While Andrew & Reachel are not avid exotic shoppers, they do enjoy a locally grown and prepared meal. And Italy, particularly the vineyard coastal towns, where the rich flavors of organic produce infused with the generous hospitality of Italian locals delighted the traveler's eagerly anticipatory palettes. It wasn't that the dining in Florence was terrible, it was just impersonal. No offers were made during dinner to return for breakfast and although meals starting at 8 pm were not rushed to end before midnight, the neighboring tables weren't apt to share a conversation with you during courses. The AZ based foodies did discover a few rules of dining for herbivores and omnivores alike:
- Hunt for your restaurants. When picking a restaurant, choose places full of people speaking the native language. A neon sign flashing "we speak English and accept credit cards!" means "we reheat mediocre food in the microwave before we bring it apathetically to your table while charging you double." If you want an American recommendation, Rick Steves could become a cherished traveling companion.
- If it has tableclothes, it will also have a built-in service fee. Which means you don't need to add an extra tip. If you're attempting to spend less on food, only eat on one tablecloth a day and find self serve option for your morning and afternoon meals.
- Try a picnic. We had a lovely, al fresco sandwich in Florence's famous Piazza de San Marco.
- Internally, dining typically begins after 8 pm, so hold off on lunch and breakfast as long as you can.