Today I had the most outrageous lunch I have had in a very, very long time. In fact I cannot even remember the last time I had such a delightful mid-day culinary experience. I went to this little traditional restaurant near the school that has many, many aesthetically pleasing sweets, exquisite yet simple sandwiches, and beautiful stuffed pizzas by the slice. In Italy you can always choose whether you want to stand and eat (or drink your coffee or eat your croissant…) at the bar or sit at a table. If you sit at a table, you have to be aware that the cost of your meal has just risen at least 1-2 Euro, even if you are just having a glass of water or a small coffee. It is their form of tipping the waiter or watress for serving you, but then again you don’t have to add a tip onto that amount because it is already included in the price. However, if you stand at the bar, you pay normal prices for everything. So I went to this restaurant with several friends from school (5 of us altogether) and we sat down for a leisurly lunch of delicious Chianti Classico (red wine), foccacia (a special type of bread made with olive oil that is unlike anything else in the world), and salumi (different types of sliced meats, made from pork). The plate that I had consisted of 4 different types of typical Tuscan salumi, one of which had fennel seeds in it (my favorite, and so different from- and superior to- the kind you get in the gourmet shops in California), and another of which came with pomegranite seeds. I just cannot express whan an exceptional culinary experience it was with the salty bread, the fresh mushrooms dressed in newly-pressed olive oil, the salty-sweet-succulent salumi, the sweet pop of the pomegranite seeds, and the tannins of the wine……….. I think I will be dreaming about this meal for years to come! And to think that I was a vegetarian for so long!