Unsurprisingly, I'm not getting paid with the rest of the company tomorrow. This isn't a surprise since I've only been there a week, but I was hoping that since I'm on salary I might get half a paycheck or something. Oh, well. Things will be a little tight for the next fortnight, but I'll manage. Needless to say, I'll be giving Friday night's concert a miss; since the zipper died on my tan guayabera I'll be needing the ticket money for more practical things.
I've gotten into the habit of hanging around the office until at least 1800, since trying to fight the rush-hour traffic down 395 and across the Woodrow Wilson is a massive pain in the ass. Tonight I had another reason for staying late - had to swing by the Wal-Mart in Kingstowne for the drugs I forgot yesterday. That took long enough (this time they lost the prescription despite my calling it in, or maybe because I called it in) that I wound up going across the street to Romano's Macaroni Grill for dinner.
This is one of your new-style Italian joints where old-fashioned Neapolitan pastas with thick sauces are deprecated in favor of veal piccata, chicken Marsala, and other high-end dishes that cost $20 a plate and taste like the oregano was left out. Very reminiscent of Buca di Beppo, except without the gigantic portions. I was tempted by the lasagna but settled for the DIY pasta: rigatoni in meat sauce with meatballs, Italian sausage, asparagus and broccoli. I was adamant that the vegetables be served on the side, since nothing turns my stomach quite like green veggies in my pasta sauce, and they did this without whining. I did find a few tiny florets of broccoli in the bottom of my bowl, but by then I was too full to care and didn't eat them anyway. Meat was plentiful in the pasta bowl, rigatoni were shorter than what I was used to from Barilla & Creamette, and the tomato component of the sauce was so rare I'd swear they airbrushed it on. Bread was good but would have been better with butter in lieu of the extra virgin olive oil. Service was prompt and efficent, ambience about what you'd expect in a mid-range chain restaurant in the suburbs except with the addition of what appeared to be an itinerant singer who afflicted diners with Italian renditions of "Happy Birthday" and other songs. Now, I've hated all Italian secular music since being subjected to opera in my youth, but this was far enough away that I could ignore it. Most of the time. On balance, I'd give the place a C+, B+ if you like this style of Italian and enjoy listening to Ezio Pinza/Pavarotti wannabees.