"Morten, there isn't any coffee coming out of the pot! And it's been on the stove forever..."
I sat on the porch munching on something breakfast-like, paying mild much attention to what was happening on the other side of the door. Kåre had called for Morten. Something was awry.
"Ah, you probably forgot to put the water in. Many pots have been destroyed that way."
Curiosity got the best of me. I lifted myself from the uncomfortable green plastic patio chair to check out the carnage on the stove top. As soon as I crossed the kitchen's threshold an invisible, acrid-smelling demon clouded my lungs. And my pores. And my eye sockets. And any vacancies in my skull, of which there are many.
"Jesus, it smells like burning," I remarked while putting on one of my many looks of crazed disgust. Actually, it smelled a lot worse than that, but my vocabulary isn't colorful enough to appropriately describe the horrors of burnt coffee.
Kåre had accidentally melted off the espresso pot's handle. And its little plastic knobbly thing. And maybe some of its inner organs. Aw.
The damage was done. Mr. Espresso Pot would espresso no more. There were two problems with this sudden death in the kitchen appliance family:
- The weegies had no source of morning caffeine.
- We had to get a new espresso pot for the apartment.
While Morten spent the day in the apartment getting ready to go back home (he planned to go to Milan that night since that's where his plan was leaving from the next morning), Kåre and I went on a espresso pot/gelato hunting adventure in the city center.
Il Gelatauro was the last gelateria on our list that we had yet to visit. It's not that far from the center of the...center—perhaps a 10 minute walk eastward from the towers—but we had never before bothered to make that trek. Of 10 minutes.
Don't wait until the end of your stay in Bologna to visit Gelatauro like I did. It was the most charming gelateria I had been to, bearing the atmosphere of a cozy cafe more than a place for a gelato quickie. And if some reason gelato isn't your thing (which is impossible, impossible I say, but pretend for a second), there's a display homemade baked goods past the gelato freezer with things of wheat-based origins. After reading about David Lebovitz's tour of Gelatauro's kitchen I really wish I had tried one of their cookies.
They also had a wall of wine. ...Yeah, I can't say that appealed to me much. But Morten probably would've liked it.
Anyhoo. Gelato time.
They had lots of flavors. Refer to figure 1.
I settled on pistachio and zenzero, aka ginger—now that was a new flavor combination, mostly because I hadn't seen ginger at any other gelateria.
The pistachio was great, possibly my favorite pistachio gelato of the whole vacation. It had the heavenly buttery-smooth-warm-nutty flavor with just the right density—not digestion-stoppingly thick or insubstantially light. Just somewhere in the middle.
The ginger was disappointingly mild. I could barely tell what I was eating at first until I really concentrated, dedicating the few working brain cells I had to identifying the flavor. "Come on dudes, you can do it!" And then a slight tingle of ginger settled into the back of my throat. Very slight. Dare I say, a whisperrrrr. Or a slight poof of air. Poofffff.
Well, the pistachio was awesome. That made up for it.
I would've enjoyed Kåre's cone of cinnamon pumpkin and pistachio more. Cinnamon pumpkin was yet another flavor I hadn't seen anywhere else. Guess what it tasted like!!! Like two of my favorite flavors smooshed together. It wasn't super mild like the ginger, but perhaps could've just a smidgen more of cinnamon. Then again, that might be the spice-laden pumpkin pie-lover in me talking.
I think Kåre enjoyed it. Just something about his facial expression, you know?
After gelato stuffage, we went shoppin'! Kinda. I wanted the poster in this crappily taken photo (I didn't want them to see me taking a photo...with my dSLR) but the store didn't seem to have any left. The thing in the poster that looks like a pile of intestines/molten skin is asking, "DOES THIS HAT MAKE ME LOOK FAT?"
Funny! Heh! ...Heh?
If anyone knows where I can buy that poster, perhaps on the interwebs, please let me know.
We made a stop at a toy store to fulfill Morten's request for a penguin ball. But those Italians, oh, they make more than just penguin balls. They also make penguin torpedoes, or torpedo penguins as I like to call them ("ball penguins" doesn't sound as good as "penguin ball" though). Here I am swaddling a squishy torpedo penguin with my equally squishy Michelin Man-esque arms. I'm afraid torpedo penguin didn't come home with me—he cost about $30. I guess that's reasonable for a torpedo penguin, but I didn't think I'd get enough satisfaction out of him for that price.
Or maybe I would've. Aw. ...Now I'll never know.
Bottega del Caffe carried espresso pots. AND CHOCOLATE! Kåre and I were quite pleased—he got a new espresso pot (with a handle and everything!) and I scored a few bars of Amedei chocolate, whose entire selection they appeared to carry.
Back at the apartment I asked Morten to take a silly photo of Kåre and I wearing our matching shirts of massive awesomeness (from Pull and Bear). THE SHIRT IS SO AWESOME. Seriously. All those little creatures on the shirt floating about (better photo here, and yes, I shall explain that photo better in a future entry, hopefully to be posted within the next month or two) fill my head with a chorus of squealy happy sounds. "Weee...wee!" is what they're saying. Because they don't have large vocabularies, I'm afraid.
And the small size fits me perfectly. Because I am the same size as a small Spanish man! Or a large Japanese woman!
It wasn't long before Morten had to depart for Milan. :( "Bye, Morten... byyye!... BYEEEEEEE!!!" Don't worry, I didn't run frantically after him while flailing my arms to say my last goodbyes, thus causing him to pick up the pace and run to the bus, or into a bush, or anything to deflect my trajectory.
We'll see each other again. :) Perhaps in a America. OKAY MORTEN? YOU HEAR ME. COME OVER TO MY 'HOOD.
Morten's departure gave Kåre and me the enormous responsibility of feeding ourselves, i.e. making dinner out of whatever was left in the kitchen. Our cooking skills combined (or mine alone) amounted to a weeny percentage of whatever culinary knowledge was tucked away in Morten's mind—I was a bit afraid of churning out something inedible. Or making something explode.
But our "everything in the kitchen" risotto turned out good! Maybe there is a God after all.
Kåre took charge of chopping up the bacon cube with our shitty knife. It squished most perilously, like tough Jell-O. Not a pleasant texture. Thankfully you can cook the Jell-O qualities right out of it.
Here I am looking like I know what I'm doing. Poking our pot of vegetable matter (string beans, zucchini flowers—which exploded with Nature's sweet tastiness of some sort that I can't compare to anything else, random herbs of some sort), non-jello-y pork bits, and creamy Arborio rice.
Oh, and then we dumped in our leftover cheese. Mm, stringy lactose!
We succeeded! Barely! We had just enough broth to fully cook our nearly overflowing pot of risotto, which plopped on the plate quite heavily, laden with cheese and ...stuff. Starch, perhaps? I think Kåre then texted Morten to tell him that we successfully made something and thus weren't starving. Woot!
My last full day with the weegies was over. Only one more entry until this whole Italy trip is wrapped up.
I already feel sad.