Lunch with Brian

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Mandola's Italian Market, August 22, 2009

Brian and I met Jennie at Mandola's Italian Market. That's where "Brian pours vinegar in the olive oil."

Olive oil on a plate spotted with balsamic vinegar.

Jennie and I are former bosses of Brian. One of my first acts as Brian's boss was to help him land another job. I mean... it wouldn't be right for us to be going to lunch all the time if I were his boss. It would precipitate a "she plays favorites" morale problem among the staff.

When we got to Mandola's, Brian grabbed several free samples of fancy ham and cheese. He offered one to Jennie, but she was being kosher that day.

We all ordered pasta (which is spelled "Paste" on Mandola's menu). Jennie ordered the gnocchi which she said was the safe word on a naughty episode of Family Guy. I ordered the basil pesto pasta (with whole pine nuts, of course).

Pasta coated with pesto and topped with pine nuts.

Brian ordered the spaghetti carbonara. I thought the bread that comes with the meal wasn't as good as usual, but Brian thought it was better. You just never know.

Jennie works in a building that also houses people who work for the same employer as Brian and me. Jennie says our people make nasty bathroom messes by washing their dishes in the sinks. I already knew our people were prone to doing that, though, because the day before, we got an e-mail from the head of our administration division admonishing us for cereal in the drain pipes. She said, "Coffee grounds, tobacco and other materials (Corn Flakes) should be disposed of properly."

Jennie and Brian have backgrounds in the newspaper industry. They spoke of their favorite newspaper photograph captions or kickers or cutlines (whatever you'd like to call them). Brian's was a picture of a circus elephant being given a bath with the line "Greatest Shower on Earth." Jennie's was of two judges hugging that said "Embracing Justice."

Mandola's is reminiscent of a giant italian kitchen where the dining tables are in the kitchen. There's even a kid's table that's shorter than the rest. Jennie said she'd like to steal one of the kids sitting at that table. I asked her why, and she gave two reasons: 1) Maternal instinct, and 2) she'd like to start a sweat shop.

On past visits to Mandola's, Brian has noticed a lot of men with bad hair. When Jennie left the table for a bit, I asked Brian to survey the room and tell me if he saw any bad hair. We both agreed there was only one instance of bad hair. Big, black, spikey hair. Brian characterized it as anime hair.

After the main course, we visited the gelato counter. A pushy lady next to Jennie asked that several flavors be stuffed into one tiny gelato cup. We think the flavor she was concocting was "vomit rainbow." We only ordered one flavor apiece. I got mint chocolate chip, Brian got hazelnut and Jennie got lemon.

We sat on the patio to eat our gelato. Jennie noted that she could have done well with a small instead of the next size up. It's hard to know how to order, though, because the containers are deceptively small, and they overfill the cup like you would an ice cream cone.

I hope Jennie wasn't disappointed with her behind the scenes Lunch with Brian experience. I think she learned that when you join Brian and I for lunch, you think you'll be entertained, but you actually become the entertainment. If I've left anything good out, I hope Jennie will fill in the blanks in the comments. I definitely enjoyed lunch with Brian and Jennie, and hope we can do it again soon.


Jennie said this on September 10, 2009 11:06 AM:

Having always enjoyed eating lunch with Brian, it was truly something to experience Lunch with Brian. This account is an extremely accurate representation of the outing. Additionally, I should note that this web site is one of the best things that ever happened to America. And I don't say that lightly.

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