An Eating Extravaganza in Como

23 Sep

So what can you expect when three passionate foodies travel together for the weekend? Well there’s quite a few adventures, a whole lot of laughing, predominant conversations regarding food and of course non stop noshing on the most amazing and delicious Italian fare!

Emory, Sarah, and I couldn’t have imagined a better weekend then the one we had together. Traveling with people can sometimes be difficult, but we got along great, we all went to sleep and got up around similar times, we were on the same page regarding money, we were all up for being active and exploring, and most importantly we all agreed that food was a number one priority!

Around 7:30 on Friday morning is when our adventure began and boy was it an adventure! Things were going well despite a bit of early anxiety we had made our early morning train to Milan. Once In Milan we ran through the train station to catch our connecting train (yes we were those girls but we only had four minutes to transfer). Once on the train we were met by a friendly conductor who glanced at our ticket before informing us that we had to get off the next stop for a second connecting train to Como “get off at the first stop, go to gate 1 and take the train going to Castelli” We listented intently before asking him to repeat himself again (we just wanted to make sure we had fully understood), after several more questions (from us) and another spiel about switching trains (from him) we were confident that we knew what to do. We got off at the first stop as told and headed towards the first gate, however, once we got there the incoming train headed our way wasn’t labeled Castelli, instead it was labeled “Segreno”.

We wondered what we should do, do we get on we debated, it didn’t look like another train was coming and the rest of the trains were headed in the opposite direction, so we reasoned that this was clearly the right train, so we hopped on.

No more than thirty minutes later we were sitting at what we assumed was another stop when Emery noticed no one else was on the train and the sign read, “Segreno”, yes we had managed to take the wrong train and it was apparent this train was going no further!

After a bit of freaking out, we managed to find the correct train and within ten minutes we were back on our journey to Como!

At 2:00 we arrived at the station in Como, we followed Emory’s lead (our travel planner who had been in charge of booking our hotel), “the website said it was across from the train station and we only have to take a cable car up to the hotel, they said they had a pick up service but I figured walking would be easier”.

So yes technically the website was right the hotel was across from the station the only thing that they forgot to mention was that they were also located on the other side of the city across from the station and the seemingly fun tram ride cost $5 and came every half hour and closed by 10:30 each night of course we also had the option of taking a 30 minute taxi ride which inevitably would be quite costly!

So we breathlessly and tirelessly trucked our extremely loud rolling bags though the city of Como, trying to ignore the evil stares we got from the patrons trying to enjoy the beautiful city without the noise emitted from our bags (the downside to the otherwise charming cobblestone lined streets)! By 3:00 p.m. we had checked into the hotel and we were now absotley ravenous, we walked around the very small downtown area of the hill (which consisted of only two restaurants) one of which advertised pictures of hamburgers, hotdogs, and ice cream truck snacks, we were so hungry we almost even debated going here (our hunger was making us disillusion) but luckily we came to our senses and decided to continue looking, we roamed the residential streets in hopes of finding somewhere to go, but we found nothing and no one, it was then that we realized this place was deserted. We later learned that our hotel on the hill was in an area called Brunate (which is usually a more active town in the summer months), not actually in Como, where all the bustling city action takes place!

We decided to head down to the center for something good to eat, we wandered into the first restaurant we saw, and practically fell into the seats. We ordered pizza and anxiously say while longingly watching everyone else eat.

Within five minutes the only evidence that remained on our plate that a pizza had once been there were a few crumbs.

After lunch we had planned to meet my cousin, Aldo, a como resident in the center. Of course though on our way we got sidetracked by a cute bakery emitting the most amazing fragrance, our curiosity got the best of us and of course we had to have a look inside.

After gaping openly at the amazing baked goods we somehow managed to leave and continue on our way to meet with Aldo.

Aldo was a great tour guide, he showed us the best restaurants, nice shops, and historical sights, he even patiently waited while we ran into practically every specialty food shop in Como to get a peak of the delicious goodies inside. some girls are attracted to the shops filled with clothes of the latest fashions, and chic accessories, but instead we prefer the shops filled with food lined aisles consisting of fruit marmalade, a huge selection of honey, aged wines, and fresh pasta, can you blame us though!

