A while back I posted about some parts of Cleveland that I'd explored and enjoyed; I've since been meaning to post about a trip to Little Italy.
Driving Little Italy's main drag (Mayfield Road), a street made for tourists--a shop advertised wine tasting; a peek into a restaurant window provided a glimpse of snug round tables, full to the edge with wine and bread and plates of pasta--was an exercise in patience. Cars drove slowly up the road as people jay-walked to greet familiar faces. Others weaved around tables covering a sidewalk, coming nerve-wrackingly close to the street and bumpers of passing cars. Cliche Italian music filtered into my open window, a cacophony representing all the restaurants. Those in for the best pastries and coffee were sitting outside Presti's.
Trying to park is an exercise in patience here. I checked side street after side street, finding no parking, but enjoyed the sight of little houses complete with nonnos and nonnas (grandpas and grandmas) sitting on their porches, watching patiently as this confused transplant navigated one-way streets and a borough lacking adequate parking. I felt a kinship with these people, who looked like they just stepped off a boat and made their way into a foreign land too. For all I know their people could have been here for generations, but their dress and patient manner suggested otherwise.
A3, Dayna, Sav and I found each other (cell phoning ourselves to a city block of each other). We settled on La Dolce Vita ("The Sweet Life"), drawn by the idea of eating outside on what was one of those amazing summer nights--not too humid or hot, sunny with just enough breeze. We talked and laughed. I admired my lovely niece and her never ending smile. We sampled each others food (I had the grilled veal sausage with roasted red peppers and onions, smoked mozzarella and polenta--SO GOOD!). I think we all ate too much. (Yes, I even sopped up the sauce from my plate with bread--it was that good!) And at the meal's end it felt good to sit back, to enjoy this time together, to take it all in and savor it...because really, isn't that what it means to enjoy the sweet life?