Saturday, October 08, 2011

Casa Della Bisou

Conveniently located for my new abode, there's a charming, if rustic, Italian restaurant. It serves homemade pizza and now, homemade fresh pasta. Also a version of the NYT sautéed artichoke dish I love-hated in principle here. Pesto, arrabbiata, and more basic tomato sauces, yup. The restaurant sometimes switches gears and does sushi (well, maki) or stir-fry, and occasionally veers off into desserts - on recent visits, I have sampled the lemon pound cake and the cranberry muffins. Or in the other direction - dinosaur kale, shallot, and ricotta salata salad; quinoa; grilled vegetables. It's best, however, when it sticks with classic Italian.

The restaurant I'm referring to is, of course, my kitchen. Human resourcefulness being what it is, the ability to cook that came out of being a picky eater, that evolved with time as I began wanting more variety than a grad-student budget would allow for via restaurants in NY, has reached some kind of apex now that supermarkets (including Wegman's of the remarkably cheap family pack of baby artichokes), but not restaurants, are accessible by shuttle. Or, restaurants are, technically, insofar as town is accessible, but not at dinner time. 

It's reached the point that I could totally have my own Italian cooking show on the Food Network, assuming they allow the odd obscenity to slip when something happens like an oven mitt partially melts onto a pizza stone.

This may all change, however, now that my husband and I both have bikes. It is now theoretically possible for us to be in town, at night, at the same time, without a walk that would take so long that we'd have to bring a dog that can't walk that far, yet that is now too big for the Paris Hilton handbag approach. This is major. And not even all that theoretical. We just ate in a restaurant that has not one but two lists of rules, lists that are not fully in sync, and that put hipster coffee shops to shame. It was wonderful, and I'm not being even a little bit sarcastic. Civilization! Here, the only rule is that Bisou is not allowed to confuse her water bowl with a toy and flip it over, thus drenching the floor of the kitchen, thus creating an obstacle to the smooth operation of this Italian restaurant I'm trying to keep afloat but not literally

Anyway, now that I've dug myself into this gender-stereotyped corner, let me move from food to clothes. Let me be blunt: my bike is hideous, and the helmet matches the bike. This bothers me. Not because I think anyone who sees me cares - first of all, does anyone see me, other than the drivers who come this close to running me over every time I go out? Just because I prefer, aesthetically, not necessarily for an outfit to match, but for it to all come together. A Breton-striped shirt with green "skinny" cargoes and a chambray button-down-as-jacket, perhaps. I'll think about which shoes - oxfords? - work with it, and which - loafers? - don't. I'll think about which of my two non-ancient lipsticks I alternate between would go best. I will, even here, where everyone's thoughts are far more Advanced, and no one, let me repeat, no one is thinking about clothes. It's not time-consuming for me at all, I'm not sitting around contemplating this, it's just something that operates on a barely-conscious level, leading me to opt for the shirt three down in the drawer, not just the one on top. 

But when I combine this assortment - or anything I might wear - with a red-in-a-bad-way mountain bike (for which mountains? what was I thinking?) and matching red helmet, it starts to seem like I should really just give up entirely and switch to the top-of-the-clean-pile method of getting dressed. The only outfit I came up with that kind of made it work was one of those L.L. Bean chunky sweaters, Levi's not-too-dark jeans, and Converse - a kind of Americana look that would not have gone well with a superchic Dutch-style bike, anyhow. But I don't necessarily want to dress like Wally from "Leave it to Beaver" every day. 

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