A weekend in Milan

I’m having an ongoing battle with my dongle and the fight is not ending in my favour. Hence, I haven’t been able to write about anything lately, as the plastic dongle is lying lifeless on my bedroom floor.

But I have to report back on my lovely weekend in Milan regardless of my Internet struggle. It was one of those perfect days where you don’t feel stressed, never experience hunger and you see so many beautiful things at once you’re inspired for months to come.

The beauty in Milan mostly circles around fashion and design with sartorial gentlemen gracing the streets in various ages. You can see that street fashion thrives here, as does probably anorexia. I have never been avant-garde however, and never will be. My avant-garde skills stretch to eating whatever strange dish the Italian puts in front of me. It’s not exactly insects, but it’s definitely not Scandinavian.

The Italian spent his university years in Milan and wanted to show me around. This included lunch #1 at De Santis, which serves rustic panini that Totti, Pavarotti and Sophia Loren have eaten. The small panineria makes the homemade crusty bread themselves and then stuffs it with whatever you can imagine. I imagined bresaola, artichokes, olive paste and mozzarella. Simple and excellent. De Santis is dark, busy and crammed and the owner pretends he doesn’t understand English, but it’s definitely a recommended lunch spot.

Lunch #2 was dealt with shortly after the panino. Firstly however, we indulged in shopping. The best part about Milan is that it’s such a walking-friendly city. When I was there 5 years ago, I didn’t gather much apart from that you have to book to see Da Vinci’s Last Supper. This time I missed the fresco again, but I discovered many other treasures.
Take Marinella for instance, an Italian accessory brand famous for their ties. The boutique (the original one is in Naples) is decorated with an English gentleman attitude, with wooden details and glass counters. On a wall hangs a letter written from Prince Harry, thanking the company for sending him ties! Although the prices are steep, it’s worth walking in – especially around Father’s Day.

Marinella was a side track in our street forage for food, but we eventually arrived to Luini’s, close to Il Duomo. The Italian wanted to show me the Pugliese snack panzerotti, which is a savoury pastry (like calzone or pirogi) filled with mozzarella and tomatoes. I suppose you can fill the panzerotto with whatever you’ve got at hand, so it doesn’t necessarily feature those ingredients. This is perfect food for post clubbing, or ideal for tourists weary of looking at Il Duomo. It’s delicious in any case, and I would encourage you to try.

If these light meals are typically Italian, our dinner on Friday night veered more towards the east. Kiyo serves fresh Japanese and Italian fusion food, prepared and presented in the most delectable way. We made our way through the menu trying lobster salad with an Italian green vegetable that looks like spring onion (but doesn’t taste anything like it), red prawns, artichokes salad, yellowfin tuna with jalapeño, marinated salmon, vegetable tempura and too many maki rolls. The latter were nice, but absolutely not a must, there are so many better and interesting dishes to try. When the dessert came in, a chocolate fondant with crumbled biscuits, the Italian considered it Hollywood magic as the waiter poured chocolate sauce over the melting ball. I turned towards the cheesecake. If you enjoy Japanese food, and want an Italian spin to it, this is surely the restaurant in Milan to go.

A restaurant not go to, judging by our visit, was the beautiful Giacomo Arengario restaurant, overlooking the Il Duomo square. The view might be overwhelming (it’s situated on the third floor of Museo de Novecento – Museum of the 1900s) and the ambiance is romantic as Casanova’s woo techniques, but the gushing ends there. The staff had no interest in serving us, our first course came out as fast as Superman changes in a booth (although there was definitely nothing wrong with the taste) and the Italian’s langoustine linguine was salty. My black cod with purple potato mash was nice, but forgettable. No one asked us if we wanted dessert until we asked for the menu, so we left. Shame on such a promising location.

I’m already looking forward to my next visit to Milan.Although I have no clue when it will be, I’m hoping it won’t take another 5 years for me to visit. And if it does, The Last Supper must be ticked off – as well as a panino at De Santis.

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