The best meal of my life reminds me of speaking

The best meal of my life reminds me of speaking

January 4, 2021

I think about speaking all the time. I don’t know when that shift happened but I know it did. 

When I watch a movie, I’m analyzing the speech, music, lighting, story structure, and every little detail because that’s how my brain works. The same happens with a television show.

What’s really interesting though is the way other experiences and art resonate with me when it comes to speaking.

How could a Takahashi Murakami piece be related to speaking? How could the sands of the Sahara? How could the best meal of my life in Lisbon?

I remember everything that matters about that experience like it was yesterday. The restaurant Boi Cavalo.

It’s in the heart of Alfama. That means to an American tourist I had no idea where I was going. The heart of Alfama is full of hills, stairs, alleyways, and creates the spinning wheel of death for google maps.

What should have been a 15-minute walk, ended up taking nearly 50 minutes. My only concern is that we would miss out on dinner service. 

I knew the restaurant was tiny. 7 tables. Pre-set menu every night.

Literally written on a blackboard at the opening.

As we walked along the streets trying to find the restaurant there was the sound of Fado music playing in restaurants and filling the air. 


That’s how it felt to me.

Right before we walked into the restaurant one of the trolleys approached. I had wanted to capture a great picture of these trolleys the entire time in Lisbon but most of the time people or cars ruined my frame.

Not this time. The street was empty. A car followed behind the trolley but at this time of night, it created the perfect image.

I took it with my iPhone. I checked the image. It was perfect.

Picture by me

We walked into the restaurant. Do you have a table for two?

Lucky for us they did on this night. 1 table right by the window. Our waiter walked over to our table and asked us if we wanted to pair wine with our meal tonight. I said of course.

He walked away looking like a young Lionel Messi. A big mop of hair on his head with all the joy of a person who loves what he does. That night, it was him and the chef. We later found out that they are co-owners.

For the next 3 hours, we ate and drank. We asked questions of the waiter. We ate the best meal of my life and I don’t even know what it was. I just remember how it made me feel. 

Pure joy. 

The plating was beautiful. Wine pairing, perfect.

A taste of Lisbon and all of Portugal. A waiter overjoyed with all of the questions. What started as a 6-course meal turned into 11 because of our enthusiasm. 

What started as a 6 glass wine pairing turned into many, many more. Our waiter sat with us enjoying a few glasses of wine himself at the end of the night. Talking about the restaurant. Discussing Lisbon. Creating a night I’ll never forget.

That experience makes me think of speaking. The perfection of that experience. How they achieved the perfect meal. 

When I speak, I speak with inspiration from experiences like that night in Lisbon at Boi Cavalo.

I see the world differently now.

I see the world in all it’s beautiful color and grandeur.

Want to chat?

Follow on Twitter: @robbiecrab

Cover Photo by Carla Martinesi on Unsplash

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Performative Speaking uses storytelling ideas that incorporate other forms of art, culture, media, and pop culture to create the mood, feeling, or vibe in the audience to convince them of a position.

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