I’ve learned to swear by the Let’s Go guides while traveling: they are usually well written, concise but thorough, and serve my purposes perfectly (ie getting the most out of a place without breaking the bank). I’m still trying to to come to terms with the fact that they are all written by Harvard students.
So on my first night in Bastia, I decided to check out a restaurant called U Tiano, which came highly recommended by my guide. It apparently specialized in traditional Corsican dishes. In the name of research, of course, I figured I should go.
The walls of the upstairs restaurant were plastered with all things Corse (well except for Che Guerrera who made it in there somehow), from old magazine covers, and separatist posters to a clock shaped like the island. I turned out not to be the only one eating alone, although I assumed at first that the man sitting in the corner was waiting for someone else, since he had a pitcher of wine and three plates on his table. Was I ever wrong…
There was no actual menu a U Tianu–instead there was a menu in the French sense of the word, which means for the set price of 23 euros I get my choice of one thing was a few options in each category (ie one appetizer, one entrée).
appetizers and wine
The first step was the aperitivo, a pre-dinner drink. I chose the cap corse, which my waiter explained was somewhere between a martini and porto. He also brought me a pitcher of water…a cold one! (highly unusual in Europe)…thankfully. Next was the appetizer, which is misleadingly called the entrée in French (actually it’s we English speakers who misuse their word). The appetizer spread included a bread basket, an oily and tasty salad of chickpeas and basil, a gray paste whose contents were unclear (but it tasted somewhat like seafood, so I will assume and hope that’s what it was made of), and local charcuterie, three types of dried meat and sausage. And when I ordered my wine, which was also included in the price of the meal, I got not a glass but a pitcher, roughly equal to an entire bottle, which needless to say was not finished, since I was hoping to actually find my hotel again.
It seemed like he was taking forever after clearing my entrée to take my order for my plat, or main course. But soon the waiter reappeared with three serving dishes. Apparently here you didn’t choose which you wanted, you simply got all of them. There were cannelloni, with a thin red sauce and filled with brocciu, the local sheep cheese in one dish. Next, lamb with penne and finally dark lentils with bacon.
Just when I was full to the point that back home I would imagine most waiters coming to clear the table, he asked: do you want me to reheat those for you? Umm, no I think I’m done, I said, feeling quite full. No, you must eat more. I waited for him to laugh, assuming it was one of those waiter-customer jokes. He just moved to the next table, apparently serious. Feeling a bit like a 3 year old told to finish her vegetables, I spooned some more onto my plate. A few minutes later, he returned, plesed to see that I had made a larger dent, but said, you have to at least finish the cannelloni. I did.
excessive? or course not.
But there was more. Continue reading
Filed under Bastia, France