by Melinda Gallo

Lunch at the Mercato di Sant'Ambrogio

Dave and I walked to my market for lunch. I've been told that the little trattoria inside was really good and inexpensive, but never had a chance to try it. I'm always rushing in and out of the market with all my goodies to cook at home. And normally, Dave doesn't come with me.

Living in Florence :: Lunch at the Mercato di Sant'Ambrogio

When Dave and I were thinking of a new place to try for lunch today, I thought of the trattoria. The prices were very reasonable, the primi (first course, like pasta) was 3,00 Euros, the secondi (second course, like meat dishes) were 4,00 Euros. We got seated with two Japanese women who were trying multiple dishes.

The people who work there are rushing around taking orders, passing out drinks and food, and getting the tables cleaned up for the next group of people. They were quite busy, but enjoy what they do. They joked around a lot with many of the customers. To the Japanese women, the waiter said a few words in Japanese and to a table of French people, I heard him say, "Merci beaucoup." I thought it was pretty cute.

I ordered panzanella, which is a Tuscan salad made with bread, tomatoes, basil, and sweet onions. Dave ordered the lasagne alla genovese, which is lasagna with pesto and potatoes (which I think was a Tuscan touch).

Being as that my eyes were bigger than my stomach, I ordered trippa alla fiorentina (a Florentine tripe dish) with patate arrosto (roasted potatoes), which didn't really go well together, but the waiter said that it's not a problem to eat them together. Dave was smarter and ordered a caprese (mozzarella, tomato, and basil salad).

After the two Japanese women left, an Italian husband and wife came to sit across from us at the booth. The woman saw that I was eating the trippa alla fiorentina and asked me if it was good. I told her it was, but I was too full to finish. She asked what the difference between lampredotto and trippa alla fiorentina was. I didn't really know myself. I thought it was just cooked differently, but I found out that lampredotto comes from the stomach of a bovine and the trippa is the part of the digestive organ found between the esophagus and the stomach. Her lampredotto looked good and it was served with beans.

After lunch, I stood across from the trattoria and took a picture. I saw my favorite butcher and he said hello at me. I felt like such a tourist for taking a picture of the trattoria, but I'm glad I did. It was a lot of fun to eat there and I'm sure we'll be going back. I might even buy food to go since that's always an option!

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