on slowing down part IV: a story

After seeing off most of the bloggers Sunday afternoon, the pace suddenly slowed.  Emily, Allie, Heather + I barged into Teri’s small hotel room and piled onto her king size bed.  We sat there chatting with tired feet + sleepy eyes, while stuffing our mouths with things like Frog Hollow dried peaches.  The only thing on our mind was dinner.  We wanted something comforting and simple, while still delicious.  After a few days of indulging, and eating foods our stomachs aren’t entirely used to, we all agreed Italian sounded the most appealing. 

Teri got to work checking reviews, menus and prices on her phone.  We knew we hit the jackpot when Teri started reading the reviews for Franchino’s, just past Chinatown.  From what we gathered, it was going to be an authentic Italian meal that wouldn’t break the bank.

  • google – 4.5/5 stars with 105 reviews
  • yelp – 4/5 stars with 255 reviews

I spent 10 days in Italy, my junior year of college, and no meal during that trip can compare.  This meal went un-photographed, not only because of dim lighting, but because it just really couldn’t be captured.  It was one of those meals that was all about the experience.  I soaked in every second of this dining experience, with fabulous company.  We were first greeted by the father [and owner] of the restaurant.  He walked slowly singing through the restaurant, as his wife brought us to our table and passed out the menus.  The interior was very small and cozy.  Upon walking in we could sense how fabulous the meal was going to be.

I ordered the manicotti special and cleared my plate.  I was applauded by the mother for finishing every bite.  It wasn’t just finished, it was scraped clean.  The tomato sauce was simple, but thick and flavorful.  The manicotti noodles were perfectly cooked and filled with soft, sweet ricotta cheese + spinach.  The dish was covered in melted mozzarella and a healthy serving of freshly grated parmesan cheese.  Every bite was eaten slowly and savored.  The homemade pesto, that a few of the other girls ordered, was nothing short of amazing.  We are thinking the secret might have been a splash of cream.  It was a vibrant but lighter green color than typical pesto.  It had more of a creamy than oily texture.  Just lovely.  And let’s not even begin to talk about the texture of the gnocci or the homemade fettuccini noodles.  I’m sure you can imagine.

Something about the night just felt special.  The company, the food, I’m sure it was a little of everything.  We headed back to the hotel and said our goodbyes to Allie + Heather.  It was down to three.  We headed to Teri’s room, slumber party style.  I haven’t had a sleepover like that since middle school??  We talked and talked about everything under the sun, until the sun practically rose.  Our heads hit the pillow by 3am, cozied up in the king size bed.

Our 8am wakeup call came way too soon, but we were excited to get started with our day.  The weather was gorgeous and we were on a mission for breakfast.  It was just a few short hours before Teri had to leave.  The three of us threw on whatever was clean and headed out to the Ferry Building, once again.  We dined at il Cane Rosso, which I highly recommend.

The 3 of us ordered 3 things for breakfast.  3 of the exact same things.

  1. a small pot of french press coffee
  2. a bowl of broken farro with raisins + almonds
  3. a half serving of homemade organic yogurt with apple compote + granola

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We dined outside, enjoying the sunshine and cool temperature.

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I think I can speak for the group when I say that the feeling from dinner the night before carried through to this breakfast. 

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You’d think we would have run out of things to talk about, but that was definitely not the case.  However, there were a few minutes of silence as we consumed the first bites of the broken farro porridge.  We just couldn’t get over it. 

I can without a doubt say that this was the best breakfast of my life.  Forget French toast, forget waffles, not even oats, this was a hands down winner.

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The yogurt was thick and tangy.  It was not quite as tangy as Greek yogurt and had a consistency that I have never before experienced.  There was a hint of lemon [maybe in the compote], perfectly baked granola, and a delicious sweet scoop of apple compote.

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I don’t think a creamier texture could exist.  It had a nutty but slightly sweet and buttery flavor.  My description of the flavor that morning was that it tasted like a creamed, buttered, biscuit.  That might sound odd, but they agreed.  The raisins inside were perfectly chewy and the almonds provided the necessary crunch.

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Every bite, from every bowl, was consumed.

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Then we sat…

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Then we watched…

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Then we chatted…

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Then we hugged…

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Then Teri left…

…and now I go to sleep :)