My morning began with laughter, which is good. At breakfast (yes of torta e caffe), I asked if I might borrow a knife. They agreed. I used said knife to attack the melone I bought last night. Mom would have croaked! There was melone everywhere. Later I found a lone seed and chuckled. Daddy would have not been happy about the choice of my “cucina”…but the bathroom sink was all I had and I was craving some melone. A dull knife and a bathroom sink was all I needed…luckily.
Heading down to la spiaggia, my backpack runneth over with goodies, but my plan was to enjoy most of the day there. Yesterday I had spied a nice rock at the far end of the spiaggia libera, today it was to be mine.
Not wanting my treats to get warm, I did not wait long to enjoy my spread. Napkins were not part of my planning and that melone was juicy.Through observation, it was clear that the far end of the beach was where all cool kids hung out. Which was entertaining…for a bit.
As you have probably noticed, the beaches here are not sandy beaches, they are rocky. Walking is a painful experience (funny to watch others but painful for you). At first I thought it was just us foreign tenderfoots, but as one of the cool kids walked by complaining, his friend bent over and with a flourish, starting clearing a path, which of course, revealed MORE rocks, then told his friend, “vi, vi, vi”.
The cherries are as good as I remember!To my left, the cool kids, to my right, far right, the boats full of daytrippers continue to come in one after another. Monterosso is definitely busier during the day than I remember. This year was the first I witness antena with scarf tied atop, as a guides scurried through with their chicks. More on “Changing Monterrosso” later. After la spiaggia, I return to the room, throw on my now favorite Firenze dress and notice that it is “Spritz O’Clock”…well whatya know!
Hotel Margherita, as many places do, offers an aperitivo deal. Here I can pay 5 euro for a spritz and a cute little tray of snacks accompanies it. So I sit, read, snack and enjoy.When it was time to make a dinner decision, I turn to tripadvisor. I do not do that much here, but had already heard where the hotel staff recommended, visited my usual haunts and wanted to see if I was missing anything.
The two top recommendations were here in the “old” section Monterosso. So I went to scope them out.
The top choice is Da eraldo, but as the 20 seats (max) are currently taken and people are being turned away, I figure I am in for a bit of a wait. I approach the waiter, greeter, chef’s helper and say, “Tavolo per uno?”. He says in a very soft-a voice-a, “There-a eeesa only one-a of-a you-a”. Solo uno.
He tells-a me-a….sorry, I mean, he tells me that if I will go-a and sit-a in-a front-a of-a heeema, at Eliseo’s, he will come get me when there is a tavolo. As luck would have it, Enoteca da Eliseo was number 2 on tripadvisor’s list.
I order a bicchiere di vino rosso and watch Da eraldo turn disapointed people away. The couple seated at the same tavolo as myself, has a conversation using about three languages. It is fun to be able to understand a bit more of italian. I still do not know exactly what they are talking about, but I can get a gist at times. And for added enjoyment and ambiance, Pavarotti sings from inside the enoteca.As always, I hope to secure an outside tavolo, but am instead shown into the piccolo, piccolo area inside. It is kinda fun watching the world go by framed in the doorway.
Inside, my back is basically IN the kitchen…so the seats you see here and the ones outside are all! If you plan to visit, lose all but 2 or 3 in your party and prepare for a wait.
In this small area, you cannot help but hear (and understand as they are all speaking english) other’s conversations. The young students are all discussing their adventures on this trip so far. Most are in Italy for a short time with other countries on either side of their trips. I so wish my kids could take advantage of an experience like this. Travel is the best educator I know.
The chef and my guy (very tall for such a soft voice and demeanor) were more than happy to pose when I brought out my camera. Here, the musica is more upbeat. An italian version of “Gloria” blares from the rigged speakers. They-a do-a love-a our-a 80’s musica.For my dinner, I chose a sample piatti tre pastas. Pappardelle ai frutti di mare, Testatoli in salsa noci and lasagne al pesto. I had read not to miss the pane here, so I made sure to request it.
When my guy presents my dishes, he says, “May-a I-a suggest-a beginning-a weeth-a the seafood-a paaasta primo. Eeetsa flavors are-a the most-a delicate-a. And-a then-a end-a weeeth-a the pesto, as eeetsa flavors are-a the most-a strong-a”.
I am sitting watching the world go by when I feel a tap on my shoulder with a “Signora” attached to it. I turn to see the chef. She is leaning down, still with her hand on my shoulder. “Eeessaaa there-a errors in-a my-a dish-as?” I feel awful. I assure all was molto buono but I wanted to make sure I got a chance to try and enjoy them all. At this she grabs her chest and makes this, “Oh I am so grateful to hear that” pantomime. The girls in front of me turn, smile, and begin to take bigger bites.
I would recommend coming to Da eraldo and ordering the appetizer sampler plate. Unfortunately it is suggested 2 or more share this fabulous looking spread. My friend will tell you he’s a glad-a you-a chose-a theeesa plate-a. Eeeata eees the plate-a which-a theeeesa trattoria began-a as well as how to go about enjoying it.