When plans fell through last night with some friends, my husband and I decided to make the best of it. We kept the babysitter and headed out across the countryside in search of an Italian restaurant we’ve heard about in a tiny village about thirty minutes away.
You’ve got to understand that, living out here in the boonies, we take it pretty seriously when a new restaurant opens up within driving distance. We have more than our fair share of greasy spoons and burger joints, so there’s usually riotous joy among my friends and acquaintances when something different opens up. The Thai fusion place and the new sushi joint have been the subjects of many animated conversations, and now we’ve got another to add to the list.
Unbelievably, we had time to kill when we arrived at the restaurant – a wholly foreign concept in life after kids – and decided to go for a stroll in a gorgeous little park nearby. There was a trail along the rushing river, and gardens filled with flowers, and majestic trees, and the sunny remnants of a warm day – everything to make me giddy with excitement. Oh, and when I kissed my husband, he was wearing the cologne from when we were dating four years ago. I had a delicious surge of déja-vu.
The restaurant, called ‘Bread & Water’, was great. The décor was simple, with plain walls and tables and little Italian quotes painted near the ceiling: Chi mangia bene, vive bene (Who eats well lives well); Á tavola non s’invecchia (One does not age at the table); and my personal favourite: Amicizie e maccheroni sono meglio caldi (Friendships and pasta are best hot).
And, man, that pasta was hot! I ordered the gorgonzola gnocchi and had to wait a good five minutes before I could eat it without burning my tongue. Once I did, it was really delicious. I’m a huge gorgonzola fan and had it on everything when I lived in Italy: pizza ai quattro formaggi, risotto con gorgonzola, gnocchi… But it’s one of those things I really don’t use much at home.
I think there was a gorgonzola theme going on because my husband had a steak and spinach salad with gorgonzola. Or perhaps it was a general cheese theme, since we finished off with cheesecake! It was not my suggestion – I was feeling a bit ‘cheesed’ out – but since I usually make the dessert call, I agreed to capitulate this time.
The beautiful late -day sunshine had turned to pouring rain as we drove home across the fields, passing herds of huddled cattle, immaculate old-order Mennonite farms, and straight rows of baby corn sprouts. The land is dry and thirsty; I could imagine the earth’s sigh of relief as the rain fell.
I also felt refreshed. Only an evening away with my husband can make me feel cheerful at this morning’s 5:45 wake-up call with the kids.