Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Revisiting the Isle of Capri

Three years ago, I was in NYC having a “me-party” of sorts since I was there for work. This time around, again, I’m in the city for work, but I’m lucky that my beloved was able to join me!! (waving at our moms who are watching the Sugarbean and Sugarbaby) This is definitely a time to give thanks to not only family, but also to being a teacher. He’s off for the summer and our schedule is a tiny bit more flexible because of it.

Anyway, we had a free night to ourselves and wanted to go out to a nice dinner. Unfortunately, the places I wanted to go required reservations at least a month in advance and well, I wasn’t planning the fun activities, I was in full-on work mode. So yes, it escaped me. Instead, we put on a bit more casual clothes and opted to wander.

Before we could even leave the hotel, though, the POTUS motorcade zoomed by us. Seriously, they held us in the lobby refusing to let anyone outside on the streets! There was some random police car in the front of our hotel and it was very nearly towed away. What a sight! It was really great to witness all of it. I’d never seen such a thing so close! They traveled really quickly, too! I can’t believe I was able to get this pic:

After walking around for a bit, I remembered the Isle of Capri and the wonderful memories I’d had the last time I was there. I remembered thinking, how wonderful it would have been to have had Don with me. There are a million and one restaurants, why would I want to go back to something I’d been before? Well, because that’s how good that memory was!

This time, they tucked us away on the side of the restaurant in this teeny sunroom-alcove, painted Italian red with black accents, live plants hanging above, small windows to our left, and to the right, a black and white image of the restaurants bar from when it first opened. There were only two tables in this section. a 4 top and our 2 top.

Again, they had an eclectic mix of 70s music with a bit of Frank Sinatra thrown in for good measure every now and again. The table behind us was a group of three gentlemen who were “in a rush” and had to catch a show. The larger man (with the raspiest voice I’d ever heard in real life) we later learned, was from Kansas City, Missouri and his grandfather was a founding member of SMU. (Seriously, life story and all that) One of the guys with him was celebrating his 50th birthday. He didn’t want a lot of pomp and circumstance, even though I offered to sing to him. They’d ordered fried zucchini and a large plate of pasta to share. Again, because they were in a rush. When they had ordered, we had received our glasses of chianti and san giovese, and had not yet thought of our full meal. The large guy, self-proclaimed “host of the night for his pals” had huffed off to find a server because they were taking too long. An older grandmother type woman showed up and meticulouslyslowly wrote down each item for them. We later heard her delivering their order to the rest of the team.

Meanwhile, our server Manolo appeared and proceeded to take our order. I’d wanted to order in Italian, at a poor attempt to impress Don, but instead, came out with a mish mash of Spanish. Incidentally, turned out to be ok because Manolo is Cuban. He was the oldest member of the waiters union in that particular restaurant and boy howdy was he selective. Meaning, he was originally waiting on the previously aforementioned table and was totally over them and proceeded to ignore them for the rest of the evening. I was impressed actually, because that table had talked to him in a condescending tone and well, I wouldn’t be comfortable with all that. I understand it is the nature of the job, but working for several years in that industry, I think you’ve earned a bit of klout in that regard.

anyway……

We started out with the mushroom griglio. (Yes, Primo, it was a dirty plate, but I didn’t notice it until you pointed it out.) Roasted portobello drizzled with olive oil and lemon.

Before getting there, I had told Don of the Osso Bucco meal and well, we were going to get it. This was a special week, so I was fairly certain I was going to be eating many animals. I know, I know…veal shank. I suck. But it is amazingly delicious. I can’t think about it much. la la la la

If you don’t want to see further, I understand. Stop now if things like marrow and tender veal freak you out. Here’s a link to a happier place if you need it.

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Ok, for the rest of you! Boy howdy was this meal another hit!

The shank was gigantic! The pasta…perfection, the mushrooms…divine, the sauce…ambrosia. No knife was necessary.

And the marrow…(I need a moment)

How much does my husband love me? He gave me his bone where he said, I’ve already eaten half, so you can have the other half. He’d really only had a couple of bites! The rest was mine all mine, indeed! I was in gluttony heaven!

I was so full from the meal that I did not even want to think about dessert. Oh, and the gentlemen’s meal from the other table did not arrive until after I’d finished my pasta. Yikes! So much for quick turnaround for them, huh? For their apology, they received a really, really bad joke told by the aforementioned lady, in this slow, almost monotone, but with a thick Jersey accent. (here is how she told it)

So a guy gets hit by a bus, no a car. Actually, no that’s not how it goes. He is walking on the sidewalk and falls down. Not because he broke his hip, but because of his heart. He’s having something with his heart. What is that….oh, a heart attack. Right! Anyway, he is on the ground and someone walks by and they look at him and ask him if he is ok. And then they realize he is having a heart attack and that he needs a heart doctor…what are they called? You know, the ones that work on the heart? A cardi what?? Yeah, that. He needs the heart doctor. So they call the ambulance who takes him to the doctor. And you know, he gets there and has to wait in the waiting room and they run all of those tests you know. The ones to check your heart. And he probably needs a surgery, maybe. ---What, yes, this is really quick? I’m getting to it.--- Where was I ? Oh, so he needs the surgery and before they can talk, he has to talk to the nurse lady about billing, right. And she asks him if he has any money to pay. He said no. She asked if he had family who could help him pay for his bill. He said no. No family. She said, really, you have no family? He said no. Well, I have a spinster sister who is a nun. The lady said, well really? Yeah, she’s a spinster because she’s a nun. And the lady he was talking to was actually a nun herself. Did I forget to mention that? Yeah, I said she was a nurse. Well, she was a nun. Yeah. Ok, so the nun told him, well, I’m not a spinster. I’m married to God. We are all married to our Lord. The man looks at her and say, “Well, then ask my brother-in-law to cover my bill.”

And you can totally imagine Don and I laughing uncontrollably at our table because of how long this complimentary and apologetic joke took to say. Oh my goodness! We were giddy. I had been completely exhausted from the travel/work day that I was already delirious. The wine worked magic and had me relaxed. He and I were in stitches!

The host of the party tried his best to shoo her away and said, we just need the check. “I’m the host and I need the check. I told you were in a hurry. What I say goes, and well, split the bill 3 ways.” This over-the-top bombastic personality and he wants to split it three ways. Even more laughter. I could tell this man was accustomed to getting his way and was unhinged that nothing was working out for him.

For us, though, we were treated to a plate of homemade cookies. YUM!

And Manolo appeared with a familiar bottle. A concoction that Don and I labeled as Cranberry Fire, fresh fruit infused with Grand Marnier, Cointreau, and Vodka.
F.I.R.E.
We enjoyed a few shots of these. (Seriously, Manolo overpoured them, if you look closely, you can see the tablecloth covered with the extra! And they were complimentary) Don more than I. After all, I had to work the next day! But Abba’s Dancing Queen was totally fitting for that particular moment. Manolo shared some fun stories of him partying out at Tao with his ex brother-in-law. Good times. We were beside ourselves happy!

On the walk home, I held on to my beloved’s arm, strolling with him, grateful at our friendship. Utterly moved with how blessed I am and this very special time we get to share. That’s some loving goodness! boom.

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