a plate with chocolates on it (as well as my dad’s espresso)! Three chocolates for each of us, and each a different kind. I had a marshmallow one, a chocolate creme truffle with cookie on the bottom, and a piece of white chocolate with raspberry bits in it – yum!
Ok, so on top of all of this, the set menu also had a wine option which paired each course with a different glass of wine. We each did this as well, and it was definitely worth it. My favorite was the wine that came with dessert, a light and fruity wine. And though I enjoyed each and have finally started to “aquire the taste”, I still needed a bit of help finishing some of my glasses. Good thing my parents could help me out with that, though I think the staff figured out our trick when I always had the finished glass and one of my parents still a bit left each time!
We thanked my dad for such a wonderful dinner, and he, being a generous guy and knowing when money is well spent, said he was very happy to have treated us to this experience. It was a dinner without regret, and one I know I will not soon forget! The staff was very kind, showing us out when we left and amiably waving goodbye and wishing us well. We did wonder what they thought of my constant picture taking with each course with my iPad. They didn’t seem to mind and I admit I started to feel a bit like a secret food critic spy!
As it would turn out, the group sitting just behind me would be the same group from our hotel that sat behind us at the dinner the previous night (the one at the hotel)…and they would be behind us again at breakfast! Small world sometimes, isn’t it? And with that, our Tuscany portion of the Travel Tales has come to an end. If you ever find yourself in Tuscany and in want of a good meal and can spare a few extra bucks, definitely make the trip over to San Cerbaia and La Tenda Rosa. It was an immensely enjoyable evening for all three of us.
Right, so onward and forward! I will hopefully be getting more posts up tomorrow and Friday as all I have going on is packing up. The Travel Tales will take us to Rome next, though probably with some interludes of my adventures back in England over the past month or so. Our trip to Ireland and Scotland was great, but very wet, so you can look forward to hearing about that as well! Thanks for reading, cheers! Until then…