I have been dreaming about visiting Italy for years. It is my mecca, drawing me in with its retractor beam. Italy represents everything that I adore about food. Handmade pastas. Luscious sauces. Decadent gelato. Charred steaks. Fresh vegetables. Fish. Markets. Sorbetto. Espresso. Carpaccio. Pastries. Cheese. There are endless reasons why eating at least one meal in Italy should be added to your list of things you must do. I finally got the chance.
Trieste, a seaside town on the border with Slovenia, is only a 6 hour drive from our house. So naturally, at our first opportunity we beelined for the border. While we only spent about 4 hours in Italy, I got the meal I was hoping for. We had no idea what we were looking for exactly, we only knew that it would be clear once we found it.
After an hour of misguided, uninformed wandering, we both zeroed in on an alley. It was not a particularly exciting alley except that it contained a small cafe with a large huddle of Italian men drinking wine on its stoop. This was it.
The cafe was Osteria ai Maestri. Open 364 days as of our visit. Owned by a husband and wife. The husband cooks. The wife serves. No more than 10 seats. The food was exquisite. Take a look… We started with unbelievably tender and lemony beef carpaccio dotted with pink peppercorns and drizzled with olive oil atop a mound of peppery arugula.
And then there was pasta. Perfectly al dente handmade rigatoni with gorgonzola and walnuts. My eyes rolled back in my head.
And finally, a huge and perfectly charred filet sprinkled with sea salt over arugula.
In case you were wondering what the inside looked like. Vegetarians, avert your eyes.
For a place we just happened to walk into, it was one of the best meals I've ever had. I'm over the moon that Italy did not disappoint considering how high up on the culinary pedestal I have placed it. Watch out Italy, I'll be back!