How to Spread Florentine Fever


 I had the wonderful opportunity to welcome my mother, aunt, and cousin to my beautiful city. And the joy that mounted as I counted down the hours to see my mother was indescribable.

I practically skipped to the train station to see her.

And when we did finally hug for the first time in three months…

She bawled.

Cause well, that’s just what she does.

So after we got to their hotel and everyone settled down a bit, I thought that I would lend them to a bit of a sensory overload experience, the hill of Michelangelo (Where beautiful views of Florence abound).

And after trecking up the hill, I decided to take them to one of my favorite little restaurants in Florence called Zeb.

If you haven’t had the opportunity to view my thoughts on this restaurant…welll….

Let’s just say…I like it alot.

I dream about it, drool when I’m thinking about it, and eat until I want to die when I’m there.

Because zucchini flowers are out of season (and that is my favorite ravioli there), I decided to try the butternut squash ravioli with French cheese and poppy-seeds.

It tasted like someone canned up heaven and gave it to me to drink.

We also ordered the potato ravioli with meat sauce.



One of my new favorite dishes at Zeb was ordered by Colleen, the pesto, ricotta, and sun-dried tomato pici with olive oil.

Seriously now, what kind of hallucinogens do they sprinkle in their food?

Like, if I died today, my life would be complete.

The pasta dishes at Zeb are by far the most creative delicious and decadent in Italy.

And believe me, I’ve been around the pasta block.

My mom ordered the veal which was so tender is cut like butter.

It was such a blessing being able to share one of my favorite places with a few of those that I love back home. I felt such pride and joy when I saw them enjoy the food as much as I did.

And…they finally got to taste the foodgasm producing combination of Tuscan bread, olive oil, and salt.

They are now in the cult.

After we all felt like we were going to explode (but sadly, didn’t care), we made ourselves to Teatro Verdi, a beautiful theater in Florence that is famous throughout all of Italy. In fact, I live right next to it.

We purchased tickets for “Titantic” the Musical.

It was in Italian.


The voices were incredible, the scenery was tantalizing, the actors were extremely talented, and I didn’t understand a thing they said.

So instead, I made it up in my head.

It was quite comical.

Together in Florence, we also experienced a brand new restaurant, that was recommended to us by Laura, Jessica’s host momma.

Colleen and Jessica also joined us at the table.

We enjoyed fine Tuscan crostini spreads over open flames.

My mother, being mezmorized by the presentation uttered, “Oh look everyone, it’s some type of food village!”

What mom?

And I was finally introduced to the coccoli, an Italian specialty (that I’ve been craving for quite a while)

The coccoli is basically a delicate fried piece of dough. They can be served with an array of toppings, we were just blessed with the opportunity to eat them with Pecorino cheese AND Proscuitto.

Talk about a party in your mouth.

My mom ordered a tomato pasta with ricotta which was spot on.

Jayme hit the jackpot with one INCREDIBLE gnocchi made with pears and gorgonzola.

I had food envy.

And the food envy continued as Colleen’s dish arrived to the table. The dish was a pasta with butter and cream.

And a dose of crack cocaine.

Seriously, who in their right mind would pipe cream onto a spaghetti dish?

I like these people.

Mom’s second dish (above) was this fantastic rosemary beef .

And speaking of beef, Jessica, feeling deprived of protein, decided that it was time to devour the Bistecca Fiorentina.

And she did.

Colleen was more than willing to help.

No really,

they literally “licked that bone clean.”

No wonder they are my friends.

For dessert, the coccoli madness continued and was served to us in dessert form with marscapone and Nutella.

And some good old fashioned marscapone “heaven” mousse.

I’m not sure what those people did to that thing, but it literally tasted like heaven.

As Jessica was spooning the dessert into her mouth using a utensil  Collleen picked up a waffle chip and leaned over to Jessica saying, “Umm…I think you are doing it wrong.”

I love my friends.

Other than eating at fabulous Tuscan eateries, I had the opportunity to share the Central Market with my family, a place that is strewn with dried fruit, fresh vegetables, cheeses, oh my!

Our taste buds were taken advantage of at the cheese stand.

And the beautiful dried fruit stand.

And the nut stand.

In addition to our wandering of the food market, we made our way outside where hundreds of leather stalls set up and taunt you with their brilliant personalities and leather products. Below, is a picture of the leather market at night.

One man told my aunt (in reference to one of his leather jackets), to “Show me your body!”

He then picked up a leather jacket that would fit and proceeded to demand that she “take off her clothes!”

The leather jacket looked really good.

But the entertainment, that was ridiculously priceless.

I was also able to take my mom to my little church that I have been attending on Wednesday evenings here in Florence. It was such an amazing time to share with her, as she was able to experience multiple languages of praise, prayer and fellowship.

And to celebrate an end to a fabulous night, we went to a shop and tasted aged balsamic.

Which to our ignorance, becomes thicker and sweeter as it is aged.

But what I’m trying to say here is that it becomes FREAKING AWESOME as it is aged.

So, well, we bought some.

And after having the strange opportunity to taste an assortment of meats at our on-campus restaurant called Ganzo, I thought it was only fair for my mom to have to endure the same thing.

And because I thought it would be entertaining to watch her eat liver pate and pigeon feet.

After reading the menu….I knew this would be fun.

Fun because there was olive oil and bread…and fun because I read the word “carpaccio” on the menu.

(which I didn’t tell my mom, but that means raw beef)

And because they forgot to give us plates, we decided that the menus would work just as well.

The first course was a rosemary cracker with chicken liver pate and balsamic roasted red onion.

Second course was a beef carpaccio with arugula, Parmesan, capers, and mushroom.

Autumn risotto with mushrooms, tomato confit, and basil

And then we were served one of my FAVORITE dishes that I have ever been served at Ganzo: Confit pork fillet with pureed potatoes and stewed artichokes.

It was amazing.

And there were no lingering livers or pigeon parts.

Our “olive oil” dessert was an olive oil layer cake, chocolate mousse, and thin chocolate decoration.

Celebrating Florence with those that I love was absolutely fantastic. What a blessing to be able to share it with my mom, who has been reading my blogs daily, stalking my Facebook, and trying desperately to take care of my father without me to help her.

She was able to see all of those things that I had written about firsthand and I was able to show her them.

What a blessing  to be able to spread Florentine fever.

Ciao for now!