Today, I finally got together with my friend Martina and the other two guys, Taccone and Gabriele, who used to work at the marble shop where I worked back in 1998. I walked past their laboratorio (workshop) back in October before our trip to the States and I promised that I'd be back sometime for lunch. They told me where Martina was working and I finally got around to going to her new place of work a few weeks ago.
Martina organized the lunch and scheduled that we meet in Piazza Pitti. The two of us walked to a small restaurant where Taccone and Gabriele always eat at. The last time I was there was with them when we worked together.
I wanted to order the spaghetti allo scoglio (seafood spaghetti), but Gabriele told me that it's too hard to eat because I'd have to take all the seafood out of the shell. The two guys ordered pizzas and Martina ordered pasta with olives. With the waitress staring at me while she leaned on our table to write our order down on her pad, I ordered a pizza napoli with acciughe e capperi (anchovies and capers).
Martina got her plate of pasta first. It was a huge portion that looked quite good. She let me taste it and I picked out pieces without olives. Taccone got his pizza, but Gabriele and I waited to get ours. I was halfway hoping that the waiter would ask us again so I could change my mind. Martina finished her pasta before our pizzas arrived.
I have never liked the pizza in Florence, so I don't know what possessed me to even consider ordering it. The pizza is generally bassa (thin crust) and not alta (thick crust) like I like it. All of my Florentine friends tell me to go to Napoli to have some real pizza, so I will definitely do that some time. I love my pizze alte with lots of tomato sauce and cheese. But, here in Florence, you generally get a generous portion of sauce, a few slices of mozzarella (I ordered the buffala mozzarella cheese, so it was even skimpier), and a skimpy portion of toppings. I was disappointed that I only had two pieces of acciughe and a handful of capperi, which is too much for me.
Afterwards, we walked to the bar next door to get a caffè. I generally don't have caffè after I eat. I love a nice caffè latte in the morning, but that's all the coffee I will drink. I ordered a caffè macchiato decaffeinato (which is a decaffeinated espresso with a touch of hot milk). It was surprisingly hot. Generally, the caffè in Florence is not served that hot and I always have to make sure I specify that I want mine bollente (boiling hot).
Our lunch hour together came to an end so quickly. We talked the whole time about what's been going on these past few years. In the end, not much had really changed: Martina had a baby, which I already knew about, and I got married. That was pretty much it.
Taccone asked me if one of my parents was asiatico (Asian). He told me that I looked like one of those Tahitian women in Gauguin's paintings. My memory of those paintings are obviously a little different since I didn't see the resemblance.
We walked them back to their laboratorio and promised ourselves that we'd have lunch again some time soon, but next time I will order a pasta dish.
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