Lunch with Papi

May 2, 2011

Living in the bustling, cosmopolitan city that is Miami, it’s fairly easy for people to embark on small adventures to explore the newest museum exhibition, the trendiest boutiques or even the hottest club on South Beach. In fact, a typical Miami weekend is about going out on the town and venturing into the unexplored nooks and crannies that the city has to offer. Being a typical Miamian, I enjoy taking part in such activities and delving into the new hotspots in town. But this past weekend was different; a little less busy with friends and parties and a little more filled with quality family bonding.

Knowing my busy schedule, my dad asked me on Thursday night what my plans were for the next three days. “Well, I’m going to my friend’s house tonight to celebrate her boyfriend’s birthday. Then on Friday night, I think we’re celebrating it again at another friend’s house. On Saturday, I have a date at night and then I should probably catch up on some reading on Sunday, but who knows if that will happen because I’m going to the pub at night to celebrate another friend’s birthday” I told my dad nonchalantly. “Oh,” he said “Well, do you want to go on a father-daughter date on Saturday at around noon? It seems as though I have to make reservations with you ahead of time.” It had been a while since I’d spent quality time with my dad so I gladly agreed. “Great,” he said “I’ll make sure to wake you up on Saturday morning so you won’t forget.” I was known for getting quite a beauty sleep on the weekends so it was truly necessary for my dad to wake me up from my hibernation state.

I was excited to spend that much-needed quality time with my dad, but not enough to give it importance on Thursday or Friday night. At 10:30 a.m. on Saturday morning, my dad was right by my bed, summoning me from my endless slumber. It was too early for me but I reluctantly rose from my bed in a zombie-like stance.

After about an hour, I was ready to go and jumped in the car with my dad. I always loved being in my dad’s car. All the cars he’s ever had have always smelled particular to me; almost like an office building or some place where only executives gather. Still in the driveway, my dad fidgeted with his phone for a couple minutes while I played with the sound system. My dad’s Volkswagen CC was brand new, complete with tan, leather seats, sunroof and a media system that would make any technology junkie jealous. I looked for something we both enjoyed: Elton John. Only one song had the chance to play since we drove only five minutes to a new restaurant by our house called “Basilico.”

The small restaurant was dimly lit and well decorated. My dad and I had the privilege of choosing our seats, seeing as though there were only a few people in the dining room. The menu had about 20 different pasta dishes to choose from and about 10 second course dishes. Our waiter was shy and had a very low tone of voice so it was very difficult to understand what he was saying. After about three minutes of asking him to repeat what he said, I ordered the fettuccini with tomato and pesto sauce and my dad picked the Gorgonzola ravioli with nuts and figs.

“I’m so glad you’re having lunch with me,” said my dad as a smile crept up on his face. “Me too, Papi” I told him. I had always been daddy’s little girl and my dad never let me forget that. As the years had gone by, I had started to grow up and the little girl that he remembered was turning out to be a successful young lady that didn’t always need to hold onto her daddy’s hand. As I matured, it was much easier for my dad and I to have conversations about the future, my plans and his advice for me. I always craved his wise words, almost like a compass that I needed in order to know what my next step would be. As our Italian-sized dishes arrived, I asked my dad the infamous question I was known for “Can I try some of what you’re having?” Of course, he let me try one of the raviolis and they were spectacular. Although I don’t like Gorgonzola too much, the cheese sauce was very rich and creamy. The figs gave the raviolis a touch of sweetness that was contrasted by the salty bite from the freshly grated Parmesan cheese. I could tell my pasta was homemade but, unfortunately, it wasn’t as good as the dish my dad ordered.

Following a typical Italian lunch, one simply must enjoy a typical Italian dessert so we ordered the Tiramisu. We devoured the sweet “panna cotta” (or sweet cream) and the espresso-soaked ladyfingers that made up this dessert and, almost instantly, the Tiramisu was gone. My dad and I decided to take a chocolate soufflé for my mom who stayed back home, almost to include her in a part of our father-daughter bonding lunch. My dad ordered the check promptly and we left the restaurant with a very full stomach.

As we drove back home, Sir Elton John continued to play the songs that brought my dad and I closer together every time. The restaurant and the meal we had just enjoyed were a success but the company was even better. I came to the realization that new places don’t have to always be hip or trendy for you to have a good time, it’s all about who you share these moments with and the company they bring. That quaint little restaurant called “Basilico” will most certainly represent the happy moments I shared and will continue sharing with my dad for a long time to come.

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