Thursday, January 31, 2008

C is for Cava

So, I’m in Portland again, and last night Tim and I go to one of his (and OK, my) favorite little restaurants. Seats just twenty, including four at the bar—the bar not being a real bar, per se, but a little counter up against a half-wall topped with wine bottles. One might feel restricted at the bar if the food (creative northern Italian) weren’t so damn good. It’s where we sat last night.

We walk in and were greeted by Sara (I’m guessing on this spelling), who notes that we hadn’t been there in awhile, and it’s true—not since September. Somehow we missed a visit here in December. She sits us down and says that they are so happy to see us, and would we like some sparkling wine? Tim is already eyeing up the wine list, and I don’t think he gets what I think she’s saying—“on us”—but I, being a lover of all things sparkly and Champagne and Prosecco and dry, say that of course I would love that, because I would, and which one does she recommend? She likes the Cava. Bring it on.

It was lovely. It was perfect. It did not appear on our bill.

This is not the only place in Portland where staff remembers us. In December, for his birthday, we took Tim to his other favorite spot, very pricey, and again, it was all how-have-you-been, it’s-been-awhile, really-a-year?-it-doesn’t-feel-like-that-long.

Yes, I know that this is part of what good service is. Yes, I know people are doing their jobs and need the high tips that will come their way. But in these couple of cases, I know they are not pretending to remember us. They remember us. (And if they don’t, please don’t shatter my illusion.)

We live five hours away from here.

This morning at a breakfast place, I saw a hint of recognition cross the waiter’s face. (He no doubt placed me when I ordered four pounds of their granola to take home to Vermont, although this time they couldn’t accommodate the request. Oh yeah. Crazy Vermont chick.) He got my order wrong, but it was something I’d always been tempted to try anyway. It’s the kind of hippie place where you can’t imagine that anyone working there could actually be a morning person.

It’s a short stay this time, and we’re scheduled to leave tomorrow, but a snowstorm is a-brewin’, and I think we’ll wait til Saturday morning. This suits me fine, as it means I can go see Persepolis, which starts here tomorrow and will probably never play anywhere near me. I just spent the last two days completely absorbed in the book (after my work hours, of course), trying to finish it before presenting it to a birthday girl at her party tonight.

And I just started The Invention of Hugo Cabret, this year’s Caldecott Medal winner, which I bought for my mother’s birthday (shhh!) because she collects Caldecotts, and I make sure that she owns every one. This is unlike any previous winner, at 530 pages of mixed illustration/text. It’s phenomenal. I’ve been loving the graphics in my reading this week. I’ve been loving that I’ve been reading this week.

So how’s this for a stream-of-consciousness post? That’s what Cava will do to you. Who cares what you post? Just post something! Spread the sparkly!

One other thing: I went roller skating Tuesday night—hadn’t been in eight years. The first ten minutes were tough, but it came back to me. I’m not quite ready for derby. But the disco ball is utterly trippy when you’re taking the corners.



Deloney said...

I've never roller-skated after champagne but I've gone bowling after hash. Hmm, that would be 1971 I think. Or 1791. Like Dylan Thomas I can't remember if it snowed for twelve days and twelve nights when I was six, or six days and six nights when I was twelve. Or something like that. Anyway, even thinking about this gives me the munchies. Time for supper!

Mrs Slocombe said...

touche, oh happy person

Helen said...

Simply sparkling.

How about Venal Cava for your roller derby name? You're open to throwing the derby on occasion?

Helen said...

I forgot to add that it should of course be the superior, not the inferior, venal cava.

Mali said...

"It’s the kind of hippie place where you can’t imagine that anyone working there could actually be a morning person."


Indigo Bunting said...

H: Of course superior! And maybe that should be your derby name...

Hello hello oh D, Mrs. S, Mali...

cedarwaxwing said...

I love places that remember me because so few have done so in my past. I used to be so jealous of Norm on Cheers.

Indigo Bunting said...

C: Sounds like you have a place like that now, though...

Anonymous said...

i know i know i dont usually surf bloggery BUT yours is favoritized my dear, and i find myself proctoring a three hour math test (HUH?) translation- free time !!!
love the fact that
a)i didnt know the heron/iliana story
b) i saw you the day of the hugo cabret brithday book presentation
c) you are my friend, in sickness (after bubbly) and in health (during bubbly)
d) we will surely see you within the month! til then /cheers!

Scott said...

I'm crazy about Cavas!!! It seems I'll be heading up to New Castle Maine next week to see an old friend of ours (Ms. Julie B. from the 1811 house) Little FYI; did you know that the clever Spaniards that make cavas are responsible for inventing those huge automated, square riddling racks that are now being used in many other places? I'm a wine nerd (and a bird nerd like you, but I think you knew that)

Take care, Scott

Indigo Bunting said...

Scott! Long time no hear. I love cavas too, and I didn't know about the rack thing. Please tell Ms. Julie B hello from the Aplodontia Society—i.e., the two Kates (I'm one), Tim, Stephanie, and Stan!