Wednesday, September 06, 2006

That's amore

Until he changed jobs a couple of months ago, my favorite architect (the one I'm married to) spent the better part of a decade flying to Washington, D.C. every week from our home in the midwest. Because he spent three days a week here in D.C., he knows just about every fine restaurant in the area. But for several years his favorite, not just for its northern Italian cuisine but for its congenial atmosphere, has been the moderately-priced Sergio's in Silver Spring, Maryland. (Here's a review from The Washingtonian Online.)

I've accompanied my husband to D.C. several times, and Sergio's is my favorite, as well. I have a mad crush on the owner, an affable Italian named Sergio Toni. All right, he's somewhere near my father's age, but I adore him even though I can't always understand his thickly-accented English.

After his business dinners in Washington, my husband would always phone home to chat with the boys and me. When he gave me course-by-course descriptions of the meals he had enjoyed, I always had to fight off jealousy. So I was more than a little amused when I learned that he had tried two or three times to order osso buco at Sergio's and was steered to other dishes because the osso buco wasn't, in Sergio's opinion, all that the very best osso buco should be.

"Why doesn't he just take it off the menu?" I asked one night.

"I think he lets some people order it," my husband said. "Just not me."

Sergio's a darling, but he is very much in charge. One evening I had my heart set on a square of his fabulous tiramisu. When he came to our table all smiles and asked if we cared for some dessert, I eagerly placed my order. At least, I tried to.

"No, " Sergio said. "Tonight you have the cannoli. So fresh!"

I told him I liked cannoli well enough, but it wasn't a favorite.

"I bring you the cannoli," he said, and he did. The crisp pastry melted in my mouth. The filling was as soft as clouds. Why had I doubted Sergio?

Since my husband is finished working in Washington, I don't know when we might see Sergio again. But if any of you are ever in the D.C. area, be sure to visit his wonderful ristorante. And don't bother with the menu. Trust Sergio to tell you what you want.


healing hoves said...

Brenda, I am so glad to come across you in blog world. I who have lived 20 years in total darkness and despair, came back to God 2 year ago at the age of 50. I too wrote a book, my first one, called taking back what my darkness stole, i started my blog out with my book because I wanted people to here my story with God. I love writing about God. I have just written a new book called healing hooves a story about my 12 year old daughter who has spina bifida and her journey thru horse thearpy where she found her element of success and acheived many wonderful things. I am so new to this writing stuff, and I went with a publishing company that did nothing for me. publish america. I am trying to find a more reliable publisher for my new book and was wondering if you could advise me. You can go to my blog and read about me. I really did not know how to blog it, so you kinda have to hit view blog and start at the bottom and read up. Thanks sonja

Andrew said...

I always love it when I can develop a relationship with a business owner who does their best to look after their customers. We have similar relationships with people who own clothing stores, who keep us in mind when they go on buying trips, that sort of thing.

To Love, Honor and Dismay

Brenda Coulter said...

Exactly, Andrew. When you find a business owner who gives you a little something extra, you're eager to tell everyone you know. Too bad some business owners don't seem to get that.

Sonja, I'm not doing any internet surfing this week because I'm out of town. I've just been popping online occasionally to check for urgent e-mails and to blog a little. But thanks for speaking up--I imagine a few people will see your comment and want to click over to your blog.

I'm afraid I know nothing at all about the nonfiction market, so I can't give you any advice on publishing your books. But I wish you all the best with those and with your blog.

Bonnie Calhoun said...

I can't argue with a grat cannoli..what else is there to say...pass the tubes!

Domino said...

Did someone say Italian food? I'll keep Sergio in mind the next time I go to Maryland.

I have favorite restaurants in far away places too, but I feel more at home in Italian restaurants. Is it because they are owned/managed by people who are passionate about life and don't consider the restaurant just a job? I've eaten in a NYC Italian restaurant where the owner spoke to everyone in the place like he was their best friend. Made me want to come back.

Cathy West said...

Hi, Brenda.
I'd like to invite you to check out Christian Women Online
If you would like to link to us, there are various ways to do so. Instructions are on the website. I hope you will join us in "uniting women of faith!"

Brenda Coulter said...

Cathy, as I said above, I'm not doing any web-surfing this week. But thanks for saying hi. I wish you all the best with Christian Women Online.

Bonnie and Laura, we went to Sergio's on Tuesday night. I started with a plate of steamed mussels in white wine sauce with just the right amount of minced garlic, then moved on to a beautifully dressed salad of mixed greens. Next came a dish of freshly-made ravioli with a perfectly seasoned pork-and-I-forget-what-else mixture. I enjoyed a sturdy chianti with that, then finished with coffee and tiramisu. Mmm.

I think you're right, Laura--the Italians seem to be all about family and friends and good food. Sergio hugged us when we left.