Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Scenes from an Italian Restaurant.

"When the moon hits your eye like a big pizza pie
That's amore.
When the world seems to shine like you've had too much wine, 
That's amore."
- Jack Brooks.

Good evening, my little blades... I am a sleepy blogger tonight because I drove for about 5 hours today -- maybe more on my way back from East Hampton/Cutchogue, I got stuck in siiiiccckkk traffic on the BQE and it was raining and my cellphone (Iphone of course!) died and after drinking an offensively large D & D iced chai tea latte, I had to pull over and pee, eat, and recharge my iphone. In that order. 

Zoiks to blogging about peeing.

But alas... my little blades... this homegirl had to stop. And so, I initially attempted to stop at a random diner in a random part of Brooklyn, but I circled the block 3 times, unable to find parking. I felt like Chevy Chase in European Vacation: There's Big Ben and Parliament. Damn. Can't get off this ramp.

And I might add there was no radio -- in my Dad's '92 Volvo, in the pouring rain in New York rush hour traffic -- I decided This is what hell looks like. I was still smiling I might add -- it was a digestible kind of hell -- because I was on the East Coast, close to home, I dig my Dad's Volvo, and the rain tapping and the fact that the car was so quiet for so long, I found myself making up a song to the tune of Hey Jude called Je-Sus -- more of a laugh than a misery. But alas, I still needed to get myself out of the traffic and recharge.

So, somewhere along Route 278 West, I randomly decided to stop off at Exit 12. And as I rambled down a street called Slosson, I followed the traffic and the traffic lights to where I presumed the "town" was. I soon learned I was in Staten Island.

And happily, as opposed to Brooklyn, I found parking! I pulled over, sloshed a bit across the wet sidewalk (in my gold super slipper sandals) and made my way into a friendly looking pizza restaurant called, Joe & Pat's. Little did I know it was a famous pizza restaurant -- people call from all over the country for Joe & Pat's!

I soon learned why: the thin crust and sweet sauce are killer! Giovanni, with the Yankee's cap in the photo above, greeted me when I walked in. And welcomed me to sit at the counter. I had a root beer, charged my Iphone, used the restroom all while my delicious slices were being heated up for me. One by one.

I ate two. The thin crust made two the perfect amount.

Giovanni and John (the other guy flipping the pizza dough in the photos above) made me laugh with their insider accounts of the restaurant owner and staff and their assembly-line-esque efficiency would've made Henry Ford blush with pride.

Their Staten Island accents endeared me to them. And when I spotted Joe -- of the restaurant name sitting at a corner table figuring out some receipts, the whole life of the place came alive for me. He and his brother Pat have owned this place since 1960. (Pat also came in while I was eating at the counter. So did Joe's son. It was magical -- watching an entire story come to life before my very eyes...)

And it is absolutely a little slice -- pun intended -- of small town deliciousness. The slices were phenomenal -- dripping with cheese, fresh tomatoes, and thin crust -- then a root beer to slurp it all down, I felt like I was privy to the family atmosphere of the joint. I just sat on my counter stool and watched the world go round.

Giovanni smiled at me and asked me some questions. And I smiled back and asked about Joe and Pat and Joe's son, and what it was like working there. I felt like the princess of the pizza. At my counter top throne. All the princes smiling at me...

It was honestly a serendipitous experience on the way back from East Hampton and Alec's deeply intelligent, provocative play (more about that fantastic experience in tomorrow's blog!), because what I was seeking was shelter from the storm. But what I got was for about an hour, family. Small town. Yummy slices. Giovanni. An Italian Family History. A feeling of love, maybe it was the pizza -- but I myself felt a little Moonstruck with the whole place...

When I said I had to leave and took out my money, Giovanni tried to persuade me to stay. And only then did I realize that he had ordered his dinner to arrive on the counter top right next to me. 

But alas... I'd been on the road for a long time and knew I had to saddle up and head back to the Garden State.

As I was paying, I tipped Giovanni a healthy tip and said good-bye. And he said to me, It was a pleasure knowing you.

I smiled broadly and when I swung the door open to leave, I looked back and Giovanni was smiling after me, as I walked away.

I smiled back and waved.

The drive home found me playing Billy Joel's Vienna. 

Below is the link in case you find yourself in the neighborhood, it is sooo worth the drive.

And so, my dear blades, I shall leave you with another little piece from Billy Joel, the aptly titled, Scenes From An Italian Restaurant.

May you enjoy it (almost!) as much as I enjoyed Joe & Pat's.

Oh. And the moral of the story... Sometimes when we think we may have gone down a "random" road, or we feel lost, we end up in the perfect place. Just follow the bright lights, the ones inside of you, and the ones on the street. And you just may end up with a heavenly slice, a feeling of home, and some love from a cute pizza guy. Or girl.

Staten Island never tasted so sweet. I heart NY. 

Love... Always.

No comments:

Post a Comment