I’ve never had that Puritan work ethic Americans so revere. If I don’t absolutely have to work, I don’t. I never saw the point in going to work for the sake of going to work. That’s why I only drive the cab when I need the money.
Yesterday, I needed the money. But it’d been so long since I drove the cab that I’d gotten myself into a rut, and I really didn’t feel like leaving the house much less driving to Brooklyn, waiting for a cab, driving for nine or ten hours, returning the cab, and driving back home again.
I thought I might mitigate the pain and injustice I was about to face by taking my lovin’ spoonful of a girlfriend Melissa along with me. She gets a kick out of riding shotgun in the cab and talking with my fares. Once she put in a full eight hour day at her job, and then spent twelve hours with me at my job all the way from picking the cab up to dropping it off again.
We arrived at the garage before shift time, so there was time to kill. Neither of us had eaten a thing yet, and I suggested going across the street to Casanova. I’d been LOVING their grandma slices since I started working at Cha Cha’s garage almost five years ago.
I’d made it into a minor tradition (more like Chinese food on Christmas than apples and honey on Rosh Hashana) to down one of their crispy, thin square slices while I waited for Cha Cha to serve me up a trip sheet and cab keys. Sometimes, I make two trips to Casanova when it’s a particularly long wait for the cab. The grandma slice is irresistible.
I almost had a heart attack a couple months ago when I saw their doors were shuttered and their windows were covered in brown paper for a long while. Thankfully, they were merely undergoing an unexpectedly lengthy renovation. When I saw they were open, I knew we were going for a Casanova run. But we were in the mood for pasta, so Melissa and I walked right past their new oven, making a bee line for the refurbished back dining room.
It was closing in on five pm and neither of us had a single bite of food in our bellies. We splurged and ordered mozzarella sticks as an app:
It very well may have been because we were starving, but they were so freaking good that all we could do was stare at each other with wide eyes as we devoured the lot of them (an odd number so we split the seventh mozz stick like the high cal Lady and The Tramp). Then we filled up on toasted bread with olive oil, so I’m positive that our entrees really were as tasty as they seemed.
I’d only ever eaten grandma slices, garlic knots and such from the front counter at Casanova, but I had a strong premonition that the dining room would yield some classic southern Italian, red sauce delights. My plate arrived with a generous portion of baked ziti (the only thing on the menu for less than $10 although I was in the mood for ziti regardless), which we enjoyed immensely. Melissa ordered spaghetti Bolognese, and it was exactly what she had a taste for. There was about a ten pounds of pasta, the sauce was meaty, and the bottom of the dish didn’t get watery (a pet peeve of mine that is very common at the expensive red sauce joints on MacDougal near our abode). At first Melissa was acting a little coy toward her meal:
But once she tasted it, she lost all inhibitions:
Like real Italians, we sat for a long leisurely meal. I’d say it took about an hour for us to polish off all that food. We were totally satisfied, but Melissa was bummed that we had to go to work now. I needed to make some money. She was being a bad influence on me, trying to convince me not to go back to the garage to lease the cab. By that point though, I was so late to start driving, I probably wouldn’t have made much money anyhow. But this look she gave me sealed the deal:
Maybe I’ll go back and pick up the cab tomorrow. . . Maybe. And I’ll definitely grab a grandma slice while I’m there.
Casanova, McGuiness Blvd and Green Street, Greenpoint, Brooklyn
Visit FamousFatDave.Com for lazy five borough eating tours