Travel: Florence (Part 2)



On our first night and last night in Firenze, we ate at Sant'Agostino 23, a little restaurant a few blocks from Jess and Julia's apartment.   The staff was friendly, remembered us the second time we went (and "saved" our same table for us), and the food was to die for.  Pics after the jump...




Antipasti


We started each meal with a selection of appetizers.  Below are two of our favorites.  Ficattole, stracchino, e prosciutto is fried dough balls with a creamy, mild cheese and buttery prosciutto.  The crumble di zucca gialla e taleggio is a savory mixture of roasted pumpkin and taleggio cheese topped with crunchy breadcrumbs.

Ficattole with stracchino and prosciutto

Crumble di zucca gialla e taleggio



Tasty house red wine



Primi
Spaghetti alla Carbonara

I had the ravioli with sage and butter the first time and the gnudi with sage and butter the second time.  J had the carbonara both times.  Julia ordered the Spaghetti alla Gricia, which is carbonara without the egg.

Gnudi with sage and butter
All I can say is: Holy. Crap.  These people can make some fan-freakin'-tastic pasta.  The gnudi and ravioli were smooth and melted in your mouth; the carbonara was somehow light but rich and savory at the same time (I'm going to attempt to recreate this dish sometime in the next few months -- if it goes well, you'll see the recipe here).

Spaghetti alla Gricia


Secondi



Bistecca alla Fiorentina - The crown jewel of Florentine cuisine.  A porterhouse cut, traditionally from chianina beef cattle.  The cut is at least 1.5 inches thick and is served by the kilo (1 kilo min).  It's encrusted in a hefty amount of salt, then charred over a hot flame to create a crunchy crust with a rare interior.  I've eaten filet mignon in some of the best steakhouses in New York, and can easily say that this is the best steak I've ever had.





Our attempt at bistecca
Last weekend I attempted to recreate this with a friend in Connecticut (see pic to the left), and while not the same, it was still amazing (couldn't get the good char on the outside; I think we could do it with a grill).  We used a rib steak, about 1.5-2 inches thick.  I patted the meat dry, then rubbed about 2tbsp of kosher salt on each side and sprinkled with pepper.  We placed the steak under the broiler for about 8 minutes per side, then let it rest for about 8 minutes.  Served with Brussels sprouts braised in bacon fat, a cauliflower mash, and some fresh fettuccine with mushroom sauce.







That's all folks!  We had such an awesome time in Florence.  While most people go there for the art, I went for the food -- and I was not let down.  And, I found some great inspiration for future posts!  Thanks to Jess and Julia for letting us crash at their apartment, and for giving us the unofficial tour of Firenze!


Cute dog at the next table over - yes, they allow dogs in restaurants.  It's awesome.


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