Aris for Breakfast with a Side of Mark Bittman

Scene:  Saturday morning.  The Beast is on the couch in his underwear and a t-shirt reading the paper and drinking his first cup of coffee.  The Foodie has been up for hours, has had three cups of coffee and is starving.

Foodie:  Sorry to interrupt but when do you think you’ll be ready to go for breakfast?

Beast:  Three hours.

Foodie:  But I’m starving!

Beast:  (Sighing)  Go get me a pair of pants, a sweater, and two magazines from my bedside table.

Foodie:  (Running up the stairs) Which magazines?

Beast:  Lapham’s Quarterly and Wire.

Foodie:  You read Wire?  That doesn’t seem like the sort of magazine you’d like.

Beast:  You’re thinking of Wired!

Foodie:  Well, what’s Wire about?

Beast:  Modern avant-garde music.

Foodie:  (Silence)

Scene:  Walking North on Roncesvalles towards Aris Grill–an unassuming little place that serves, “breakfast, steak and souvlaki”.

Foodie:  Oh God do my legs hurt. And my ankles too.  Am I walking funny?

Beast:  (Silence.)

Foodie:  Indoor soccer was so hard on Wednesday!  I thought I was going to throw up after seven minutes.  I felt fine on Thursday but then Liz and I did soccer drills at lunch time and yesterday it felt like my legs were going to fall off.

Beast:  Who’s Liz?

Foodie:  Liz from work–the one who plays on the indoor soccer team and asked me to play on the team when one of their regular players got shingles.  So now I’m playing every Wednesday night.

Beast:  You’ve changed so much.

Foodie:  Just because I’m an athlete now?

Beast:  You’re running, you’re playing soccer.  You’ve just changed.  I don’t like it.

Foodie:  Oh God, it feels like my ankles and the tops of my feet are bruised.  Do you think I’m walking like an athlete right now?

Beast:  You’re walking like you’ve got gimp legs.  You’re too old to be playing indoor soccer.

Foodie:  Excuse me?

Beast:  You’re 35 now.  And that’s too old.  That’s why you’re injured because your body can’t take it.  Plus, sports aren’t good for you.  Everybody knows that.

Scene:  Inside Aris Grill, the Beast orders a western sandwich with a side of bacon, and the Foodie orders eggs over easy, bacon and rye toast.  Diner-style coffee (re:  not very good but strangely appealing) arrives quickly.

Beast:  (Reading paper)  You know, somebody should leave a Post-It note for people that write about contemporary people being icons and the note should tell them to pick up a dictionary.  “Will.i.am, celebrated music and fashion icon…” Are you kidding me?  I don’t even know who the fuck will.i.am is!  He’s just a hologram on CNN.

Foodie: Pardon?

Beast:  He was a hologram, during the presidential election.  Remember the holograms on CNN?

Foodie:  Oh yeah.

Scene:  Breakfast arrives.

Foodie:  You know what I like about breakfast?  I like that everybody eats theirs a little differently–they personalize it.  For instance, I like some egg, a little bit of bacon and toast in each bite.  I like planning it out so that every bite has that combination, right down to the last bite.  See–look at you:  you’re putting your side of bacon right on your sandwich.

Foodie:  (Journey’s Don’t Stop Believin’ is playing on the radio)  Every time I hear this song I want to watch the series finale of the Sopranos again.

Beast:  Me too.  Did I tell you that my brother and I were walking in Liberty Village and we saw two guys take off their shirts and start washing a car while this song was playing?

Foodie:  That’s a lie!

Beast:  That’s the truth.  I swear.

Foodie:  Unbelievable.

Beast (One, by U2 is now on the radio)  I think this song was used in the series finale of Friends.

Foodie:  You watched the last episode of Friends?

Beast:  Of course I did!

Foodie:  I didn’t.  (Pause)  Oh yeah!  Weren’t you, like, obsessed with Friends? Didn’t you have a Friends T-shirt and the Friends soundtrack?

Beast:  I loved Friends.  It was the most important part of my childhood.

Foodie:  Oh shit man.  You were actually a  kid when Friends was on.  I think I was in grad school.  Or I at least had a driver’s license.  Oh God.

Beast: When does your Mark Bittman story come out?

Foodie:  Next week I think.

Beast: Are you going to blog about getting to have dinner with him?

Foodie: No.  I’ve thought about it  and I don’t think it’s the professional thing to do.

Beast: Why not?

Foodie:  Well, there are a couple of reasons:  One, you weren’t there and this blog is about our dinners, and two, it would sound like I was bragging about it.  And it was really just luck that I got to go: His Simon & Schuster publicist, Amy, asked me at the last minute because there happened to be space for one more.

Beast: But you’ve already bragged about it to everyone.

