Jen and I both agreed that a most excellent topic for a food for thought post would be what is your most memorable meal of all time? Which is similar, but not exactly the same as what was the best meal you’ve ever eaten? Feel free to answer one or both of our questions in the comments section, at your leisure!
Okay, I’ll go first. ANNE SAYS:
I actually have two most memorable meals of all time. The first one was enjoyed with none other than Jen herself, at La Pepica restaurant in Valencia, Spain. The year was 1999. I believe we had spent time at the beach that day, and then stopped by the highly recommended La Pepica for a midday meal of paella valenciana. Obviously it was just the two of us dining together that afternoon, but out the waiter came with an enormous-sized paella pan filled with the wonderful goodness that is paella. What could be better than being footloose and fancy free in Spain with my best friend in the birthplace of paella?? I remember how we stuffed ourselves with the paella, because we had no way of saving leftovers and didn’t want it to go to waste. We still weren’t able to finish it all though.
My other most memorable meal was eaten in Corniglia, Italy, the smallest of the towns making up the Cinque Terre. The year was 2004, and I was in the midst of a three week Spanish/Italian vacation with my wonderful husband. It was our last night in Corniglia, and we just stopped in at a restaurant that we came across while wandering the streets. There weren’t a ton of restaurants to choose from in that small town, but I have no idea what the name of the place was called. What I do remember is that everything we ate that night was in season and locally grown and homemade. We dined on a course of salad greens, drizzled with the most terrific olive oil and sprinkled with fresh parmesan. We also had the house-made pasta served with the freshest tasting basil and pine nut pesto possible. Everything was washed down with wine of course, and then to top off the meal we had a fresh peach tiramisu with fresh cream. I will never forget how good that was. And then afterwards we strolled down the street and got a gelato for dessert. Aaaaaah, the memories. The delectable memories.
My top meals of all times are not just about the food but about the experience. The entire experience is what makes a meal memorable. Don’t ya think?
I wrote this before I read Anne’s comments above – it’s no wonder we are best buds.
There is a restaurant in Valencia, Spain called Pepica. I’ve had the pleasure of dining there on 2 separate occasions. They were 2 of the best meals of my life. Pepica is right on the beach with fresh salt air greeting your nose with every breath. Water and wine grace the table and hearty Spanish conversations go on all around you.
Both times I had the classic Paella Valenciana filled with seafood caught that morning in the Mediterranean sea, chicken, saffron, bomba rice, vegetables and fresh lemon juice. All this was made to order and delivered in a traditional (and huge) paella pan. The proper way to eat it is with a fork in one hand and chunk of bread in the other. Every bite was heaven.
But it wasn’t just the food, it was the experience.
The first time I was there was with Anne, the week after we graduated from college. It was our last hoorah before entering the real world of 40-hour work weeks and a lifetime of obligation. We chatted, giggled and talked about all that the future would bring – like what beach we were going to visit next. We used our Spanish degrees to pretend we were locals and the food and the day was amazing.
My next visit to Pepica was with Brette before we were married (but I totally knew where it was headed). He is not a Spanish speaker so I had the pleasure of being the teacher as well. The food was as incredible as it had been 2 years prior, but sharing paella and my favorite country with the love of my life was truly something special.
All of my most favorite memories of all time are anchored on the special food that accompanied them. It doesn’t have to be difficult to create an experience with food, as long as you surround yourself with those that are important to you. For the record, I don’t believe it needs to be fancy food, just good food. Homemade pizza, grilled burgers, Chinese takeout – they all apply. It is about creating the experience.
So, now it’s your turn. What is your most memorable meal? We want details!