When I was a little girl our father took us to a restaurant for lunch every Sunday, it was not the same one every time but it was always a treat.
One Sunday he took us to an Italian place called Piccolo Mondo (meaning small world in Italian) and in my mind it looked like a little palace. Nothing special outside but upon entering, all dark wood furniture and ceilings, with intense hues of red and blue curtains and candles everywhere, giving the place a special hue.
The first time I saw the menu, I was in heaven and ordered what I thought was the ideal meal: to drink, a fruit punch then gnocchi with Bolognese sauce, Chateaubriand with Béarnaise and for dessert, a cassata: layers of multicolored ice cream that would melt if you did not eat it fast enough.
What flabbergasted me and changed my taste-world was the Chateaubriand. Never before had I tasted such exquisite meat: a soft and huge chunk of meat that resembled a pillow of pink flesh. I took a piece of it and dunked it in the Béarnaise and the sensation of wellbeing and utter luxury was all I felt. To this day, all steaks have to live up to that taste; all sauces are compared to that Béarnaise. It is my benchmark for what is good and what is just mediocre.
Since that day, we went to Piccolo Mondo, every Sunday because of my request and up to now, I still remember it as the best restaurant in the world.
I am all grown up now and have been fortunate enough to taste even more dishes and some things have changed.
- Piccolo Mondo Restaurant is not there anymore.
- I would rather have a flan than a cassata.
- I have children, which changes everything, including the taste buds.
One thing will never change though and that is the eternal love for beef, rare and swimming in its own juices. Blame the Chateaubriand and the Béarnaise sauce for my everlasting adoration for beef cooked rare. In any form.
Gnocchi image source: http://dailydelights.sheknows.com/articles/824273/how-to-make-homemade-gnocchi