by Melinda Gallo

Great way to start the week

I had an incredibly social Monday. I was supposed to be working on a project this afternoon, but instead I had a drink with a friend of mine, went to a wine bar with my writing instructor near Ponte Vecchio, and had dinner with two of Dave's friends from school in San Niccolò.

As is often the case in Florence, plans are not made in advance. Last night, for example, Dave and I went out to eat with my friend Sara and her husband all'improvviso (unexpectedly). Since they had a car, we went to Wabi-Sabi, which is a sushi place near the stadio (stadium) because their favorite pizzeria was closed.

Of course, being only a block away from my all-time favorite ice cream place in Florence, we had to go to Badiani. I don't go to Badiani very often since it is on the other side of town. Back in 1998 when I bought my motorino (scooter), it was the first place I went to celebrate.

Because I was late to my writing class, I called the instructor who said that she was on her way to a wine bar near the Ponte Vecchio, named Le Volpi e L'Uva. We decided to sit outside on the terrazza (terrace) of this little wine bar tucked away behind via Guicciardini. We each ordered a glass of Chianti and nibbled on formaggi e affettati (cheese and sliced salami).

During our aperitivo (aperitif), Dave called to say that his friend Antonio invited us to go with him to dinner at 8:30PM. Dave's friend, Antonio, brought a friend of his and took us to a restaurant that he liked in San Niccolò, Osteria Antica Mescita San Niccolò.

I am usually hesitant when going to new restaurants because I hate being disappointed.

I do however get excited when a new restaurant opens up. I peek through the windows, check out the menu, and see how busy it is. Of course, in Florence, restaurants change management (and never change names) at an amazingly quick rate. In a radius of a few hundred feet, two restaurants have closed down, one just changed management, and two new ones just opened up.

Even though the service was incredibly slow--it took us two hours to eat two antipasti (appetizer) and four main dishes--the food was very good. They had many of the typical Tuscan dishes, like ribollita, trippa alla fiorentina and pappa al pomodoro. The girl sitting next to me had a soup made with ceci, farro e funghi porcini (garbanzo beans, spelt, and porcini mushrooms).

I love trying new places and being so pleased that I can't wait to go back. Now that I've checked out their menu again on-line, I'm already planning my next meal at Osteria Antica Mescita San Niccolò. The bad news is that the restaurant across the street from it, Il Rifrullo, is supposed to be quite delicious too now that they have one of the chefs from Enoteca Pinchiorri working there at night, so I'll have to toss a coin the next time I'm in the area.

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