A Month in Bologna

Thursday, June 9, 2011 11:58 AM

Restaurants, People and Panic

We've been rambling around Bologna the last couple of days, trying a couple of restaurants, riding the buses, pricing train travel to some of the other towns in the area, etc. On Sunday afternoon, we ate at Gianni's, which was featured in a couple of guidebooks and articles we had read. Save your money. Sometimes, I think the authors of these travel articles are getting a little something slipped to them under the table. To keep it short, the menu was limited and the receptionist was a lady in a faded yellow t-shirt, jeans and sneakers, who obviously wished she were someplace else.

In contrast, two days later we were wandering down a side street and discovered what looked like a ma and pa place from the outside. Well, it was lunch time, so we figured, what the heck and entered. We were very pleasantly surprised, when we were greeted by uniformed waiters, presented an extensive menu and served a great meal. The name was Trattoria da Leonida.

At a nearby table was another couple who were about our age. We figured that most of the others in the restaurant were locals and, judging by their language, that included them. I took a picture of the interior and the lady waved to us, so I took their picture also. A couple of minutes later, she came over, handed us her business card and asked if we would email a copy of the photo to them. The card said she was a Diseño Interior. Well, the ñ gave things away. They weren't Italian at all, but probably Spanish. When we left, we stopped to say hello and discovered they were really from Argentina. Before we were through with our visit, we had an invitation to Buenos Aires, where Ana and Alfred would teach us how to tango!

Reading back what I have just written, I realize that I had made everything sound oh so pleasant at the trattoria, but it wasn't quite like that. When my bill came, I pulled out my credit card and ….. it wasn't there! Panic! Where was the last place I used it? It must have been at the ATM on Sunday. I looked at the credit card receipts in my wallet and it was either there or at Gianni's. We headed directly to the bank, where they opened the ATM and …. no credit card. On to Gianni's, which was closed until dinner time. Quick, back to the apartment so I could  check online whether there were any strange charges against it. No, nothing out of the ordinary, other than my paying too much for a bottle of wine at an enoteca. We'd just have to wait until Gianni's opened that evening.

Time passed and we got back there just as the owner had his key in the door. In broken Italian, we explained that la mia carta di credito was missing and we think it was at his restaurant. We got through to him and he looked in his lost and found drawer, but no luck. There was just one more place to check and that was the cash register. He opened it, reached in and drew out my little orange and blue peace of mind. We grazied and mille grazied until he was glad to see us leave. We then headed for the nearest bar.

Yesterday was a no restaurant day. We found out where the city's covered market was located and took a bus to it. The food there was like the local outdoor stands that I have described earlier, just so many more choices at cheaper prices, so we loaded up. Fruits, tomatoes and olives were some of the things we stuffed into our sacks and schlepped to the condo. Back there, we were ready for lunch Italian style with cold cuts, ciabatta bread and vino, followed by fresh strawberries and apricots.

For dinner, Ronnie made tortellini with a pesto sauce that she had found at a nearby deli, and I made an artichoke dish that we like and burned to a crisp the last time I was in Buffalo trying to show off my cooking skills. This time, I pulled everything off the fire in time and the two of us over indulged. Bologna is famous for it's tortellini and their bigger brothers, tortelloni, many of which are hand made in various panetterias and delis around town. They look down on spaghetti, which you will not find in a restaurant here. Tomorrow, we will be attending a cooking class to teach us how to make them from scratch. More then.


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