There's a story about Jackie O. She was battling cancer. A friend took her to lunch at 21 or the Four Seasons or some place like those rarefied places that were her versions of my diners.
The dessert cart came around. The friend watched Jackie O., a woman who exemplified "never too rich, never too thin", pick one of each, line them up and dig in. That's when she knew Jackie had decided to stop battling.
That story haunted a bit tonight. For years, in and out of De Robertis, buying boxes of sweet pastries for others or having a perfect cappuccino or steamed milk with friends and once in a blue moon, a little pastry of my own, the fantasy was that one day I would walk up to the front glass counter and pick one of each of everything they had on display.
With the family closing their 106 year-old pasticceria whenever the pastries run out which looks like maybe Wednesday or Friday, it was time to forget a healthy dinner, gather some friends and, as much as middle-age limitations allowed, start picking.
We tried our best. But, walking home with a stomach that could no longer handle the aftermath, I pondered wasted years of not picking out the best dessert the neighborhood had to offer and eating it first.
Saying Goodbye To De Robertis- An Encore: Thirty Years Of Pressing My Nose
Up Against The Bakery Window
The Last Meal