Who is Chuck and why does he like to travel?

I was born to be a writer and when I wrote my novel Wild Point Island, Chuck, my orange and white recently rescued feral tabby, got it in his head that he wanted to travel to the island and see the place for himself. Well, of course, Wild Point Island, can only be seen by revenants (you'll have to read the book to find out who they are) and Chuck is no revenant so instead, I concocted a plan to take Chuck with me when I travel around the world, which I do frequently. Not an easy task. First, I have to deflate the poor kid of all air, stuff him in my carry-on bag, remember to bring my portable pump, and when I arrive, I pump him back up. Ouch. But he's used to it by now and given the choice to either stay home in his comfy cat bed or get deflated, he pulls out his passport, ready to travel, every time.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Chuck's Big City Eats Almost on Restaurant Row

Traditional Italian Restaurant on Ninth Avenue

        As you have probably guessed by now, Chuck is no ordinary cat.  
What cat would caterwaul while watching a Broadway play in a Broadway theatre in the heart of the Big Apple just because he liked the music?
Especially since he knew he was expected to be on his best behavior.
The New York crowd expects sophistication!  So as we sauntered (rather quickly) out of Evita, I had my doubts as to whether we could put the next phase of our plan into operation--stop at one of the fabulous eateries on Restaurant Row in New York City--especially since I couldn’t guarantee that said cat would behave himself.
But I was starving, and on our way to the theatre, we’d passed a gauntlet of fabulous eating places.
No matter what you were in the mood for . . .
if you liked French cuisine, then the Marseille Restaurant was for you . . .

French Restaurant

           if you were in the mood for exotic Thai food with a vietnamese influence, then Yum Yum on the corner of 46th Street would be perfect . . .
           the Hour Glass Tavern with their famed Bettibar and their cute menu serving snacklettes and sliders and snackages and stuffed puffs was a particular favorite of Chuck’s . . .

Thai Food or American fare at the Bettibar?

            I spied Becco and remembered when we’d gone there the year before and simply loved the food and the wine and the waiter and the entire experience.  Lydia’s son Joe (yes, that Lydia, the famous chef who has the show on the Food Network) owns the restaurant and offers good Italian food at fair prices and all wine under $25.00) . . .

One of my favorites--Lydia's son Joe owns and operates

And what about an open MIC piano bar that has been a landmark for over 25 years?  I loved the name, although I have to admit I’d never heard of the place before now--Don’t Tell Mama.  And there’s a singing wait staff.  We were tempted, but then fearful that Chuck might begin to caterwaul again . . .

Open MIC piano bar and singing waiters

What about Irish food -- O’Flaherty’s popped into view . . .

I love Irish fare

And we couldn’t miss the brightly colored Via Brasil Restaurant--the eye-popping yellow and the green facade which offered traditional Brazilian dishes of meat and fish including Churrasco, a grilled meat dish . . .

The colors alone drew my eye

Was Bob (or Chuck, for that matter) in the mood for a steak?  Broadway Joe Steak House beckoned us to drop in and become part of the magic that has surrounded this restaurant since 1949.  It has been featured in several Hollywood movies and was the restaurant where Joe Namath, the famed football player, chose to hang with his buddies when his career was in full swing . . .

This place has a really interesting history . . .

But, no, we passed these restaurants by and chose instead a lesser known restaurant on Ninth Avenue called Cara Mia, a traditional Italian Restaurant with a cozy setting and great food.  The wait staff appeared to be friendly and the service appeared to be prompt.  

Our choice for dinner . . .

Things were calm.
We sat in the back and figured nothing could go wrong now, and, therefore, we became what we later realized to be “too comfortable.”

We loved the interior . . .

Chuck, who normally--at least in a restaurant setting, especially in New York (sophistication expected) remained hidden in my smart bag, but stuck his head out to look around AT EXACTLY THE WRONG MOMENT.
Our waiter, who was amazingly friendly and congenial up that point, spotted him.  He raced over to our table with a surprised look on his face. Let me rephrase that.  He raced over with a SURPRISED look on his face.
“Is that a cat?” he whispered.
Now, I recognize that he was in a difficult position.  We’d already placed our order, a very generous order -- appetizer--in fact two appetizers (we are hearty eaters), the main course -- a rather expensive entry that I’d convinced myself I just had to have--something I don’t often see offered on a menu so I jumped at the chance to have it “osso bucco.”  And he probably also figured we were going to go for the gusto and order dessert.  So, did he really want to KICK US OUT OF THE RESTAURANT IF WE ADMITTED TO HAVING A CAT? 
All of this, of course, remained unsaid.  
I smiled at his question.  “Is that a problem?” I asked.  
He narrowed his gaze at me.  “This is New York.”
I cleared my throat.  “One of my favorite cities.
“This is a sophisticated restaurant.”
“I can tell by the decor,” I said, smiling again.  “This restaurant is bellisimo.” I threw in some Italian, hoping it would help.

“We do not allow cats.”
Of course I knew that. But I remembered traveling in France where the French people were allowed to bring their dogs just about anywhere.  There never was a problem.  Why couldn’t we be more like them?  I wanted to say something like that, but I didn’t dare.  I may be crazy, but I’m not stupid.  I figured--keep quiet and say nothing.  The ball was in his court.
But he didn’t say anything.
“Would you like us to leave before we’ve eaten?”
“I’m thinking,” he finally admitted.
“He is a very well behaved cat,” I lied.
At this moment anything could have happened.  I half expected Chuck, the rascal, to begin caterwauling again and expose my lie.  But he didn’t.  
Our waiter swiveled on his heel, like the way you see the professional waiters do in the movies, and he left our table.  
When he returned, moments later, he’d brought our appetizer.  
Not another word was said about Chuck.
I turned to Bob.  He shook his head.  “Entirely too much stress.”
But, still, we ate our delicious meal and left.  



No comments:

Post a Comment