lucky for me, the joy of eating good food is common amongst my castmates. since it was still sinking in that tonight's show, our closing performance, was canceled, we did what any respectable person with a half-functioning brain would do: head to papa anzani's for comfort and what is probably the best home cooked food in the greater milano area. on the train ride to his house, laura handed each of us a present.
we all got potions from st. barth's. gaby got lotion, javi got avocado oil, ej got massage oil, and i got...skin firming gel.
she meant well.
wearing the polka-dot ribbon that tied his gift, javi practices his vacant valley-girl stare.
laura's dad picked us up at the train station. javi volunteered to sit in the very back of the car. he gives us his best doggie look.
the weather was nice so we ate al fresco. papa anzani made two kinds of chicken for us: pollo cacciatore and his famous, addictive roasted chicken. he knows how much gaby loves that chicken so she got her very own like a principessa.
and here he comes with the platter of cacciatore. it was full of yellow and orange peppers. so good!
we were certainly feeling the love.
we showed the chicken no mercy.
laura's aunt, anna. i'm going to find out if there's a family connection to elaine stritch.
papa anzani purchased a notebook so that we could all sign it because he said if one of us becomes famous, he wants to show people that we used to have lunch at his house. we each took our time writing notes of appreciation to him.
i decided that if we signed his notebook, perhaps he would share a recipe or two with me. he agreed and laura painstakingly translated four of his tried and true recipes from his personal collection.
the chef was available for any questions; however, when i asked him what he put on the outside of his tasty roasted chicken, he said only "salt and pepper", so perhaps that was code for "a secret ingredient that i cannot reveal to you". either that or, it's all in the wrist.
from the look on papa anzani's face, it appears as if anna is going through her brother's recipes and making corrections.
as always, the meal is followed by delicious coffee. little cristian is the son of laura's cousin, stefano.
papa anzani has a large group of canaries living in a huge cage in the yard. they've been busy having babies, which he separates from the group into smaller cages until they're big enough to be integrated. this is just a portion of the canary nursery.
ej tries on laura's prada sunglasses.
magnolia flowers grow large in italy.
oba always has the sorrowful eyes when people are eating.
and then ej and oba found each other. boy chases dog.
dog chases boy.
boy and dog chase each other.
dog chews water bottle.
boy rests happily, mouth gaping.
dog rests happily, mouth gaping.
birds sing. all is right with the world.
i call this one "bird in flight".
i ran into a couple of farm boys.
and two country girls.
taking in the fresh air.
this is one of the seven dwarfs. the one who wore lipstick.
farm boys taking in the sun.
family at rest.
sometimes my hair is anti-gravitational.
my favorite souvenir from italy so far.
we sadly said our goodbyes and thank yous to papa anzani and came back to the loft to prepare for a photoshoot. we wanted to have some photos for the archives. here i am on the set not too long before we would've been getting ready for our last performance.
this is the sign we put up on the door notifying potential audience members of the cancellation. during the photoshoot, some people did show up expecting a show. it made us sad.
alessandro, a friend of laura and matteo's, was kind enough to be our photographer.
it looks as if i'm wearing a wig on top of a wig.
this is my best wax museum impersonation.
ha! here's another one. i'm sure this talent will really come in handy in my acting.
after the photo shoot, we quickly changed and got ready for dinner at a wonderful restaurant called al garghet. i was excited because i'd been wanting to ride on the back of matteo's motorcycle, and the time had finally come. luckily, the helmet he brought for me fit my big head, but i was having trouble adjusting the strap. i asked ej to help, but he wasn't able to get it to move.
then i went to javi for help. he couldn't do it either.
finally, i went to matteo and the third time was the charm.
i've seen video footage of me on this bike ride, and it looks like i'm wearing a clown wig under the helmet. despite this, it was a lot of fun and although i may not have looked italian, i certainly felt italian, in an awkward, american way.
this is a page from the menu at al garghet.
i ordered the first item which is risotto al salto. it's traditionally when people use leftover risotto, form it into a pancake, coat it with farina, and fry it in butter. yummy goodness. i also tasted the risotto all' ortica which was soooo creamy and flavorful, and some of ej's cotoletta. this breaded veal is what the restaurant is known for and it's a typical milanese dish. it was good. and massive. the slab was hanging off of the plate and two orders fed six of us.
with the wine and appetizers and dessert and coffee, i was more than a little stuffed by the time we rolled out of there. ej was too, and he was pretty happy about it. we all were.