I celebrated my birthday two days ago. It seemed like yesterday when I was a grouchy sour-faced little fat girl and what do you have now? A grouchy evil-faced 38 year-old fat woman. Some things just do not change, do they?
I have probably lived more than half of my life now (if I were lucky). And I do not have much to show for it (except the flab). Certes, I have a loving and successful Hub, 3 beautiful if crazy/lazy kids and my parents are still around to quarrel with each other (actually, for that I am most grateful). My siblings are doing well and I have finished school a long time ago with no visible side effects.
My hair if thinning is still growing (in length and spilt ends), my nails are kept very short so they have less chance to break and I still have most of my teeth. Yesterday Bollywood Beauty arrived at the house exclaiming that I looked Chinese. As far as I know, I am d'origine chinoise so go figure that out.
Me in the year I turned 38
I managed to sell the the-camera-is-my-birthday-present story to Hub and at the same time convince him to celebrate his new career and my birthday at Osteria Francescana. The Francescana is a 2-Star Michelin restaurant in Modena and ranks 6th best in the world on this year's list of the World's 50 Best Restaurants.
Told Hub that we couldn't possibly leave Modena without giving the Francescana a try. As things would have it, the Chef-Owner Massimo Bottura is also the brother of CB's landlord, not that it got us any special advantages - at all.
Amuse-bouche - "Sea Sponge" on Seafood Gelée
The service was good (though still a bit hesitant for a 2-star). They always make sure to accompany you to the washroom, prepare your seat for you when you return, fill up your glasses, describe every course in detail etc. The dining room is small and intimate, though when you have a big group of talkative Italians next to you, you get to dine with a lot of noise.
Raw Dentice with Grated Parmesan Cheese
The walls are covered in contemporary art and the entrance has shelves filled with cookery books and wine reviews. You can see that Bottura enjoys Ducasse (his former mentor), Adrià, Blumenthal, Keller and Japanese chefs among others.
Lightly Cooked Mackerel in a Tangy Aromatic Broth
As usual, I was given a menu with no prices which irritated me no end. Hub told me that the dishes all go for about 35 to 45 euros each. There were 3 set menus available, going for 90, 130 or 160 euros per person. If you want to be served wine by the glass for the whole meal, it'll be 80 euros per person. Bottles go for anything between 50 and a few thousand euros each.
Hub loved this Oyster and Clam Risotto with Caviar
Our favourite dish - perfectly cooked Lobster with Pasta in Seafood Sauce
We chose the most expensive menu, telling Bottura what we liked and didn't, leaving him to express himself as he saw fit. Then Hub chose a bottle of Chassagne-Montrachet 2005 which was absolutely lovely and we each had a glass of Brunello to finish.
Very Lightly Cooked Seafood Skewer
We've enjoyed the dinner though it wasn't the best that we've eaten. It was Modena/Italy meets Molecular Cooking. Bottura is an artist (best Chef in Italy?) who made his food both a feast for the palette and the eye. Everything had been cooked to perfection, marrying both local and exotic ingredients lovingly. The portions were small, but we felt really full by the time we were done.
Roast Suckling Pig with Balsamic Vinegar
Our only complaint was the price of the tiny glass of Brunello that we've been served. For 20 euros each you would expect to have a bit more than what we had. The establishment makes no concessions from the reviews that we've read, so it wasn't a total surprise. Still, surely for long-term survival they'd have to be a little less business-minded than that.
Foie Gras "Ice Cream" with Balsamic Vinegar Filling
Sweet Potato Soufflé with Vanilla Cream and Truffles
Our total bill came up to nearly 500 euros. An interesting experience, but certainly not something to be repeated too often for solvency's sake. My heart broke a little as we paid up, but we were happy to have given it a try. A restaurant like that is in a class of its own, but for the price I think that it can still improve. And Happy Birthday to me.
via Stelle, 22
Tel : 059 210118