Italy, Travel
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So Close but Yet So Far: Torino

The scene of the crime from the power-people-watching seat: the dining room at the gorgeously renovated Del Cambio.

A twenty-ninth birthday needed celebrating. What to do, what to do? Go to Turin for the weekend. An hour away on the train is totally reasonable, but the problem is that the last one back to Bra is at 8:30. So to avoid pulling a Cinderella in the pumpkin missing her shoe kind of move, we booked an Airbnb for a couple nights. And went to a Michelin star restaurant.

In the days leading up to the meal, we pondered the tasting menus online, one of us gasped at the wine list (I don’t know enough “yet” to be at that stage) and we fretted over our outfit selection.

On the big night, we savored an array of beautifully plated and delicate dishes (fish! gnocchi made from breadcrumbs! marscapone and sea urchin! steak tartare!), rosé, the most pleasantly non-oaky Chardonnay I have ever tasted, little trays of beet chips, homemade chocolates and so much more.

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I will say that this is one of the only food photos I snapped throughout the evening–I found it to be somewhat embarrassing to do so. Still, inside this magical orange sphere was a tangerine cream, with lots of little bits and bobs involving almonds, peanuts and pistachios sprinkled around.

Near the end of the meal, one of the members of the service team approached our table to check up on us. We discovered she was a recent American transplant from Per Se and was thoroughly enjoying her time at a more “rustic” restaurant. I know my eyebrow raised when I heard her refer to this place as “rustic.” But she was knowledgable. And lovely. Plus she gave us each a glass of bubbly to toast the end of the meal.

When we mosied over to the coatroom after our three hour dinner, a woman swooped towards us and asked if we would like to see the wine cellar. Of course we would!

She took us down into the wine cellar, which just so happened to be her office as she was the head sommelier, where there was classical music playing amidst the 19,000 bottles in her inventory. She somewhat proudly showed off her “room of shame” with all sorts of boxes and rogue labels laying around plus a caged room with a 22,000 euro (!) bottle of wine locked inside. We walked through rooms of Piemontese wines, French wines, Napa wines, and all the while she answered our amateur-ish questions without hesitation.

We left Del Cambio a little lighter in the wallet, but feeling like a million bucks. Can you tell by our grins?

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The extended birthday celebration evening continued at a Vermouth factory/bar in the oh-so-hip San Salvario neighborhood called Anselmo Vermouth. The place was classic but modern but also jazzy-ish at the same time, so naturally we ordered a round of Pisco Sours. Was that weird? Maybe. There were also limoncello birthday shots.

Still, it wasn’t quite time to go home yet because we had to figure out how to get into the city’s only speakeasy: Mad Dog. All we had was the name of the street, but we were determined to make it in there. I won’t ruin the fun and tell you how we finally got a seat at the bar, but I will show you a peek from inside.

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We made it back to the apartment at 4 AM. At 4 AM in Bra, I would say the only thing happening is bakers pumping out loaves. Hooray for Torino.

On Saturday, the grey skies that we had managed to avoid for a few weeks came back and brought a slight drizzle with them. But that didn’t stop me from purchasing some bright red new Supergas (stay tuned) and also chowing down at the second edition of a street food festival that I also frequented in december. I still don’t really have a good mental image of the neighborhoods of Torino and where they are located geographically in relation to one another, but that makes for good wandering shopping energy, don’t you think?

On Sunday morning, we fueled up with a proper brunch at Lanificio San Salvatore that any city-dwelling American would give the thumbs up for. Lanificio means “wool shop” and there slyly displayed bits of colored yarn strung up on the walls. But I was too distracted by the cauldron (yes, cauldron) of yogurt on the buffet bar and by my massive tortilla espanola.

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Keep calm and brunch on.

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