Summer Weekend

July 19, 2009 § Leave a comment

fruitplateFriday night, Charles and I went to what New York Magazine has just deemed the best pizza in the city (although Frank Bruni dismisses it as “soggy”), a place called Keste, where the owner is an ex-cheese salesman from Naples. I had planned to get there early but Charles’s plane was late so we arrived at dinner hour and there was a line. We ordered the pizza to go and ate in the little park at the intersection of Bleecker, Carmine and 6th.  There’s a tiered fountain in the middle of the park and the water was on—the first time I’ve ever seen it on in this park—and we had a view of the cool stone of Our Lady of Pompeii Church. It was a nice spot to think about whether the end will come by water or fire. Both seem equally likely in a coast city the coming sea-level rise is expected to hit especially hard, and which has, as a few of you remember, seen a lot of fire.

Actually, we didn’t spend much time thinking about that, though I do tend toward the apocalyptic these days. It was a beautiful evening and Charles was very happy, and I was reasonably happy, which is about as good as it gets. He enjoys the city so much on the weekends he’s here, and in July it’s good to remember there are people for whom Manhattan is a vacation.

I had a farm in Africa, at the foot of the Ngong hills. That sentence comes to mind a lot—it’s never been far from my mind since I read Out of Africa, but it’s been especially resonant in the last few years. I miss my house in the country: the pear trees, mint, snakes, full moons, the green light coming in the windows of the bedroom where I’d read in the afternoon, during solitary summer weeks.

The pizza was as good as New York said it was. The crust was chewy and airy (“pillowy” a lot of reviewers write but I’ve never been fond of eating pillows, and anyway, chewy pillows?), charred but not sooty, and overall just right. It was a bit soggy in the middle but only because there were so many ripe barely-cooked tomatoes on it. My biggest complaint about pizza everywhere is that there’s not enough tomato, so I’m more than willing to put up with soggy middles. I had the capricciosa with fresh mozzarella from Di Palo’s, artichokes, mushrooms, Italian ham, extra-virgin olive oil, as well as tomato: perfect.

After we finished the pizza, we went for gelato at Cone on Bleecker, just across the street from Keste. Charles wanted six flavors but settled for three. I had two. We went home and told the cats what they’d missed.

Saturday, we went to the farmer’s market, and bought raspberries, blueberries, gooseberries, sugar plums, currants and peaches (and cranberry scones, parmesan black-pepper bread, green beans, tomatoes, basil, baby zucchini, fingerling potatoes and lamb chops). My faithful readers will remember I had a post mentioning sugar plums some time ago. I wanted to see what they taste like. They taste like plums.

Charles is leaving in an hour. He’s making pesto and vacuuming. He gave me his bankcard so I can get money whenever I need it. Currently there’s $115 in the account, so I won’t be tempted to overspend. I remember when he was feeding himself and two kids on $10 a week, so I’m willing to say we’ve made progress. He says he doesn’t feel any older inside than he ever did. How does that work? I’ve felt older every year since I was four. It used to be a  good thing. It’s not entirely a bad thing now, but. Definitely a thing.

(In the picture above, can you tell the gooseberries from the soochow jade beads?)

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