Foodie: No I haven’t!  I’ve barely told anybody.  Mark blogged about the dinner though.

Beast: Oh so you’re on a first name basis with Mark?

Foodie:  No!  Although we did share our dinners.  But I don’t want to talk about it.

Beast:  Okay.

Foodie: Well, we both sort of wanted the burger and we both were humming and hawing–

Beast:  It’s hemming and hawing.

Foodie:  We were both hemming and hawing over the fish, so when he ordered the burger and found out I ordered the fish, he told me that we were sharing.

Beast: So you shared dinner with another man.

Foodie: What was I supposed to say! It was Mark Bittman!  And I was sitting beside him.  I don’t want to talk about this anymore.  It feels unprofessional.

Beast:  Fine.

Foodie:  You know what an awesome part was?  He was just, like, so down to earth.  He was texting with his daughter and stuff, and he likes to swear so we were both swearing, and he’s quite funny too.  We laughed a lot.  He just seemed really real, you know? Like, down to earth.

Beast:  Sounds like you two had a real blast.

Foodie:  There’s one part I’m regretful of though: Somehow we got on the topic of World War I–because we talked about a lot of interesting stuff–and we introduced him to the poem Flander’s Fields, which I read to him from my iPhone, and I think I made fun of it a bit.  I’ve just never been moved by the poem–I think the rhyming really distracts me.  But he was genuinely touched by it so I felt like a real asshole.

Beast:  Are you done?

Foodie:  What do you mean?

Beast:  I thought you said you didn’t want to talk about this.

Foodie:  No, I just said I didn’t want to blog about it. Are you going to eat that last piece of bacon?  No?  Did I tell you about how somehow my art history background came up–

Beast:  You probably bragged to him about.  I can hear you now:  “When I lived in Italy and was teaching art history…”

Foodie:  I DID NOT!!!!

Beast:  You so did.

Foodie:  The subject came up organically.  Do you want to hear this story or not.

Beast:  (Silence)

Foodie:  So he was telling me how he’s going to Washington D.C. soon and a friend told him how he had to see this exhibit by a Renaissance painter who used fruits and vegetables to make portraits–

Beast:  Archimbaldo?

Foodie:  FUCK YOU.

Beast:  What?

Foodie:  Well, he asked me the name and for the life of me, I couldn’t remember it.  I had to look it up on my iPhone, or maybe he looked it up on his BlackBerry–I can’t remember.  But I was devastated because the art history Master didn’t know the name of the artist.  I knew the name started with an “A” though, and that he was active in the 16th century, so that’s pretty good, I think.

Beast:  Are you ready to go.

Foodie:  Yes.  Can we stop at the optical place down the street?

Beast:  Why?

Foodie:  I want to make an appointment to get contact lenses.

Beast:  Why?

Foodie:  For the indoor soccer man!  I did a header last game and my glasses dug into my face and it hurt like hell.  So I want to investigate contact lenses–just for when I’m an athlete.  This place down the streets gives lessons to people like me who’re afraid to touch their eyes.

Beast:  You’ve changed so much.

Foodie:  *1/2

Beast: **

8 responses to “Aris for Breakfast with a Side of Mark Bittman

  1. You’ve changed so much!

  2. I am BEYOND delighted that you shared a repast with Mark Bittman! I just sat down to catch up on your last 3 posts and I am thrilled to find out you met him and exchanged ideas! I think Bittman is the bee’s knees! Way to go!

    Did I ever tell you that one of my former Via Ghibellina roommates and I ran into another SACI ’03 alum at the Nat Gal in DC, in 2005?? It was in the Rembrandt room, and it was awesome. I’m imagining the Nat Gal now. Let’s meet up somewhere, sometime. K? I’ll talk food and Renaissance all damn day.

    • Yes please Lily! I ran into a SACI student at the Neue Gallery in NYC in 2008! I would love to meet up with you at the National Gallery, preferably near the Giorgione’s and the Bellini’s please. YES!

  3. I didn’t own the “Friends” soundtrack. I owned the album by The Rembrandts that featured the song “I’ll Be There For You”. I wasn’t a loser.

  4. I owned the Friends soundtrack. And had a Friends poster. And Friends latte mugs. I was clearly a mid-90s loser.

    It also bears mentioning that The Foodie once sat on my couch and marvelled at how “cut” David Schwimmer’s body was. And now you know …

    • Did I really? That sounds like a lie. I’ve never been attracted to David Schwimmer in the least. Maybe that Chandler guy. But not even. Is it possible? I feel terrible inside.

  5. That thing in Liberty Village really did happen. It was this summer, and it was totally weird. Also The Beast did own that CD but by the time he was 11 he was into Napalm Death……. that’s pretty cool……. I think, at least……..

  6. I every time spent my half an hour to read this web site’s posts all the time along with a cup of coffee.

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