Monday, March 03, 2008

Little Italy

We splurged and went on a date last night. Grandpa (Reid) came to pick up Rachel at 3:45 and we were then free to do as we pleased while Grandpa took Rachel grocery shopping and on a visit to the pet store.

Our first line of business was to go to the temple. I noticed a lot of Asian-looking people while we were working our way up to the temple. It isn't that I'm prejudiced, really, it's just that we live in Orem. We don't usually see throngs of Asian people around, so it was something of note. I didn't really think much of it until we got inside and I noticed that almost every temple worker I saw was Asian.

Even then I still didn't get it.

We sat down in the chapel but the session was full before our row, the last one in the chapel, could go in. They then announced that the next session would be in Mandarin Chinese and that we would be welcome to wait for the next session or head off to do sealings. We always seem to go to the temple at just the wrong time so were sure to pick up a schedule on our way out so that we wouldn't miss another session.

Since Rachel was waiting for us, and since we were going out afterwards, we decided to opt for sealings. It's always nice to be reminded of the covenants we made on our wedding day, and the blessings we are promised if we can live up to those covenants.

We had a wonderful time and left feeling happy, although I was starting to feel a little sick and regretting our choice to go out to eat. If it hadn't been an "evento cultural" for Andrew I probably would have asked to just go home early, but I put on a brave face and we went to dinner anyway.

The restaurant was the most wonderful place we have been to for a long time. It's called Gloria's Little Italy and was well out of our price range. Of course, any place that doesn't have a dollar value menu is out of our price range.

It was wonderfully authentic, with a gelateria up in the crowded waiting room. It smelled of homemade Italian food. The atmosphere would have been truly authentic, had the lighting been poorer, the forno a real one, and the crowd speaking Italian. The decor was familiar stucco walls with stone accents, the ceiling was painted like the sky. The table cloths were perfect, down to the little clips used to hold them to the table. The curtains were wonderful Even the bathroom, which we both used frequently, was decorated in true Italian fashion.

We felt like we had been whisked away to Italy, reliving our honeymoon. It's not very often a restaurant can do that to you but we really felt like we had left Utah Valley and transported to Europe. Kind of like going to IKEA.

As I said, we splurged. We got specials and dessert--I could live on lemon gelato. I had tortellini with ragú and Andrew had pesto, homemade. It was delicious. Dinner came with a salad and a breadbasket. The breadbasket caused us some confusion. Half the bread had regular olive oil on it and half the bread was drizzled with spiced olive oil.

I grabbed a spice piece and Andrew grabbed a regular piece--they are completely indistinguishable to the untrained eye and we are no olive oil connoisseurs. Andrew started chowing down his piece and I took a bite out of mine. It burned my mouth, it tasted so strongly of garlic.

"Whoa-ho-ho!" I exclaimed, fanning my mouth, "This bread is super garlicky!"

"No," Andrew said, "It isn't really. I don't taste any garlic at all."

That was odd. Usually I'm the one loading on the salsa and adding an extra pow to our meals. Andrew avoids all things spicy: onions, peppers, salsa, chili powder... I couldn't understand how my garlic bread was overpowering my taste buds while Andrew seemed just fine with his.

"Pretty sure it's actually spicy," I said after taking another bite, just to make sure I wasn't crazy.

"Did they even put garlic on it? I don't see any..." Andrew examined his piece.

Eventually we both finished our pieces and went for seconds. This time I grabbed a regular piece and Andrew got a spicy one. We both took a bite,

"Ohhh..." we agreed, trying not to spray each other with crumbs.

As we left, Andrew visited the restroom one more time leaving me in charge of paying. I'm terrible at paying. I can never remember how much to tip and never seem to do anything right. I just have never gone out to eat much.

When we were on our honeymoon, we went to a pizzeria in Rome and Andrew had me pay, to practice. I definitely needed it. You would think that after eating out a few times I would have caught on to the system. I hadn't though. Our waiter came by our table and I whipped out my credit card.

"Qui," I said, handing him the card.

He immediately started teasing me.

"Oh, for me?" he asked, feigning a blush, "Thank you. I will keep it here."

He slipped the card into his pocket and patted it tenderly, "I will use it all up after work. What is your limit?"

I didn't get it because he was speaking Italinglese but I knew that he was making fun of me and I was doubly embarrassed because he was making such a fuss that the tables near to us were all watching and laughing. It was dreadful, but laughable.

"Check, please,"Andrew amended for me. The waiter gave my card back and brought us the bill.

That experience was so embarrassing; it should have taught me something about paying at a restaurant, but it didn't. I couldn't remember the customary tip so I had to ask the cashier.

It's 15-18%, just for future reference. Andrew had left me in such a rush, thrusting the card and receipt in my hand and fleeing to the restroom, and I was so flustered and embarrassed about having to ask how much to tip that I couldn't think. I accidentally tipped 20%, which I'm sure made our waitress, who was merely mediocre and probably only deserving of a 15% tip, very happy.

Oh, well.

We are definitely planning on heading back to Gloria's Little Italy again, even though we both got sick--we're sure it wasn't from the food since I was sick only before we ate and Andrew was sick both before and after. (He's still sick. Poor chap.) The next time, though, we are probably going for lunch when the prices are cheaper, we won't be getting dessert, and I'll be sure not to give a 20% tip.

By the way, Rachel didn't cry once at Grandma and Grandpa's house. She had a blast and got to play with baby Michael and another little baby in Andrew's parents' ward. She just loves playing with friends.


  1. I discovered one early Saturday morning that the 8:30 AM session in the DC temple is a Spanish session. I could understand everything the workers were asking me - "Do you speak Spanish?" "Where did you learn?" "Do you want to do the session in Spanish?", but I still got a headset just in case. I was in the session for about 5 minutes before I quickly put the headphones on. Formal, religious Spanish is not my strength, and I'd only been to the temple a few times before then anyway.

    When I was there last week, I saw a couple signing to each other, and I almost hoped they'd be in my session, but they weren't. :)

  2. What!! That's crazy because I was going to write the same thing as amandastretch. We went to the DC temple on Saturday 2 weeks ago and were shooting for the 800 am session but got the 830 one in spanish. It was funny and we felt a little dorky having to use headsets but it was fun. After looking at the schedule, I realized we should've known and I also hoped to go to a sign language one! weird.

  3. They didn't give the option for us to use headphones, or we would have.

    When I first read Amanda's comment I read, "I saw a couple singing to each other." And I was like, "Yeah, that would have been interesting...I guess...if they started singing during a session...."

    Okay, but signing, that makes a lot more sense. We've been in a number of sessions that were signed. It's kind of distracting, really. I keep looking at the sign language screen. Yeah...

  4. me too (watching the sign language screen and getting distracted.) And reading the closed captioning stuff

  5. We are definitely going to have to try that Italian place! Sounds awesome!

    And how funny your fam was sick over the weekend too! Yes, I think lots of people were.... it was NO FUN!