Another Flamingo in Bologna?

While Charlie and I were out walking this afternoon, he was sightseeing with his nose, and I was sightseeing with my eyes. Both of us had plenty to enjoy. As we were walking along Via Mascarella, I was admiring some of the artwork that adorns the grates that cover the restaurant and shop entrances when they’re closed. Some of those may be a post for tomorrow, along with a few others I’ve snapped recently. Then we got to a spot not far from Cinema Odeon and I may have let out a started, “Oh!” I’ve been known to do that quite loudly when coming across something unexpected but lovely. In this case, it was a flamingo! Well, a painted flamingo, but a  Bologna flamingo nonetheless! Obviously, I couldn’t resist snapping a few shots. And Charlie had to get in on the action, as well.

bologna flamingo moustache

It turns out that Moustache is a bar/restaurant that’s been open since around 2011. It seems to get solid reviews from both locals and tourists, so I might just have to give it a try soon! Their cocktails seems to be pretty popular, while the food is simple, genuine Italian dishes, I think particularly from Emilia. It all sounds good to me! Have you been to Moustache? What did you think?

A Snapshot of Bologna

bologna italy street photography

This is not the best photo I’ve ever taken — Charlie had had enough of standing around waiting for me to take yet another photo — but there’s something about it that really appeals to me. I love the moment-in-time aspect of it all. It really does feel like a snapshot of life in Bologna, behind the scenes of any touristy bits, even though it is smack in the middle of the Quadrilatero, if I remember correctly. The restaurant cook on the phone, perhaps placing a last-minute order. The woman cycling past that reminds me of Utrecht. The young couple perhaps making plans, and the older couple on their way somewhere, as the sun highlights the glorious colors of Bologna, while leaving other parts in cooler shadows.

All of this is just one more reason to love Bologna.

Birthday Dinner at Trattoria Serghei

My birthday was this week and that seemed as good an excuse as any to go to dinner at a traditional Bolognese restaurant. After all, la grassa is home to some of the best of Italian cuisine. I had bookmarked an article about some of the restaurants in Bologna that the blogger/professional foodie Curious Appetite had suggested, and G was busy doing his own research. In the end, we decided on Trattoria Serghei on Via Piella. I couldn’t be happier.

After a couple of pre-dinner drinks at Bella Vita near Piazza Maggiore, we took a leisurely walk to Trattoria Serghei and arrived just as they were opening the doors. We’d made a reservation, which I recommend as the restaurant is very small and has maybe 10 tables at best. The decor isn’t trendy, but it does feel a bit like a family dining room and that seems appropriate, as it is a family-run business.

trattoria serghei restaurants in bologna italy

trattoria serghei restaurants in bologna italy

[Speaking of which, despite the name, no, it’s not a Russian family. As I’ve mentioned before, Bologna has a history of communism, though far removed from Soviet communism and not as prevalent now. However, as a result, it’s not completely unheard of to find people with Russian first names or pro-worker ideological names. But anyway, back to the dinner …]

We had already looked at some of the menu options while deciding on which restaurant to try, so we had an idea of what we wanted to order. As we’d been walking over, we’d been debating whether to try the tortellini in brodo and the tagliatelle al ragú or whether to branch out and try something a little different for the first course. After all, those are two of the staples of Bolognese pasta dishes. Although tempted by quite a few other dishes, in the end, we did go with the classics, with G getting the tortellini while I got the tagliatelle. As it turned out, they were excellent choices.

trattoria serghei restaurants in bologna italy tagliatelle al ragu tortellini in brodo

My tagliatelle was much as G makes it — and his is excellent — but thanks to the quality of the ingredients, it was particularly tasty. Full of rich flavor! We’ve been noticing the difference in even the simplest of ingredients since moving here. Just about everything seems to have more flavor. It’s not just great recipes, it’s great ingredients that make many of Italy’s rather simple dishes taste so exceptional. It also means that things will never quite taste the same outside of Italy.

G’s tortellini were equally excellent. The broth had plenty of rich flavor without being overwhelming, and the tortellini were properly al dente and you could really taste the meat in the filling, despite the tiny size. The Bolognese take this dish seriously and G was suitably impressed.

