The Unbearable Meal

The numbers of evenings during the year that Mrs. Wife can come into the city and join me for dinner are few and far between. It requires military-like planning. There are train schedules to pour over and children to abandon. Shoes and outfits must be selected and quickly rejected. A restaurant must be chosen. It’s a lot of work and these opportunities are not to be wasted. Fortunately, my food standards are so low that it’s almost impossible for me to have a bad meal. It’s the secret of life! Keep your sense of value low to the ground and almost everything becomes an unexpected treat.

So when she makes the effort to come into the city and we meet a few friends in an Italian restaurant and the food isn’t fit for dogs, it can be a bit of a disappointment. Italian! How do you fuck up Italian food? Aside from Chinese, Italian food in Manhattan is almost always a sure bet. Do yourself a favor and avoid Otto on 5th Avenue in the West Village at all costs. Undercooked pasta (should pasta be crunchy?), s-l-o-w (albeit pleasant) service and it’s not so cheap. Dinner for 4 was $120. That’s a lot of beans for causal Italian dining, don’t you think? Plus we had to sit through a story about a stolen car that went on twice as long as it should have. Mrs. Wife almost passed out into her glass of wine from the tedium.

The evening wasn’t a total bust. Mrs. Wife got into the city early, visited an old friend and had a pedicure at one of those little Korean joints. As I type this, I’m still picking undercooked bits of pasta out of the crevices in my teeth with my tongue. Vaffanculo!

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