It’s been years, six to be exact. I still remember the taste of Rome…and I would search for it in places I am in, while presently hoping for the day I could return and savor its flavors.
My heart is filled with gratitude for the experience. Yearning, yes. But filled with happiness that I had lived that life.
Everything is quite different now – I had taken a drastic leap of overwhelming faith to catapult my island life to somewhere I dream to be…bigger. And what’s bigger than California? It’s only been a month and one that isn’t filled with many adventures, but venture, I did. Adventures squeezed in between my new routine – or the routine I’m attempting to have. They were all sweet and a novelty, redefining what it really means to be alone. Alone, but not lonely.
There’s a place in Tustin, California, a Tuscan spaghetteria called Storico. The catalyst of this story time. To be short, I loved my experience. I was shocked there was a whole tractor in the restaurant and it seemed reasonable that I sat next to it. The atmosphere is rustic and cozy. I did visit at a time with very few dine-in customers, maybe that’s why.
Most days, I try to indulge in little escapades that spark inspiration within me. Perhaps it’s visiting a museum, a bookstore, farmers market, but today it was food. Food that I Yelped right after a job interview. I had initially searched Restaurants in general, but seeing Storico among it piqued my interest. After checking out its Yelp page, which had no ratings, I gathered the food was authentic not only because the menu is in Italian (lol), but because the pastas were house-made. As I was driving in the parking lot, I was already feeling ecstatic thinking, “man, this is the place for me!”
The exterior was so quaint, very subtle, yet inviting. I loved the touch of flowers, it didn’t even have to try too hard to be likable. When I entered, I was greeted warmly – which is on brand with the tone of everything so far.
These were the items I ordered:
- Drink: Mango Iced Tea
- Antipasti: Pane (Focaccia Bread – Olive Oil w/ Rosemary + Olive Oil w/ Tomatoes)
- Pasta: Salsiccia (Exchanged Rigatoni for Fettuccine)
- Gelato: Pistachio
- Dolce: Affogato
I took photos of everything except the pasta, which I’m sorry about. But you’ll have to trust my words that it’s absolutely amazing. If your tastebuds thrive through subtleness of flavors, then this is a win. The ingredients blended so well together, plus, I loved the Italian sausage. All their pasta items come with a half-size or full-size order, I got the full so I can have the leftover for dinner.
Perhaps the highlight of my experience is the pistachio gelato. It brings us back to Italy and why I was so moved I had to write about this. Back in 2015, I visited Rome while on my study abroad in France. There I discovered my love for pistachio gelato. My friends and I loved it so much that I think we bought a scoop at least five times a day. For years after, ice cream did not taste the same for me. It was only on occasion that I craved it, in Hawaii, I loved going to Black Sheep Cream Co. for their pistachio ice cream. While it was delicious, it did not come in comparison with the rich taste of the ones I had in Rome. Not that I wanted to compare, I just really loved and yearned for it specifically.
So, when I, with much anticipation, tasted my first spoonful of pistachio gelato today…I was almost brought to tears! It was such an interesting experience to be brought back to a time and place I once was, without having to go anywhere else. I had to marvel at the power of our memories when it’s derived from our senses, not necessarily only being with taste, but also olfactory systems and the rest.
To say the least, this gelato was the closest thing I’ve tasted since Rome and that was everything to me.
Moving to another state took a lot of courage for me, a courage that I think is deeply rooted in my understanding of who I am and where I want to be next. I can’t say I am not terrified, most days I am. But what has helped me more than anything is staying connected. Whether connection through loved ones, interacting with new people I may never see again, new people I will continue to see, the arts, eating, getting culturally acquainted with my new environment and everything else about being human.
I feel a significant sense of gratitude for having these profound experiences that come from small, mundane things.
I just wanted to share that because romanticizing life, even simply, helps a lot. I want to share more of my experiences here soon and hope that you’re living your best life 🙂