The Daily Diary of a Wandering Restaurateur
Arrivederci Firenze

It's just about the end of the trip and our last day in Florence. We'll catch a cab to the airport at 4:45am, fly to Amsterdam and then to Chicago. A few hours of layover and it's the homeward hop to Seattle. With luck, we'll be home in Gig Harbor by midnight! Considering that we'll need to be up by 3am at the latest, by the time you figure in the nine-hour time difference, that makes it a 30-hour day! Whoever it was who said getting there is half the fun never made the trip!

You can appreciate that schedule will make for a short night of sleep. We don't do well going to bed on a full stomach and since most restaurants in Italy don't even open until 7:30 or 8:00, going out to eat tonight is not going to happen, so my guess is that today will pretty much be about lunch. We'll see.

We have a 12:30 lunch reservation at Trattoria I'cche C'e C'e (pronounced "EE-kay chay chay") which pretty much translates to "whatever there is, there is" ... and we're going to go find whatever that may be today!

It doesn't look like much from the outside, but this is a homey little place with quite a following ... although the number of Americans in here for lunch today made me suspect the popularity may be due to being included in Rick Steves' Florence book and 100+ rave reviews on TripAdvisor! Hey, whatever works!

Gino Noci, the long-time chef-owner, was off this afternoon but Jacopo, his son and heir apparent, was holding forth in the little kitchen. As usual, we started with bruschetta pomodoro and ribollita. Theirs was also more like thick oatmeal and less like soup, so it must be the Florentine version of the dish. We much prefer the preparations we found further south in Cortona and Montepulciano.

For our main courses, I had osso buco and Margene opted for a piece of grilled pork with apple and caramelized onions. I like that they presented the osso buco with a large boneful of marrow rather than the flatter slices I've had elsewehere on this trip. She liked the smaller portion on the pork although she said it was a bit dry. For dolce we had a warm chocolate cake with fresh strawberries. It was all good but the cake was probably the most memorable item of the meal. They did offer us complimentary glasses of limoncello after the meal. The unexpected extra is always a nice touch. At 70 euros it wasn't a cheap lunch by any means, but still a pleasant way to wrap up our visit to Florence.

I predicted that today would be all about lunch and that certainly proved to be true ... although not for the reasons I imagined. While we were having lunch, it started to rain and was coming down pretty steadily by the time we got back to the room. The intensity continued to pick up until around 6:00. It's still raining lightly although there are far fewer people on the street.

I have come down with a horrendous cold and will probably have to have my nose re-treaded by the time I get home, so I welcome any excuse not to be out and about tonight. Given our early start time in the morning, the weather will make it much easier to rationalize packing it in early and getting some sleep before our airborne marathon tomorrow.

And with that I will end the chronicle of our latest odyssey. I'm sure there are still lessons to be gleaned from these two weeks and I will pass those along in my (free!) weekly e-letter. Feel free to sign up if you're not already on the list. Thanks for following along as I have rambled on these past few weeks. Buone Festa, y'all!

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