I don’t get to Florence much. When Piero Asso invites me, I can’t get there quickly enough. Piero is the reason they make Ferraris.
Thing is, Piero plans an evening out like no one else I know. The thought of it makes one’s gastronomic equipment quiver in pinkish delight.
We zig-zag through the center from the Chestnut tower to Dante’s stone seat, Sasso di Dante. There’s a story in every little detail you might miss. We detour to Piazza D’Azeglio to pay homage to a palazzo in which Pellegrino Artusi lived. It’s a food night after all. Then, when the legs started to fail, there’s a bit of a sit down in a little piazza with a glass of Barberesco from a good year, 2014.
The restaurant Piero wanted us to try is called “The Acorn”. Ghianda is not a holy man in India we quickly learn—but the little acorn does know his way around a kitchen.
The menu is packed with all manner of things you want to order. Too many things you want to order. It’s the kind of place you plan to return to even before you’ve bitten into your first crostino.
The picture below represents the joy of eating in Florence. Three people agree that a thin slice of tongue with some green sauce and mayonnaise crostini might be a good thing to start with. Martha is not a tongue person but no matter—they will make one of the crostini with Cantabrian anchovies and butter, a classic. There is no industrial think-tank behind this restaurant, a fact which separates eateries in the US from those in the Italy and allows for a flexible eating experience for every eater all across the boot.
There was also a refreshing salad, Insalatina de Puntarelle con Salsa di Acciughe. Puntarella is my favorite green, only available in the cold months, always sauced with anchovies.
And we shall follow with some highlights. Nobody will want to see more tongue (I had mine very slow cooked and then grilled and served with brilliant bay-leaf flavored mashed potatoes). So here is a pasta Martha raved about:
This is Tortelloni Mugellani di Patate con Ragu di Anatra, or tortelloni (big tortellini) the way they have them in the Mugello region, stuffed with potatoes and covered with duck sauce. Martha liked that the duck wasn’t ground, but was instead composed of larger shreds of duck in a tomato sauce. It was fantastic.
The hit of the night was a vegetable, a contorno of Zucca Mantovana Gratinata or the famous squash of Mantova baked covered with seeds.
I could go on and on. It’s not expensive. Pastas ranged from 9 to 12 euro. Main courses 14-16 euro. And then Piero dropped the bombshell. At lunch, they take all this marvelous food and serve it as a buffet for a mere 10 euro a head for the “worker’s lunch”. You’ll have to wait in line…
But the evening isn’t over. Off we headed to the Cibrèo Caffè. We had a little dessert. Well, 7 of them. Small portions. And some cherry wine from Le Marche. We were taken care of like you might be in your favorite bistro where they know you well. It was a fine end to a fantastic evening.
Calories are happiness. I believe that famous guru Ghianda said that.
Piero Asso owns the Florentine apartment you want and he’s renting it to tourists. It’s Asso’s Place and if you ever wanted to play a well-to-do resident of Florence, you’ll want to stay there. I mean it. Two bedrooms, two baths, a very well equipped kitchen, and…this view: