Monday, May 24, 2010

Acoustic Pasta

I'm back from my Middle East adventure (see a future post). Rita has been watching the granddaughters, age two and almost one. What would she like to eat? Italian, she answers.

At first we consider 3 Sons, but the coupon is only good Sunday-Thursday and today is Friday. A bit further away is Buca di Beppo. We hadn't been there together for some time. BdB is explicitly and completely over the top. Statuary and paintings and pretend frescoes. The hostess leads us through the kitchen (what's Italian for "kitch"?); yes, I remember this.

We are given a very attractive table in an alcove across from a big family party -- the grandpas are wearing Stetsons and there is a full range of ages of their grandkids (and great grandkids?) They're having a great time and we can't help but share a bit of their good humor... except for the acoustics. The ceiling above the party tables is concave downward, like a quarter of a cylinder. The voices of the family reunion are focused downward and laterally along the axis of the cylinder towards our alcove. Rita can barely hear me; I can hear her (her contralto vs my baritone). Happily, the waiter is readily willing to re-seat us. I suggest a table on the side, away from the acoustic focus, and, yes, the ambiance is now tolerable. We can enjoy watching the younger kids (reminding us of our grandchildren) without induced headaches.

What to order? BdB encourages family-style dining. So, we decide on an appetizer, and entrĂ©e, and a side: stuffed mushrooms, prosciutto stuffed chicken, and spaghetti. Excellent choices! Oh, yes, and sangria made with Barefoot Merlot.*

I notice that BdB offers a big cupcake for birthdays. I mention that my birthday is coming up, but I'll be out of town.**

As usual, we didn't finish our shared dishes (except for the mushrooms). We requested take-home boxes.

In the meantime, I made a quick trip to the men's room. Again, over the top: pictures of assorted statues of Roman copies of Greek gods and kouros and photos of little boys against walls, doing what little boys do, occupy all of the walls.

I return to the table and mention that we really didn't need the cupcake. Rita scowls in a remarkable, hands across the chest. Okay, I say, go ahead and request it.

Just then the cupcake arrives. She is such a sneak.

And, half the cupcake also goes home with us.

Finally, we have to ask directions to get out.

Subtlety is not BdB's thing, except in the food, which is excellent.

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