(Yet another) great night at Ghibellina: needed

Yesterday was utterly pooey, y'all. Just sucky to the nth for a whole host of reasons. I felt blue and sad and tired and busy and found that I have early-stage frozen shoulder and need to go gangbusters at physical therapy for a while. Three times a week: who, pray tell, has time for that? And I have to abstain from raking which is not only one of my favorite activities but also exceedingly necessary as our Sugar Maple has just commenced its annual arboreal depilation. Observe. www.em-i-lis.com

It also rained all day, and I felt as if the Earth and I were so soggy we might slither through a storm drain to some nether-abyss. As is perhaps obvious, this is not an optimal mood to be mired in when you have plans to head out on the town with girlfriends you've been trying to see for a long while. But often, a night out laughing is just what's needed. So I gussied myself up, Ubered myself out and met my pals - as I did Shawn several weeks back - at Ghibellina where we quickly made ourselves at home at one of the bars.

I am coming to believe that no bad mood can persist when sitting at a great bar in a great pair of heels laughing and nursing a glass of great wine (last night, the Lucente, a merlot-heavy Super Tuscan-style that was at once smooth, spicy and warm).

Plus, can I just make your mouth water by telling you about what we ate? I arrived first and a cursory glance at the menu illumined the word burrata. I don't believe I've ever not ordered a dish that included burrata, and if I have, I should sue myself for idiocy. Last night was no exception as I placed an executive decision order immediately for the burrata with marinated rapini, calabrian chilies and toasted bread. Not a mistake.


We then received two additional, wonderful dishes: stewed lentils with root veggies and Tuscan kale; and the spectacular, stuff-of-my-dreams fagioli e zucca al forno, or oven-roasted pumpkin with white beans. For this dish you should run, not walk, to Ghibellina as soon as possible so that you can indulge before it leaves the menu.

The pumpkin was perfectly cooked: easily cut with the slightest pressure applied to the side of a fork, but not mushy. The consistency of the beans was equally pleasing, expertly treading the line between too-firm and overdone. Dressed with balsamic, olive oil, toasted almonds and a bit of allspice, each bite caused me to shut my eyes, slow my chewing and savor the marriage of flavors for as long as possible. It's a steal at $8. I did not get a photo. I have pretty-please asked for the recipe.

We ordered the chocolate-hazelnut tart but also got to taste the sublime Meyer lemon sorbet and the delicate panna cotta with saba, a balsamic like nectar. The sorbet shocked with its exact-replica taste. We were eating sugar-coated Meyers, yes?



As always, the service was wonderful: friendly, generous, unobtrusive. The bluster outside subsided, but no one seemed in any sort of hurry to leave Ghibellina's warmth.

I realized, as we finally all hugged and parted ways, how truly restorative friendship and laughter are. That they are some of the last things that should be sacrificed on the altar of busyness. That sometimes Tired is really just a need for fun and light escape masked as fatigue.

My cab coasted up to my house, and as I opened the car door, I saw a beautiful doe standing peacefully on the sidewalk not ten feet away. She was really in the wrong neck of her woods, and I tried to woo her towards me, but she declined. At 3am, Oliver woke up and I got in bed with him and told him about the deer. "She was gawding [guarding] the house until you got home, Mom." I think my heart melted a bit then.

Today the sun came out, and I went to PT for the first time and thought how absolutely lovely it was to be tended to, and to have to lay down for fifteen minutes with a warm pack wrapped around my shoulder, the electrical currents running under it easy enough to tune 0ut as I read my magazine and just was. Three times a week will be great!