A little place just off the main square does a fine job. Little penne with cream and sausage:
Sadly, little plates like this nearly do me in. This is supposed to be primi (a first course), not a huge bowl of pasta, but a “reasonable” portion. Nonetheless, I don’t normally gravitate to pasta (I prefer meat) and I would be satisfied with about a third of this portion. I sometimes wonder if offense is taken when (out of respect and deference to the forthcoming course) the plate returns half-eaten. Were I the chef in the kitchen, peeking my head out into the dining room to examine the visage of a gigantic American male, I would find it incomprehensible that food comes back on the plate. I would (potentially) take offense. So I try to let the waiter now that it really was quite wonderful. I’m not proud of myself.
Guinea fowl (an “airline breast”) with black truffle stuffing wrapped in puff pastry. This may have been the first time I’ve actually eaten guinea fowl. The pastry was perfect, the breast ever so slightly dry (a quibble, not bad), not the least bit “gamey”, and the truffle was used judiciously (thank goodness) so that it gave the dish that something that only truffle can do, without destroying the other flavors.
One of my favorite Italian cookbooks, The Silver Spoon, contains a dazzling array of specific recipes for every type of bird, animal, and sea-dwelling creature. Where, in American cookery, fowl or poultry suggests: (a) chicken or (b) turkey, with the occasional duck breast or odd game particular to hunters, in Italy the list is endless: guinea fowl, peahen, partridge, quail, grouse, goose, pigeon, and on and on. And these things are more widely accessible in local markets. They are somewhat more ordinary. Chicken becomes positively boring.
Perhaps it is the time of year, but you see a lot of merengue in shop windows:
I’m not much for merengue. It isn’t for me. I know a priest who is quite fond of the merengue “bowl”, because on special occasions growing up at home, he would receive such bowls filled with berries and whipped cream. He likes them so much that he’d take them in lieu of the traditional birthday cake. To each his own.
And, I simply found this scene humorous (perhaps you can guess why):