A while back (it seems a lifetime ago), Rand and I were sitting in the living room of our old home talking about our then-upcoming trip to Italy.
“Do you have a must-see list of places you want to visit?”
“Not really,” I replied honestly. “But I have a must-eat list.”
He looked at me, waited a beat, and replied with grave sincerity: “I love you so much.”
Truth be told, I rarely have a plan of what to visit when I head to a city. This is amusing, because I am one who diligently plots most elements of her life (I remember meticulously charting out my 8th birthday party into 10 minute increments before my mother stepped in and stopped the lunacy). It just seems pointless – so many of the best adventures I have happen on the fly, and besides, when I do plan things out, a wrench is often thrown into the cogs and things never go as I anticipated. So I prefer to just head somewhere with a vague idea of what I want to see (i.e., Italy = old stuff; London = big clock) and that’s that.
But when it comes to what I’m going to eat? There can be no ambiguity there. I’ve staked out patisseries. I’ve tracked down cupcake carts. I traveled across Manhattan for hummus. I’ve walked across English cobblestones in uncomfortable shoes while braving freezing rain in search for a meat pie. And when I do plan to see a particular sight? I’ll have at least three or four nearby restaurant options jotted down in my purse.
The way I figure it, eternal landmarks come and go, but a really good meal? The memory of that lasts FOREVER.
And so, before we left for the eternal city, I had a list of dishes that I wanted to devour. Some distinctly Roman. Some merely Italian. All of them were must-eats. Oh, and we went to the Pantheon and the Roman Forum and saw a bunch of other nonsense like that. But whatever. Let’s talk about the food. (more…)