I’m back from spending a week in the charming, fairy-tale cottage in Carmel that I’m fairly sure was haunted. We had two sunny days and in Carmel, a sunny day is a gift from God. Gold drips down from the pines and the ocean is transformed from slate gray to a searing blue. Even though the fog drifts through the trees like ghosts and gangs of racoons are likely to accost you on the street, we try to visit every other year because it is our spiritual home.
We spent a lot of time at the Secret Garden and Pilgrim’s Way bookshop on San Carlos across from the Carmel Art Association. Together with my mother-in-law, I cleared the Buddhist section of all their books.
From all the exertion of walking up and down Carmel’s hilly terrain, we rewarded ourselves with a lot of food. But the best was dinner at Piatti Locali on Sixth and Junipero. We loved the food and our server, Jesse so much that we went twice. The first night, I had chicken risotto which was like comfort food on a gray, chilly night. Ryan had a rich, meaty rigatoni bolognese topped with fresh ricotta cheese. The Little Dude dined on sweet peas and bananas ala Gerber. Grandma insisted that he have a taste of whipped cream from daddy’s chocolate mousse. Eventually we had to restrain her or else we’d never sleep that night.
But what brought Ryan and me back to Piatti’s the second night – grandma went on a date with the Little Dude – was Jesse. He reminded me a lot of my brother in looks and he was so unpretenious and friendly … the kind of person you could invite over for a barbeque with all the kids. When I ordered the veal scallopini, Jesse steered me away from the grilled polenta and towards the garlic mashed potatoes. The light lemon and caper sauce melted on my tongue and the veal was deliciously tender.
Ryan devoured his cannelloni stuffed with ricotta, veal and mushrooms. Conversation pretty much died when the food arrived. Even though we were physically incapable of more food, we enjoyed a creme brullee that had a touch of lemon to lighten the flavor. I’ll be wearing the potatoes, the bread and calamari fritti on my hips for awhile, but if I close my eyes and breathe deeply, I can still taste that meal.
But you wonder, did I get any writing done? Yes, I did. I fought a war with Chapter 12 through five drafts in a space of three days. Many lattes and cinnamon twists were consumed in the process but damn it, chapter 12 bowed to my will. Sigh. Now I have chapter 13 to face. I swear this book will undo all of the hard work I’ve undertaken to get into my size 8 jeans.