It’s the 29th, so lets eat Gnocchis

Posted on October 30, 2008

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It is tradition in this part of South America to eat Gnocchis (en Espanola noqui) on the 29th of each month. For future prosperity, it is custom to leave money underneath your plate as you eat. After eating, you carry that money with you, not to be spent. Our waiter also advised us that it was lucky to instead leave the money on the table for him, though I think perhaps he made that up.

There are two theories why gnocchis are eaten on the 29th. One is that it is right before the end of the month and gnocchis are cheap soul food to sustain you until payday. The other is that the 29th is the feast day of Saint Pantaleon, who performed a miracle by blessing poor farmers who shared their meal of bread with him.

Per Wikipedia, “In a curious reversal of meaning, in Argentine and Uruguayan slang ñoqui has also become a way to denote a government employee that is listed in the payroll but only shows up to collect his or her paycheck around the 29th of each month.”

We celebrated the 29th by enjoying an excellent meal at La Spaghetteria 23. La Spaghetteria is an excellent Italian restaurant located near our hotel. Sauces and pasta are ordered separately. All the pasta and sauce is made in house and is extremely fresh. I counted over 50 types of sauce and there were several more off menu as specials. The meal started off with excellent fresh fruit smoothy champagne drinks on the house. I had tri-color gnocchis with a spicy arrabiata sauce. It was so nice to get something spicy as generally the food in Uruguay has very little spice (surprise, not like Mexico). Laura had gnocchis with a prosciutto sauce heavy on the cream and fresh basil. Trusha had the gnocchis with the same arrabiata sauce I had. Paired with an excellent local cabernet and an apple flan for dessert. Total cost, $25 each, including tip and bread charge.
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