In my life, love and food go hand in hand. I was at Erbaluce with someone I loved spending time with. Why wouldn’t I be happy? I was eating some of the best Italian food I’d ever had.
Erbaluce’s chef, Charles Draghi, earned his stripes in Boston’s North End, the hub of Boston’s Italian cuisine and has created a menu that pairs home cooking with classical French culinary cuisine. The menu at Erbaluce changes nightly. Tonight we were lucky enough to start with a treviso and chickory salad (with a spicy anchovy dressing and spiced croutons)….come to mamma. I was licking my lips, and going for the much anticipated first bite. “Are you going to eat that salad or marry it?” said Dominick. He had a big grin on his face. He knew how much I loved my food. I wiped some saliva off my chin and stopped chewing long enough to stick my chicory infested tongue out at him.
“Not only do I want to marry it, I want to take it to Bali,” I said which made him crack-up. Unabashed laughter is something I love in people. I much prefer it to a self conscious chuckle.
That’s when it hit me, for the first time I had a dinner companion that distracted me from my fling with food – but in a good way. Other sweethearts look longingly into each other’s eyes but Dominick and I are always laughing hysterically. I now understand how someone can die laughing while having a great meal. I hadn’t stopped smiling since I sat down. I was happy and I know Grams would be happy if she could see my like this.
“Cut it out,” I said. “I can’t laugh like this and mooch off your lobster broth and leeks (with black kale, lobster tortellini, and black trumpet mushrooms).
Yum…the only thing better than your food is someone else’s. Not that what I had ordered was chopped liver. I was feasting pansoti (filled with sauteed greens and ricotta, and a walnut, lemon, thyme pesto) of which Dominic had already eaten half.
Lately I had felt Grams eyes following me, as I lazily schlepped about my apartment. Grams (when she had been alive) had always been an industrious soul and I sensed her frowning at my idleness. I had to agree. I was at the point in my life where I decided I would like to do more than live off my trust fund. In a past life in Paris I was an art buyer but now that I was settled in provincial little Boston I thought I would like to re-invent myself – a new profession that was wholly me.
I decided to pick Dominick’s brain on some of my ideas.
“What do you think of fashion therapist?” I asked.
“What exactly is that?”
“I would say it’s a fusion of stylist with life coach and add a little bit of therapy and feung shui”
“Hmmm,” he said chewing on a slow roasted leg of lamb (with an abuzzese egg and pecorino sauce).
I grabbed a bite of lamb with my fork…to die for.
“It’s not just picking out clothes. It’s looking at how you got where you are and where you want to be and then investing in a wardrobe or home décor to remind you of this every day.”
“I’ll have to think about this. Help for the rich and bored.” He said in a way that made me wonder if he found my idea to be a little too flimsy.
“More like a mantra for how you want to live your life.”
“Sounds like something every trust funder should have,” he said giving me a wink. I was a this close to giving him my evil eye. Fortunately by then our desert had arrived caramelized orange and chocolate tart (with orange whipped cream and candied orange zest) and I forgot to be annoyed.
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