I love to remember this one. I was backpacking sola in Uruguay and had gone as far as Punta del Este - a beautiful but deserted-for-the-season resort town where I could hardly afford a thing. I had a few mishaps including accidentally hitchhiking a ride from a whiskey-downing Argentine [another story altogether, which by the way also ended in a memorable meal here (sans the drunken Argentine)]. Anyway, I was on my way back through to Argentina and had just exactly enough money for a night at the hostel and a ferry ticket the next morning. I knew I could count on the absolutely amazing and wonderful complimentary breakfast that I had gorged myself on the week before: fresh crusty baguettes served alongside bowls of butter and dulce de leche. However, I didn't have a single cent for dinner and planned on suffering through the hunger until breakfast.
Instead, I happened to meet a solo traveling Italian who was going to make some dinner and asked if I wanted to join him and another hosteler. Um - ok! He showed me step-by-easy-step how to make Spaghetti Carbonara. I'm sure there's many different ways, but his version will always be the *right* one as far as I'm concerned. We sauteed some diced pancetta while the noodles cooked - a small pitcher of beaten egg, cream and parmesan ready on the side. Immediately after draining the pasta we threw it in the hot pan and poured the egg mixture in, tossing it all quickly with some tongs. We finished it off with some more parmesan, salt and a healthy amount of fresh cracked pepper [key ingredient he said]. Afterwards the other traveler treated us all to helado. To be expecting to skip dinner altogether [something I don't think I have ever done in my life] and then to be treated to such a meal!
I wanted to buy more of these plates too, but had to take a picture instead.
*sidenote: funny how different it all would have been in this relatively recent world of debit cards...