Sunday, August 31, 2008

Bella Is Back!

It had been too long since we took the—what, three-mile drive?—to Bella/Arrivederci on Seaport, overlooking the waters of San Francisco Bay. It was just the two of us, the lovely Carol and I, enjoying a late celebration of our wedding anniversary. She was wearing a not-entirely-opaque dress, which was just short enough on my side that, sitting next to her, I could reach down and feel her thigh without being obvious. Fortunately the opaque white tablecloths hang low enough that nobody could see what I was doing.

But I'm getting ahead of myself. When we arrived, there were colorful balloons and a big banner proclaiming "NOW OPEN!"

What's with the decorations, we asked. They had a fire several months ago, and just recently opened their doors. Smoke damage.

The place looked great. We arrived a little before six last night (a Saturday) and apparently the entire "front" section (facing the bay) downstairs was reserved for a banquet. So we had a rare chance to sit upstairs, right at the window. Before we climbed the steps, though, we noticed a special—chicken breast topped with eggplant (and some cheese?), in a sauce of Marsala wine, $17—which sounded like a winner.

Bread and butter, menus, and water all appeared. The lovely Carol chose salmon piccata (lemon and capers) and their homemade Minestrone soup. I opted for the chicken special.

She shared a spoonful of the soup with me, and it was great as usual. Our entrees came and they were great. Lots of garlic with the chicken—aw, I forgot to write down the ingredients! (You know, a man can never be too handsome, too rich, or have too much garlic.)

For dessert, we had cannoli at our waiter's recommendation ("Because it's fresh," he said). Terrific with a cup of strong decaf coffee.

Luckily for us, there was not a lot of traffic (word hasn't gotten out yet that Bella is back??) so we watched the sun go down and the waters of the bay turn silvery, then dark purple. We also read a chapter of Anne Perry's We Shall not Sleep as well as some articles from a recent "First Things."

Service was not all that quick, but then we were in absolutely no hurry either. (One waiter was covering the entire upstairs dining room.)

Great food, and we're planning to return soon, probably with the younger teen.

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