I was lucky enough to have that happen on my most recent trip back to the motherland - nyc that is..
My sister and I drove down for a long overdue weekend in the city - and even though this was the city where we grew up, we were determined to act like tourists - And we did - fitting as much as we could into 2 days - and at the top of that list was to eat - and eat we did.
Apart from the deceptively "light and harmless" sangria at a tapas bar and cafe near our hotel, the great breakfast at EJ's - where my sister ate almost the entire bowl of homemade raspberry preserves.. and the obligatory nyc bagels - we had one great dinner down on Bleeker street.
The restaurant was traditional Italian - a recommendation from a trusted source - to whom I am indebted. At 262 Bleeker between Morton and Cornelia sits this unassuming little place - called Pesce Pasta Trattoria - simply put: Fish and Pasta.. and I ask you - what could be better than that?
My sister and I know it's going to be a good dining experience as soon as we walk in and smell the seafood, see the red and white checkered tablecloths, the glasses of Chianti on every table and the attentive waitstaff attending to a full house.
We get the last empty table in the place - after we sit down a line starts to form outside this tiny but apparently popular destination - and it looks like a lot of locals are there - always a good sign.
My sister smartly ordered the melon and prosciutto - fantastically light and delicious, it was the perfect blend of sweet and salty.
Dinner took more time to decide on... the menu featured mostly seafood dishes, along with the traditional pasta favorites like lasagna, and veal and chicken dishes too. However, I settle on the "right choice" - a special called Frutti Di Mare served over homemade orrechiette pasta -
My sister orders the Veal Picata (she's a veal freak). Our dinners come out and hers is lovely - the veal tender and perfectly cooked, the sauce light and flavorful - she is happy.
And me? Well I am just ecstatic - by now I'm on my second Chianti facing a platter of what has to be one of the most beautiful dishes that's ever been set in front of me... a melange of mussels, clams, scallops, shrimp, white fish and calamari in a sauce that is light and brothy, bursting with fresh seafood flavors, tomatoes, and I'm guessing a little white wine. The seafood was amazing - and abundant - and never overpowered by the sauce it sat in. And I can honestly say I've never had homemade pasta that tasted so... homemade - It was amazing - taste and texture were perfect. I was, at this point in the meal, about to burst - yet I couldn't stop eating - because I knew, just visiting, that I could not bring any leftovers with me.
And that was the only sad part of the story - Oh well, I'll just have to go back and try again...