There is a silence, dazed recovery, and then the sharp wake-up clarity of pale pink triggerfish curls with grated daikon in a ponzu sauce with citrus tang and a tangle of powerful sprouts.
Rafele: Neapolitan First
The streets are deserted as we speed downtown.
We hit the Village in no time. Rafele Ristorante
is lit up like a theater marquee. It looks huge. But inside, it's long and narrow -- intimate almost, with a third of the space devoted to an open kitchen.
"Well, of course, I am Italian," Raffaele Ronca, the good-looking young chef in his flashy red epauletted whites begins. "But like Sophia Loren said: First I am Neapolitan." My Neapolitan pal Francesco is already transported. We sit side by side at the tall table facing the kitchen: a charming stage set. The pizza chef never stops moving in front of the wood-burning oven, stage right -- slivering salumi and slicing pies fo
r waiters to rush away. Behind an array of pomegranates, chestnuts and tulips, a team of chefs works silently.
What would we eat? The two men chant a chorus on Naples, something between a De Sica movie and a travelogue, fantasizing a proper Neapolitan feast. That is, the chef suggests. Francesco cheers him on. Raffaele instructs the cooks. What did we eat? What were my favorites? Click here to read more.
All Is Vanity
I have 179,000 followers on Twitter. What does that mean? I'm not sure. They mostly don't do anything I ask them to do. They don't use my discount code to buy tickets to Citymeals-on-Wheels events. They don't download my steamy novels to keep themselves warm on snowy days. They don't rush to sweep up my precious vintage evening bags on Etsy
. I can't know how many tried my winter Infidelity Bean Soup
when I tweeted the link because I have no way of knowing if bean sales or infidelity rates soared.
This conundrum made me curious. I've thought my Twitter appeal might be because I don't tweet only about where and what I eat but also about about love, sex and gender, politics, and my love-hate affair with the New York Times
I decided to ask. I offered to send a signed copy of my memoir, "Insatiable: Tales from a Life of Delicious Excess," to the author of the best tweet each day last week about why she or he follows me. There are many shes, it seems. They like my hats. They like my advice. They like my style. I was astonished by the responses. It was like being wrapped in a giant hug.
ErikawithaK won not just for her hash tag alliteration and sentiment but for her grace with the 140 stroke limitation: "I follow u b/c u r the world's 1st foodie n everyone else is jst chasing u playn catch up #FierceFoodieFabulosity."
rganicFoodGuy moved me with: "following Gael bc she has fed our minds, souls, & spirits, and most importantly: she feeds thru Citymeals! Truly a Gael Storm!" A follower named Jane got a book for: "I follow women of substance. Trailblazers. Icons. Authorities in their own field. Impactful. Innovative. You are all of the above."
Abby melted me with: "Because you write like what women strive to be everyday: Creative, elegant, daring, sexy, articulate and completely honest." At that point I was feeling like Sally Field at the Oscars. "They love me. They love me."
I was getting embarrassed by the outpouring of adulation I had provoked, that I seemed to ask for. I was gobbling it up, I admit, and it was like eating too much Halloween candy.
"Enough already of this Vanity," I tweeted on Thursday. And that was the end of the love letters. (The images here are from a card made by my niece Dana for my big birthday celebration. That was a love letter, too.)
he way, technophobes, you don't have to join Twitter to read Twitter. You just go to twitter.com/gaelgreene
. If you peeked in right now, you'd read a 140 count confession that I often buy broken pretzels from the refreshment stand at Lincoln Classic Cinema. They're cheap of course, just $2.50. And there are no calories in broken pretzels. It's like what you eat standing up. The calories don't count.
Bill Telepan Delivers a Meal for Citymeals-on-Wheels Program Chefs Deliver
to learn more about Citymeals-on-Wheels.