High-intensity travel makes me hungry -- especially in Italy. The one meal I've been looking forward to more than any other is a big steak dinner at Osteria dell'Acquacheta in Montepulciano. Warning: Vegetarians may want to skip this post.
They jam the place for four seatings (two for lunch and two for dinner) every day. It's a long room with communal tables under a medieval barrel vault. In the back, like the engine of a steam train, a fire roars behind a huge hunk of cow lying flat as if on a gurney.
You don't have much of a choice here. Giulio, who reminds me of George Carlin with a cleaver, parades through the room with slabs of beef for diners to consider. It costs about €3 per 100 grams (about $3 per quarter-pound), and they serve 1.6 kilos of beef for each couple (about $50 for two). You don't say how you want it cooked. There's a correct way: seven minutes on each side. Fifteen minutes after, you say, "OK, it's chow time."
Every few seconds the happy sound of "George Carlin" slamming his cleaver through the beef rockets through the room -- stoking every appetite under that old, brick-domed ceiling.
Osteria dell'Acquacheta brings out the carnivore in all its guests.
Vegetarians won't enjoy this restaurant. But she sure did.