Tuesday November 2, 2010 – Lunch with family and a party with friends

The day dawned bright and brisk. Quite a change from Florida’s long steamy summer.

We had arranged for my brother, Butch (aka George), his wife, Dawn, and my sister, Marilyn to come in to New York to join us for lunch. We thought they would enjoy dining at an old-time Italian restaurant, so met them at Il Vagabondo on 62nd near 1st Avenue. In addition to legendary veal, this old-time dining spot features an indoor Bocce court.

The family got to the restaurant before us, and checked out the Bocce court before taking a table in one of the dining rooms. We came in, said hello to long-time barman “Billy” and asked if Ralph, the owner, was in so that we could relay greetings from an old-time friend who now lives in Boca. Ralph had yet to arrive, so we headed for the table, where I began by taking photos of everyone.

We caught up on all the family and Ridgefield happenings while David tried to pretend he was Italian by mispronouncing virtually every dish on the menu. Dawn and I opted for the Veal Parmigiano (rated the best in the U.S. by Emeril Lagasse), Marilyn had Eggplant Parmigiano, and David and Butch had the veal special, a Sorrentino with thin slices of eggplant. All were delicious, with the veal parm living up to its billing.

Ralph, the owner, came by to say hello and was very charming. He said he would be in Boca around Christmas and wanted to know our friend’s contact information so that he could get together while there. The waiter came by the table a few minutes later to say that Ralph wanted to buy us a bottle of wine. As David and I were the only two sharing a bottle (a nice Attems Sauvignon Blanc from the Frescobaldi vineyards in Friuli) we thanked him but declined.

After some marvelous desserts – cannoli and tortoni – we headed out the door so that Butch and his flock could head back to Connecticut.

David and I headed back to the hotel and took a quick snooze before heading to the MAHF event. We arrived at the location on 18th Street, and immediately ran into old friends. The event was a “book signing” for the book that the MAHF published this year. David is a MAHF inductee, part of the publication group, and also executive director of the organization, so our appearance was a sort of a “must.” It was great to see old colleagues at the party, and we swapped news and tales about the old days. A glance around the room at the several hundred guests who showed up made us recognize that we’re really totally out of touch with the current crop of industry folks.

It was a fun evening, and around nine o’clock, we headed back to the hotel. As we hadn’t eaten that evening, we once again opted for something simple and light at the Sofitel, then headed off to bed, as I had an early dialysis appointment for the next morning.

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