Hidden Gems

Last night we had dinner at a little restaurant nearby, and it was fabulous. But that wasn’t what we were expecting.

We are staying a bit outside of the Munich city center, and an abundance of good food hasn’t been in evidence. Not ready to succumb to another overpriced Schnitzel, or an underpriced one for that matter, I spent a little time researching options within walking distance, and this one showed up on the radar screen. It was Italian. It had me at “No Schnitzel.”  

Without Siri’s help, we could have easily missed it, as it was located next to a laundromat, in a modest, ordinary residential neighborhood, with an entrance that was well below street level. All underwhelming indicators to say the least.

Then we went inside and sat down. 

The food was heavenly, the service refined, the wine divine.

This place was a hidden gem. It wasn’t just the food either, although that was top notch. It was the people that took it up an even further notch. Our server was quietly attentive, and extended gracious and generous hospitality, without an ounce of pretense. The owner made it a point to connect with us over the course of the evening, and she struck me as a no nonsense straight shooter, with a big heart and a passion for serving up incredible food. She oversees everything, and the recipes are all hers. Mid-bite I was reminded of the words a good friend inscribed in a cookbook.. “Cooking is an act of love. Pass it on.”  Last night, there was love in every bite that came out of that underground kitchen, next to a laundromat, in an ordinary, modest residential neighborhood.

An extraordinary gem hidden beneath everyday ordinariness.

I wonder how many people walk past the stairs leading down to that establishment, and have no idea what they are missing.  

I wonder what we walk past in our daily rounds, having no idea what we are missing.  

I wonder who we walk past, having no idea who we are missing.

I wonder what we’ve forgotten about ourselves, having no idea what we are missing. 

I wonder what gems are hidden all around us, just waiting to be found. 

Let the treasure hunt begin.