The broth for the tortellini is made from a mix of cuts of meat, and those cuts of meat that have been boiled to make the broth are also eaten. They’re known as bollito misto and are typically served thinly sliced with a green sauce. G’s family does something similar for Christmas and that was the dish that we both wanted for our secondo or main dish. We were both set on that, despite some of the other great offerings. So when it came time to order it, you can imagine how disappointed we were when Serghei said they were out of it. They only make it a couple of times a week and it sells out quickly. *sigh*

Fortunately, they did have the stinco di maiale, essentially a pork shank. That had been my second choice anyway, so we both ended up ordering that. As we waited — though not for long — G was lamenting the lack of bollito misto. He was this close to wailing and gnashing of teeth! Before he started rending his garments, the stinco came and with the first bite, I was in heaven. So tender! So flavorful! Not at all dry. Perfection! My picture doesn’t do it justice, as I essentially got it from the wrong side, but by the end, I was wishing I could start gnawing on the bones to get any last little bits off and then lick the plate like my dog Charlie. I didn’t want to miss a single morsel or drop. As it is, the meat was so tender that it all came off pretty easily and I didn’t really miss anything.

trattoria serghei restaurants in bologna italy stinci di maiale pork shank

To go with dinner, we ordered a bottle of the Donati Teroldego Rotaliano, which is one of G’s favorites. His family has been buying from that maker for years and it went perfectly with all of our dishes.

trattoria serghei restaurants in bologna italy marco donati teroldego rotaliano

In the end, we decided to skip dessert, as we had a cake and some sparkling wine waiting for us at home, but the next time we go, we’ll try one of the desserts as well. We’ll also make sure they have the bollito misto and reserve two orders, just to be on the safe side. After all, if what we had is any indication, the bollito is sure to be fantstic.

If you’re visiting Bologna and want to try an authentic meal from the region, I highly recommend visiting Trattoria Serghei. It’s affordable, delicious, and the menu is in Italian and English (and at least some of the staff speaks English from what I heard).

And now I’m feeling really hungry …

Foto Friday: Cin Cin

drinks aperitivo fabrik bologna

Yay! It’s Friday! Though as a freelance writer, that doesn’t really mean much to me. I’ll be working part of the weekend, though I’m hoping to make it to The Garage Urban Market on Sunday. But still, it is Friday and it’s hard not to feel a little celebratory.

The other week, we stopped at Fabrik for an aperitivo before dinner. They had a decent prosecco and gratis olives and nibbles that were a nice accompaniment, particularly the olives. We sat outside, but the inside looks pretty stylish yet comfortable, and G has already been back to meetup with a friend. It’s also a fun spot for dog watching, although I think most of Bologna is good for dog watching. Dogs of all sizes and breeds are regularly out with their owners for a passeggiata or on their way somewhere. Dog lovers that we are, we can’t help but admire every one we see.

I think tonight we’ll be enjoying our aperitivo at home with our own adorable cane and gatti, but whatever your plans, I hope you enjoy your evening and weekend.

fabrik bologna aperitivo drinks

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Foto Friday: Walking Potatoes

walking fried potatoes chip shop patat fries
From year to year with my Utrecht blog, I’d do a Foto Friday series. They were either photos that I really liked, but just didn’t have much to say about, or they were photos that weren’t so great, but they amused me for some reason or another. I feel like starting that again. Today’s foto falls under the latter category.

It was a quick shot on the go, taken mainly because it reminded me of the chip shops in Utrecht (and the Netherlands in general). Both are essentially hole-in-the-wall places where you don’t go inside at all. You order right there on the street/sidewalk/portico. This one — one could say being stereotypically Italian — is called Amor di Patata/Love Chips, or perhaps more realistically love of chips/fries/friet/frites/patat. To be honest, I’ll take stereotypical Italian amore over the name of one of the more popular Dutch chains, which is Manneken Pis. Now, the potatoes are excellent at Manneken Pis, but the name (as they’re supposed to be Belgian/Flemish style) refers to that famous Belgian statue/fountain of a little boy peeing. Perhaps not the most appetizing association!

The other thing that amused me about this is the tag line written over the serving area. It says: patatae fritte da passeggio. Ultimately, it basically means “fries to-go”, but when you’re still learning the language and tend to take things more literally, it becomes “fried potatoes walking”. [Insert your own “Dead Man Walking” joke here.]

Hey, get your laughs wherever you can find them!

Also, apologies in advance. After spending the last eight+ years in the Netherlands (and watching a lot of BBC), having a British mother, but still being a native-born citizen of the US, I have no consistency in which term I use for fries/chips/patat/patatae fritte/frites/friet/etc. Most often, though, I will use fries, chips, or patat, but with no regard to the primary language or audience. It’s whatever comes out first!

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