On Circles, Lines, and Spaghetti
Had a delightful date night with C, possibly our last before we move. This particular spot, La Perla, in many ways encircles our DC experience and so feels like an appropriate way to wind things down, the whole “in our beginning is our end” type of thing. Now, I’ll admit that’s an awful lot of weight to hang on a single event. Too much, in fact—the analogy doesn’t actually go that far, or very far at all, but…we all like to draw circles, though none of them perfect. There is no return to start, try as we might.
The interior design of La Perla is, as aptly noted by C, an unironic blend of authentic and kitsch. Visualize glass display cases flanking the doorway, replete with coins and nick-knacks struggling to capture your attention, commandeering your gaze and fixing it downward, so that you don’t immediately notice the expansive interior space you’ve entered. You instead become aware of it, of the statues placed throughout, of the tiled wall depicting that famous painting by what’s-his-name that overlooks a bubbling fountain whose cheeriness is offset only somewhat by the quasi-Halloween dry ice thing happening. Imagine an enormous and ornate arrangement of fake flowers that greets you as your eyes push away from the nick-knacks and coins, swiveling upwards. After all, if you’re going to go the fake flowers route, might as well go the enormous and ornate fake flowers route, right? So much happening in this space, so much to process in this place, that you might until midway through your soup miss the weird glass-but-actually-plastic lamps flung upon the walls, walls on whose surface perch seemingly random paintings of seemingly random subjects. Heavy on the kitsch.
The food is mostly great though, and presumably heavy on the authentic, making the overall experience more or less a tie between the dosage of a and of k. We'd gone to La Perla once before, towards the end of our first year in DC. The owner, I think identified in the menu as the Commendatore, passed the evening visiting tables, chatting, hanging out, and making everybody feel welcome. Probably a mixture of some authentic and some kitsch in this. When he eventually made his way over to our table, he asked C, who was pregnant, to show him her hands. After careful study, he declared with the utmost confidence that we would be having a boy. We did, though not that night, of course.
Il Commendatore was lurking (I admit that this word feels a little strong, given that it's his restaurant) last night during our possibly ultimate date in DC but didn't over to chat, possibly because it was already late in the evening, possibly because C isn't pregnant, possibly because he just didn’t want to.