7 Numbers

22 May

A couple of Saturday nights ago my family (ALL OF THEM!) got to see Anthony Bourdain (and Eric Ripert) at the Sony Centre. My parents had even paid for the VIP privilege of getting to meet him. My brother and Miss B (his gf and my sister-in-law-in-training) had won tickets. I was beyond jealous.

But, I had plans with a really great friend of mine from out of town! So how could I stay mad? The last time Dom was in town I we had a FOODGASM worthy outing at one of my faves, Terroni. This time, we considered going there again but she was staying with other friends for hers at Eglinton and Bathurst. She was also planning on running the half marathon the next morning and wanted to carb load. These factors all lead to 7 Numbers being a logical choice.

While I had eaten at both locations of 7 Numbers, I hadn’t been in a while. I’d always had a good time but it’s ever so slightly out of the way so it I had never become a frequent customer. And, it’s a shame, because going reminded me that 7 numbers is your neighbourhood restaurant even if you didn’t live down the street.

Note that I don’t give that distinction easily. Even if we were sitting on the patio, the first thought that came to mind was “conviviale” : like at home, you can see the chef at work, Rosa, who is the heart of the operation and the staff are very friendly. So friendly and on the ball that two staff members brought over my order of a glass of red over really quickly… and then left the extra one on our table “on the house”. The last time I was gifted with free booze, I was also with Dom. I don’t think this is coincidence. When she is around, we have extraordinary luck at getting free drinks (and sometimes food!) when we go out. I think it is because her remarkable brand of beauty stuns people into giving her things for free in an effort to gain her approval. I view this as one of the perks of being her friend. But for such a remarkably beautiful person, Dom inhales her food like a pro athlete.

Here’s what the carb-loading beauty and me ate:

2 servings of Orecchiette (with fresh pasta sauce and aged cheese)

1 serving of spaghetti (with a fresh sauce, obvi!!)

2 servings of grilled zucchini

1 serving of Veal Osso Bucco

When we ate, we were gloriously happy. We were the only ones on the patio (it was late) and we ate loudly. Smacking our lips and saying “OHMIGAWD” with our mouths full – and then ordering more when our gluttonous selves wanted to continue the wonderful feelings in our mouths. Waiting for the second serving of Orecchiette and zucchini to arrive, another patron came by to talk to Dom as he had heard that there was a marathoner outside doing carb loading. He was a past-marathoner and they spoke of the rush of crossing the finish line, the bordem of running for long distances, how body size doesn’t determine athletic ability… (note: I do not enjoy running very much and I only do it as a means to punish myself, but I am an avid swimmer). He left after we got our second serving… and I, slightly drunk, looked and Dom and showed her why I hated running. I did this by taking my breasts in my hands and showing how they can jiggle when I do too much cardio (note: I am not flatchested). She fell over in a fit of laughter and then we saw a flash of fire from the kitchen that we were facing : it was Rosa!!!! She mimicked me, laughed  when she saw how horrified I was and then came outside.

I’d always heard about the famous Rosa: she is the heart of 7 numbers. I’ve heard so many amazing things about her that I was totally star struck (and I totally forgot about Anthony Bourdain!). I mean, Rosa made me a fantastic fucking dinner then caught me jiggling my boobs right outside her kitchen… and then she held my hand and asked how I liked her food! Of course  Dom and I were effusive in our praise and our love of her food, her restaurant and her friendly staff. She seemed very pleased with our praise, but I am sure we were but one of many fans. Rosa is more than a cook or a person, she represents all of our grandmothers (or grandfathers), or maybe parents who cook for us with love and make sure we eat every last bite. Her lack of patience for fussy eaters is well known. That we ate all her food and asked for more bread to make sure we got to enjoy every last bit of sauce… is what she wants to see, it’s what 7 Numbers is all about. Really really amazing food in a warm and loving atmosphere.

We didn’t want to leave. How could you when you’re having so much fun? But Dom had to rest before her 8th (!!!!) half marathon. And so we paid our bill, told our server we loved Rosa… and then she came out to greet us again! (well, mostly Dom, to wish her luck on her run). We stood on the stoop with Rosa for another 20 mins and spoke of our favourite things. Hers: working in her kitchen, David Caruso, and slot machines. Mine: meeting her and having her hug me at the end of the evening. She even invited us to go to the casino with her! I really wished I had. Even if it was just to see her remarkable David Caruso impression again with the sounds of the slots all around us.

Best part of all: I totally forgot about Anthony Bourdain. Well, until my family handed me a signed copy of Kitchen Confidential…


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