Aldo also took us to the stop floor of a department store, there they have a bar which overlooks the entire city of Como, it’s absolutely beautiful! We decided to stop for a caffe` and to of course take in the breathtaking view.

After our mid afternoon pick me up we decided to browse through the streets in hopes of finding a suitable restaurant. Aldo suggested Com`e`, a restaurant which is owned and operated by his two close friends. I had been to the restaurant once before and enjoyed my meal so I was hoping Emory and Sarah would take my word for it and agree, once look at the unique menu filled with delicious sounding dishes and they had been more than willing to comply! We walked into the very European decorated restaurant outfitted with warm coral decor, the candle lit room added to the inviting ambiance and our decision to eat here at this restaurant was further affirmed.

Only two people work at the restaurant, Giovanni, the owner, host, and waiter, and his wife, Elana, who is the amazing chef. It’s quite amazing that only two people are responsible for creating such amazing and delicious meals.

We started our meal with Prosecco, the Italian version of champagne, we than helped ourselves to a delicious bread basket which included sesame bread sticks, green olive bread, and crunchy Italian bread.

As an accompaniment to our bread we choose from a selection of six different types of infused olive oils, we choose a basil olive oil, a lemon and red pepper olive oil, and a Parmesan olive oil ( I can’t attest to the Parmesan infused olive oil, but the other were bold, buttery and amazing)!

Unable to choose which entree we wanted we decided to compromise by getting three pasta dishes and sharing. We chose an amazing gnocchi dish made from the flour of chestnuts served in a rabbit meat sauce with truffles, simply amazing!

We also went with a spaghetti and clam dish tossed in buttery oilve oil and flavored with herbs.

Lastly the girls ordered a dish of goat cheese ravioli tossed in a thyme butter sauce (now I can’t attest to this dish either as I do not eat dairy, but judging from the cleaned plate, it couldn’t have been too bad!

After dinner we tried a surprisingly sweet after dinner drink, we than remained at the restaurant for an additional hour enjoying our bottle of wine focused on our deep conversation, it was only a ten that we realized we should be heading out (1. because the final tram makes it’s last trip at 10:30 and 2) because we need to rest up for our next big day)!

We had been planning on spending Saturday in Belaggio, an elite lake side town, however, the boat grand Prix taking place on the Lake made a seemingly simple plan to take a boat ride on the water, now impossible. However, we made the best of the situation and decided to spend the day relaxing and touring around the downtown area of Como. We left the hotel at 10:30 and decided due to the fact that we had to pay for the tram that we would remain in the downtown center for the entire day. We started our day by frequenting a local crafts market filled with handmade jewelry and wooden carved kitchen supplies! We then headed to a much different discount outdoor market and and made our way through the endless street filled with vendor after vendor. By 12:00 we were beginning to get a big hungry. I had been raving all weekend about this heavenly focaccia like bread called schiacciata, I though this would be the perfect opportunity for them to try a piece, so we walked into a bakery and ordered a piece of olive oil schiacciata and caramelized onion schiacciata (basically think of a piece of soft thick pizza without the cheese)

We ate on the curb in the piazza while people watching.

Earlier that day we had passed by an amazing looking chocolate shop, I have been hearing raving reviews about the delicious hot chocolate here (apparently it tasted like melted chocolate), I was dying to try it for myself so I pursued Emery and Sarah to come with me. (actually I simply mentioned the idea of getting a hot chocolate and they jumped at the idea too)

By this point it was now about 3:00 and we were beginning to drag a bit, we were feeling the exhaustion from walking around and we were all desperate for a rest, unfortunately though we still had a few hours to waste before dinner so we continued to walk up and down the streets. That’s when we came across another amazing bakery, with more than 3 and a half hours to spare until dinner we decided to occupy some time by eating for the 6th time again that day, we had been told by Aldo that we simply had to try the traditional dessert of Como called Nuvola (cloud), a delicious sweet bread made with apricot jam. It was amazing light and sweet

After our 4th snack of the day we decided to do something un food related (imagine that), We walked into another area of town and found a small church outfitted in white decor which looked ready for a wedding, less than a half hour later beautifully dressed Italians (whom looked more like models straight off the runway) filled the beautiful church. We spent the next hour observing the beautiful wedding ceremony. Of course the combination of the soft playing music and finally being able to sit down and relax for the first time all day made we realize just how tired I was and I fell asleep halfway during the ceremony, Luckily our pew was off to the side in the back so other than one man who apparently kept walking by and staring, my power nap went virtually unnoticed.

