Expense Report

Before we parted ways in Portugal, Lisa and Jared gave us €40 and said we should spend it on a nice dinner. Well, that’s exactly what we did and so we decided to create an “expense report” for them. In this report, their company is referred to as “Pine View Acres” (a story for a different time). This report was compiled by David.

Date: August 7, 2012
To: Pine View Acres
From: Jenny and David
Amount: 40 Euros

To the Financial Officers of Pine View Acres:

This report is to inform you of the utilization of €40 provided to Jenny and David on July 20, 2012. The purpose of the expenditure was to maximize deliciousness of one meal on the part of Jenny and David, granted by Lisa and Jared. Overall, the expenditure was a success.

Description of Deliciousness:

Acting on a hot tip, we visited Il Pirata delle Cinque Terre (“The Pirate of the Five Lands”) in Vernazza, Italy. We were greeted by brothers Massimo and Gian Lucca, the proprietors of said establishment. They recommended the seafood plate to start, and we judiciously decided to follow their counsel.

Mixed Seafood Plate

As you can see from the provided photograph, the seafood plate was comprised of at least seven aquatic creatures, including but not limited to octopus, anchovy, tuna, shrimp, and salmon. Each oceanic delicacy was paired with a different type of berry and sauce. In this editor’s humble opinion, this may have been one of the tastiest dishes I’ve ever eaten. But the scruptitude was not going to stop there.

Next came prosciutto and melon, a classic pairing. The Italians have a knack for taking minimal but incredibly fresh ingredients and combining them in a way to make the sum greater than the parts. In this dish, the melon was perfectly sweet and soft at the peak of ripeness, and the prosciutto was thin, tender, and spicy. Another triumph for Il Pirata.

Prosciutto and Melon

We were beginning to get full by the time the main dish arrived, but it took little coaxing to dive into a plate of eggplant parmigiana. The melanzane, as the Italians call it, was prepared in a unique way. It was baked, rather than fried, but still smothered in a rich tomato sauce. Five stars.

Eggplant Parmigiana

And finally desert was brought to the table. It was Gian Lucca’s signature summer desert: panna cotta with berries. This dairy delicacy is a sort of custard covered in whipped cream and fresh blueberries, strawberries, and blackberries. Again, the choice, ripe berries brought this dish to the next level.

Panna Cotta with Berries

Including a bottle of wine this feast came to €42, only slightly over the €40 allocated to the endeavor. We hope that Pine View Acres will excuse this oversight in light of the high level of delectitude in the meal.

Alas, we only found Il Pirata on our last evening in Vernazza. Still we managed to make three trips to the restaurant: once for dinner, once for un cannolo (that’s the singular of cannoli), and once for breakfast.

“The Cannolli Brothers” earned their nickname the hard way: by producing the greatest cannoli under the sun (or so we’ve heard). Stopping by for one of these confectionary wonders was nothing short of sending your tastebuds on a journey to enlightenment.

Jenny and uno Cannolo

But still, the brothers emphasized that the summer heat causes undue stress to the native cows that produce the cream for Il Pirata’s cannoli, and that if we truly want the highest quality product, we should return in the winter months. Their attention to the quality of ingredients is second to none.

Il Pirata!

As a side note, Il Pirata was all but wiped out by the mudslides that nearly erased Vernazza on October 25th, 2011. After several months of rebuilding, most businesses are now open again. Massimo and Gian Lucca had to pump twelve feet of mud out of their restaurant. They renovated and reopened just a few weeks ago.

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