Italia Week: Milan!

Map of Italy - Milan
Our final destination: Milan. Milan is a real working city. There are way fewer tourists and much more real life buzzing around. We stayed with my friend L.V., who lives in a gorgeous old Milanese home right by the Castello Sforzesco. They showed us all the sights in Milan and took us to their favorite spots for lunch and dinner.

Milan
We started at Convivium (Via Ponte Vetero, 21), a restaurant that L.V. goes to all the time with her parents. Apparently Mr. V goes three times a week for the truffle gnocchi (confirmed, it is that good). The V’s ordered almost everything for us so we just sat back and enjoyed the show. First up, we had this amazing warm flat bread with olive oil, salt crusts, oregano, and rosemary. It was very slightly crisp and mostly soft and chewy.

Milan
We also shared a margarita pie. It was made from the same kind of bread as above, so it was just slightly crisp and mostly soft. The tomato sauce and cheese were both very thinly spread on, keeping it light. I tend to like it when the cheese is in globs rather than spread out like this because I like bites of pizza without cheese.

Milan
Both L.V. and LAW got the steak with rosemary and pepper on top. The steak was very rare and juicy. With a great cut of meat, all you really need is some basic seasonings to enhance the flavor.

Milan
I had the beef cheek pappardelle, purely to compensate for my last pasta in Rome (still craving that amatriciana). And I’m SO glad I did! Thick, wide, chewy pasta tossed with a heavy tomato sauce… it doesn’t get much better than this. I used the bread to soak up the rest of my sauce so I pretty much returned my plate clean. No need to wash again, sir.

Milan
Mr. V insisted that we try the two types of affogato the restaurant had. I had the vanilla scoop with chocolate and nuts on top (hot espresso on the bottom, of course).

Milan
LAW had the chocolate ball with a vanilla center and coated with cocoa. Both were beautiful and so tasty. Sweet and creamy goes so will with espresso… my only issue with affogatos is that melting ice cream kind of stresses me out. I feel like I have to eat it all before it melts!

Milan
(I apologize for the Instagram photo. I can’t find my original anymore for some reason!) After wandering around all day and visiting this beautiful Duomo, which took over 400 years to complete, we were ready for dinner again.

Milan
L.V. took us to a homey pizzeria on our last night: Il Kaimano (Via Fiori Chiari, 20). We shared a marinara pie, which, like all pizzas we had had on this trip, was deliciously simple. Great, lightly crisp crust and soft overall. This pizza had the same poofy outer crust as Luzzo’s, but was more structured (less floppy and messy..I do like the mess).

Milan
My favorite thing from this restaurant was their hot sauce. Or hot oil rather. It is made similarly to how a lot of Chinese hot oils are made, except with olive oil. Beautiful SPICY red peppers are just soaked, DRENCHED, in olive oil. Not sure if they were fried beforehand.

Milan
It was surprisingly spicy and incredibly addictive. I need to learn how to make some of this…

Milan
We also got the fried zucchini flowers because I realized I had seen it on almost every Italian menu but had yet to try it. The flowers did not have a particularly strong flavor but had a wonderful light texture.
Milan
LAW wanted just a classic spaghetti bolognese for his last entree. This is always a success. There isn’t a single restaurant we went to in Italy that overcooked their pastas. Al dente is the norm, not an exceptional surprise like it is in many American Italian restaurants.

Milan
I had the Milanese risotto with parmesan and saffron. This is going to sound terrible, but I really don’t mean it in a bad way: it tasted like a REALLY amazing mac and cheese. The rice was chewy, cheesy, and super fragrant from the saffron. It was very heavy, so I could barely finish, but was great. I’m glad I got to try it!

Milan
L.V. got an artichoke salad with parmesan. It was made with none of that silly heavily pickled stuff we have here. The artichokes were real, and tasted like much more natural, lighter versions of the pickled kind. The salty cheese complimented the natural nuttiness of the chokes.

MilanWe all shared a side of fried potatoes. These potatoes, in some ways, symbolize all that is Italian cooking. Like all great Italian cooking, it is very simple, made with olive oil, and is completely dependent on the ingredient.

My trip ends here. Thanks, L.V. and family for showing us an awesome time! LAW and I left for NYC the next morning. For those of you who enjoyed Italia Week, see all of my posts here: Venice, Florence, Naples and Amalfi, and Rome. For those of you who were incredibly bored by my overseas posts, sorry, I’ll be doing a lot of traveling for the rest of 2013! I’ll squeeze in a couple posts about New York but will otherwise be sharing food from a couple distant places that require sleeping masks and earplugs on the plane. Brb, New York!

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