photo by Tracy Russo

Usually I post about food but I wanted to start by sharing my experience with a monthly community event which I’ve been really enjoying- hopefully you’ll start attending too! Linda and Steve from the Beehive in Rome have brought their monthly open-mic like storytelling sessions from Rome to Florence, and every month at Todo Modo (lovely bookshop cafe with stellar wines) there is a theme in which stories are centered.

Last night’s theme was superpowers- I was late so didn’t get myself organized in order to sign-up for a story. But I wanted to tell it somehow.

The thing I love about storytellers is these topics are open for interpretation. Superpowers- this can be a story of anything! Whether is a power you dreamt of having when a child, or one you wish existed, or hypothetical situations like “would you want to be able to understand your pet’s language even after you realized they were actually an asshole.”

The superpower which came to mind as I was booking it over on my bike, and a trait we all can harness from the human spirit- is resilience. How many times has any of us been knocked down by life, and yet find the strength and courage to be resilient? Failure and disappointment are unavoidable facts of life, and we have to luxuriate in the choice we have to either let it keep us down or choose to be resilient. Time and time again, humans prove to be resilient, even if I totally understand if giving up and surrendering feels like the only resort.

So maybe I will never be able to run marathons, wear high heels, be a superwoman with kids and career, solve any of the world’s most pressing problems or even contribute marginally to the fight. But what I can do, which I consider a superpower, is be resilient to whatever life throws, refusing to surrender to life’s many tests and challenges. To approach life with grit. And I hope you take this away after you finish reading. I hope that you too, in your most challenging moments, can muster the strength to choose resilience over despair.

With the philosophical mumbo jumbo out of the way- allow me to divulge some fabulous eats in Florence as of recent!

For readers and instagram followers, you may have noticed I’ve cut out carbs and sugar. In Italy?! Why yes! I love a good test to will-power!

A lot of you have been asking “are you crazy?” “are you on Keto?” “how can you eat healthy in Italy?”

To which I reply- easier than you’d think! And keto is a term which (perhaps) gets thrown around too easily. The ketogenic diet means consuming around 25 net carbs per day- which is equivalent to an apple and half-cup of brussel sprouts. And eating 70% of your calories in fat. For some people, the keto diet can be amazing- especially if done healthily (i.e. not eating cured meats and butter) and for those with neurological disorders or brain tumors.

I can’t say I’m following keto since I don’t measure vegetables/net carbs, eat healthy fats in moderation and don’t test for ketones.

Mainly because my job and passion lies in food, and what kind of food writer would I be if I could only have a half-cup of veggies per day?

Nevertheless, this has been a fascinating challenge. Low-carb means no gelato and pasta- aka the loves of my life. I’ve stuck to secondi (mains) and contorni (veg-based sides) menu sections and since cheese is low-carb, I’ve learned heaps more about cheese than ever!

buffalo milk mozzarella covered in truffle- gladly will have this over pasta!

I recently went to Mangius, a bistro touting an impressive selection of natural wines, located in Sant’Ambrogio (in the same space where the old Enoteca Fiorentina used to be- which by the way I would not recommend- snooty, sluggish service and exorbitant prices, albeit nice food and wine)

I have to say, if you’re a wine enthusiast and know your way around a list- best to pick a bottle DIY. The waitstaff here has paltry sommelier service, which is disappointing for a place which premises itself as being a wine-centric eatery. The wine by the glass list is non-existent but rather they invite you to pick any wine which is 30eu a bottle or less but when I asked for a glass from a 29eu bottle they refused saying it was still too expensive (so very confusing), they don’t seem to understand their stock (when I asked for an orange wine the waitstaff didn’t know what that was) and when I finally found a wine by the glass they allowed, it was served warm. Sounds precious, but again- wine is their thing so I suppose I had certain expectations.

but the heritage Fassona beef tartare was out of this world

Again, I wouldn’t be so harsh if a mom & pop trattoria, but Mangius boasts itself as a go-to for wine enthusiasts. If you’re not fussy about wines- then you’ll have a splendid time. However, the food was incredible and made up for the spotty service.

more heritage Fassona beef carpaccio with oyster mayo and balsamic

I rarely say this but every single morsel was delicious and perfectly prepared/presented. This is where the service and experience started to pick up.

I shy from recommending a place where service and quality are inconsistent, but the food was so good that I couldn’t help myself to make an exception. I also recognize my expectations for service may be somewhat heightened, so if you can take my personal experience with a grain of salt, you’ll probably be fine. Again, the prize of fabulous food in a cozy bistro in the bustling Florentine district of Sant’Ambrogio was worth every awkward moment.

Wishing you a March full of love and superpowers

In your resilient trust,

Curious Appetite

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