The Worst Meal in Italy

Dinner that night — [sigh] — I’m sad to report that it was a fiasco from start to finish! The good thing is that it was so bad it was comical and we had a good laugh about it. We had set out to once again find the restaurant our apartment guide recommended. FAIL. Starving, we settled on a place tucked down a quiet street, with nice, flickering lanterns and great outdoor seating. It looked promising, and our waitress spoke great English, so we were ready for a fantastic meal.

Yeah, that didn’t happen.

First, she brought out the bread. I call it bread because it looked like bread, and was served in a basket like bread often is. But this was no normal bread. This was the stalest bread in the entire history of baking. It’s perfectly plausible that this bread was baked during the Middle Ages, sliced during the Renaissance, then served to us 700 years later. Even an obscene dousing with olive oil couldn’t resuscitate the stuff. But we choked it down (like a snake trying to swallow a gopher) because we were starving. The waitress brought our  bottle of prossecco (Yay!!!) which didn’t pop when she opened it (Boo!!!). Normally, this is a cause for immediate concern, but she acted like nothing was amiss. David  and I exchanged a concerned glance, but we decided to follow her lead. Until we tasted it. One sip, and it was obviously flat. After a short debate, we decided to bring it to her attention. This however, turned out to be a two-fold agony, since A) I hate doing that kind of thing in the States, much less where I don’t speak the language, and B) we couldn’t very well drink any more of the prosseco if we were sending it back, so there was no assistance easing down the bread boulders lodged in our esophogi.

Thankfully, she was very apologetic, had another waiter bring a new bottle, which he opened and kind of slammed down into the holder. By the way, that one was flat, too, but we didn’t say anything, because what do you do at that point?

Our appetizer was good, spinach and ricotta gnuddi (I don’t know if it was really good or if we were just thankful for something soft to chew). As for the main course, I think I had some kind of a wild boar Bolognese…I can’t recall. David had veal, which was not what he ordered, but by then the whole thing had  become a black comedy.

The highlight of the evening was a trip to their restroom, via a glass-walled elevator tucked next to their kitchen. You actually had to hold the button down to lower yourself. When I got back and reported this to David, he asked, “Are you sure you weren’t in the dumbwaiter?” To this day, I’m still not sure.


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