Thursday, March 03, 2005


We celebrated our 15th wedding anniversary last Friday by having dinner at Ternana’s. It’s been a few weeks since we’ve been there, so this was a good excuse…..not that we need an excuse.

Art had one of Marco’s pizzas, as usual. This time a four cheese pizza with salami. Art usually has the four cheese pizza, and for variety he sometimes adds something extra. I wasn’t sure what I was going to have, but I noticed several different pasta dishes in the cold case and asked what they were. When Marushka told me that one was ‘lasagna bianca”, I knew what I was having for dinner!

When we arrived we told Marco and family that we were celebrating our anniversary, and everyone congratulated us. Marco congratulated us for having so much patience. When I asked him which one of us he meant, he told me both of us….”fifty-fifty” he said, practicing his English.

While we were waiting for our dinner to be served, Marco’s older son, Phillipo, came in. His grandfather had just brought him and his brother to the restaurant, and Marushka pointed us out to Phillipo and told him to tell us hello. In standard Italian fashion, he came over to me, said “Ciao”, and gave me the kiss/kiss…left cheek, right cheek. He then walked around to the other side of the table and did the same with Art. This affectionate display, so normal in Italy, never ceases to touch our hearts.

Once our dinner had been brought to us, I couldn’t wait to taste the white lasagna. We’ve never been disappointed in any of Rita’s pasta dishes, and this one was delicious, as expected. I think what makes her pasta stand above the rest is the pasta itself. The lasagna noodles were so thin and light, and the white sauce, whatever it was, was delicate and delicious.

Art’s pizza was as beautiful as it was delicious….as usual. We traded a few bites, then just concentrated on enjoying every bite. We had a large bottle of water and a quarter liter of red wine to wash it all down.

About halfway through the meal, Marco appeared at the table with another pizza plate. He had made us a pizza in the shape of a heart, complete with an arrow through it! Topping this pizza were artichokes, prosciutto and sausage. Marco proudly told us that each of these had been grown and/or prepared by him. We also knew that all the ingredients were organically grown, since this is Marco’s pride and joy.

Normally I don’t eat artichokes, but since these were a gift, what else could I do but try them? Wow! If all artichokes tasted this good, I’d eat them every day. And the sausage and prosciutto were wonderful as well. The prosciutto was lean and delicious, not at all fatty and tough as is so often the case. The sausage…cinghiale…was flavorful without being overwhelming.

Once again we were both touched by the friendliness and warmth these people constantly show us.

As we finished our dinner, Leonardo joined his dad behind the counter, and Marco told him that we were Americans who spoke English, and that he should practice his English with us. Leonardo came out to sit with us, and we asked him if he would help us with our Italian while we helped him with his English.

We went over the basic words with Leo… Italiano….tavola…in Inglese….table. In Italiano….testo….in Inglese….head. An on and on. The colors….various animals….clothing….I could see that Leonardo knew English much like we know Italian….the words were just memorized, but had no real meaning. Hopefully Leonard, at age six, will eventually pick up at least basic English and won’t have to endure the difficulties of learning a second language as an adult.

By this time we had enjoyed our evening immensely. Part of the fun for us is just watching the customers come and go….and listening to the conversations around us. This family is so warm and friendly to everyone who comes in and we always feel better when we leave. Tonight was no exception. For under $20 we’d had a great dinner, great company and great conversation.

By the time we left Ternana’s, Stephania’s, the gelato place across the street, was closed. We didn’t mind too much since the extra heart shaped pizza had filled our stomachs up. The good company had filled our hearts. What a great way to spend our anniversary. Hopefully we can continue this tradition for many years to come.


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