Manhattan doesn’t lend itself to civilized living; it lends itself to survival techniques.
One of the things we miss most about Italy, is the very civilized aperitivo hour. Before dinner, you stroll to a piazza and have a drink. It could be a glass of white wine, it could be a cocktail, but before you know it, other friends have gathered, there are some snacks to eat, and you have a pause in the day that brings connection, laughter and breathing space. One of the beautiful things about having a drink in Italy, is that it is always served with a snack, or snacks, or sometimes it seems like a full meal. Beautiful crostini, olives, nuts, cheese, exquisite vol au vent. So today’s question is: why don’t they do that in US bars? No snacks, not even a chip or a peanut. OK, my US bar experience is limited to NY, Philadelphia and Snowbird, so maybe there are some cities that excel at bar food, I just haven’t found them.
Piazzas are very civilized; they are the heart and soul of an Italian neighborhood. And if you miss the aperitivo hour, you can always go for a stroll after dinner, that’s called a passagiata, and it’s also a very civilized way to live. Seems I’m having a very “Viva Italia” moment!