Tuesday, October 04, 2005


Quality Time at the Bar

My sister-in-law turned 50 last week -- Happy Birthday, Sue! -- and the whole family took her out to dinner to a very long-established Italian restaurant in the Catskills. This was a place that probably saw it's share of Borscht Belt comedians, back when the Catskills were an actual vacation destination. (Sigh. But that's another post.)

It also had some of the best traditional Italian food within 50 miles of Albany, and its nestled way off the beaten trail between Albany and East Greenville, New York. (You know East Greenville, don't you? Where routes 32 and 85 meet up as 85 comes back over from the Slingerlands through Rensselaerville. Those who maintain a stereotype view of New York City and yeah, the rest of Upstate, have no idea what it's really about.) Mrs. Dadmanly and I know East Greenville quite well, actually. My very dear friend Orrin lives in his family's ancestral home up there on the hill, the one with the terrific view of Hunter Mountain. The views of a friend, indeed.

Wow, big tangent there. As I was saying, the name of this place is Vince Anna's, and it has all the trappings of the real traditional Italian eatery. Waitresses in tuxedo type uniforms, linen napkins over there arms, Italian bread served with olive oil and oregano, a marinara with green olives, to die for, the food at this place.

Can you tell I miss our treasures back home?

It was Sunday afternoon, and the family was having a rollicking time, as always, and the final game of the season was on the television over the bar. Now, I really don't want to lose any readership, especially the hometown folks, but my son and I are die-hard Red Sox fans. As the whole world must know, the Yankees and the Red Sox ended their seasons with a three game series at Fenway Park. Little Manly really wanted to watch the game, and his Mom let him sit up at the bar until his dinner came.

Little Manly ended up sitting at the bar for three hours, chumming up with the bartender. (No, he doesn't drink but he can talk.

The bartender and Little Manly became the best of friends during that game. (Was he a Red Sox fan, too, I wonder?) They chatted up a storm, and the guy told Mrs. Dadmanly afterwards to "come back anytime."

"Excuse me," my son says to the waitress, "Could you bring my dinner over here please?"

Little Manly had his dinner served up there, on the bar, dessert too. Mrs. Dadmanly reports that his hands were flying all over, his mouth was going. As he tends to do when he has a willing audience, Little Manly starts, "Ask me any question about history, go ahead ask me."

So here was this middle-aged bartender and Little Manly becoming best friends, eating prime rib and tartufo, and having a barload of club sodas, with lemon and lime by the way.

It's a good thing they had lots to talk about. The Sox beat the pants off the Yanks, 10-1, and finished the season in a perfect tie with the Yankees. The NY team has the American League Eastern Division, the Red Sox clinched the wild card, so the two teams will see each other again.

And I imagine as soon as I'm back, we'll be paying a visit to a certain establishment outside of East Greenville ...

Links: Basil's Blog, Outside the Beltway, Mudville Gazette, bRight & Early

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