I gotta tell ya, I just had a very nice Thursday night.
We went to La Dolce Vita in Beverly Hills, or as it is more commonly known (on their website)...
...intimately dark and inviting, homespun and cosmopolitan, La Dolce Vita has long been the favorite destination of the renowned and famous, from presidents and celebrities to the Rat Pack and the rest of us who are looking for some of the finest Northern Italian cuisine in Southern California.
We settled into a comfortable, red leather booth in the back and had martinis on the table before bread or a menu. The swanky sounds of Old Blue Eyes emanated from rafters, or was it the heavens? The rolls were warm, the marinara complex. When I found out they were out of their famous osso bucco (They serve it one night a week and they are sold out by 8 pm? Huh?), I quickly moved to plan B, the Spaghetti d' Ischia with smoked salmon and capers in a light vodka creme sauce. Eat your heart out, osso bucco. I was feeling guilty about eating calf anyway. Man, this was easily the best or tied for the best pasta dish I have ever had in my 32 years on this planet. The saltiness of the smoked salmon and capers perfectly balanced with the creme sauce, all amid an awesomely al dente texture. Each bite was like a birthday party. Speaking of birthday parties, there was a rather large and loud one directly in front of us, which is what made the evening truly unique.
They were an ever expanding party that ultimately topped out at around eighteen people, all around one ginormous round table. They were largely Nicaraguan, rather than Italian, but they had the familial exuberance of an old mobster movie. They were loud, they hugged, they were opinionated. One older gentleman in particular was quite schnockered, but not in a way that bothered us at all. The whole group was more entertaining than anything else. Yet towards the end of our meal as we were waiting for the check, an older gentleman from their party looked at us apologetically and offered to buy us a drink. We smiled and assured him it was not necessary. Five minutes later as the drunk guy ambled around the table, he got up and came over to apologize again, asking if he may join us for a moment. Of course, we said, sliding over a bit. And so down he sat, chatting with us for the next five minutes or so. He told us that the guests of honor in their party owned a Cuban supper club in Hollywood. He gave us his card and told us to if we ever wanted to go, to give him a call and he would set it up. Of course, I doubt we would ever be so bold as to take him up on it, but we were just sort of taken by the gesture, not so much the club offer, but more so by him coming over to our table to sit. Who does that anymore, really? It was just really nice.
I'd like to say I topped this splendid step back in time of an evening off by going home and watching the old black & white I had on Netflix, "The Philadelphia Story." However, I can't lie. As it was a Thursday night and this dinner wound up being one of those two-plus hour affairs, there was only time for a "Modern Family" before bed.
For a random Thursday, I'll take it.