"Big Night" at Grotto last night.
They were there before we arrived. Tom and Giselle. Or a reasonable facsimile. Sitting directly across the table. At the end of the night, they would more closely resemble Lenny Clarke and Mamma Cass. As did we all.
MC had warned us. And we tried to pace ourselves. My girlfriend and I shared a single piece of bread, a few olives, a smattering of sopracetta. Little did we know, it was the begining of the end.
Consume with pasta and carrots. Three risotti: pesto, seafood, lamb and wild mushroom. I was already getting full. And then, the waitress reappeared with a second, then a third helping of the marvelous, creamy rice. At this point, everyone in the room knew they were doomed.
Still, we ate forward, hard toward the summit.
The timpano was next. Slices as big and thick as the flab on my grandmother's arms. Hearty. Delicious. And like my grandma's meaty paws, frightening. The slice actually quivered in my presence. As did I in its.
The next hour was a blur. Beef tenderloin, duck, salmon, chicken. All seemingly wrapped in one variety of swine skin or another,
I was certain death was imminient. And then - just then - out came the suckling pig.
If anyone had had breath left in their pasta and meat filled lungs, the gasp would have filled the Hood blimp.
Tom and Giselle, color draining from their faces, tried to start a new conversation. She's a doctor, he a private banker. Smart, beautiful people, reduced to what I am on a daily basis: barely functional.
Dessert was merciful: berries in cream. My spoon, hot from overuse, curdled the offering.
Perhaps I should wrap this all up; maybe in the same crackling pork skin that today seeps through my pores.
To Grotto, a big thank you for a job well done. To Tom and Giselle (Ryan and Bronwyn): Thanks for a wonderful time and for being such great company.
The real Tom and Giselle have nothing on you.
That description of the timpano was fantastic. I only hope that when I try my hand at making it, it turns out a fraction as good as Grotto's.
And the pig! I only had a bite so I wouldn't explode, but it was not what I expected. They ground up the meat and formed something like a meatloaf out of it, mixed with vegetables and god only knows what else. Completely new to me, and simply delicious.
They loved it! My mother has always assumed that she hated risotto (I don't think she's had it before), but she couldn't stop talking about the offerings... I think that was her favorite part. My father was just happy there was wine. He kept saying that he wished he were younger; back in the day, he would have packed away at least twice of what he ate last night.
They were greatly impressed by the timpano. Like I said above, I plan on trying my hand at it some point, and we were trying to figure out a family gathering to do it for. My mom kept gushing about how all our family members would love it.
They were even impressed with the berries for dessert. They liked that it was a light way to end such a feast.
I have to say, they taught me a lot about food when I was growing up, and they like that I've turned the tables!