An Apology From The Culinary Gods

The Culinary Gods issued a grand apology to me today, and I thought I’d let you in on it. It went a little something like this…

Dear The Savory & The Beautiful,

Let us start by saying we rarely have days like these. We like to think we try our best to bless you with appetizing food your taste buds can melt over, but we suppose sometimes we come up short, like today.

We deeply apologize, first, for breakfast this morning. We know you always ask the grill guy, Frank, to not melt  the cheese in your breakfast wrap to keep it from oozing out and landing on the plate, instead of in your mouth leaving your egg-white, bacon, and American cheese wrap completely cheese-less. We do have to point out, though, that it was YOU who forgot to ask Frank not to melt your cheese, but we also realize we could have worked our Godly culinary magic and forced his memory to remember that the woman with the glasses who sits on 5 doesn’t like her cheese melted. We apologize, we truly do.

We also deeply apologize, secondly, for the faux Italian lunch that was bestowed upon you. We have no freakin’ clue how we thought chicken Marsala tinged with the flavor of Frank’s Hot Sauce would pass for authentic chicken bathed in Marsala. We rarely have such slip-ups, but we think it had to do with being short-staffed or something like that. We apologize, we truly do.

We also apologize, thirdly, for the Bubble Tea debacle. That was just plain wrong of us. We are going to go out on a limb for you, and just recommend you stay clear of any future bubble tea drinks. They are completely deceiving. They make you think that they are somehow healthy because 1. they are the oh so refined ‘tea’ rather than coffee, and 2. they harbor mysterious little tapioca pearls that make you think flavor will burst out but instead they just get stuck in your teeth. We apologize, we truly do.

We know that talk can be very very VERY cheap, so that is why it behooved us to bless you with something special for dinner. Just so you know that we are great attention-to-detail culinary Gods we’ve noticed how you’ve gazed at Mario Batali’s Italian eatery, Eataly for some time now and yet never go in, so we figured, why not lead you there today.

And so my friends, that is how I made peace with the Culinary Gods today, by enjoying an impromptu Italian meal at Eataly. I entered hungry, eager, and quietly excited. I had gone in a few weeks back, midday on a weekend, and it was insane, so I was elated to come through on a random thursday evening and find that the heavy crowds had dissipated but you could still feel that Italian buzz one might expect to find at an authentic market in Italy.

I wasn’t looking to sit down for a neatly-placed-on-the-pristine-dish type of meal. I wanted something comforting something hearty and savory, so I ended up at La Pizza & La Pasta. Thankfully it was a short 15 minute wait that gave me some time to browse the aisles of arborio rice and cute little canned sauces. Shortly after sitting down at the bar which was over-looking the bubbling kitchen, I was greeted with some bread and golden Extra Virgin Olive Oil. As I scoured the menu my eyes rested on the Tagliatelle al Ragu di Manzo aka as Pasta with Braised Short rib Ragu.

 Waiting for my Godly Italian apology I sipped on a glass of red wine and watched how the cooks attentively dedicated their attention between the several pots of boiling pasta and the sizzling sauté pans laden with creamy sauces. Then, just as I started to hear my stomach making demanding sounds about being fed, I was graced with a bowl of not-Tagliatelle al Ragu di Manzo but instead the Vesuvio al Ragu di Salciccia aka Pasta with Italian sausage ragu. Upon first glance I thought, hmmm this is interesting for a braised short rib, but I quickly set my questioning aside as the aroma was beckoning me to shut up and chow down. Wholly pasta! The first bite was AMAZING, I silently groaned with satisfaction. The pasta was perfectly al dente. The nuggets of  salciccia were perfectly sweet and savory, and the sauce, my goodness, the sauce was sheer Godliness. And then right then and there is when the Culinary Gods intervened and had the waitress walk over and apologize profusely for bringing me the WRONG DISH…well actually she didn’t, it was her server. But before you think that I’m about to bad mouth Eataly, think again.  I must say that I was still so deliciously delirious from the two bites of my only for a moment Vesuvio Pasta that I could not muster any meanness. And as she was apologizing on my left side, her server was surprising me with my Tagliatelle on the right. And then there was a moment of contemplation: Do I give back the Vesuvio which was sooo freakin fantabulous or do I go with my initial culinary gut instinct? what to do? What. To. Do? Pass the Tagliatelle over I mumbled thinking I will come  back another day for you Vesuvio, I really will, I promise.

I have to admit with my mind still foggy with Vesuvio thoughts, my first bite of the Tagliatelle was ok, BUT, once I really looked at the dish and saw all those flecks of buttery short rib mingling in a party of pasta, sauce, and freshly grated cheese, it was Vesuvio who??? Once again, my pasta was perfectly al dente and the sauce was comforting and hearty, just what I had needed after such a day of culinary disappointment. And so as I sopped up the last bit of braised short rib ragu with my last morsel of crusty chewy yummy bread I expressed no shame as I sensed that Mr. Batali would have done the same.

I departed with said apology delectably tucked away in my tummy and definitely already making plans to return for my Vesuvio. Two Spoons Up for Eataly!

“There is a difference between dining and eating. Dining is an art. When you eat to get most out of your meal, to please the palate, just as well as to satiate the appetite, that,my friend, is dining.”  – Yuan Mei

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