At 5:30 we were now getting a bit restless, Como is a small city which can easily be seen in two-three hours, we had already spent 7 hours in the city and were feeling tired. We decided to start the evening early by getting drinks.  In Italy Aperitivo is a big thing, with the price of one drink visors are welcomed to enjoy a delirious buffet of an assortment of food such as pasta dishes, meats, breads, vegetables, fruits, and desserts. It’s a very economical way to enjoy a night out! We wandered across a chic small neighborhood spot offering aperitivo. We began with drinks, I order a bellini (prosecco,  and peach juice) while Emery order a rossini (prosecco and Strawberry Juice0 and Sarah ordered a mimossa (prosecco and orange juice)! We anxiously spied the buffet tabled waiting for food to be put out, after grab plated and filling them high with pasta, tortillas and guacamole, and prosciutto we made our way back to our outdoor table (giving us a great view for people watching) only to find a group seated at our seemingly empty table, there were very few tables inside, so after chowing down our delicious food we decided to leave and venture off to a new place for apertivo.

We ended up back at the bar on top of the department store with a beautiful view of the city. So impressed by our previous drinks we decided to order them again only this time we combined them, we ordered the Rossini (prosecco and strawberry juice) with a mixture of peach juice, the results were amazing!

We also had delicious food, including curried pasta, scrambled eggs with smoked sausage, roasted potatoes, calamari, fresh lake fish, and rosemary focaccia bread, yum! The delicious food, sweet alcoholic drinks, and relaxing atompshere seemed to be the exact thing we were looking for, suddenly once we got involved in our conversation the night once again seemed to fly by, ending all too quickly!

This morning was our travel day back to Florence. We headed out around 10:30 and met with Aldo who gave us a driving tour around the lake of Como, we also saw the Versace home and George Clooney’s villa, quite nice!

At 1:30 we headed back to the train station, we were prepared for our three train journey when luckily Aldo intercepted and told us there was a far simpler way to go, he told us to forget what we had been told about getting off and taking a connecting train, instead he told us about taking the Metro (italian version of a subway). Tentatively we agreed hoping not to have a repeat performance and take the wrong train!

Luckily after a few false alarms we got off the train (at the correct stop) and got on the metro and successfully made it to Milan and our train headed towards Florence.

We had a great weekend together and I was sad to see it end, however after planning out several upcoming trips I am excited for our future adventures to come!

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6 Responses to “An Eating Extravaganza in Como”

  1. Cynthia Hill September 23, 2012 at 8:04 pm #

    What a fun weekend!

  2. Christina September 24, 2012 at 8:42 am #

    We were just in Milan and the food there was the best we have had the entire time we have been in Europe!! Como looks amazing!

    • La Cucina Di Kait September 24, 2012 at 9:00 am #

      Cristina I am headed back that way in a few weeks any good suggestions for places to go in Milan?

      • Christina September 24, 2012 at 9:04 am #

        Not sure where you will be staying, but there was this family-run restaurant near our place that was amazing. It is run by two brothers from Southern Italy and their mother is the one who does all of the cooking. We went there every single day! It’s called Hostaria Pascone. They barely speak English but they were so welcoming to us. And it’s affordable, too!

      • La Cucina Di Kait September 24, 2012 at 9:16 am #

        Thanks for the recommendation, i am always willing to travel for food, so I will defintley be headed here!

  3. sue September 24, 2012 at 1:00 pm #

    Another great adventure…I’m exhausted just hearing all you fit into a day!! So glad you are having such a great time!!

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