I love to observe, I love to walk (and observe while I walk obviosuly), I love to write down what I have seen to fix it, like a sort of guarantee I freeze my emotions, the same emotions that after a while can fade, just because time makes it happen. During these Xmas holidays I have spent few days in Milan, just to relax and chill-out a little bit. I neglect to listen to that slice of cake of opinions which categorize that city as grey dyed, just business-oriented, where you have nothing to see. Excuse me, can you repeat? Do you have a soul?
On the contrary, I got absolutely captured by the massive amount of colours, lights, tastes and flavors.
I have been living there several years for study (mmm, and not only ...), but this time I had seen it from a different angle, with different eyes let's say...And, frankly admitting it, with a thicker wallet, a particular which always helps...
1st: Useless to say that if you are a fashion addicted, Milan is extremely dangerous. That's why I strongly recommend to walk around the quadrilateral fashion district on the 1st of January, as I did. You can still enjoy the glitter of the Xmas lights and the dazzingl haute couture maison's windows, having their doors locked. Ok, the sensation is not exactly like the one you have when you come out staggering with a countless number oh shopping bags on your wrist (passing by an hyper-strapping man in black), but at least you can dream about your dinner without any sense of guilt (so, my advice is: wait until the day after, when the sales start!).
2nd: Useless to say that if you are a foodies addicted, Milan is extremely dangerous. And this time, not only for your wallet, but also for your shape ;) Unless you decide to avoid the subway and walk, walk and ... walk...No matter if you freeze, just walk. And after a visit at the fantastic and majestic cathedral and all the surrounding area, stop by Luini, and eat one of their panzerotti. Simply amazing. One of those that you eat with all the voracity left after the Xmas blowouts.
Especially if you have skipped lunch to pretend to be healthy. Or, maybe more realistically, because you have skipped lunch after having filled yourself like a pig at one of the #California Bakery formats. I am not a passionate of formats but let me say that this one is extremely cute. You can have your scrambled eggs bagel and pancakes next to a very alternative and cool Milan couple, speaking about their just recent night of sex (I am joking :) and wearing the same trendy stripes hat.
And what about Navigli? is it about food lovers? There are a couple of places I would recommend to go and one of this is #El Brellin, the "Milanese style", especially their brunch is excellent.
The massive part of this suburb is made of small bars and pubs where you can enjoy an happy hour. Amazing if you are a student under your 30s ... (sobh :-( ) To avoid if you have a sensitivity (just a slight one is enough) for decent food and beverage. I am not generalyzing of course, I am not the one going for the "black and white theory", exception exist in life, always. But, in general (and I have just said I am not generalyzing ;-)) in the "happy hour" (where the formula is: pay for the drink and eat whatever is served on the buffet) the quality of the food is quite low.... and dangerous, again.. And, I would bet that whatever kind of pasta left hours and hours there macerating would lose its appeal (so quality and timing are playing toghether!). Finally I have learnt (after years and years) that maceration is not always good!
Always speaking about Navigli, what can I say of traditional trattorias serving traditional food? I have been at "La Trattoria Milanese", located at the start of one of the two Naviglio lanes. You can enjoy an #ossobuco "alla Milanese" and a #risotto "alla Milanese" and something else "alla Milanese". But let me say that the place has lost some shine throughout the years. It looks like time hasn't passed there but not in a positive connotation. It looks somehow a tired environment. I am sorry :( ? Yes, I am.
3rd: Useless to say that if you are a wine addicted, Milan is extremely dangerous. Wine everywhere. Go to the Peck wine cellar in Via Spadari and if you want (and can!) you might leave there 8K euro for a bottle. Extremely rich cellar, wit labels from all over the world, a prestigious place.
Go to the Eat's food hall at the #Excelsior luxury shopping center and you can find the most trendy labels, also natural and orange wines. And also a very nice guy (well prepared) which after half an hour chatting with me and disclosing his knowhow, started to give vent to its frustration about the professionalism of some colleagues and bla, bla, bla...That's life!
Or go to Eataly at Milano Smeraldo and there you can find many interesting labels (a part from those where Farinetti business is involved...). I personally do not like Eataly so much (you see it? I am not a lyer, before I said that I don't like formats), but a visit to it it's worthed at least to understand towards which direction we are moving. Should I cry now? A small tear, come on!
Anyway, anyhow, I personally love more rustic places. Those place that to get there you simply need to know them beacuse they are not famous. Do you understand what I mean? The case is that I got the luck to bump into a very "vivid" and "traditional" winery quite far from the city center, precisely in Via Paolo Sarpi, in the heart of the Milan Chinese ghetto. Simply I loved it. As it's often the case in such places, conversation with the staff and management was part of the experience. Browsing the shelves full of handwritten tags helping in understanding what wonders are you looking at was the most fascinating part. And the excellent glass of German Riesling I had too. If I remember well it was a Dönnhoff of 2012 Vintage. The name of the winery? #Cantine Isola.
Last but not least, if you cannot fully dissemble your hidden posh impulse donate yourself a dinner at #Iyo …"what makes Iyo truly special is the quality of the ingredients and the uncommonness of the flavours, which catapult you in to a parallel sensory universe" (nuok.it). It's the first fusion restaurant in Italy who earned a Michelin star. It deserves it. Just my personal opinion.
And please, do not forget to try the tuna belly with goose foie gras & Maldon salt. Upss, I forgot to say one thing, it's dangerous! You can like it so much that you prefer to explode rather then stop eating.
Conclusion: if you are not a scaredy cat, go to Milan eat, drink, make shopping and enjoy it!