My dining companion on that Italian voyage (and on nearly all voyages before or thereafter) reminded me that at that same restaurant in La Spezia we also had a first course of nearly perfect pesto, made with local Genovese basil and good parmigiano, tossed with fresh pasta, tiny cubes of potato and blanched green beans. A true taste of the Ligurian coast. How could I have forgotten?
A few days ago I accused Sarah of never remembering meals (well, meals that I make), an accusation that stemmed from her apparant lack of reverence for some brisket with tzimmes that I made for her brother's return from Iraq last spring. She kept calling it pot roast. I kept reminding her it was brisket. Then, she would feign remembrance: "Oh, yeah, the one that you made in the dutch oven with the potatoes." Nope, the one I made in the roasting pan with carrots and prunes, the one that I browned a piece of cow the side of New Jersey for, using only our warped roasting pan and my Yankee ingenuity.
Well, it's not really life or death now, is it? The point is that there are lots of good meals to be had, in seaside Italian towns and right at home. The point isn't brisket or top round, just that eating well with good company is one of lifes greatest pleasures.