We often take eating for granted. Too often is food seen as a transaction, a function that has to be done in order to survive. For me, food is connection. Food helped me understand new cultures in faraway places. It provided comfort whenever I'm alone in a new city. Most importantly, food helped me build relationships with people, whether it be my family, friends or complete strangers.
I met Angela while in Amsterdam. We initially met through teaching my friend, Jen, how to ride a bike; however, we bonded over wine and ramen. Angela was laid off from her company a few months before, so she spent the summer traveling around Europe. We exchanged stories on where we have been and where we want to go. I initially wanted to check out Cinque Terre, but Angela suggested that we head to the Amalfi Coast together.
Before we knew it, we were in a small car navigating the narrow roads through hairpin turns and avoiding giant buses traveling up the mountain to Montepertuso. As my Italian friend exclaims, the Amalfi coast has the best Italian food in Italy. We were searching for Il Ritrovo, a restaurant in Montepertuso, a town perched high above Positano. Let's just say Google Maps definitely didn't have the right directions to this place, as we made a few wrong turns and nearly got stuck in between cars and scooters. Thankfully, we managed to squeeze back out with centimeters to spare through great communication and teamwork.
We parked the car and walked through multiple passageways along the mountain side. We passed by homes filled with lush gardens with fresh tomatoes, grapes or herbs basking in the sun. Eventually, we made it to the end of the path and found the restaurant. It was just barely 6 pm, so the restaurant was relatively empty excluding a table or two with older couples. The owner graciously welcomed us and promptly seated us at the outdoor terrace overlooking the town. It was a romantic setting for a girls' night out. I ordered the prix-fixe 4 course meal that came out to be way too much food for one person.
The food? Well, I'll let the photos speak for themselves, but the pasta made my top 10 dishes of all time. The wine came from local family estates and complimented our hearty dishes well. The restaurant packed fresh Italian herbs from the garden to take home.
To walk off all the food and wine, I suggested we climbed up to see Montepertuso Il Buco. It was an overlook at the top of the mountain. I vastly underestimated the elevation of this climb, and there were times I thought we should turn back as the sky grew darker. We barely made it in time for sunset. At the top, we were greeted with a bird's eye view of Positano from above.
If one is judging by the usual criteria of food and price, the meal at Il Ritrovo was not an absolute masterpiece. What made this meal memorable was our path to get to the restaurant, the discussions we've had over wine, and the spontaneous hike up the hill after the meal. Food is an experience meant to be shared and enjoyed with others. This is why I try to share at least one meal per day with another person, even if over phone or video conference. By the way, I still dream about that pasta.