Note to self:
When ordering lunch at a restaurant and the (Foreign, Male) owner’s sunglasses are bigger, fancier, and costlier than mine...the food better be pretty d*mn tasty. I mean, considering a man-diva (oh don’t search that online kids!) is at the helm of the metaphorical ship, right? It’s kind of like equating the preference for a simple cup of coffee with a simple person. Not that, for example a cowboy couldn’t like a half-caf, low-fat, venti, no foam, sugar- free vanilla, extra-hot cappuccino, but I’m just sayin’ that probably would not be the first coffee drink he would shuffle up to the bar(ista) and order. And a cowboy probably wouldn’t know how to make that order for you but probably would laugh at your half-caf-*ss. Not that cowboys typically make or sell coffee beverages either, (except for these guys: http://www.cowboycoffee.com/ ) but if you follow my equation, a divalicious business owner would have a penchant for things divalicious and would be selling divaliciousness. If we were playing charades imagine me miming “sounds like deliciousness”. Cue: rub your tummy in a clockwise fashion.
This afternoon I found myself in downtown Tucson for personal business and wandering along Congress Street. When my stomach decided it was time to nosh I rolled into Caffe Milano Restaurant Italiano, 46 W Congress Street: http://www.caffemilano.us/
The place was cute, clean and packed with people. Check, check and check. After choosing a table I learned I had to place the order at the cashier myself. Fine. To keep my table I left my sunglasses and fleece vest outside at the table. I was going to order the Marinated Shrimp until I learned that the small, sad shellfish under fluorescent lights in the drink cooler were the dish. So I chose lunch special #3: Penne Al Gorgonzola, Penne pasta in a creamy Italian Gorgonzola sauce garnished with fresh spinach. When I returned the misters had come on and did not cut off for the rest of my lunch! “Refreshing” you think at first but not when the water drops are heavier than dew.
Not that tasty has to be fussy; I actually prefer that it is not. And actually Caffe Milano Restaurant Italiano did deliver un-fussy food...to the point of a bleak, barren, stark, where’s-the-butter-for-my-cold-bread-slices and some freash-grated-parmesan cheese for my lunch special #3 with raw spinach leaves on top. I mistakenly assumed that it would have filled me up with that loving feeling that Italian food often does- when it’s cooked with passion and amore. Not so much.
Now, you read my blog you know I am from the South. My family has been on this continent long enough to have been counted in the first census and to have fought in the Civil War. We are mutts without a lick of any shade of Italian anywhere (well that anyone admits to). So maybe I am way off the mark here in expecting butter and cheese- wait wait wait, I said Italian restaurant, right? Frappin’ “Restaurant(o) Italiano”. Give me a break! I do know that there are regional aspects to Italian cuisine but butter and cheese are two I have come to expect and love.
Rita Connelly’s review from October 2006 entitled “Intelligent Italian” is a link of the *Caffe’s* website. She says “...Caffe Milano will delight”. That was my last impression for my only visit.