For the record, I love Siena. We decided to work this place into our trip a day or so before we left. I didn't know anything about it, but our friend, Katy, reported that this was one of our favorite places. I'm glad we followed her suggestion. While Rome is an amazing place, I would not call it relaxing. Siena moves at a much slower pace, and it is beautifully quiet. Few cars venture into the old city center, allowing you to wander around the narrow, twisted streets and take in the sounds of an old, old city, without the constant buzz of cars and scooters drowning everything out. The food here is excellent as well.
Since this was a last minute addition to our itinerary, we didn't have time to research restaurants here. We checked into our hotel around lunch time and asked the guy working at the front desk where he liked to eat lunch. He pointed us to La Sosta Di Violante Osteria, which was just a short walk from the hotel. This place was awesome. We ordered three dishes here.
Risotto al chianti e pecorino di Pienza (risotto with chianti and pecorino): I had seen this recipe in cookbooks before, but I had never actually tasted it. The chianti lends a really nice flavor to the risotto, and it pecorino balanced the chianti quite nicely. The risotto was perfectly al dente.
Pici con ragu di maiale alla vecchia maniera (handmade pasta with pork ragu): I've had pork ragu several times. In fact, it's one of my favorite sauces to make. I really like how they made it here, though. I usually shred the pork into smaller pieces, but they left it in larger chunks. The pork had probably been stewing all morning, and broke apart really easily with the side of the fork. The pici was the perfect pasta for this. It had a really nice texture to it. It's a round pasta, but thicker than spaghetti, so its had a nice chewiness to it. I'm a big fan.
Ceci al rigatino e ramerino (chickpeas with Tuscan bacon and rosemary): Yet another fine dish. The Tuscan bacon and rosemary added nice, savory elements to the chickpeas.
All in all, a great meal. If you are in Siena and need a spot for lunch. Give this place a shot.
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