Friday, August 5, 2011

Photoless Friday (23): the Easy life in Milan, and more...

The pun was too good to pass up. If you are in Milan, one of the free helpful publications is...More......

...EASY MILAN ( Of the three free handy dandy publications in English available (we've talked about the other two, WHERE MILAN and MILANO MESE, before), this one is most focused on practical stuff, and so will be helpful for those living here. Its "classified ads" format, with some other paid advertising thrown in, is organized by subject, from Arts & Leisure to Worship, but not in alphabetical order [see me frown...], passing through employment opportunities along the way.

Coming to Milan to do some discount shopping? I guess if you're set on having that high end fashion brand splashed all over your clothes, you'd might as well spend 50% less (though it still escapes me, how a rinky dink not-even-very-good-quality cotton T-shirt could cost $500 and more in the first place). Here's yet another place to put on your list: NIKI, Viale Montenero, 78, not so far from centrally located Piazza 5 Giornate, tel. +39.02.546.88.55.

Summertime closures haunt the city, though, so call ahead.

Speaking of summertime closures, hungry after all that shopping? How about some Mexican food for lunch? It's already ALMOST IMPOSSIBLE to find a Mexican food restaurant open for lunch in Milan (boooooooo!). Where to go?

During the year (except for August), go to Otra Vez on Viale Monte Nero, about halfway between Piazza 5 Giornate and Piazza Medaglia d'Oro. "It's August, though!," I hear you cry. Fear not. The "sister" restaurant, Cueva Maya, on Viale Monte Nero, but closer to Piazza Medaglia d'Oro, is open for lunch (but only in August).

"How IS their food?," you ask. I just had lunch at Cueva Maya a couple of days ago, and it was pretty good (coming from Southern California, where Mexican food is native, I consider myself, if not an expert, at least quite informed).

Beware of getting burritos anywhere in Milan. ALWAYS ask first, "Do you fix your burritos ahead of time, and then heat them up in the microwave?" ("Preparate in anticipo i vostri burritos e poi li riscaldate nel micronde?") If the answer is "sì" (and it probably will be), pick something else. At Cueva Maya, that "something else" interesting on the menu was a 'taco' with grilled beef, which turned out to be a thick flour tortilla heated on the grill, then folded in half around the stuffing. Wasn't anything like the tacos (with stiff deep-fried corn tortillas) I know. Turns out to be the burrito I had wanted all along, just not double folded, but I was all the happier for it.

How about the hot sauce for dipping the tortilla chips? Unlike a different (and supposedly snazzy) Mexican food restaurant I tried a few months back, at least here it seems like the tomatoes of their sauce were fresh, not canned (boooooo!), but there was too much hot pepper and not enough cilantro for my fact, you could hardly taste the cilantro at all...was it more authentically Mexican this way? Was it adjusted for Italian taste buds? I don't know. Maybe one of my gazillion (11) readers is Mexican, and will be able to answer this searing question.

How was the bill at the end of the meal? A heck of a lot for Mexican food, in my book, but not so bad for Milanese standards: E.15 for the taco (with a spoon each of refriend beans, sour cream and guacamole and a bit of greens, but I didn't go away hungry) and E.3 for the bottle of water, a whoppin' E.18 plus the E.2 tip for a grand total of E.20 ($28.20 at the current exchange rate of 1.41...OUCH! I wish I hadn't done that calculation).

Would I go back?

Now that I've seen that calculation, I'll be MUCH less tempted, until I can't resist the Mexican food bug bite any longer...maybe next year..., but in their defense, that plate was pretty darn close to what I consider good Mexican food.

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