Thursday, September 27, 2012

Spain and Cortina (Redux)

Some random additional thoughts:

  • The Dali museum was awesome, much cooler than the Picasso museum, which was underwhelming (Sharon, upon viewing Picasso's study of  Las Meninas: "It's like that scene in Beetlejuice when everyone's head got shrunk;" Sharon, upon learning that Picasso's ceramic experiments had been gifted to the museum by the artist's widow: "Ugh, the widow Picasso was like, 'get it out of the house!'").
  • After our snack at Quimet y Quimet, we spent a few hours knocking back glasses of the house cava at El Xampanyet (ham was also consumed).  We made a temporary Japanese friend, who bought us cava and sardines and gave us some cryptic marriage advice: "It's really meaningful, but also not that meaningful."  He kept rubbing his belly; I thought he was encouraging us to procreate, but it turns out he just wanted a photo.
  • The train ride from Genoa (really great Gelato; also, we strolled down dank, narrow streets, past kebab shops and 500 year-old facades covered in political graffiti -- although the youth of the city aren't without a sense of whimsy: they also drew some dicks on the wall of Christopher Columbus' house  -- and then squirted us out onto ancient, sun-drenched plazas; we met a septuagenarian from Lucca who sang us snatches of Puccini and told us about his business partner, who lived about 500 feet away from our Brooklyn apartment) to Cortina was pretty spectacular.  Well, the scenery was pretty spectacular; the seven-hour trip, not so much.
  • Cortina was a great little resort town, definitely ritzy, but flexibly so; you could buy $2000 sweaters at the Brunello Cuccinelli store across the street from our hotel, or treat yourself to an amazing glass of $6 pinot nero on the hotel's patio -- the only red wine that our twitchy, effusive waiter, Lorenzo, would deign to drink.  The food was phenomenal:  pizza with sausage and radicchio, ravioli with beets, ewe's milk cheese, and poppy seeds, spaetzle with spinach and speck, gnocchi in pomodoro sauce.
  • Sharon, of course, made friends wherever we went.  The first night in Cortina, her veal chop was a little too big to finish.  Fortunately, Sharon spotted another diner who might enjoy her leftovers:  a big, friendly golden retriever who sat patiently next to a nearby table, waiting for his owners to finish their french fries and mayonnaise.  
  • (Before we continue, let's take a moment to reflect on and appreciate the self-control exhibited by this noble animal, whose name we never learned.  Imagine that you're a dog.  You have maybe five major passions in life; three of those passions are eating, running around, and investigating new smells.  Your owners take you to a crowded restaurant, which is like ground zero for eating and running around and smelling things; all around you strangers are eating delicious food and making interesting noises, your doggy brain is awash in sensory input, every impulse you have is impelling you to jump on people, eat their beef medallions, root through their handbags.  But you don't, you resist, because you're a good dog.)  
  • The waitress seemed somewhat skeptical, but dutifully transferred the veal to an aluminum to-go container and presented it to the dog.  Events quickly acheived an unstoppable momentum.  The dog finished his veal in about two seconds.  Fifteen seconds later, he'd licked the container clean; over the next ten or so minutes, his owners had to periodically restrain him from roving the dining room in search of more veal.  But he appeared to settle down, and we returned to our dinner.  However:  during dessert we heard a kind of scraping metallic crunch, and looked over to see the dog just shredding the now completely clean veal container; by the time he was done it looked like a ball of steel wool.  His owners did not seem thrilled.         

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