Memories, Both Happy & Sad

I arrived in Alice Springs today. Wow, it is a shocking simulacrum of the tow of Apache Junction my Parents moved us to after our great trip when I was 15. The town is nestled in among rocky foothills and mountains and the red centre high dessert is very similar in almost every appearance.

The place I am staying is just off the Ghan railroad tracks, and a nice healthy walk into town centre. The coach driver suggested I take a walk up the Anzac hill to catch the sunset. As it was still at least an hour before sunset I took in the whole town first, strolling along in my wandering way.  All the while fondly reminiscing that arid land back home, which I enjoy so much.

I walked across the Todd River, a wide riverbed that is mostly dry but speaks of monsoon floods, just like the Salt River does in Phoenix area. As I neared the far bank I spied a hulking restaurant on the corner…Casa Nostra! For those not in the know, the restaurant I closed early this year was also called Casa Nostra.

Well of course I had to look inside. It is a Trattoria type atmosphere complete with checked tablecloths and even empty wine bottles as water carafes. Very much like the shop I closed. I made a note of the service time and promised the staff (an Asian (I don’t think Hong Kong though) women) I would return after sunset for my meal.

The climb of the hill was invigorating, and as expected the desert sunset was spectacular. Again fond memories welling up alongside the bittersweet ones conjured up by the restaurant.

I made my way back down the hill in the dark (forgot my torch) and as a bazillion stars started to take roll call in the dry evening air, I entered Casa Nostra, Alice Springs, for my evening meal.

The place was hopping, it had the buzz of my first restaurant, Fat Angelo’s, though the homier decor and smaller size still brought Casa Nostra on a Friday Night more to my mind. I sat at a godfatherish table for one in the corner facing the room…Perfect.

The food, I had a very nice Italian Salad, an OK “Bruscetta” (made on pizza base with dry oregano & basil) and a not-so-great Gnocchi with Pesto (the pesto had cream and was made with dry herbs as well). Overall not really a very good value, and I am certain my Casa Nostra would have done much better food, for a much lower price (it cost me 50 AUD (HK250) while at my place it would have been about HK180). Which brought more sadness to me how can such places thrive while my little hole-in-the-wall had so many troubles? No accounting for taste I guess.