Tuesday, November 23, 2010

The Color of Gratitude

My friend and I went out to dinner with my parents the other night.

We went to Dolce Vita, which has been a favorite Italian restaurant to frequent, over the years. 

The tone is always hopping, even on a Sunday night,
     or maybe it was because it was the Sunday before Thanksgiving.

The pasta dishes are all wonderful,
     but it is usually difficult for me to pass up one of the daily fish specials -
     rockfish, tilapia, or grouper 
     that melts in your mouth the moment that first bite lands on your tongue.

Our meal - accompanied by a nice bottle of red, of course.

At one point, the owner came over to clear some items out of our way. 

     "Don't touch that bread basket!" my mom announces, protectively. 

As he pulls his hand back in laughter, I tell him,

      "And she's not even Italian!  Can you believe that?" 

     "I'm French," she says, with confidence.

My dad quickly throws in,

     "And German." 

      "Oui, oui, Madame!" says the owner (Joe).   

Then, he leans in close and says,

      "You know the difference between an Italian mother and a French mother?"

Unfortunately, I do not remember the punch line,
     but it had something to do with the French mother using her knuckles.   

After our meal, the waiter asks if we will be interested in dessert. 

     "YES!" we all respond, without hesitation. 

With a smirk on his face, the waiter retrieves the dessert tray, for us all to salivate over,
     as he describes each one in detail. 
We pick three to share for the table - something with chocolate, something with almond,
     and something with coffee. 

Along with our dessert, a strolling accordion player stops by for a few requests. 

My dad is always good for that, and throws out a few suggestions.

The accordion player delivers, performing not one, not two, but three songs for the table.

We clap and graciously thank him, leaving a few dollars in his tip jar, on our way out.     

When we leave, the hour is still early, and I am not yet ready to call it a night. 

The energy of Dolce Vita has filled me up, and leaves me craving for more.

My friend and I meander over to The Wine House in Fairfax City,
     where the mood is much more subdued - the ambiance much more dark,
     but the smiles and warmth, along with the anticipation of a good glass of wine,
     convince us to stay. 

The wine is excellent - a glass of cabernet sauvignon. 

Surprisingly, I find myself still hungry, and wanting something to nibble on while I sip my wine,
     so we order a cheese platter, beautifully displayed with crackers, bread, and fruit,
     to accompany the four types of cheeses of our choice.

Our evening ends with a visit to the Fair Trade shop next door, filled with wonderful, unique gifts. 

Fair Trade, if you are not aware, are socially conscious, sweatshop free,
     environmentally sustainable crafts made by people from countries all over the world,
     providing low-income artisans and farmers with a living wage for their work. 

The simplicity and the craftsmanship that goes into many of these gifts always fascinates me. 

So many unique items to look at, I could spend hours appreciating each one,
     with all of the colors, textures, scents, and sounds.

I leave with a few unique Christmas gifts (my first of the season),
     and a new, festive accessory to brighten up my living room.

I walk away from the evening feeling very happy and full, both in appetite and in spirit,
     and the crimson colored pillow that now sits upon my couch - a sweet and comforting reminder. 


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