Milan Trattoria Milanese, update.
For the education of an English hound will someone please tell me who is Rick Steve? Whoever, I fear, judging by a small survey at our shared table, that he has done for the Trattoria Milanese in Via Santa Marta. In fact, I suspect I must have missed the announcement that the street has recently been declared part of the union. The linguistically talented waiters not only speak English, they even understand the customers trying to speak Italian.
That said, the food was fine, if not actually exciting. Well flavoured and pleasantly saffron-scented Risotto Milanese and safely cooked but enjoyable fegato and rognone with trevisano. Cotoletto Milanese was, I am told, chewy. House red, a Barbaresco, seemed very fairly priced at 2.15 euros a ¼ litre and was very good indeed. (2 people, 2 courses each, ½ litre house red, a beer and a litre of water for 75 euros.)
A restaurant near Vaprio DAgogna
Of probably no use to anyone is a recommendation for a restaurant about an hour west of Milan. It had no apparent sign but we drove off the main road into a courtyard, walked into a serious dining room, and were given some very serious food: a tartare of tuna with what may well have been tuna roe and this was followed by a simply stunning risotto, a specialty of the house, that was served with a truffle jus. The fillet steak that we ate afterwards was also very good but probably just ordered by our host to offer broadest appeal. A rich and complex bottle of 1999 Amarone, that may well have been ordered for the same reason as the beef, wore its 15.5% alcohol with great subtlety and undoubtedly caused a slight loss of focus in the afternoon. (A three hour traffic jam back to Bergamo and a missed flight did though dent the immediate enthusiasm to return.)
Rome - Il Ciak
This really did what it said on the tin. Quiet, friendly and understated. The only mistake was comparing the Banfi Montalcino with the Brunello after a couple of refreshing beers and then being unable to resist the carafes of cold grappa and limoncello left at our table with coffee. Crostini of mushroom and a liver pate were much more interesting than the salumi though I enjoyed finding a lead pellet in what I took to be wild boar though that does not seem a good way to dispatch so large a beast. Papardelle Cinghiale was enjoyable in the way that pasta always is but lacked real oomph. Bistecca Fiorentina stole the show; cooked beautifully rare, a light crust on the outside and the creamy taste of the fat in every mouthful. At 158 euros it was not cheap but the price did apparently include a magical and instantaneous transfer back to my hotel and a very loud alarm clock.