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Eating with locals

Sunday, March 6, 2005

Last night we went to dinner with our two friends Alberto and Adriana and they invited two more friends that we met for the first time, Irene and Marco. We met at a restaurant around the corner from our apartment, called "Il Francescano." Dave and I had been there before, but weren't that impressed.

Irene and Marco knew what the restaurant's specialties were, which was fried vegetables and meats. After eating bresaolo, crostini, and fried vegetables, they suggested that I order the spaghetti con pomodoro e pecorino and for Dave, a Tuscan specialty, pasta ai cenci (pasta with garbanzo beans). We ordered all the best dishes and ate like kings.

It wasn't until the middle of the meal that I found out that the other couple work at "Trattoria 4 Leoni," which is my favorite restaurant in Florence (apart from my friend Simone's restaurant, "Il Canapone"). "Sei mai stata alla trattoria 4 Leoni?" (Have you ever been to "Trattoria 4 Leoni?") Marco asked me. "Sė, venerdė scorso," (Yes, last Friday) I told him. He was surprised and looked over to Irene. "Non ti ho vista." (I didn't see you.) she told me looking at my face even more intensely. I explained that we were with a group of about 14. That's pretty memorable.

They told us how Kevin Costner had just come in a few weeks ago. Dave had told me that there was a picture of him hanging in the restaurant, but I assumed that it was old, not new.

They told us that the owner of their restaurant is also the owner of the one we were eating at, which explains why they seemed to know everyone. At the end of the meal, Marco disappeared for a few moments and came back with a simple question, "Cosa pensate di 15 Euros a testa?" (What do you think of 15 Euros a person?) If we would've gotten the real conto, it would've been at least double if not triple.

As we were leaving Marco asked me to stand next to him at the bar, which was right next to the front door. "Se viene lei, la tratti bene, ok? Mi raccomando." (If she comes here, you treat her right, ok?) he said to our waiter. "Certo," (Of course) he told him, looking at me.

We walked past the restaurant after lunch and saw our waiter from the night before. "Ciao!" I said, smiling happily. He looked through me as he sped off on his scooter. I looked back at Dave and he said, "I doubt he remembers you." I felt so disappointed; it's only been 14 hours. I guess we'll have to go back with Marco again to be treated well.

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