Saturday, November 8, 2008

A Very Nice Evening

It just so happens that the contractor who built our home is also an acquaintance of ours, along with his wife. We've spent more time with Mario, especially, and Vickie as well in the past few years, and have become friends.

Mario's story is interesting. He arrived in the United States when he was 15 years old. His father wanted to provide a better life for his family, so they all moved from a town it Italy to here. Mario has a brother, and a sister, as well as a sister who passed away a number of years ago. Both of Mario's parents are also no longer with us.

When his family came to America, he knew two phrases in English: Good morning and How are you? He and his siblings went through quite an adjustment period, attempting to learn the language, as well as just the general nature of how things go here in the U.S. He is in his 50s right now and although he still speaks with an italian accent, most people have very little trouble understanding him.

In the past we've talked about everything under the sun, including restaurants. A few years ago he discovered the Macaroni Grill (the nearest one is about 30 miles away) and thinks that their bread and dipping oil is out of this world. We kept telling him that he needed to try Bravo (also about 30 miles away). His wife and his kids had all told him how great it was there, but he just didn't quite believe them.

Last week we saw him finishing up for the day on Ted's sister's house that is being built next door. We had him come over and we talked. Then I told him that we were planning on going to Bravo in a week or so and wanted him and Vickie to join us.

Last night we went and had an absolutely WONDERFUL time! Vickie had been there once before with their kids when Mario had been off hunting with some of his buddies, so she knew what to expect, but he didn't. Fortunately we had a good waiter. A waiter can make the difference between a great visit to a restaurant and a lousy visit. By the time we left the restaurant (two and a half hours after we got there!) Mario agreed that the bread and dipping oil were better at Bravo than at Macaroni Grill.

We sat and talked about so many different things and really had a relaxing time. Their youngest son is getting married in a week and they will have 17 cousins (most of them from Italy) staying at their home! I can't imagine trying to get a house ready for 17 additional people, in addition to doing last minute things for a wedding. If anyone can do it though, she can. She is taking next week off from work as a nurse for our county health department, so that will be a big help.

Mario is extremely proud of his heritage, as he should be. We all should be proud of where we came from and realize that those backgrounds help to form us into who we are today.

One thing that he insisted upon, and Vickie pretty much had no choice except to go along with it, was naming his children italian names. They have three sons and one daughter. The boys are named Giuseppe, Michele (pronounced mi-KEL-ee), and Giovanni. Their daughter is named Bianca. Giovanni is the only son who wants to follow his dad's footsteps and participate in the family business, and Mario is very pleased with that. Giuseppe in is law school, Michele is working on his doctorate's in sports physiology, and Bianca is a freshman in college, still not sure what she's going to major in.

We had such a nice evening last night. The bread and oil were great, the food was delicious, and our waiter was attentive. And it was great to hear that Mario agreed with us about Bravo! (And I am NOT being financially compensated for sharing my thoughts on this particular restaurant!)


Jen said...

I've never been to a Bravo. I'll have to find one, it sounds good! I have been to Macaroni Grill though.

PERBS said...

I have never heard of this restaurant either and I don't even know what bread and oil is. (I don't even use butter.)

Glad you had a great time tho. Nice to have such good friends.

The Arthur Clan said...

I have never heard of Bravo either, but my husband loves the bread and dipping oil at Macaroni Grill. He'd probably love this restaurant (and I love anyplace we go where I don't have to do the cooking!) :)

Anonymous said...

Bravo is fabulous!!!!!!