Pretending I'm In Italy

One of the problematic things about studying abroad in Florence last spring was that ever since most Italian food here in America downright pales in comparison. I know, a good problem to have, but alas still a problem. I hit the jackpot recently when I went to Morandi, a spot in the West Village where the tables spill out onto the sidewalk patio from the brick-lined open interior. I have now gone twice in three weeks and I guarantee this will be my new go-to Italian spot. The ambiance is welcoming and friendly, the wine list is extensive, and the food is perfecto (*kisses fingers for emphasis*). The first time I went was with my best friend Joel and we split the meal between ourselves. First, an order of Calamari Fritti which was prepared to utmost crunchy goodness, followed by two of my favorite Italian pasta dishes -- Cacio e Pepe and Pici al Limone. The first is a fairly simple but wholly fulfilling pasta with melted parmesan and pepper sauce and the second is a sort of thick spaghetti pasta called pici that is from Sienna covered in a lemon parmesan butter sauce. Just writing about this is making my mouth water... For dessert, we ordered both Cantucci e Vin Santo which is a biscotti-like cookie that is generally served in Tuscany after a meal with vin santo (a sweet wine), and of course we got Tiramisu, which was deliciously creamy and gone within seconds of the waiter setting it on the table... The food was astounding -- one of the best authentic Italian meals I've had since leaving Italy -- and that's saying nothing of the gratuitous amounts of wine (Montepulciano, one of my favorite Tuscan red wines) that were consumed that night. 

I went again the other day for lunch on a beautiful sunny spring day after wandering around photographing the West Village. I sat outside enjoying the breeze and perusing my photos as I ate. To start I got the Insalata di Cavolo Nero e Mele, in other words a kale salad with apples. It was wonderfully refreshing and I must have been clearly enjoying it because the women at the table next to me leaned over to ask what I'd ordered and proceeded to order the same thing per my positive feedback. For my main dish I ordered the Pici al Limone again and it was just as good as the first time, creamy and tangy, the noodles cooked to chewy carb heaven. I passed on dessert for a simple macchiato -- a much needed boost of caffeine to relieve my full-stomach-tiredness. Another wonderful meal at this great restaurant. Honestly, I'll probably be going back soon and I'd highly recommend you go try it if you like Italian food at all... Which, of course, who doesn't like Italian food?! "Grazie mille," Morandi, per il cibo delizioso!