Monday, February 20, 2012

Guitar Hero- Italian Style!

On Saturday night we invited over our Italian friends over for dinner and some games. I've missed Mexican food like you can't believe, so I made enchiladas and homemade salsa, and Josh made his famous guac. It was all amazing and they all approved!! I would highly recommend this particular recipe for the enchiladas- I'll post that later.

Getting together for dinner with Italians is not a one course deal like it is back home. We may have some cheese and crackers out before dinner in MN, but that's about it. In Italy, you need to have antipasti (appetizers- the salsa and guac) typically served with champagne when they arrive, then the main course served with wine (we had corona for the enchiladas and amarone), then you have something sweet with coffee (we had some German Chocolate cake for Josh's birthday- which is today), and then also after dinner drinks such as limoncello, monte negro, grappa, etc. Planning for these meals can take time and the cooking/cleaning can definitely stress me out, but it is so worth it!

Italians really enjoy having a meal with friends. There is always great conversation and lots of laughter and jokes. It's a great time to relax and enjoy each other’s company. Josh and I have really embraced this part of the Italian culture. In some ways, I wonder if we are part Italian because we did this in MN too... After dinner we introduced them to Guitar Hero and it was so much fun! Everyone here WANTS to be the singer (it was the opposite with our friends back home). It was so great to hear them singing American songs with their Italian accents. It was so cute! And it was also fun to see Francesco getting crazy while playing the guitar and acting like he was a part of the Red Hot Chili Peppers or something. And of course, Animal came out! It was a great time and I wish I would have taken pictures! It was the first time in Italy that we felt like it was a night with our friends back in MN. Hopefully we can have these kinds of get-togethers more often!
Animal in 2009 (AKA: Josh), Photo by Greg Benz

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Dreaming of comfort food... and warmer weather!

The past few weeks in Europe have been extremely cold! Over 300 people have died as a result of the freezing temperatures, and it even snowed in Rome and parts of northern Africa! These below freezing temps are very unusual for Milan at this time of year. The average temp in mid-February is in the mid-40's F. Even before the cold snap hit, it was in the mid 50's here. As you can imagine, the cold feels even worse since we were used to the warmth before it hit. Now I know what a lot of you must be thinking... "You're from Minnesota, and you can't handle below freezing temperatures?" Well, I have admittedly gotten soft.

Since the cold hit I've been craving some serious winter comfort foods and wish I could find the right ingredients here in Milan to make something good. Many of those recipes call for cream of mushroom soup, or something similar. They don't have those soups here... So, I have to find other ways to make those yummy comfort foods but it’s just not the same. Can anyone in Minneapolis just send me a pot of chili from Allie's Deli? If so, I would greatly appreciate it!! Hot peppers are hard to find here too, and the peppers you do find taste more sweet than hot. And they don't sell cheddar cheese here which is sooo disappointing- how am I supposed to make a good mac and cheese?? Ok, that's all for now. I'm just sitting in Milan, dreaming of my mom's comfort foods back home... not to mention warmer weather! Maybe my mom will be nice enough to cook me something in April when we go home??

It's so strange to see snow at the colosseum!
Photo courtesy:

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Andiamo a San Siro a vedere l'Inter!

IE: Let's go to San Siro to see Inter!

About a week and a half ago Josh, Andrea, Marina and I went to the Inter Milano soccer game at the world famous San Siro Stadium. Josh and I were so excited to finally see what a soccer game is like in Europe. We are huge sports fans and really enjoy seeing professional sporting events. Before moving here to Italy, we had season tickets to see the MN Vikings and I miss going to the games every Sunday! It seems like something is missing without that! Well, this was our chance to get a piece of the sporting action here in Italy.

Our view of the field
San Siro is HUGE!! It holds about 80,000 people (a lot more than the 65,000 of the Metrodome), and it looks like a huge parking ramp when you walk up to it. On the outside there are these tall ramps (like the exit out of a parking ramp) that just wind their way up the corners of the stadium. They look like a big corkscrew. The interesting part was that we could only go in one entrance for our section; we had to walk up about 4 flights of stairs, then give them our ticket to get to our seats. We had to use the restroom right away... and that was an experience!! It was probably the WORST bathroom I have seen yet in Italy (and I've seen some doosies). The smell was awful, and it was a hole in the ground with no toilet paper and no soap to wash your hands. Talk about wanting hand sanitizer!! Mental note: next time at San Siro, hold it!

The seats

We entered the stadium and noticed our seats were really dirty. They were muddy, and it looked like pigeons were living right above them. This was surprising to me, but I guess I'm spoiled by the indoor seating at the Dome. Everyone was sitting on newspaper, so we followed suit. The game was great and Inter won 2-1 vs. Lazio (a team from Rome). It was fun to see the crowd go crazy every time they scored, then sing the team chant. All in all, it was a great experience! We got to see a European soccer match (crossing that off the bucket list!) and Inter won! Andrea was super excited about that. The only downfall was that the fans were really calm. I thought that they would be all rowdy and going crazy, but I guess to see that we have to go to the Inter vs. AC Milano game. Maybe next year.

Goal for Inter! This guy looks like he's going to jump onto the field!