Here, You Pay for Ketchup

Today, I caved. It happened. I’m not proud of it…but, I’m not ashamed, either. I am, after all, a human being, and all human beings have weaknesses. You probably think my weakness is for pastries. This is true. But, I have at least one more weakness: McDonald’s.

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*Gasp* I know, for shame! Here I am, talking about all the delicious Italian food I’ve been consuming – gourmet pizza, fresh salads, smooth gelato – and I’m now talking about the world’s largest fast food chain? But, say what you will, because I will not stop loving Mickey D’s. And there were plenty of English speaking people inhabiting the golden arches that I chose to visit today. I think part of it is the universality of it all. You (basically) know exactly what you’re going to get. There are a few regional variations, but for the most part, the classics stay the same. For example: Filet-o-Fish meal with a Fanta. Available in Kansas, Texas, and, as I found out today…Florence! After I sat down with my meal, though, I did notice one difference: no sauce. I thought about eating my fries without ketchup. 5 seconds later, I sprang up from my chair to search for the magic sauce. With no familiar ketchup dispensers in sight, I went to ask at the counter.

“Do you have any ketchup?” I asked.
“20 cents,” replied the cashier. WHAT. I asked again, just to make sure my hearing was working. And, indeed, it was in good working order. I again contemplated going without ketchup, but before I knew it, my hands had betrayed me and were opening the coin purse on my wallet. Here, ketchup will cost you.

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Even though I ate McDonald’s today, I knew I had to keep up with my blog…so I ordered dessert! A crema catalana, to be exactly. A crema catalana is basically a creme brulee. This one, of course, wasn’t fired on top (perhaps a safety hazard in the McDonald’s kitchen?), but it was delicious all the same. Like, really delicious for a fast food dessert.

Rich and creamy, with a caramel sauce:

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After spending time at the Uffizi Museum this afternoon (saw Boticelli’s The Birth of Venus!), I continued on with my dessert journey by seeking out the Gelateria dei Neri, recommended again by Jenny. Since the Museum actually exited onto Via dei Neri (which never, ever happens in my search for streets!), I was confident in my gelato finding abilities. Too confident. As I looked at the numbers, I realized that I might have a teensy little problem.

Check it out: Which is the correct number?

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Eventually, though, I found street number 20, and raced into the gelato shop!

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Once there, I chose the passion fruit gelato – here it is!

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It was sweet, packed with passion fruit flavor, and perfect for a sunny day in Florence.

Now, remember when I talked about the all the amazing people in the world? Well, tonight, I had the opportunity to have dinner with 2 of them. The Goliard Board has been absolutely sensational in supporting me, and one board member actually connected me with a man in Florence who manages exports for a gelato company. He and his wife took me out for an amazing seafood dinner tonight, and afterward, we had dessert! Sgroppino, to be more exact. This is an Italian cocktail, made of lemon sorbet, vodka, and white wine. It was light, refreshing, and the perfect ending to the dinner.

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3 desserts down, and it’s off to bed for me!

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