An Italian Evening

posted in: Italian lifestyle and culture, Writing | 6

This evening was a very pleasant experience for me in so many ways. My oldest son took me out for dinner for Mother’s Day. Delayed until tonight due to work schedules, it was a treat because we rarely have the chance to spend any one-on-one time together.

What made it even more special was that we went to a small Italian restaurant that he and my daughter-in-law discovered this past year. Ristorante Lombardi – Sun of Tuscany is the name of this wonderful establishment, and it is truly an authentic Italian restaurant featuring Tuscan cuisine.

I know you will be surprised to learn that I did not order pasta pomodoro but instead chose one of the special featured dishes not on the usual menu, Rigatoni Braciole. The waiter described it as rigatoni stuffed with spinach, ricotta cheese, and sausage in a creamy red sauce, and I was eager to try it. The rigatoni was green so I thought it had been made with spinach, and then was surprised that the spinach also was inside, just as he had told us. It was absolutely delicious, and I have never had it until now.

We also had an appetizer of mixed bruschetta, which consisted of three types of bruschetta.
One was the classic with olive oil, tomato and garlic, one was pesto with ham, and one was salmon with ricotta (I think, since I did not eat that one). The pesto and classic were excellent and my son loved the salmon also.

I felt almost like I was in Italy when the owner, Doriana, walked out of the kitchen wearing her black chef’s hat. I loved it that she was speaking with the customers in English with her wonderful Italian accent. She also spoke Italian to a table of what must have been regulars, since they were laughing and enjoying the conversation.

I was thrilled to have a chance to practice my Italian and speak with her, as she came to our table. She was impressed that I could speak the language and she talked to me in Italian, most of which I understood. It was just wonderful.

From what she had to say, she and her husband Giuseppe have been married for twenty-four years and they came from Tuscany. She is from Montecatini, a small town between Florence and Lucca. Her husband is from Parma, home of prosciutto and Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese.

They had a restaurant in Vinci, Italy for twenty years. Doriana says they also had a gelateria. So they cook and serve authentic Italian food at Ristorante Lombardi like they did in Tuscany. Their last name is Lombardi.

The pizza here is supposedly out of this world, and Giuseppe came in second in the world out of 800 competitors, in a pizza making contest held in Montecatini. In case you aren’t quite sure of the authenticity of the statement, the documents line the walls to prove it.

Thank you David for a wonderful Mother’s day gift and a fun evening. I know I will return here, and next time I must try a pizza.

I didn’t take any photos but you can check out their Facebook page which has quite a few photos, including the food. Mmmmm.

6 Responses

  1. Tamela Robinson

    Hey Margie!   I was thinking about this blog today because I’m planning my summer trip to Ireland and Spain and will need travel insurance because I’m going to be biking for a couple of weeks on the trip (I see your brother is getting better-good,good!).  Now I see that you haven’t actually bought any insurance yourself but if you do next time which company are you planning to use?   School has almost concluded and I will start my traveling to visit Tatiana in WV, my mother in Indiana and a good friend in NH.  I will be very busy!  I see you are really busy with your book tour.   Tammy

  2. margieinitaly

    Yes You are right, and I have learned plenty from Rick Steves! The Italian word is ” Dovè” and it means “where.” When asked as a question that is all that is necessary and the locals are happy to come out of their shops and either point you in the right direction or walk with you down the street to show you. They are more than happy if you just attempt to speak Italian.

  3. imarancher

    Sounds wonderful. In Miami I had a special restaurant like this one. They even had house wine that was simply superior! I might have tried more exotic food if I was not afraid of having an allergic reaction to something. They all spoke Italian with limited English so the ingredients remained a mystery. Tampa seems to have settled for steak houses or a form of Spanish food that Miami immigrants would not recognize. That is the beauty of America. No matter where you go you can find different people and then again you can find people exactly like you. I learned something from Rick Steves last night, when you are in Italy, “Just say DOE-BAY and the place you want to go to and you will be taken to the correct location.” Nice folks over there in Italy. Bonnie D.

  4. cnels2

    Margie, I enjoyed this post a lot. I love reading about italian’s and their livelihoods, whether here or in Italy. The dish you had sounds yummy!!

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