Saturday, September 20, 2008

Happy Anniversary to Me!

That's right, I said 'Happy Anniversary!' No, not a wedding anniversary like everyone else has. Today is the first anniversary of my very first (hopefully NOT last) trip to Italy and subsequently, the first authentic Italian meal! On this day, September 20, 2007, I traveled with friends from Cheltenham, England where I was on vacation, to Pisa, Italy for a mini-inside-my-vacation-vacation.

Once we were to Pisa, we traveled by train on to the historic city of Florence. The owners of the apartment we rented for our stay suggested a family restaurant/meat market just around the corner. We were hungry travelers searching for sustenance. No time to check the travel book for a place to go so we followed their directions to a place that in my opinion, served the BEST food of the entire trip! We ended up eating their on two separate days, it made me happy :) Communication was minimal between the us and the waiters during the entire trip but as you can see, we were able to work it out. My first meal? Lasagna & Bistecca (steak). Fantastico!

Tonight my mom and I ate at a local restaurant here in St. Louis called Trattoria Toscana to commemorate the occasion. I was a bit let down by all the artwork which seemed to consist of about 90% Venice and 10% non-specifically geographical Italian scenes, rather than anything even closely resembling the beauty of "Tuscany" as the name would suggest. It was not a visual reminder of my trip, unfortunately. I later learned the owners are really Albanian. Hmmm. The food was overpriced but had big portions. Not all foods make good leftovers. I would rather have had a smaller portion and a smaller bill. I had tilapia and mom had linguine with clams. We started with a smoked salmon antipasti with toast, butter and lemon. Mom thinks the butter was actually cream cheese, I thought, is this Italian fare or Jewish?

It just goes to show, nothing can compare to the real thing. Ding, Ding, Ding! Everyone raise your glasses, "Here's to the hope that I will again some day, return to the home of my ancestors and feast on the abundance of a time and place I will dream about forever!" Bonapatito!


Anonymous said...

Isn't Italian one of the specialties in St. Louis? What about all those restaurants on "the hill" that I always hear about? I think you should just keep trying until you find a proper Tuscan meal!!

In the process maybe you can start a restaurant blog... it's all downhill from there. :-) Still, I'm looking forward to a few squares of St. Louis style pizza, myself--Not Tuscan, but certainly a treat.

Thanks for the memories!

4streegrrl said...

Thanks for a little bit of insight into your trip to Italy, and the food! I'll have to dig around your blog and see if I can find any more goodies about Italy. ;)

My husband's parents immigrated (emigrated? I get those confused) to Canada from Friuli-Venezia Giulia, the province waaaay up in the far northeastern part of the country right next to Slovenia. His mother makes the most wonderful, simple "peasant" food from that region, and luckily my husband has got a pretty good knack at cooking it himself. Although I'm a vegetarian and they are pretty heavy on the meat (the northern Slavic-Germanic influence), I do enjoy some very authentic polenta, risotto, homemade gnocchi and tomato sauce, minestrone (NOT at all like the soup you get in restaurants in north america), and all sorts of yummy veggies. I think I'm making myself hungry right now. *lol*

Hope you get to Italy again one day! With luck and some planning, my husband and I will make the pilgrimage ourselves one day to meet his extended family and enjoy the food. Can't wait!