Tuesday, October 2, 2007

V.- V.I.P.

Last night Steve and I asked his mom, Marilyn, to go out for dinner. She said that she wanted Italian. That made me remember an email I had received a couple days ago that let me know that our friends, Gus and Cheryl Nicolaidis were having a "soft" opening of their new restaurant, La Scola.

We we arrived at the parking lot, it seemed a little bare, in fact there were cars parked only at the back of the building. The front door was locked and had a handwritten sign saying, "Sorry, our grand opening was mistakenly published as tonight, but it will be Oct. 9."


But my hubby is not to be stopped.

He just sauntered around to the back door and entered the kitchen. Gus was there and invited us in. There was all kinds of food, as it was supposed to be a tasting night for the staff. Cheryl was at the beautiful bar, giving a taste test to a salad.

She immediately made us feel like welcome guests, not party crashers. We took a tour of the nicely done restaurant including the walls of black and white photos of local personalities and even some nationally recognized people. (Me, "Hey, that looks like Eppie Lederer - Dear Abby - in that picture." It was.) All the photos were taken during the 40 - 50's. Marilyn was happy to see that my father-in-law is pictured twice on the wall.

But let me tell you about the food. The plates just kept arriving at the bar where we sat with Cheryl. The most delectable mozzarella I have ever eaten. The olives were a delight. I think at least six different kinds of pasta made their way to our eating board. The veggie Cacciatore was my favorite for the longest time. Then when I thought I could eat no more, the eggplant Parmesan arrived. It was not only the best I've ever had, the portion size meant that I'd have enough for three meals in the doggie bag. And we thought we were done. But a shrimp appetizer arrived. I cut off just a little piece and oh my god, now I won't be able to decide what to order the first time I visit without crashing the party.

Gus had to leave right when we arrived, but Cheryl, made us feel right at home ... just as if we were in her home. You can bet I will be back because I'll want to share this wonderful experience with others.

Thanks, Cheryl and Gus for a night to remember. And since I can't go to the VIP opening because I'll be teaching that evening, I am content with being a V-VIP - that is a very, very important person. That's one who comes in the back door!

What's your favorite restaurant story?

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