Monday, June 02, 2008


I think perhaps the greatest thing I learned on my trip to Italy was to always order the dish with the name of the restaurant in it. Linguine del Billy in Cinque Terre's Trattoria del Billy. Spaghetti Astronave in Senese's Astronave. It never failed to be a good idea.

This trip to Italy was one unending round of eating. We became hobbits, eating first breakfast, second breakfast, elevensies, lunch, snack, dinner, and dolci EVERY SINGLE DAY. It was, as Corey put it, an orgy of food. Nothing extravagant (though I did eat octopus on my anniversary), but everything grown locally with care and prepared fresh. The cheese in Senese likely came from the brown cows chewing grassy plants in the middle of the roads or the goats an old man walked on a leash through downtown. I saw the waitstaff frequently head outside to pick herbs from pots and plots growing outside even the tiniest restaurant.

So we went everywhere and ordered either the thing named after the restaurant or the thing called "chef's choice." I'm not really how to describe what it tasted like to eat something an Italian chef was so proud of, he or she named it after his or her establishment. The sauces were creamy and complex. The meats melted, so soft I could cut them with a butter knife. The cheese...well I ate 18 pounds of it for certain.

My greatest joy is that I can come home from the trip and at least attempt to recreate the care taken to prepare meals. My garden is growing like crazy, and I have only a few weeks left (surely) before I can pick my foods and experiment to recreate the flavors I found.

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