Sunday, November 16, 2014

Artnotes: Lots of Lace

 Boats Ventimiglia   Blair Pessemier   Acrylic/linen  13 x 21.5   33 x 55
 Celeriac   Laurie Fox Pessemier  Acrylic/wood  13 x 6.25   33 x 16cm
Turnips   Laurie Fox Pessemier    Acrylic/wood  8 x 10"  20 x 25 cm   SOLD

Artnotes:   Lots of Lace

As the Tour Montparnasse glows orange, I sit down to write.  I am up these days by six; I often lie in bed until seven, because almost nothing is open that early.   I have big thoughts lying beneath my down comforter.

I am thinking about the restaurant where we had lunch some Sundays ago.  We had just emerged from the Tunnel at Frejus on our way to Cervo (48 euros and change, grazie) and the traffic had stepped up to a harrowing pace.  Sunday drivers?  Think again.  It was more like formula one.  We’d been up since 3AM so it was clearly time for a drink and a solid meal.

We pulled off the highway (thank you Jesus) at a little berg.  It was a hill town, like so many, in the foothills of the Alps.  We walked around and found the only thing open to be a pizza house, run by a friendly north African.  Do you serve vino – of course not, and he sent us to the hotel:   Albergo Ristorante Regis in Fossano.

The hotel dining room was a scene from an old time Italian movie.  There was not a surface left uncovered by lace:  cut work, crochet, embroidered.  This was a place with lots of time on its hands.  The tables were of major size, as one sees in Italian restaurants:  four tops which were a good 60 inches (near two meters) in length, and plenty wide, for all the dishes, glasses and heavy silverware.  I was underdressed, of course, having left Paris in plaid slacks and an old-underwear-white turtleneck.  We had a ravenous Harika with us, and a bag of rabbit livers in my pocketbook.

We were escorted to a table under the gaze of two other tables of diners. The two waitresses, blonde-haired sisters with a combined age of 150, were dressed in uniform:  lace of course, but completely black.  And as a nod to fashion, they were both wearing boots.  They were extremely nice to us, and I felt at home immediately.  

 We were handed menus (no prices, which is always scary).  We were encouraged to choose a first and second course and she would show us the bill before she put the order in.  We did.  I had a risotto with porcini mushrooms, which were in season, followed by a braciola of veal.  Blair chose the spaghetti, and another veal dish.  We ordered wine, which came from that region, perhaps the vineyard of the hotel, which was only 10 euros a bottle.  With the road in mind, we stopped at one.  

Harika got a lovely bowl of water, much needed.  I snuck the livers, by this time on the verge of pate, out of the bag, gently feeding her lobes one by one, all under the guise of the lace tablecloth.  My hands, which I wiped on the super-white starched napkin, looked like I’d been digging in dirt.  Miraculously, everything was ok.  It was a harbinger of our delightful vacation to come.  

What is better to have a chachka from a souvenir store or a memory?  I can’t wait to continue

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