an equal opportunity eater.
Taking the neurosis out of food, one meal at a time.
Monday, August 13, 2012
I told my son, you pick the restaurant.
We were in an armpit of a town, an overnight pitstop from point a to
point b during our family vacation. The son had been a total trooper,
so it was his pick.
"Italian," he said, fully committed.
The front desk recommended Mike's Palace.
Mike's Palace's menu was filled with columns and acropolis font.
Nice. They offered Italian, American, Mexican and Greek, of course.
Olympian flat screen tvs promoted entree after entree. The owners sat
at a table by themselves, ignoring the flustered waitresses, occasionally coming out of hiding in order to seat determined
customers, who apparently weren't going to leave quietly. One owner in
particular spent an inordinate amount of time picking her teeth, and
startled a diner by abruptly returning a chair to the customer's table.
In short, this was not a promise of cultural fusion but of cultural
discombobulation. I lowered my hopes accordingly.
The menu had truly remarkable offerings, braised asparagus with
brown butter and parmesan, traditional pumpkin ravioli, an ambitious
watermelon and feta salad. The polpettini were advertised as a mixture
of beef and veal. You can't screw up a meatball, right? I attempted to
lower my expectations.
I requested the polpettini from the waitress, who replied "The what?"
I foraged ahead. "Your menu calls them polpettini, The meatballs."
Moments later she brought a huge platter of antipasti to our table.
We had not ordered the antipasti. I ordered a glass of wine, to help
me through this travail. As I waited, I wondered what Gordon Ramsay
would make of this mashup.
Out came the wine, the pizza, my son's lasagna and my meatballs.
I took a bite of each.
Every bite was heavenly. The lasagna tasted as if the pasta were
freshly made, the meatballs lovingly seasoned, the pizza a delight. We
were surprised to have enough leftovers for a cold pizza breakfast the
We tipped the waitress happily, and passed along our compliments to
the chef. (As we left I scowled disapproval at the still-banqueting owners, but
they remained quite oblivious and unperturbed).
What culinary surprises, heavenly or otherwise, have you encountered this summer?