by Melinda Gallo

Dinner at Canapone

Last night Dave and I took two of our friends to Canapone for dinner. It was cold enough that we had to walk quickly to my friend Simone's restaurant. I saw Simone at the palestra (gym) the day before and told him to reserve a table for us. He said it was perfect timing because he just changed the menu. I'm always excited to go when he changes the menu because I get to taste his new creations.

We arrived at the front door and rang the bell to the club restaurant to be let in. Because it's a club restaurant, they are not allowed to have the door open like other restaurants or display their menu outside. You get the sense that you're a member to a secret club, which makes the place feel more intimate.

We sat down and were promptly offered a prosecco. Usually we hang out at the bar, which is down the hall away from the dining room, before eating dinner to chat and drink our glasses of prosecco. But, our friends had already arrived, so we sat at our table.

They painted the dining room a rosa accesa (bright pink) this year. When they close in August, they clear it out and paint the entire place. The color they chose this year is especially nice to me. It feels very modern and ganzo (cool).

After we rattled off our order to the cameriera (waitress), we were each served a small plate with leafy greens, slices of carciofi (artichokes), and shaved parmiggiano. It was a tasty combination, and I normally don't like carciofi.

I ordered the tagliolini con curry giallo, latte di coco e gamberi (wide spaghetti-like pasta with yellow curry, coconut milk, and shrimp). The primi (pasta dish) at the restaurant are quite abbondanti(plentiful) so I split mine with one of the girls. In this way, I was able to have a secondo (main dish). I ordered agnello (lamb) that was served in a creamy, lemon sauce with carciofi. Dave ordered the ravioli con scarmoza (ravioli with smoked mozarella) that was served with chopped tomatoes and basil on top.

We ordered a bottle of vino sfuso (unbottled wine). It's how they're serving their house wine nowadays. They get it at a vinaio (wine merchant) downtown that fills up large contenitori (containers) with wines directly from the wineries around Florence. These shops, which have been springing up all around Florence, allow you to buy great wine rather inexpensively. Usually the cost is about 3-6 Euros for a bottle and less than 1 Euro for the bottle. If you bring your bottle back, they'll fill it up for you and you don't have to pay for the bottle.

Simone just started making panini (rolls) with rosmarino (rosemary), pistacchi (pistachios), or olive (olives) to accompany the meal. They were so good that we asked for a refill of our cestino (basket).

For dessert, I ordered the cheesecake, which is delicious and made fresh each day. The two girls ordered gelato (ice cream) that Simone makes. I tasted both of them and was very impressed. I normally don't like gelato with nuts, but the pistacchio (pistacchio) and the nocciola (hazelnut) flavors were excellent. I was partial to the nocciola because they were roasted before they were put in the gelato.

Our friends both want to go back for dinner next week, and I'm thinking we should go again pretty soon before he changes the menu. I'm fortunate that Simone is willing to share all of his recipes. This morning I saw Simone at the palestra (gym), and I asked him how he makes his fresh pasta. He was surprised that I haven't made fresh pasta yet, but I've been inspired now that I've eaten his tagliolini. He gave me a few explanations about his recipes for making pasta that I'll share in a future entry.

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