Sandwich Wars: Gustapanino

Battle No.4
The Challenger: Gustapanino
For rules, regulations, and a fascinating review of sandwich history, see here. For our current rankings, see this blog’s side bar.
 
Sandwich Wars continues!
Quick review: Currently in first place with their huge and mouth-watering Finocchiona panino is the Via dei Neri favorite, All’Antico Vinaio. Coming in at a close second, we have the salty and super flavorful porchetta sandwich at the tucked-away-treasure known as Da’Vinattieri. The competition is steep. Can our newest contestant squeeze into these tight numbers?
 
After last month’s killer competition, I just didn’t see how anyone, without some serious effort, was going to be able to push into the top two or three spots on the board. I always have my fingers crossed, so this month I went back to an old favorite, Gustapanino. I remember this sandwich spot as being one of my go-tos about two years ago. I used to look forward to stopping here every Sunday for a salty treat after perusing a flea market or taking a leisurely Sunday stroll in the gorgeous Piazza Santo Spirito. There is almost always a small line, longer around lunchtime, and it remains consistently a mix of American students living in the area and locals looking for a quick meal. The panino shop makes up one part of a three-part establishment, including Gusta Pizza and Gusta Osteria, all three of which are very popular. So I decided it was time to go back with my now more educated sandwich palate. I think sadly, I may be overly educated.
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Photo of the Week: Vatican from Castel Sant’Angelo

Photo of the Week: Vatican from Castel Sant’Angelo

We have been loving all the new Pope business in Rome. I love the little tidbits we catch about Pope Francis I and his choices in these pivotal first days of his Pontificate. For example, his choice to have a more modest fisherman’s ring (plated in gold rather than made 100% of the expensive metal) and cross necklace (his is made of lead). My favorite snippet was that after being elected, Francesco, though he had the right to stay in his new home at the Vatican, declined and chose to return to his hotel room with the other Cardinals. All three choices express his extreme humbleness. I mean, I think it would have been hard for me to give up my first night’s stay in the Vatican apartments. And that got me thinking about other premises over which new Popes once gained ownership upon their election, namely, the Castel Sant’Angelo.
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Photo of the Week: Roman Cauliflower

Photo of the Week: Roman Cauliflower

Also known as Romanesco broccoli, this stunning fractal* vegetable originates from Italy. The first time I saw it at my morning market, I was so blown away that nature could produce such an incredible and edible treat that I had to buy one. I mean…it’s a science project you can eat…or observe, if that’s your thing. With most things in Italy, my first instinct is to eat it. So I did. It was so good! It tasted more like cauliflower than broccoli and that is how I tend to approach it when considering it for a meal. Bonus, it is high in vitamins C & K. Any way you can cook regular cauliflower can be applied to Roman cauliflower, but here is a very simple recipe, should you find this fractal friend in your local grocer.
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Novità: The Bardini Museum

All things new.
They may not be new to Florence, but they’re news to me.
bardini_museumIt can be increasingly difficult to see and do new things in Florence when you’re constantly taking visiting friends and family to the same ten places that they “can’t miss” and, unsurprisingly, feeling less inclined to play the tourist by yourself once they’ve left. There are so many things I still haven’t seen. It’s as if every time I’m motivated, another friend is passing through and I’m visiting the same old haunts again*. In an effort to never say, “I still haven’t seen that” again, I made a list of places in Florence that, pitifully, would all still warrant the above response and I made a promise to start seeing them. That is how I finally made my way to a lesser-known (but wonderfully charming) museum known as the Bardini. I hope with this post I can motivate others – veterans and newbies alike – who, like me, may have not found the time or felt the inclination to add the Museo Bardini to their lists.
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Photo of the Week: New Room No.35

Photo of the Week: New Room No.35

Red.
The dramatic new color of the walls in Room No.35 of the Uffizi Museum in Florence. This room is one of the first to get a facelift after the gorgeous renovation of the famous Tribune and, hopefully, not the last. Walking through the many other spaces of the museum with their (now by comparison) drab walls is, admittedly, not quite the same since this room got its upgrade.
 
So what’s so special about Room No. 35? Well, it just happens to be home to one of the Uffizi’s most important works: the only finished panel painting by Michelangelo, known as the Doni Tondo (seen at the back of the room in the above photo). Keeping company with this stunning work is the eye-catching Roman sculpture of Ariadne that only recently made its way into the Uffizi collection (technically, a permanent loan from the Archaeological Museum). In its original 16th century form, the Uffizi was known as the home to endless sculptures more so than painting. Today, however, we associate this world-famous museum almost exclusively with painted works. With the addition of the Ariadne, 35 is one of the few rooms that now combines sculpture and painting in one space. Hence, the new display style more closely reflects the museum’s original concept: a place where artists flocked to study the works of ancient sculpture to carve copies or, often, to use the unique poses and gestures in their paintings.
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