My first full day in Milan was lived to the fullest in Milanese-style. By Milanese-style, I mean we went about it in a very leisurely fashion. There was no hurry to see anything, but there was plenty to see.
To start off our day, Ray and I went in search of breakfast, which ended up being some tea and pastries at a local cafe in Pagano.
My lack of Italian meant that when I ordered food, I had to do so by pointing at what I wanted and replying “Si” to confirm. In fact my Italian at the beginning of the trip (and still now) was so pitiful that the only phrases I knew how to say were “Parla l’ingleuse?”, “Dov’e il bagno?”, “Si!”, and “Mi dispiace”. It’s really a wonder that we got around so easily and accomplished all our sightseeing with my minimal Italian. Fortunately, most of the good people of Milan (and the rest of Europe) know some minimal English. And when language barriers aren’t surmountable, there is always the gesture of shrugging with a smile and saying, “Non capisco!”
After breakfast, we strolled our way through Pagano and just headed east, passing by several shop windows filled with food.
There were so many wonderful windows that we couldn’t pass by all of them empty-handed.
And some more gelato here and there.
The gelato in Italy is really quite something. The one scoop of pistachio that I ordered actually tasted of salty pistachio nuts in cream form. It was sweet and salty, almost like overly-salted caramel. It took a little bit of getting used to for me, so I ended up trading cones with Ray.
We stopped by the Sante Marie delle Grazie which is the museum where da Vinci’s Last Supper is housed.
Unfortunately when we got there, tickets to see the painting were sold out for the next two weeks.
While we were there, we stumbled upon some food demonstration. Yay free Italian food!
I think this was a demonstration on food and ingredients(?) from Apulia which is in southern Italy. As we were still by far some of the most ethnically diverse individuals in the room we got asked by their PR person to hold our wine glasses and say “I love Apulia” to the camera. I think they were trying to showcase different people saying “I love Apulia”, preferably in different languages, but we ended up just saying it in English (our bad!).
We eventually wanted to Garibaldi, and then took the metro to Centrale to take a look around the area before heading back to our hotel and napping for a bit (got to get over the jetlag somehow).
Anyhow, onto my favorite part of the day…
After napping for a bit (like 4 hours), we got up and found dinner in Pagano at a place called Il Pomodorino (this is the one on 50 Via Andrea Solari, since there are several).
While the waiter spoke very very very minimal not-so-good English, I didn’t let my minimial 3 phrases of Italian get in the way of ordering very very tasty food.
When you can’t speak it, you’ve got to pay attention to what everybody else is doing (or rather eating). I saw huge plates of charcuterie being carried out to the other diners at Il Pomodorino. As soon as I saw them munching down on these plates with glee I knew I had to have it.
The characuterie plate was delicious! There was warm fried hot bread on it, as well as some freshly fried zucchini (frying does make most things taste good). In addition, the salami and prosciutto was also quite good with nice marblings of fat. Oh, and the olives, they were just luscious.
But, the pizza was probably the real star of the dinner after the charcuterie.
I don’t remember what was in it any more, except that it had several different types of cheeses, bacon and ham. However, what made this pizza so good was the fact that one of the cheese was smoked! It added this wonderful layer complexity on top of an already good pizza that just made it super tasty.
And for dessert, we had tiramisu!
The tiramisu in Milan, if you’ll notice, is quite different than what’s served in the states. The tiramisu looks as if it’s been piped onto the plate instead of cut from some cake. It’s much more pudding like in Milan.