I know that you have all been eagerly awaiting news on the reunion. I got a little distracted there for awhile but I'm back now, gangrene free and ready to blog.
I flew up on the Friday before my reunion with my bag crammed full of suitable clothes and goodies from our local licorice factory. I was looking forward to offloading the 3kg box of licorice.
On Friday night Mum and Dad and I were going to an Italian restaurant called Pendolino in the Strand Arcade. My parents went there on a whim recently and rediscovered a family friend called Rafaello. We first met him years ago (when I was in high school) when he was working at Il Perugino and he spilt a coffee on me. Then when he left to start his own restaurant in Paddington, my mother bumped into him when his car broke down and she just happened to be walking past. When I was in Italy (such a long time ago) my parents left a message to call that restaurant (Il Tratt RaRo) one night as they'd be there for dinner. They noticed that there was a flurry of excitement after the phone rang and all the staff were taking it in turns to talk on the phone. It was only when Andre the chef started gesticulating in a way that conveyed a big curly head of hair that my parents twigged it was me on the phone and that they were footing the bill. I do vaguely remember the call. I was just around the corner from the Piazza San Marco in Venice. I'd just received a parcel from my parents (pre email and blogs) including a very funny leunig cartoon about Helen Demidenko.
I was supposed to visit Rafaello's mum in Italy but overcome with shyness never made the call. Consequently I spent my whole trip carrying around the handtowels that Garn had crocheted for me to give to Senora Pignetti and brought them home with me. I did end of visiting the lovely Luisa in Milan and had a lovely time. Here brother owns a deli in Mosman. Is there a recurring theme here?
After my parents serendipitous rediscovery of Rafaello, we all decide that the next time I visited that we should go to Pendolino. Of course to catch up with Rafaello, but I was also excited about the food (I'd heard good things) and the olive oil.
I was not disappointed in either. After giving Rafaello a surprise we were seated and given a little lamp to help us in the ambient low lighting. Three kinds of olive oil and bread were placed on the table. Before the reunion I had been on the south beach diet (yes I know that that is crazy) and I hadn't had any bread or pasta (or sugar or alcohol) for weeks. The bread was delicious (though I was afraid I might puff up like a balloon as soon as those carbs hit my system) and the olive oils divine. I particularly liked the olive oil with blood orange and we decided to purchase a bottle to take home with us. After much agonising we made our selection, Rafaello chose our wine and we were enjoying a beautiful meal. Our favorite dish (which we all ordered) was the handmade duck ravioli with proscuitto and orange.
In spite of all my hard work at the gym and dieting I was very keen to have dessert. Surely with only a day to go I'd be okay. Several desserts were taking my fancy and Dad was doing his usual 'I just want ice cream' tantrum (so unbecoming). Rafaello decreed that he should have the semifreddo (which is after all an ice cream of sorts) and agreed that of he didn't like it that he would bring hm gelati. Mum and I ended of sharing a chocolatre fondant (which always reminds me of Gary on Masterchef saying to crushed contestants,"Is it a chocolate fondant...no...Is it a yummy chocolate pudding...yes" thanks Gary) and Buffalo Milk Ricotta Fritters with sour cherry ice cream. They were fantastically scrumptious. The chocolate fondant was of course wonderful but the fritters were unusual and moreish, particularly with that ice cream. And the semifreddo? I only got to try a little bit because in spite of the tantrums my father somehow managed to eat it and his gelato. After a lively conversation with some reluctant Queenslanders at the next table and acquiring our oil we went home feeling very pleased with ourselves.
btw according to my parent's wacky scales I actually lost weight after our meal at Pendolino.
Could the desserts have had negative calories? They certainly felt like they were doing me good.