Tuesday, August 31, 2010

some friends stay over (lyn)

Cynthia and her daughter Elizabeth are visiting NY.  They are spending the night here, as in here, in my apartment.
My apartment is barely comfortable for Alexander and me, so when two more people are added, it becomes overly cozy.  But these two people are like non-guests.  As much as possible, they make themselves invisible.  They want nothing to eat and only water to drink.  They don’t want me to set up the Aerobed, insisting, instead, that “we like sleeping on sofas.”  They dispose of all their stray papers and empty bottles.  They are the perfect guests.
They arrive this morning.  Drop their bags before leaving for a day at the US Open.  But before leaving, they tell us the plan for dinner.   “We’re taking you both out, so pick a place.  Anywhere you want to go.”  And they leave.
I always feel pressure when picking a restaurant.  Especially if I’m the guest.  I want it to be fun.  New-Yorky.  Not so old that the kids will feel like they are dining in a nursing home.  Not so young that I’m the only one who needs glasses to read the menu.  Not too expensive.  Good food.  Lots of options, including some that are not too fattening.  Easy walking distance (especially since it’s 96 degrees today).  I choose Bella Blu, a local Italian restaurant, described as being like “a trip to the Mediterranean.”  Perfect.
We get to the restaurant around 7:30 and it’s appropriately crowded.  Enough people there to suggest its popularity, but not so many that we have to wait.  We get a nice little corner table.  The menu is large and as we are perusing it, the waiter brings over a bread basket with a side of something that looks good, but no one has any idea what's in it.  I eat two pieces anyway, even knowing that tomorrow I have weigh-in.  
The waiter comes over and we all order.  Alexander and I split a “frisee’ salad with caramelized walnuts, shaved blue cheese and sherry vinaigrette.”  Then I order “pan seared free-range chicken in mustard sauce with mashed potatoes and string beans.”  The food is excellent.
We get back late.  The kids talk college.  Cynthia watches some tennis.  I read the paper.  It's comfortable and nice.  I’m happy they came.  Suddenly my apartment feels as if it has grown.

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