Bits and Pieces of Milan

Blogging while traveling proved to be a huge challenge. It’s even harder to remember what the name of the restaurant was 4 months later. I didn’t do my work as a food blogger to take down the names of the places I ate at, but there’s some worthy meals I had that I think should be recognized! I hope anyone reading this and planning to travel to Milan can hopefully find the places! So here are some of the random meals I had while in Milan:

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Mignon! Yes I believe this is what these cute mini pizzas are called. I call them pizzas since they are really a squished down bun filled with ingredients on the top. This one was ham and cheese, except sometimes they surprise you with an olive right in the middle. This place was near my hotel, which is near the Lambrate metro station. It’s called Pizzeria Mundial and after doing a quick search, I realized that it’s actually quite popular! They are known for their warm and soft dough and they offer a variety of other products, including pizzas. This place is very busy most of the day, especially in the mornings, so you need to be quick before what you see is sold out!

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For dinner one of the nights, we were tired and strolled around the luxury shopping area to look for food. Of course that’s a bad idea because everything is expensive in that area! We wandered into this mini square which had a few cafes and bars that looked more affordable. We saw the sign saying Free Wi-Fi and we immediately fell for it since we were desperate for some Internet. Not sure what the place is called, but it is a cafe. We sat outside and ordered a few dishes to share. This is the Caprese Salad which is very typical in Italy. However, this one came on bread! It is essentially fresh buffalo mozzarella cheese with tomatoes, basil and olive oil. The cheese isn’t strong and it has a rubbery texture to it which I really like. I’m not a fan of tomatoes, but this whole dish really goes well if you eat everything together!

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We also got a Ravioli with Ham. When in Italy, you eat pasta. But honestly, I don’t think this place was great for pasta. Their pastas are not handmade nor fresh, so it was quite a disappointment. Price-wise, yes – they are definitely cheaper, hence what we get.

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We also shared a Carbonara, which again was just alright. If you have the chance, be sure to try some good carbonara though, as it is famous in Italy, especially in Rome. It is an egg based pasta dish and can be quite filling.

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Pretty much when we have nothing to do and are thirsty, we end up going to a gelato shop. They are everywhere and these were mostly around the Duomo area. On our first day, we literally went to three gelato shops in the day. One time, it was one after another. Literally gelato shop hopping… Anyways, I think the coolest thing about some of the shops I saw in Milan were that their gelato are filled with fruits or the actual product of the flavour itself. For instance, I was addicted to their melon gelato, because you would actually get bits of melon in it and it was a thirst quencher on a hot day. If you really prefer creamier gelatos, then those will also have ingredients in it such as the bueno chocolate wafers.

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I got the Melon and Tiramisu I believe. If the shop has banana, you should also give it a try! It’s pretty good! I became addicted to trying a bunch of fruit gelatos as they are much more light.

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One morning, we wanted to go to Luini again, but it was unfortunately closed. We settled at a cafe where we saw Italians taking espresso shots in their tiny Illy cups! They would literally stand at the bar, take their coffee and head off to work. My sister wanted to try that, so we headed in, but after looking around to figure out how the system really worked, the server told us to just take a seat. I guess we looked too touristy to know what we were doing. I guess standing to take an espresso in Italy remains on her checklist now. Anyways, we tried to figure out the menu, and they had some sort of special about a coffee and croissant for a set price. Keep in mind this is all in Italian and we don’t know any other than “cafe”. So we each got a cafe with a croissant. I chose a cappuccino, and I don’t normally even drink any type of coffee. The closest thing is a Starbucks white chocolate mocha, but that’s about it. But heck, I was in Italy, so why not. Illy is known for their high quality of coffee, and seriously, after this coffee, I have begun to enjoy my cappuccinos. Not sure if that’s a good thing since I’m afraid of being caffeine-addicted, but that was seriously some good cafe! As for the croissant, it was more than a typical plain croissant. They had a sticky jam in the middle which made it ten times better. It was so flaky! Absolutely one of my favourite croissants I’ve had in Europe. Sad news was our Italian had failed on us. Our bill ended up being twice what we had imagined. We didn’t bother questioning since we didn’t want to cause a fuss and we probably wouldn’t have understood what they said. However, now that I think about it, I’m pretty sure the deal was for people who stand at the bar only. It’s kind of a weird system in Europe, but most places charge you less if you take your coffee standing at a bar. If you require a seat, then the item becomes double the price. Kind of silly, but I guess Europeans who usually sit down will literally just order a coffee and sit there for half a day. Turnover is then very low and hence they charge you more. I guess it only makes sense in Europe!

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Last but not least, another gelato! This was lemon and mango. Extremely refreshing! We literally ate gelato everyday in Milan! Now off to the next city…”city of water”… can you guess where?

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McCafe – Milan

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As students on a budget, we often end up eating on a budget. Milan definitely dug a hole in our wallet as we could not resist the shopping. What ends up happening is we either don’t eat or we eat cheap. Since I don’t like to sacrifice my stomach, I choose to find alternatives for food. And yes, we end up at McCafe. I mean, McCafe isn’t exactly cheap as well, because compared to Canada, McDonalds in Europe is actually quite pricey. But it is probably one of the cheaper options in Milan. We chose to get the dessert combo deal, where you can get a small drink with a dessert for a set price. I ended up getting a Cappuccino with a Tiramisu, while my sister got the Strawberry Cake. The tiramisu was actually really good! It was moist and had a strong coffee flavour. The cake was also not bad, and for the price we paid, we were quite satisfied. It’s always interesting to check out the McCafes in Europe because each city has a different menu!

