Bruzolo, Valsusa, Italy, July 21, 2016—
DINNER OUT ALONE tonight, for the first time in weeks, perhaps months. I love my wife, but a part of me enjoys eating alone in a restaurant. Perhaps it's because on those few occasions I'm in an interesting place, literally and figuratively.
I broke down and bought the Slow Food Osterie Italiane 2016 app to check what might be available, but got sidetracked when Google Maps turned up something that sounded familiar within walking distance of my cheap hotel.
A twenty-minute walk took me there, through countryside, then village. The place looked familiar too, though I didn't see the dining room, choosing instead to eat outside under an enormous lime-tree.
No menu: The waitress mentioned an antipasto possibility, and I agreed, with a nice glass of white wine in my hand, and dinner began.
There were in fact five antipasti::
Sausage: rather loose, coarse-ground, pork of course, tasting a bit of andouillette, nicely balanced
Salad: orzo with strips of red and yellow pepper softened a la grecque and a few thin strips of sliced roast beef
Frittata cut into little squares
Cold sformato of celery root
Zucchini and sliced onion softened in an agrodolce
Pasta? My waitress then asked: Yes, please, agnelotti filled with meat ragu, cooked to exactly the right point, dressed (as I'd asked) simply with butter and sage.
Secondo? Yes, please: sliced roast beef with cipollini, subtly flavored and colored with carrot. This was delightful, sweet with onion and carrot, the thick reduction easing substantial slices of beef.
I had no room for a dolce, I regret to say. This was very likely the best meal I've had in weeks.
Malvasia di Veneto in bicchiere
Dolcetto d'Alba in caraffa
Antica Trattoria La Stellina, Via Carlo Emanuele I, 17/B, Bruzolo (TO), Italy; 347 59 21 415