What else did I have in common with my husband? Eating. Oh! We all have that in common.
We had our local favorites. One of the more recent was the Bamboo Republic in Arnold. We discovered it and shared it with family and friends. I even wrote a Yelp review for it. It was not close, but worth the visit. We ate there so often that the owner greeted us by name. She knew exactly what Roy would order. I was not so easy. We took our grandson one day for lunch when I was babysitting. The owner said that in her culture grandparents often shared responsibility for their grandchildren. She and I had that in common.
A little closer to home, we often visited the Villa Grande in Butler recommended to us by Roy’s turkey hunting biker friend who could be seen in camo in our woods spring and fall, or also might be seen biking along Route 68 towards Evans City. That friend visited this Italian cuisine restaurant so often that they named a food item for him. We ate in and carried out pizza.
In the other direction, we visited the Villa Rosa in Kittanning that had some familial connection to the Villa Grande. Our usual? Pizza. It became almost a Friday night tradition this past summer with our grandson. Caleb’s first excited word as we pulled in? Pizza. Perhaps this is what he had in common with his pappy, pizza. The owner knew my husband by name and took our pizza order one night as we waited for a table, following Roy’s instructions about just how much sauce to add.
Honestly, though, eating out has been reduced to the mundane. Sure, it’s great when I don’t feel like cooking or I want to try some new cuisine or I just want that sociability of sharing a meal with a friend, but in childhood, eating out was a celebration. It was more than just about the food. How excited we were when my father would announce we were going out to eat.
What would give me excitement about eating? Having someone cook for me at home. My husband would ‘drag up’ from his carpenter job for the winter to indulge in his hunting and trips, but would also spend hours at home. He would call me at work to ask, “What are you doing?”
“Working,” I replied.
“What were you thinking about for dinner?” he asked.
“I wasn’t thinking about it. I’ll figure it out when I get home.” And then I did.
[My pizza photo is from Michael’s Pizza Bar & Restaurant on the South Side in Pittsburgh. I didn’t write a Yelp review for it, but they have great pizza and wings.]