Lunch at Levante’s

Since 5starjoe bails at the last minute, I get 3pennyjane all to myself yet again. But I do have the added pressure of picking a place. There’s apparently this new scheme where we don’t all sort of decide where we’re going, but more that someone has to nominate a place. And this week it’s my turn to nominate. So I go tooling through Yahoo yellow pages, looking at restaurants in an ever widening circle from the office. And I see Levante’s and immediately know it’s the place.

Although I check their website and discover that it’s a chain. I mean, I knew there was one in Bethesda and this one up the street just below Dupont Circle. But apparently it’s bigger than that. Says that it’s a successful chain in Europe. These locations evidently represent the vanguard of the assault on the Americas. It kinda makes me want to eat there less, but then I decide that that’s snobbery. So I still support the choice.

It’s nicer inside than I remember the Bethesda location being, when I went there with Erin Sellman and her sister Andrea, lo these 8 or 9 years ago now. I’m in jeans, since it’s Friday, even though we’re not supposed to be wearing jeans today since there’s committee meetings all this week. I’m one of two in the office who seemed to have fucked up this way. Although in his defense, the other guy is wearing a tie. But it’s with jeans, which I think calls attention to his jeans more than not wearing a tie would. Plus, his jeans are stone-washed, whereas mine are comfortably dark, much less notice-able. And he’s on the second floor, right in line with the large conference room, and I’m hidden up here on the seventh floor.

The point is that I’m in jeans and I feel a little under-dressed in here, while 3pj is lovely and appropriately dressed. But it’s lunch time, and I’m evidently wearing nice enough jeans, since they seat us.

We’re talking about the Colbert portrait currently hanging in the National Portrait Gallery. I’m such a yob; I’ve never ever been to the National Portrait Gallery. And I think it would be, I don’t know, the height of hypocrisy to go just for the Colbert portrait, although 3pj disagrees. She also notes that there are long lines, people waiting to have their picture taken with the portrait.

And also to my credit here I would like to point out that I’ve been planning on going to this museum. It was closed for a couple of years and has only recently reopened. I was on their website just yesterday, looking to see if they had anything by Chuck Close, even, and planning on a visit.

3PJ mentions that she went to a Joseph Cornell exhibit there last year. Man, that woulda been way cool to see. I mostly know his work from reading the standard popular biography, Deborah Solomon’s Utopia Parkway.

3PJ has the lentil soup and the kaser pide. Neither of us is sure how to pronounce the latter. I guess pide is enough like pita that maybe one couldn’t go too far wrong just saying that. And as for kaser, I think of it like kaiser. Maybe it’s like Turkish for emperor or something. (A little later research tells me it’s like the Greek kaseri cheese, if that’s any help.) I’m a little overwhelmed by the menu, so I go with the day’s special, a seafood stew and an entree of rockfish, which entree comes with small potatoes and giant asparagus.

5 thoughts on “Lunch at Levante’s

  1. 5*j is responsible for the rota idea. If you’re looking for an oppressor in this situation, we can start denouncing him as The Man. Which, you know, I can see him finding funny as hell.
    I thought of kaser as the same root as German kase, just the generic word for cheese. I was all pleased with myself, too.
    Cornell shows up in a couple of SF novels. I first heard about him in one of Gibson’s Sprawl novels (Count Zero or Mona Lisa Overdrive), then there was a bit about his bird and princess pieces in The Time Traveler’s Wife. Gibson was better at capturing the general sense of loneliness, but neither author mentioned Cornell’s demonstrated sense of humor or how much you would want to handle some of his artwork. It was a fantastic exhibit, and I’m glad I had it almost all to myself.

Comments are closed.