As to the food, we started with the coppa panini, a small, hot pressed sandwich that came wrapped in paper. It was salty, gooey, wonderfully greasy and delicious. If you ever go to Tosca, order that for sure.
We also ordered the crispy pig tails. I had to, because when I was six I read Little House in the Big Woods over and over again. The book contains this unforgettable passage:
Ma opened the front of the cookstove and raked hot coals out into the iron hearth. Then Laura and Mary took turns holding the pig's tail over the coals.
It sizzled and fried, and drops of fat dripped off it and blazed on the coals. Ma sprinkled it with salt. Their hands and their faces got very hot, and Laura burned her finger, but she was so excited she did not care. Roasting the pig's tail was such fun that it was hard to play fair, taking turns.
At last it was done. It was nicely browned all over, and how good it smelled! They carried it into the yard to cool it and even before it was cool enough they began tasting it and burned their tongues.
They ate every little bit of meat off the bones and then they gave the bones to Jack.
Can you blame me? At Tosca, the experience was less magical. The waitress brought us a plate of small, chunky vertebrae, each one with a tiny morsel of meat, a lot of fat, some rind, and, above all, bone. This was an extremely bony experience. I can not recommend it, but I understand if you need to satisfy your curiosity anyway. Laura Ingalls Wilder was one powerful food writer.
Other than pastas, I think there were four entree options, one of them being grilled lamb heart and another a roasted chicken for which you needed to wait an hour. This meant there were actually two entree options, fish and a pork chop. I had the pork chop, which was crispy on the outside, juicy and almost pink on the inside and so, so good. Mark had some rich, cheesy pasta shells. I think we consumed about 4,000 calories each. An excellent meal.
Isabel and I leave for Asia in almost exactly 16 hours. I'm at that point where I wonder why I ever thought this was a good idea.