Sunday, March 25, 2012

mondo italiano

Another little Italian cafe has recently opened in Taos. It's called mondo italiano (doesn't anyone use capital letters anymore?). I tried to take a photo outside, but the sun was too bright in the huge noontime sky.
When I first heard the name mondo italiano, I suddenly also heard in my mind that old 1950's Rosemary Clooney song, Mambo Italiano, and couldn't get the silly lyrics out of my head... you mixed-up Siciliano....all you Calabrese do the mambo like-a crazy...mambo ITALIANO! (if any of you out there also remember this song, it's now in your head too and, believe me when I tell you, it's hard to remove). However, the song notwithstanding, the restaurant has good food, nice casual atmosphere, lots of red and white striped tablecloths and curtains, wine and beer, good prices. The owners (I'm told they're New York and Las Vegas Italian-Americans) have taken an extremely nondescript vacant store in an uninteresting strip "center" and transformed it into the current "coolest place to eat" in Taos. This appellation is from acquaintances I ran into when I was there for lunch with two friends. I went back in the evening with Ron for a light dinner and to introduce him to the place. He holds the long-standing position in our family of Supreme Judge of Italian Restaurant Food. His qualifications are derived solely from his Sicilian mother's cooking, which was great, but different from my Neapolitan mother's cooking (we argue a lot about meatballs). During both visits all the tables were filled and an attractive woman who I took to be one of the owners was smiling broadly. Taos is a quirky place, though, and those of us who have lived here for a long time still have images in our heads of wonderful cafes and restaurants long gone. We wish mondo italiano lots of garlic and long-term success.
After lunch, we went to Irene's house to try on hats from her collection to wear to the tea party  (!) planned to celebrate one of them in April. More about that later. Suffice it to say that I had a hell of a fun time with my two 80-something friends yesterday afternoon.