Who doesn't love a good bowl of pasta? Better yet, who doesn't love a fast, fresh, and affordable Italian meal?
I wish I could tell you that I made a little journey to Italy and ate a homemade meal in a small village in the hills of Tuscany, but where I ate yesterday provided my taste buds a similar experience while my imagination filled in the rest. What is even more surprising is that this experience took place at a chain restaurant. Now, those of you who know me are well aware that I despise supporting chain restaurants and am all for the mom-and-pop-small-town restaurants, but this was worth the exception.
Vapiano: a franchise in Dortmund with an ingenious concept and one that I think would really succeed in the States. This Italian restaurant has the atmosphere of an upscale place but is somewhat of a fast food concept.
You take a menu, pick up a tray, get in line and place your order to the cooks behind the counter who cook everything in front of you! The ingredients are incredibly fresh and probably the best tasting Italian food I've had by far, I kid you not! (Granted, I have yet to travel to Italy).
I couldn't resist ordering the pasta Carbonara; something I felt I could never find authentically made in the States. First they take the homemade pasta and drop it in what looks like a deep frier but is actually boiling water. Then after sautéing the ingredients, the pasta is thrown in the pan and swished around together collecting the marvelous flavor!
Let's not forget about the center pieces of each table: herb plants for you to pick and crumble fresh leafy greens onto your favorite dish.
These beautiful herbs also served as decorations...
As my friend and I sat outside on the terrace introducing our palettes to the magical flavors of Vapiano cooking, our ears were also treated to a delight as a young girl sat at a piano and played Yann Tiersen music from the film Amelie...