In the sun room on Saturday morning, reading the papers and drinking the coffee when the Beast got some crazy idea in his head that he’s going to start fasting because he read some article in the March issue of Harper’s titled, “Starving Your Way to Vigor: The Benefits of an Empty Stomach.”
Beast: I’m going to start fasting.
Foodie: No. No you are not.
Beast: Oh yes I am.
Foodie: I am against this. I am against denying the body of nutrience in an attempt to “cleanse” it of “toxins”. The only thing you will do is lose water weight and shock your body into thinking it needs to hang on to everything important because it doesn’t know when you’re going to fill it up next because you’re behaving like a shit brain.
Beast: I’m not doing it to lose weight. I’m doing it to gain strength. You should read this article.
Foodie: I’m too busy reading about other stuff.
Beast: Like what?
Foodie: Like how probiotic yogurt and goji berries are good for you. Hey, you want to go see The Descendants today? I need to try and see all the Oscar movies before Sunday, for work, and I still need to see that one, plus War Horse and that Tom Hanks one.
Beast: I’d love to see it, actually. And then I’ll take you out for dinner tonight.
Beast: I said I’ll take you for dinner tonight. I got a bonus from work.
Foodie: Well, hells bells! Let me go put a bra on!
After the movie, walking along Queen Street—and after the Beast made me play two rounds of Big Buck Hunter, a shooting game in the arcade where you have to fire at bucks in the wilderness. It was the oddest thing. Oh, and after getting my photo taken in some cardboard thing promoting Star Wars 3D.
Foodie: I know you’re going to say no, but what about we go see Ian and Chris at Grand Electric? I’ve wanted to take you there for so long now.
Beast: Why would I say no?
Foodie: Because it seems like it would be a lot of fun and it would be really social; two things you hate.
Beast: I like those guys. Why don’t you text Ian and see how long the wait will be?
Foodie (nodding in disbelief): Yeah! Sure! Holy smokes, I can’t believe you just encouraged me to text! Wait. What the fuck?
Foodie: He just wrote back and it’s going to be a three and a half hour wait!
Beast: Well, good for them for doing so well.
Foodie: Good for them? This is bullshit. Where to now?
Foodie: I’d be happy with either. You choose.
We ended up at Enoteca Sociale, a place that reminds me a bit of Lupa in New York (that detail is for FATB’s international crowd). At 9:00 pm, there were many people huddled in the lobby waiting for a table but the hostess offered us two seats at the bar. I love sitting at restaurant bars. The Beast hates it. We took the the two seats, obviously.
Foodie: That was hilarious. As soon as we walk in and two seats at the bar appear. It was like it was meant to be.
Beast: Look (banging his knees against the counter and against me, in protest); we can’t even talk or see each other, and our knees keep banging.
Foodie (after just having ordered dinner): You’re exaggerating. Hey, how do you like this Pinot Bianco from Alto Adige?
Beast: I’m still shocked that you knew the first glass he poured us was corked.
Foodie: It was faint, that’s for certain, but I’m a very, very strong taster, having been trained–
Beast: It’s incredible.
Foodie: How in the hell did you like the movie, anyway?
Beast: I liked it. I like all of his movies.
Foodie: What else did he do besides Sideways again?
Beast: About Schmidt, Election.
Foodie: George Clooney’s character kind of reminded me of Jack Nicholson in About Schmidt. There’s a coldness to Payne’s leading men, don’t you think? It leaves me, I guess, wanting for more or something.
Beast: Well, I’m not sure Payne can make a movie where he’s not constantly undermining the emotional richness of his stories by being merciliessly mean to his characters.
Foodie: Holy Christ, these arancini are good. This tomato sauce with the sopprassata is amazing! But don’t you wish the arancini had a bit of saffron or something in there?
Beast: There’s a spirit of misanthropy in his movies that I like, and I guess I feel it in myself, but am uncomfortable with it.
Foodie: I love these greens, too. What is this again? Chicory and escarole? I’m going to make this at home. But I think I’d use pears instead of Jerusalem artichokes. What does misanthropy mean?
Beast: A dislike of mankind.
Foodie: Yeah, that’s what he does.
Beast: This is a good salad. If you make it, you should put croutons in it.
Foodie (Looking at him like he’s crazy): I don’t think so. I really wanted George Clooney’s character to have a melt down. I wanted to see him emote. I feel cheated that he didn’t.
Beast: I was satisfied with that scene near the end where the woman who visits Clooney’s wife has a meltdown at her bedside. She was saying and feeling everything he was feeling, only he wasn’t capable of articulating or emoting any of it.
Foodie (pausing mid-bite): Ohhhhhhhh! Do you think that it was written that way? Like, it was on purpose? Like, symbolism or something?
Beast (looking at me like I was retarded): Ah, yeah.
Foodie: How is your pasta? My ravioli stuffed with salted cod and potatoes is delicious. This mint and capers? So nice.
Beast: Mine is good, too, but I can’t understand why I ordered a seafood pasta. It’s just so out of character for me.
Foodie: I was really shocked when you ordered it, what with all that lamb ragu and guanciale on the menu.
Beast: I really wanted to order something new—like sea urchin spaghetti.
Foodie: Let me try. (Tasting it.) It needs salt.
Beast: You say that about everything. But you’re right this time around. (Pause) I really liked the movie. I really did. Especially that ending.
Foodie: Where they eat ice cream on the couch as a family?
Beast: They’re watching the movie, March of the Penguins. I don’t know. It’s just a nice statement about how a lush wilderness can be turned into a frozen desert and yet somehow, miraculously even, family feelings still survive. Actually, it was quite a beautiful ending.
Foodie: Should we order a cheese plate or get proper desserts?
Foodie (slightly drunk): That was so nice of the waiter to bring us a little bonus wine to go with our cheese! And I love it, don’t you? I love it more than the other two. Did he say it was a lacrima di morro d’Alba? I think that’s what he said. Do you think that’s the same thing as lacryma christi di blah blah blah? That’s the blood of Christ, or the tears, or something. I can’t remember. I love it more than the morellino di Scansano, and that nebbiolo. These are all such good wines. How can I feel more drunk here, after just two and a half glasses of wine, than I do at home, if I were to have drunk the same amount?
Beast: You’ve drunk half a bottle.
Foodie: So let me tell you about some ‘behind the restaurant scenes’ stuff, so to speak. So Matty. You know Matty, right? From Parts and Labour? Well, there’s another Matty here, who used to be there and then–
Beast: Oh, when you’re done this story I have to tell you all about the gossip in the used furniture industry. Just wake me up when you’re done.
Foodie: You do? Is that a joke? It is, isn’t it. And then Grant from the Black Hoof—
Beast: You were right about the service here; it really is extraordinarily good. Did you hear this woman beside us? It’s 11pm and she just asked for a second cappuccino but requested a half an order.
Foodie: As in half a cappuccino? That’s crazy! And the server didn’t smile or joke?
Beast: He just said, “of course”.
Foodie: I’m like so glad we got this Amaro Nonino. I feel great right now. How great do you feel? That was great, wasn’t it?
When we left, slightly drunk, very full, and quite content, every staff member we passed bid us good night and thanked us for coming. It made us feel like the night belonged just to us.