Monday, May 23, 2005

weekend update

Oh, that title. I just remembered Chevy Chase and realized I can't live up to it. So deal.

Purple Belt.
Nick got his in tae kwon do on Saturday. He broke two boards, one with his palm and one with his foot (side kick). I missed the first part of the test because I was supposedly helping out at the church yard sale (I bought stuff--does that count?), but I got to see the board-breaking. Immensely cool.

New Nephew.
He arrived Saturday evening, taking his own sweet time, unlike his older brother. No name yet, but we are confident there will be one eventually.

Mariah's last concert of the year was last night. It ran the gamut from Haydn to "He Ain't Heavy, He's My Brother," and it all sounded good. How they manage to get that much sound out of that small a group, and with only three male voices, is beyond me. It's been great to see her work at this all year.

Mariah's school is only thirty minutes away, but somehow it's a whole other world down there. We dropped her off for the concert half an hour early so she could put on her robe and warm up, and decided to scout out possible dinner locations. Half an hour later we had found a shuttered and locked Subway, a few fancy-looking places that were closed on Sunday and Monday evenings, and a Pizza Hut. Really, this town is dead. People keep telling us it's experiencing a rebirth, and maybe so, but it's still in the early --shall we say gestational?-- stages. Fortunately friends who live there came to the concert and told us there was indeed another restaurant open on Sundays, The Mad Italian. So we went there.

I am quite certain that the owners of this place call it "Eye-talian." Or maybe just some of the patrons, though certainly our lovely friends who recommended it do not. And, yes, there was a table --fully set for dinner, tablecloth and all, with chairs arranged around it-- on the ceiling. Our very attentive wait-person made sure we were comfortable in our booth (I think she offered twice to find us a larger table if we needed it), dropped off menus, and left us to discuss them. There were lots of reassurances on the menus about how they made their own pasta sauce--am I the only person who doesn't find this reassuring? I kind of assume it, you know? But, no, at every turn there they were again, with their fifteen ingredients and their we-don't-have-to-do-it-this-ways. Fine. Really, I probably should have just ordered it instead of deconstructing the menu.

The wines were burgundy, chablis, and rose. Just like when I was a kid and my parents had burgundy and chablis in jugs! I'm not so snobby about wine (I have a box of pinot grigio in my fridge), but I haven't been in a restaurant that offered that set of choices in twenty years, it seems like. I had the burgundy.

Eventually we ordered. Nick had a small pizza "with extra ingredients." He read it carefully off the menu and the wait-person very kindly did not laugh (points for that) and asked what extra ingredients he wanted. "Pepperoni," he said. She repeated it and wrote it down. "And," he said. "Yes?" "Maybe some sausage, too?" So he got that.

Mariah and I both ordered lemon-garlic shrimp over pasta. Again, this seemed like a blast from the past, along with the wines--I used to order scampi in Italian restaurants all the time, but lately it seems not to be on offer. (And, to be fair, there may have been a wine list that I missed). Mark and Mariah's friend E (along with us for the concert) ordered alfredo-esque things, Mark's with scallops, E's with shrimp.

This is sounding snarkier than I want. The food wasn't bad, after all--it's more that I felt as if we were in a time warp, as if we were still back in the land of red-checkered tablecloths and raffia-wrapped chianti bottles for candle-holders. (Though of course in point of fact this place had neither.) Here, only thirty minutes away, there are restaurants open on Sunday night. There are chain places and independent places and diners and fast food joints and they are all open on Sunday nights--or if they aren't, the place next door is. And there are certainly red-checkered tablecloth Italian joints, but there are other sorts of Italian joints, too, and Thai and Vietnamese and Greek and Mexican and Cuban and lots more. And even at that we complain that it's not good enough, cheap enough, hip enough, but compared to thirty minutes away, we're cutting edge up here. It was a little startling to realize, somehow, that we are privileged. There's no doubt a class thing going on here, too, and I am too tired to explore it now, but will try to take it on before too long...

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