Operation Gratitude Care Package Weekend!

Saturday, October 17, 2009

A Rule 5 Restaurant? Can Such a Marvel Truly Be?

"These are the days of miracles and wonderments..." Art Garfunkel

After the arrival of the Vietnam Rolling Memorial Wall, the reception party from the American Legion and Operation Gratitude went to Buca de Beppo, a popular Italian restaurant on Ventura Boulevard in Encino CA.

At first the decor looks like typical Italian tchotchkes, if "typical" is defined as including a picture of John Belushi in drag peeling potatoes (I suspect I've just horribly offended someone's grandmother):


But then things took a turn for the wonderful.

It starts with the Papal Gazebo: literally, a circular alcove in the middle of the restaurant, its walls decorated with Vatican and Papal portraits and sculpture, with a bust of the current Pope Benedict XVI set on a sort of lazy-susan in the middle of the dining table, rotating to keep Rome's eye on the diners:




But then you turn around, I mean you literally just turn around, and

Buongiorno, Bella Sophia!





Yes, it's the official Sophia Loren Wall of Pulchritude, three feet from the Vatican West! This is why I think I'd like Italy. They know there's a huge gap between the sacred and profane, but somewhere deep in their excitable little hearts they just don't care.


Incidentally, the food was terrific and the portions were huge!

Sadly, I hear that even Italy may be succumbing to the EUrodulls. Maybe I should start saving up for that trip to Rome and the Amalfi Coast before they end up looking like fookin' Bruges...

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