This past Saturday my saving grace was a cheeseburger, a bucket of hand-cut French fries, and a champagne cocktail. Headache or hangover aside, I must say that New York City brunch like this is certainly not something easily encountered in Northern Italy. Although Piedmont boasts grass-fed beef good enough to eat raw and wines of incomparable caliber, there’s just something about a lazy Saturday in the East Village; sitting elbow to elbow with the couple next to you at a table better suited for one than two; enjoying comfort food that could fix anything that ails you. A burger with cheese perfectly melted over each edge, a pail of fries we dumped on the table so as not to miss the crispiest ones at the very bottom, and a sweet bubbly concoction that brought my equilibrium right back into place.
It’s the small things like this that I appreciate so much more when I return from being abroad, those creature comforts that we take for granted day after day and week after week. Habits you might not consider to be your own traditions are ones vastly different from not only those in other countries, but even those in your same city. So think of those places, dishes or routines and remember what it is that makes them special to you – because ironically enough, that carne cruda plate and a glass of Barbera from the vineria in Bra sound pretty fantastic right now.