My mother frets over dinner plans like politicos fret over war. “Did I strategize well enough? Am I going to regret my decision? Should I request a table near the window?”
My mother’s friends suffer at the mercy of her spasmodic whim. “Well maybe we SHOULDN’T go to X,” she’ll say, after three weeks of discussing dinner plans. “I hear Y has better food and that Robert DeNiro eats there.”
My parents flew into New York today because they’re attending some benefit this weekend for Katie Couric and her colon. Their dinner roster for the trip would make any foodie’s eyes light up: Le Bernadain, David Burke & Donatella, lunch at The Four Seasons.
But the meal my mother worried most about was tonight. “I made reservations at ‘Cesca,” she told me, “but I think your father’s going to hate it.”
She read me some of the menu.
“Dad’s going to hate it,” I confirmed.
My dad’s tastes are so sure, so stagnant that predicting his level of satisfaction at any place that doesn’t serve Caesar salad, steak, and creamed spianch takes little effort. And yet tonight my cell phone rang during an intense bout of studying and watching “Will and Grace.”
“Hi Adam,” said my dad.
“Hey,” I said. “How’s it going?”
“Great! We’re in this restaurant “Cesca,” he began, “and I really didn’t want to come. Your mother dragged me here.”
“No I didn’t,” I hear her say in the background.
“But the food is terrific!” I’ve never heard my father so happy over food. “We just had an appetizer of mozarrella and roasted red peppers and it was one of the best things I’ve ever eaten!”
My dad? Ate mozarella and roasted peppers? What’s going on here?
“And then we shared a pasta with capers and olives and lemon and it was delicious.”
“Really,” I said, a bit stunned.
“And now we’re waiting for our entree. I ordered the swordfish. Here, let me give you your mother.”
He passes the phone to my mom.
“Adam, this place is phenomenal,” she said. “Can you believe your father loves it so much?”
“I love it!” my dad cheers in the background.
“Anyway,” she continues, “I’m making you a reservation for next week.”
“But mom,” I said, like a spoiled brat, “I was going to go to the theater.”
“Go during the day! You can’t miss this place!”
She called me back an hour later telling me she got an “impossible to get” reservation for next Saturday at ‘Cesca. Full report to follow. Hopefully as glowing as my dad’s.