Tuesday, November 17, 2015
Only a Kiss ~ Part 20
“What are you talking about?” asked Neptune. “Spaghetti and meatballs is as Italian as they come.”
“Actually,” said Ana. “It’s American.”
Neptune let out a harsh laugh. “That’s about the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever heard. You should probably stick to what you’re good at. What was it your mother told me you did …” A cruel smile formed on his lips. “That’s right … shoes. Stick to shoes, bellasera, it’s what pretty girls like you are good at.”
Ana fought the urge to walk right out of the restaurant. To her relief the waiter came over to take their drink order giving Ana a chance to cool her temper.
“Bradley, is it?” Ana asked the server.
“Yes ma’am,” said Bradley.
“I would love some water with a twist of lemon and I was wondering, if it wouldn’t be too much trouble, I would love to meet Chef Massino. Would that be possible?” asked Ana.
Bradley smiled. “Chef Massino hasn’t turned down a customer yet and once I let him know a beautiful woman is asking to meet him I’m sure he’ll be out here in no time at all.”
“All right pal, move it along and fetch our drinks,” said Neptune. Bradley hurried off and Neptune turned his attention to Ana. “I don’t know why you want to meet that two-bit chef. He can’t even make a good sauce.”
Bradley returned with Ana’s water, Neptune’s wine, and a basket of garlic knots. “Chef said your meal is almost ready and he will deliver it himself.”
“Thank you, Bradley,” said Ana.
Bradley smiled as he took off to tend to his other tables. Neptune grabbed a knot and started ripping it into pieces. “So why do you want to meet the chef?”
“I just think it’s nice to meet the chef when I come to a new restaurant. Greg taught me that food should be cooked with love and soul, so I guess I like to see what kind of soul is cooking my food.”
“Who is this Greg guy?” Neptune said, mouth full of bread.
“My stepfather,” said Ana. “He passed a while back, but I remember him fondly.”
“I bet you do,” said Neptune.
Before Ana could ask what Neptune meant by his comment. Chef Massino came to the table with their food. After the food was on the table, Chef Massino took Ana’s hand and place a delicate kiss on the back of it.
“When Bradley told me there was a beautiful woman here to meet me, I thought he was just being polite. He was not exaggerating,” said Chef Massino.
Ana blushed. “Thank you, Chef. I have to admit I had an ulterior motive for asking to meet you.”
“I am intrigued,” said the chef.
“I was hoping you could settle a disagreement for us,” said Ana. “Is spaghetti and meatballs an Italian dish?”
The chef looked from Ana, then to Neptune. He shrugged. “Where spaghetti and meatballs is an Italian inspired dish, my nonna wouldn’t have been caught dead making it. It is an American dish developed by Italian immigrants.”
“You’re going to take his word for it?” Neptune growled. “He can’t even make a good red sauce. Here try mine and then try yours. You’ll see the difference.”
“There’s no doubt about that,” muttered Chef Massino, rolling his eyes.
Ana grabbed her pasta spoon and dipped it into Neptune’s signature sauce. She ate it and fought the urge to grimace. She smiled politely at both men as she took a drink of water and then tried Massino’s sauce.
“You’re right, there is a big difference,” Ana said to Neptune. “And if I’m being honest, your sauce does taste exactly like another chef’s sauce … Chef Boyardee.”