There is a little gelato corner-shop in Florence, across the Palazzo Vecchio, where you can order a 30 different homemade flavors of the sweet treat. If you are so inclined you can order a cone or a stack of gelato five-scoops high. I don’t remember the name of the shop, but I do remember they had very good gelato.
Very satisfying indeed. My gelato was quite tasty.
I was enjoying my gelato alongside my gorgeous, funny, man-whore friend while staring out of their antique floor-to-ceiling windows. I watched as adorable newlyweds, from all over the world, formed lines waiting for their eternal-bliss summons into the Palace’s modest and exquisite wedding chambers. Each couple was called at punctual 15 minute intervals, of course. It was a stunning, ancient Medieval backdrop, with wall-to-wall modern lovers dressed to the 9’s. Also there were dozens of exuberant, camera-toting tourists unapologetically and hilariously photographing themselves as part of the wedding parties!
There is a storied, landmark hotel in Chicago known internationally as The Drake Hotel. The ballrooms are grand, magnificent, sumptuous, and without doubt, luxuriously austere. The Cape Cod room restaurant in the west wing is fine dining, located in a traditional space overlooking Michigan Avenue. I remember attending a charity auction there a few years ago, organized by the late and beloved event-planner-extraordinaire Mary McCall.
Everything was beautiful. The charity benefit was terrific, and the food was spectacular. It was an absolutely wonderful evening.
I also remember my beautiful, understated, sexy and sophisticated date. He was the kind of luscious human being that possessed an unintentional, attractive swagger that made everyone want to kill me instantly! The auction was the popular annual Celebrity-Chair Benefit, which Mary McCall had, once again, outdone herself. I was lucky enough to win my bid on a piece that a good friend had put together with Gwenyth Paltrow. And the food was exquisite. There was no shortage of great Chicago chefs doing what they do best, feeding the most adventurous palates!
My favorite dish of the evening was the fresh Neopolitan pizza, by my favorite chef Mark Bello. I may be biased, as I had befriended him after my gorgeous, funny, date and I finished our gelatos in Florence that day. I am not one to praise my friends unconditionally. In fact, I think my good friends rely on my brutal honesty, when asked for my opinion.
Mark doesn’t just teach you how to thoroughly enjoy the experience of cooking, preparing, sharing and devouring a beautiful meal. He reminds you what the definition of delicious really is.
I promise you, I am not alone in my opinion that his food is phenomenal. Get him, and his food, while he’s hot!
If you venture to try Chef Bello’s cooking, ask him about the Traveling Sex Museum exhibit he saw in Florence. Only ask, though, after he shows you how to make your pizza!