After work Friday, the boy and I met up downtown to catch the 6:15 Staten Island Ferry to make our dinner reservation -- him wearing a gold chain and wife-beater A-shirt, me sporting a bump-it and perpetually pouty mouth (ok, not really but we did threaten these to each other). My native New Yorker found himself at the Statue of Liberty Ferry dock because "just walking toward water" made sense when he arrived at the Whitehall Station. Lucky for him, he's super cute with a great smile, so the 6:30 ferry was totally fine. We boarded the ferry and went straight for the snack bar to grab a can of beer so he could fit in with the locals, while I fittingly matched the tourists by photographing the water, Ms. Liberty, and our developing new skyline.
We arrived on the landfill.... er, island and found our way to Enoteca Maria. We had learned of this restaurant from the Cooking Channel and decided we needed to check it out for ourselves.
Fully expecting to be amongst the "Joeys" and "Ginas" of Staten Island complete with SI accent, we were slightly disappointed that the restaurant had only a couple of men in gold chains and women in pink leopard print. We sat at the bar where the owner/sommelier provided an impressive wine list. He added a lot of flourish as he swirled the "Grandpa Chacha" wine we ordered ironically at which point we caught each other's eye in appreciation of what was suddenly turning out to be exactly why we made the venture.
Teresa was our chef for the evening, and the menu was extensive and glorious. From the imported mozzarella appetizer, to my entree of rolled beef and green beans and his entree of rabbit, the food was lovely. Our well-chosen vantage point allowed us to watch everything Teresa did as well as take stock of everything the owner engaged in.
Throughout the evening we watched our sommelier do odd things like balance wine corks and pennies on a scale. He even filled his hands with water from the sink at the bar once and proceeded to run his wet hands through his hair. Russell and I looked at each other silently noting the growing peculiarities of our wine-loving "friend." For each bottle of wine he opened and every glass he poured, he seemed to check it out for himself by taking a swig thus creating a more, how can I say it diplomatically... "loose" demeanor. I kid you not, gentle readers, the next part actually happened.
We had pulled up the Yelp reviews to read some of the negative ones (as we are wont to do), and as we were reading our favorite, it came to life, playing out before our eyes:
"The problem: The sommelier (inferred that he is the owner) is a complete jackhole. He seemed personally offended that we didn't order wine, gave us a hard time over it, and asked several times how our water was. He was visibly inebriated on a Paula Abdul kind of level, ate at the counter, and was blasting really questionable music selections. At one point singing along to Smells Like Teen Spirit turned up so loud it was making my silverware vibrate. Which let me tell you, I think $25 a plate for pasta, I think impromptu drunken Nirvana karaoke." -Brady B., 2/26/2012I wouldn't call him a "Jackhole" (thought don't think for a second this isn't my new favorite slang), but he was definitely eccentric... or, well, tipsy. However, he - almost as if he knew we were reading this particular review - made fun of my prosecco order and ate his stuffed mussels at the bar directly in front of us. Shortly thereafter Nirvana came over the sound system, and this dude turned it up, sang along, and even gave an air drum/air guitar performance. It was awesome. Awesome good?? I'm not sure. But awesome nonetheless.
Eventually the place was hoppin'. People who looked like they stepped out of "The Sopranos" began filling the joint. There were WonderBra cleavage and waxed chests everywhere we looked. After our plate of Teresa's amazing cookies, we paid the bill (cash only if you decide to go) and reluctantly headed out to catch the 25-minute ferry back to civilization.
Here's where the story turns from awesome to one of the best dates of my freakin' life. On the way to the ferry terminal we were almost tempted to pop into the local bar full of Top 40 hits and every can of beer imaginable. We forged on (with me getting my hip poked over and over by his attempts at figuring out the implausibilities of The Astoria Penetrator) and arrived at Slip 6 where we had about 15 minutes to people-watch -- a span of 15 minutes my awkward-loving self wouldn't have minded lasting longer.
What seemed to be every 20-something Staten Islander had come out to head into the big bad city on the 10pm ferry to go clubbing, drinking, whoring, and/or partying. The outfits on these party animals were amazing. I so wish I had pictures to show all of you, but we were already staring at everyone as though they were zoo creatures, and I don't think the camera would've been welcomed. Our two favorite groups included wanna-be frat boys complete with a fanny pack, wing tips being clicked together incessantly in a Dorothy fashion, a girl who was NOT happy to be there, and a salmon-colored dress worn by a girl who I'm 97.3% sure was wearing a butt lifter. For those of you unfamiliar with a butt lifter as my sometimes-simple boyfriend was, see below:
My degree of confidence in her undergarment of choice was due to Salmon Dress Girl's salmon dress being so incredibly tight I could see the thong and butt lifter through the material. We're dealing with super class, ladies and gentlemen.
The other group of derelicts we loved to hate (or hated to love) included a handful of young pretty girls in dresses that were sure to get the attention they were looking for, complete with taped-up boobies, five-inch stilettos they were definitely not making it far in without changing into flip flops, and plunging v-neck ballet-type costumes. The ring-leader of this group, however, was a young lady with a beautiful face, pronounced clavicles, and a cute little tank top that showed off her arms (which she unfortunately covered up with what I'm gonna assume was a Members Only jacket non-ironically). The problem with Clavicle Girl was her lower half. Before I continue, please note that I have never considered myself a supermodel and I'm sure I've left the house in pseudo-situations of attire-regret. But just follow me here...
Clavicle Girl had a pear shape. She had a white girl booty. I know this because she had on a white spandex skirt topped off with horizontal piping. Underneath the skirt was a black string thong bikini. She had also awkwardly tucked in her cute tank top and bunched it up at the waistline, so as not to cover up her pear shape. Her super tight, super short mini skirt was not hiding her trouble areas thus creating an incredibly obvious cottage cheese look. (Stay with me, gentle readers... I'm not being cruel for cruel's sake.)
We got on our 10pm ferry, sat outside for approximately 8 minutes, and got up because we HAD to go see what the party animals were up to. We find Clavicle Girl's group near the exit (already changing into flip flops...do I know my non-heel-wearers or what?!) taking pictures of each other (complete with pouty mouths...not to be confused with potty mouths). Right about the time I had decided to hate Clavicle Girl's friends for letting her walk out of the house in the outfit of the lower half of her body, Clavicle Girl found a new friend. An older gentleman was sitting across ogling her and making it known to her and all of us that he loved the dimply booty showing through the skin-tight garment (I'll spare you his quotes). She adored every second of it. I was shocked. I'm not often shocked. Staten Island Clavicle Girl was in heaven, and her friends were jealous! Maybe I should add this to my wardrobe too...
Seriously great date night. We've both laughed about it for the past 3 days. And now I've happily shared it with you. Doubtful that you did as much as myself, but I hope you enjoyed my recap.
Ah, Staten Island...