Tuesday, July 24

Highs and Lows

life can be a little funny: sometimes when you expect something to be bad, it ends up being better than expected. then, when you expect something to be good, it turns out to be awful.  life, you've got one helluva sense of humor.

i had a date with Sully to go see The Amazing Spider Man at the Times Square Regal theater. the movie itself was "meh" (even in 3-D) aside from the fact that Andrew Garfield is worthy eye candy. that Emma Stone is 1 lucky lady. it wasn't as witty as its predecessors, though it tried to be, but the action was pretty good and the chemistry between Garfield and Stone was fun to watch. i don't think the story was as great as the movie itself which resulted in my lack of interest at times.

the surprise of the night was actually dinner. and a Groupon dinner at that. i'm quickly jumping on the Groupon bandwagon, although it's just such a commitment to purchase something in advance. but i digress.

Sully had gotten a $60 Groupon for dinner at Destino. although i wouldn't call Destino a destination restaurant, if i lived in the neighborhood, i might consider it a worthy local italian spot that i could suggest to friends and family who were visiting. it's not a big restaurant, and if you're in a party of 2, be ready to sit thisclose to your neighbor. i could feel (and hear) the awkward atmosphere of the table to the left of us: it was an older gentleman with a younger woman and they barely said 2 words to each other the whole night. and we arrived right when their entrees arrived and they sat through dessert and coffee. AWKWARD. i could also hear (and sympathize) with the table to the right of us: a guy and a girl who were clearly "just friends" but through the conversation you could tell that the girl clearly liked the guy but the guy was either not interested/oblivious. they kept talking about bad dates the guy had recently been on.  these flaws (or not flaws since they were pretty entertaining) aside,  the Groupon deal for Destino was very impressive.

for $60 you had the choice of 1 appetizer, 1 entree, 1 dessert, and 1 glass of wine per person. and they didn't skimp on the options. with the exception of a few items, you pretty much had the whole gamut of the menu to choose from.

to start, the restaurant provided us with bruschetta as a sort of amuse-bouche. while a little bit heavy for an amuse, it was definitely refreshing (as it was 90 degrees outside). the crostini was a little too crispy, but then again, who disagrees with gratis food?

as appetizers, i chose the Polpettine di Mario ($14) while Sully chose the Insalate di Mare ($16). don't let the picture fool you: this is 1 whopping meatball. yes, it's only 1 per serving but it is 1 big serving. i ate about half of it and let Sully eat the rest. and i definitely recommend you order it; it's a balance between light and dense, and the sauce is hearty enough to give it some flavor but light enough so it doesn't overwhelm the meatball taste itself. i don't think i've ever had such a complicated (and pretentious) sounding meatball. just get it.  the seafood salad was also light and refreshing, and a nice counterbalance to the heavy meatball appetizer.

for entrees, Sully ordered the Vitello Milanese (veal pounded thin and breaded, topped with arugula, tomato, red onion, and buffalo mozzarella) ($24.50). i ordered the Dentice Marechiaro (red snapper sauteed with white wine and a touch of marinara)($26) since i wasn't that hungry and figured that a white fish would be lighter than the alternative, which was pasta. both the fish and the veal were fine, although slightly overcooked. however, Sully seemed very satisfied as he finished off both our plates after i had gotten full.

for dessert we opted for the Tiramisu ($11) and the Ricotta Cheese Cake ($11). both were nice and light, although if i had to choose a winner i would go with the tiramisu. it had a more dessert feel to it, most likely because it was slightly sweeter.

so, as is the irony of life, i had expected great things from the movie and very little from the restaurant, only to have the reality turn out completely opposite.

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