Wednesday, July 24, 2013


DAY 10, July 17, 2013
As hard as we tried and as good as our intentions were we still couldn't drag our butts out on the road until a good hour and a half after our designated time of departure that we had agreed upon the night before.
An hour and half late we were off on the road to Siena, our chosen destination. It's about a thirty-minute drive north of Armena through field after field of sunflowers. Stalks of green topped with foot wide blooms line the roadside as you wind your way up the SR2 to Siena. We left mapless once again with the hope that memory would serve as our guide. We had made this trip many times before but the last time was almost seven years ago.
This time following my nose wasn't the best plan. I made a wrong turn and we ended up driving the entire perimeter of Siena before we finally got back to the parking area that was our original destination. We were famished and ready to pick the first restaurant we ran across.
Who can go wrong when outside the front door the first restaurant we spied sat a carved wild boar with a straw hat atop a wine keg. I didn't even want to look at the menu, all I wanted was to sit down and eat.
Inside La Taverna di San Giuseppe the head waiter asked if we had a reservation. I thought he was kidding, who needs a reservation for a local taverna anywhere in Italy. Then I looked around. All the tables were full except one set of three seats at the end of a long table. They made room for us. At the other end of the table was an American family of four with their au pair in tow. Then I noticed that the table to the left was another American family of five also with their au pair sitting and attending to the children. Both families were of the May-December type. I smelled money and I realized we found a gem of a restaurant on the high-end travelers list. We weren't disappointed. I hope no one is offended by the constant talk about food but food, pool time and shopping pretty much consume our traveling itineraries. Oh, we'll throw a museum or Duomo in there every so often but our three standbys are still food, pool and shopping.
The meal started out with these beautiful tiny oval glass bowls filled halfway up with a warm pea soup. We decided on appetizers and first courses.
Emmy's had locked into her standard prosciutto and melon, Rick didn't go far afield with a plate of figs wrapped in bacon, trussed in prosciutto and sandwiched between slices of mozzarella,
but mine was a master piece: a soufflé of fresh pecorino cheese from Pienza, milk, egg, white wine, pepper and a pear sauce. I dreamt about this for days.
Emmy topped out her meal with Pici Casalinghi al cinghiale e porcini, a thick pasta with a wild boar and mushroom sauce.
Rick had Bavette; pasta with pesto, onions, pork sausage and fried breadcrumbs all drizzled with olive oil.
I had hand rolled macaroni with bacon, chicken, shaved parmesan smothered in a tomato ragu. There was no way to top this meal.
The rest of Siena seemed like a blind walk-through. We headed for el Campo and walked a few streets crammed with tourists forgetting that Wednesdays are market days in Siena making it super crowded. My note: Don't make travel plans to Siena on a Wednesday
We eventually gave up fighting the crowds and headed back home.

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