Friday, May 7, 2010

Birthday Burritoes


Why couldn't my birthday be during the Spring semester, too? These celebrations are some of the most fun I get to have here in Italy. For about a week Selvaggia made plans to surprise Casalinga with a birthday dinner; myself and a big group of our apartment building friends were all in on the surprise. In hushed voices behind Casalinga's back, we all talked about the big dinner we were going to have on her 21st birthday night. It was just as exciting for her as for us. Since the beginning of the semester, all of us have had this obsession with food that isn't Italian. We got sick of pasta and pizza about 3 weeks in and relentlessly searched the city for other cuisines. One of the only cultural restaurants around the city is a place called Tijuana's and for the entire 3 month's we've been here we all promised ourselves we would go. Their margherita's (not the pizza) were apparently the best in the city, and that coupled with some traditional Mexican food sounded alot like a perfect evening. Selvaggia knew that Casalinga would love to spend her birthday night here and made reservations for our group. For days Casalinga had no idea. Of course, on the day of her birthday, she figured it out.

Regardless of the ruined surprise, the birthday dinner was a huge success. We all dressed in our classy birthday gear and walked, a full-fledged birthday procession, to Tijuana's. This place is so popular in Firenze that you've absolutely got to make a reservation before going or else you won't be seated. Even with a reservation, we had to wait about twenty minutes for a table. After sitting down, I took a moment to digest my surroundings. And guess what I found? Not only were there cherubs floating around the ceiling, directly to my right was a Madonna and Child. Its at the point now where I'm fairly certain I'm being haunted by Madonna and her chubby minions. I don't like it. I decided I wasn't going to let the Virgin Mary ruin my night and so I picked up my menu and stared down in disbelief. Pitchers of margherita's, burritoes, enchiladas, quesadillas, and nachos. The prices didn't matter at this point. Euro exchange rate be damned, I'm eating whatever I want. When I finally brought my head up from my menu, I looked around at the enraptured faces of my friends and realized we were all on the same page.

Our waitress came over and I was almost, but not quite surprised by the amount of margherita's my table ordered. We all got pitchers and shared with a friend. Thats a helluvalotta margherita. It was seriously a pitcher. Selvaggia and I decided to be the oddballs and order ours traditionally and I nearly regret the decision because everyone else's strawberry margherita's were unbelievably good. Our traditional one was just a teensie bit better, though, and since I like to be unique it was definitely a win-win situation. I slurped down an entire glassfull of the drink before ordering my meal. I wanted a burrito. When you go to a Mexican food place for the first time in what feels like a century, you should always order a burrito. Even saying the word burrito feels right when you're in a Mexican food place. We had nacho appetizers (with melted something like cheddar cheese that was close enough for me) before my mondo burrito came out. There were beans, there was rice, there was guacmole, and my chicken was exactly the right level of spicy. I'm almost ashamed that I couldn't finish it. I did, however, manage to finish my pitcher of margherita with Selvaggia.

The walk home felt almost like a walk of shame. I was kind of tipsy with a stomach full of Mexican delighfulness. Basically, I was stumbling along the Florentine cobblestones with what was sure to be a massive stomachache coming on. I wasn't bothered by any of it. More importantly, neither was Casalinga, who at this point had the opportunity to speak with her mom back and home and was officially a 21-year-old. Was she happy? I think so. Which means our failed surprise dinner at Tijuana's was a huge success.
Arrivederci, for now.
Love, Gabby

No comments:

Post a Comment