Are you not tired of hearing about the curative powers of “yummy!” Italian food arranged on a plate by a saintly person of unsullied culinary credentials who sources the food from other saintly people who treat their lambs like the lambs of God?
Well then, why not visit an outlet mall and eat in the food court? Certainly there will be a disgusting gruel of dubious provenience served there!
Contrast is everything. So off we go.
This is the food corral (er, “Pavilion of Taste”) of the Shoppin Outlet Brugnato Cinque Terre.
Just so you know, we’re located just outside of the town of Brugnato, known for its Infiorata
The “Cinque Terre” has been added to the title by a clever advertising person because the tourists know the five little overtouristed villages and will drool over the prospect of emptying their wallets on any object with the words “Cinque Terre” printed on it, especially refrigerator magnets.
They will sell more crap, in other words.
So let’s have a peek inside, eh? People are eating; don’t bother them with your mouse cursor.
So we make the circle. People in cute uniforms tell us what they can do for us. The burger joint is closed, but we eventually decide on some pasta from this compact little kitchen:
All the pasta is fresh. You can buy it raw and cook it at home. But most people are hungry after their morning shopping, so they pick a sauce and one of the young women will cook the pasta right before your eyes. I ordered Ravioli al Ragu. It’s easy enough.
Five minutes or so later the plate of pasta comes to me on a tray with real silverware along with a very nice glass of red wine which I have purchased for the modest amount of 2.50 euro. Not vino sfuso, the cheap bulk stuff, but local wine poured from a bottle with a label from a serious winery. Try that in the US without making yet another trip to the ATM.
I might as well show the dish to you:
It’s good. Quite good in fact. In any case it tastes way better than the warmed over chef Boyardee slurry you might get served in an American food court, despite looking oddly similar.
It filled me up. I barely had room for the very nicely done torta di verdura. We liked the flaky crust wrapped around a copious filling of greens and onions. Despite the fact that Martha and I shared the dish, there was enough left over for a little breakfast joy the next day.
So what about the final touch, the coffee? Ah, yes we could get an Italian coffee from a big machine and it would undoubtedly be good, but let’s go to the Shopinn’s mall bar instead. It’s just a few steps away.
Some of you neophytes may think all you can get in Italy is a tiny cup with a little strong coffee in it. You like to have lots of stuff in your coffee, so you don’t dare come to Italy, where you will be deprived of the chance to add things like sprinkles and chocolate and spiced pumpkins and all manner of cloyingly sweet things to the astringent brew you find at places like Starbucks. Well, close your eyes! Now open them and look down there:
Welcome to the alternative universe! It’s Golosino time! They’ve lined the glass with zabaione sauce (my choice), made the coffee in it, plopped a scoop of gelato on top, then speared the works with that cookie thing! Pig out baby!
And this isn’t the only “fancy” coffee they serve. Not by a long shot. There’s a list a kilometer long.
And were do you go to work off the calories? The mall has excursions! Read all about it!
Unreal, don’t you think?