I’ve studied abroad twice and spent time in every country I could along the way, but the best meal I’ve ever had was in the first place I ever visited. Summer 2015 found me taking my first study abroad to Arezzo, Italy. It was the first time I’d ever gone abroad, and I was nervous. I don’t speak Italian and I am—or at least I used to be—a notoriously picky eater. I was afraid I would starve to death.
The funny thing was, since I couldn’t read or speak Italian, I was forced to branch out. Nine times out of ten, I would just point to something on the menu and pray that I would like it. But I was never once disappointed. While in Arezzo, I went to as many different restaurants as I could and tried to order something different each time. But sometimes I had something so delicious I couldn’t help but go back again and again.
My favorite restaurant – and favorite place in Arezzo – is called Antica Osteria L’Angia and the best meal I’ve ever had was there, on my last night in Arezzo. I ordered the two most delicious items on the menu: Pici con Amatriciano e Grifi en Umido. Pici is a type of pasta, kind of like spaghetti, and amatriciano is a sauce with tomatoes, beef, and cheese. I never got a good grasp on what exactly Grifi en Umido was; the closest I came was Veal Stew. Regardless, those two as my first and second courses ended up being a dinner to remember. There was also bread and olive oil, something I still eat back home, and the house wine.
It was a bittersweet dinner. Absolutely delicious, but I knew that I might never eat there again. On my way out the door I stopped the waitress, who spoke a little English, and told her one of the biggest reasons I was upset about leaving Arezzo was that I wouldn’t be able to eat there anymore. She asked me to wait, went and got the owner, and told her what I said. She smiled and spoke the only English I had ever heard her say, “You come back some day.”
I hope so.