Dear Open Kitchen,
I have to admit, I didn’t give you a fair chance on your opening weekend. I was too busy trying to navigate the crush of humanity while Google-translating menu options to actually enjoy you. I’m almost ashamed to tell you I cheated on you that first Friday, ducking into a nearby alley for a kebab rather than braving the crowds any longer.
It wasn’t love at first sight, but I’ve fallen for you. I love choosing from an impressive spectrum of cuisines, from Turkish and Thai to tacos, all just a few steps away. I love getting a tasty preview of the best restaurants in town, no commitment necessary. I love using the two Slovenian words I know best (piščančje and svinjina, obviously) when deciphering menus. I love watching food being prepared with care even in a precariously small outdoor stand. I love wandering your aisles looking at all of the things I can’t wait to try the next week.
There’s something magical about your communal picnic tables, something strongly reminiscent of playground days. When seating eludes us, you console us with a beautiful river along which to stroll while eating. Even your crowds have become charming, as there’s always a friendly face to be found. Enjoying a Spanish-style sobremesa among friends is the perfect cap to the work week… particularly since it gives us time to make room for a gelato on the way home.
Now I shudder at the thought of winter in Slovenia not only due to snow, but also because it means I have to say goodbye to you. There are simply not enough weekends to enjoy you, Odprto Kuhinjo, but I will be faithful to you from here on out. I plan on loving you ’til travel orders do us part.