Luini Panzerotti (Milan)

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Milan is a fairly expensive city to travel in as food and accommodation can be said to be more expensive relative to some other European cities. Therefore, finding food was a struggle, especially when we had all emptied our wallets after a long day of shopping at the outlet. We hadn’t researched which restaurants were good and local before arriving, and with no data on our phones, it definitely wasn’t the best idea. I’m someone who doesn’t want to be trapped in a tourist restaurant, or eat somewhere that is only mediocre while being expensive. I should’ve totally done my research, but I got lazy. However, my sister had done a quick search and remembered that people had recommended Luini Panzerotti for a cheap snack. Desperate for food that was cheap and filling, we headed off to look for it. It actually took us quite a while to find it as we walked into many alleys and made lots of turns. However, we realized that it was actually really close to the Duomo…So if you are looking for it, do not make the same mistake we did! It’s super easy to access as a tourist! When we got there at around dinner time, there was a huge line out the door. And everyone who had just bought their panzerotti were also eating outside, as they do not have sit in tables.

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Baked Luini – Mozzarella and Tomato

The line moved fairly quickly, and although their menu was huge with tons of different flavours, there were only two choices left at that time. I believe they were just trying to sell the last few batches, but luckily they were the most popular and typical fillings that a first-timer should try anyways. I chose to get the Baked Luini filled with Mozzarella and Tomato. This is their original and classic panzerotti. So what exactly is this panzerotti? Well, if you’re from North America, I’d compare it to a pizza pop or calzone, since we ate tons of those as a child. However, panzerottis actually originated from central and southern Italy, where it is said to have way better ones than the ones at Luini in Milan. But unless you are prepared to go there, then this will do! They really do remind me of pizza pops or calzones, but the dough is much more soft. It almost has a bread dough texture, whereas the pizza pops we eat in North America are harder. Sadly, I have to say I love the texture of an Italian panzerotti much more! When you bite in, the dough is soft, and the cheesiness of the mozzarella just makes everything so much better! However, I do find that the flavour is a little bland, but it’s perhaps due to the fact that there are only two fillings and both are not salty flavoured. I’m guessing ones that were filled with ham or another meat would be much more flavourful.

As well, Luini Panzerotti has fried luinis and sweet luinis! Kind of cool, but sad that I wasn’t able to try as they sold out. The next day, I tried to grab lunch with my sister there again, and they were renovating! Either they were closed on that day, or they were taking a break. So we were extremely lucky to have tried it out! Definitely check out their opening hours, as I don’t believe they are always open. It’s worth a try, and it will definitely fill you up for cheap!

Bar Duomo (Milano)

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Since classes in Spain are fairly chill during exchange, I took advantage of the cheap flights and easy access of traveling to other countries on my weekends. My sister had came to visit me, so off we went to Milan. It was fashion week as well, so it was the perfect time! K joined us as well, and when we arrived in the city centre, we were amazed by the Duomo. It is a Gothic Cathedral in the heart of Milan and is the 5th largest cathedral in the world! I can honestly say I can stare at this church all day. We wanted to take pictures, but honestly, we were starving. We told ourselves our mission would be to look for food first! Since we’re students and on a budget, eating at fancy restaurants isn’t something we can do all the time. So we headed outwards of this square in hopes that cafes would be cheaper since it wasn’t facing this beautiful church. Funny enough, after 30 minutes of looking for food and believing that the prices were still too expensive, we ended up back at this spot in front of the Duomo. Tired of walking and by now starving, we settled for Bar Duomo, which was literally facing the Duomo. Yea…what were we thinking? I’m not sure if we even looked at the menu before sitting down… But anyways, if you want to eat with a magnificent view, I guess this is the place to eat at.

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Your utensils even come in this fancy paper bag. We chose to sit outside as we obviously wanted a great view of the cathedral and the weather was quite nice that day.

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Mushroom, Ham, and Cheese Pizza

After looking at the menu, we realized the items weren’t that cheap. Well honestly, they aren’t extremely expensive, but for a student on budget, it’s a little more than we were budgeting. We ended up sharing two items between the three of us, and decided we would grab snacks on our way when we explored. First, we had to try some Italian pizza! This was the funghi pizza, which mushrooms, ham and cheese. I must’ve been starving, because this tasted really good. But I have to say, this isn’t the traditional types of Italian pizzas I’ve had in Rome, where there is only tomato sauce, mozzarella and basil leaves. Well, really, the classic Margherita. This was still made with fresh tomatoes and there were an abundance of toppings.

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Risotto Milanese

We were in Italy, and so why not a classic Risotto? My sister had heard that when in Milan, you must try the Risotto Milanese, so why not? I did find that it was a bit bland though because it did not have any other toppings. It was still extremely good with a good creamy base and cheesiness to it. What’s special about the Risotto Milanese is that the ingredients are simple, but still bring flavour. I guess I just wanted some other ingredients to change it up a bit as I was really just eating all rice. The creaminess is created by butter and Parmesan cheese, and the yellow colour is created by the hint of saffron.

It’s interesting to note that we did not end up getting any drinks. We assumed that the prices would be quite ridiculous and we knew we could get cheaper drinks elsewhere. But as I write this post today, I had taken a look at what other diners had said about Bar Duomo. I am amazed that they had charged diners such high prices for drinks! It’s ridiculous! So before you head here, definitely check out other diner’s reviews as the ridiculous price of drinks is definitely an issue. Unless you’re ready to just eat, then I probably wouldn’t recommend coming here.

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And lastly, I had to finish this post with the Milano Duomo. It’s so breathtaking and although Milan could be said to be a city full of luxury and shopping, this Duomo is definitely worth the visit.