The toughest question someone can ever ask me is, “What is your favorite meal?” That is like asking a mother who her favorite child is. Although I do not have a favorite meal, I do know the most memorable one. Two summers ago, my boyfriend, Zach, and I saved up for years to travel throughout Europe in hopes of discovering countries’ cultures through their architecture, social habits, music, and most importantly, food. (Spoiler: we succeeded!) After we graduated from high school we set out on a month-long tour of Spain, Italy and France. Many meals will forever be remembered from this trip, but one in particular stands above the rest, and I would be happy to set the scene for you.
Here we are, hungry and wandering the narrow streets of Granada, Spain. It was the perfect recipe for a romantic evening: winding cobblestone streets lined with orange trees and whitewashed old houses, hidden gardens and squares overlooking the city, a myriad of street music, and the most picturesque sunset right before us. You know the colorful Spanish sunsets you see on Instagram? Yes, that kind of evening! The experience started as soon as we discovered “Restaurante El Trillo,” a restaurant nuzzled behind fig tree vines and lit lanterns. The host led us up to a table on the balcony with a first-class view of the Alhambra, a royal palace built in 1333 and known for its elaborate decorations and gardens. We started our meal with freshly baked bread and a bottle of Syrah. Bear in mind, at that time we had just turned 19, so ordering alcohol was an exhilarating event in itself. In our broken Spanish, I ordered “Pato Confitado con Salsa de Mango” (Duck Leg Confit with Mango Sauce), and Zach ordered “Calamares en su Tinta” (Squid in its Ink). When the waiter brought out our dishes, both of ours eyes widened, mouths dropped and instant grins grew on our eager faces. These were the most aesthetically pleasing dishes we had ever seen. It was almost too beautiful to eat – almost! Zach’s dish was savory squid in a bowl filled with its own thick, black ink, and dipped in were a few roasted potato spears intended to be used as the spoon. Once I got past its intimidating appearance, I snuck in a spoonful and was pleasantly surprised by the fresh, rich flavors and the black residue that was left around my lips. My entrée had the brightest yellow mango sauce, the crispiest brown duck skin, and perfectly placed blueberries throughout the plate. Zach and I have an ongoing competition where we decide who ordered better between the two of us. In the four years we have been dating, I have chosen the better entrée only a handful of times: this meal was one of them. We licked our plates clean and seriously contemplated ordering another plate to share despite how full we were. To spare our dignity, we settled for ordering our own desserts instead. It was an easy decision: crepe de avellana con bayas (hazelnut crepe with berries). I have the most unrelenting sweet tooth of anyone I know, so my dessert standards are exceptionally high. Nonetheless, this sweet dish sent me into a feeling of euphoria. Zach and I looked up from our desserts and did not say a word. We just smiled at each other. It was like we had an unspoken agreement that this was the best culinary experience we have ever had.
This event completely surpassed all my expectations and easily became my most memorable meal. Everything about this evening was perfect. The ambience at the restaurant, the breathtaking view, and the company was complete bliss, and the food tied it all together. Zach and I often reminisce about this meal and all the good times it brought.
Julia Callow | Writing Contributor
B.A | Kinesiology | Cal State Univ, Long Beach
Julia Callow, born in Santa Barbara, CA, is a fourth-year Kinesiology and Gerontology minor at Cal State Long Beach, emphasizing in fitness. Julia aspires to obtain a Master of Science in Gerokinesiology to help older adults become stronger and more independent. She became an AFPA Certified Personal Trainer and NASM Senior Fitness Specialist at the age of 18, then starting teaching spin classes shortly after. Embracing her red hair and love for clean eating, Julia created a health food blog on Instagram named @gingajulia, which emphasizes the importance of eating whole foods, practicing gratitude, and staying active. In her spare time, she enjoys trying out new sports and activities like rock climbing and slacklining, cooking, traveling, and being Blake Griffin and Lionel Messi’s number one fan. Instagram @gingajulia | View My Articles
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