Trip 38 / Entry 28 / Supper at Oreste’s and Mary’s

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

I warned Jeanne. I supposed that Mary would be ready to wow us with food and she did. Though it was after eight-thirty before we climbed another four flights to their apartment we were invited to sit down and having a “po cena d’sera” (a little evening meal). The afternoon meal is usually the biggest so when the “apperitivi” of “mozerella fresca, pane, olivi, salumi” and “picolo biscotti orrechiette” was put before us, I happily gobbled away. Mary didn’t join us and I could still hear banging away in the kitchen. Occasionally, I IMG_3134would look at my watch and try to guess when she might join us. This she did in about twenty minutes bearing a massive skillet of spaghetti immersed in a concoction I had never seen before in my life. Oreste proudly told us it was, “la specialita di Maria!” Our eyes bulged as we were handed large portions but once we took the first bite we continued to spoon away until every morsel was drug from the bottom of the pan.

Mary jumped up and ran to the kitchen and brought three more items to the table. Oh, no! We had only had the primi and now for seconda of something that I cannot describe as meatloaf though it was made in a similar way. It was far more delicate and crusted all around with toasty bread crumbs. When sliced. There was an interior of prochiutto and mozerella. I could taste the hint of onion, celery and so forth so it was flavored similar to a meatloaf. Then a “contorni” of peas and onion as well as oven roasted potatoes flavored with garlic and rosemary.

At ten we stumbled onto the street and made our way to our beds.

Trip 38 / Entry 22 / Collecting Jeanne

Tuesday to Thursday, May 26 – 28, 2014                            

Milan and Parma

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On Monday morning I flew from Alesund to Copanhagen and then to Milano then went to The *Best Hotel (*in name only). It is a suitable 2-Star if you only want a bed and a shower. If I had thought of it, it would have made more sense to stay at an airport hotel rather than shuttle all of the way into the city then back out again in the morning laden with baggage. It cost me twelve Euro but I left my bags in the train station while I went back out to pick up Jeanne who had traveled all night from Charlotte with the Haley family.

We made the connection and then took the shuttle back down to the central train station in Milano, and then went directly to Parma and or Bed and Breakfast at Ducale where I always stay. Giovanni was thrilled to see us and gave us a nice room on the breezy side of the hotel.

Hostaria da Beppe

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

IMG_2910 cropAfter a short rest, Jeanne felt awake enough in the evening to go for amazing risotto at da Beppe just behind our hotel. I have written about Beppe before when last October I ate there for the first time (scroll back). I told her that she just had to do this once before she died. Beppe does everything (EVERYTHING) himself. Parmeseani turn their noses up because Beppe is from Napoli but foreigners have discovered him.  Seated across from us were three tourists from England and within an hour there were at least sixteen others. In one group alone there were ten people to feed all at once.

I think there is an unspoken rule you should know about. If you eat at Beppe’s Hostaria, you must just relax. He washes every dish, sets every table up, then delivers the “liste” and takes your order. Then he goes behind the door which is posted with a clear sign “ENTRATA VIETATO” (Entrance Forbidden). There a mystery takes place. Somehow from his menu of thirty or more risotti and other items, he turns out plate after plate and delivers them to the table with lightning speed. Oh yes, and somehow he serves up the right wine with flair.

Jeanne admitted to being impressed. After devouring his specialty (ham hock – for the specialty “ossobuco di vitello da Beppe”) and a small, but perfectly grilled steak we stumbled back to our hotel three blocks  away. For more information on what people have to say, see Trip Adviser.

Awesome Lebanese!!! Cafe Marhaba

Not our plates (they were already a mess) but typical

Okay, okay, I know what yer thinkun! Yer thinkun, “Some kinda missionary this Hedrick guy is. We give him money so he can eat his way through Europe.” Look! When I find something good, I tell folks about it, I don’t hide my light under the bed but put it on a candlestick so that it might light the whole house. I am a city set upon a hill. Actually, I have eat and drink, ye know not of.  If we are feasting on the riches of His grace we should tell people about it. See, there is a similarity between sharing Jesus and telling people about a fantastic place to eat.

Pete doesn't get out much

Since I am traveling with this Egyptian (Pete), I decided tonight would be special for him and I’d locate some good Mediterranean food and did I ever! The Marhaba was walkable so at around 5:30 we struck out for what turned out to be an incredible meal. Knowing that we would be in what amounts to a rural monastery for the coming week, we pulled out the stops.

The delighted chef

I ordered lamb chops which came with bulgur covered in a spicy rich sauce featuring tomato, sliced onion, tiny okra and chick peas. Next to this was a leafy mediterranean salad.

Pete and I decided to split, so he went with some kind of flavorful herbie beef (I have no idea what aromatic touch this happened to be), roasted potatoes, salad and tzatziki sauce. We divided and passed the food across the table, rolled up our sleeves and went to work. After a few sighs we leaned back in our chairs and slowed down to savour every bite. Let me define the experience this way… Have you ever seen a movie you never wanted to come to the end of?

I’m going to be completely honest, though our dinner was interrupted by a fire bell – the art school on the second floor did it again – this may have been one of my best meals EVER!!! If you visit Oslo I suggest you visit this cozy little spot only a few doors from the recent bombings. You’ll find Cafe Marhaba at Keysergi 1, 0165 Oslo. Reserve by calling 22 11 35 00.