February 28th was my youngest brother's 48th birthday... I don't remember growing older, when did he? Mark has some special needs, particularly his attachment to our mother. To help him through his birthday-without-mom, family members joined for dinner at il pomodoro in south Fort Myers. Reservations were for 5:45 pm (Mark likes to eat early). It took me fifteen minutes to get off the island - a distance of about two miles. (Yesterday was a beautiful beach day, and everyone this side of the Mason-Dixon line thought so, too). I quipped that we're an afluent family, with six of us going to dinner in five cars. Norbert remarked, That 's the American way! Love of the automobile!"
When we checked in with the host, he said, "...I can't put you where I wanted to because you're late..." and then instructed a young woman to put us at table 9. I thought he was rude, and under different circumstances, might have told him so. Table 9 was fine with me and everyone else and we sat down.
We ordered appetizers of fried artichoke hearts and calamari, had glasses of house pinot grigio and hot garlic rolls. Dinners came with a choice of garden salad or caesar salad. I chose the garden salad with a side of blue cheese dressing. I ordered from the daily special, Grouper Francese. Others had more traditional italian meals, veal parmigiana, gnocchis, and assorted pastas. Their serving portions are huge. Even being cautious with appetizers and bread, I stopped eating after a third of my plate. We shared deserts of tiaramasu cheesecake and cannolis, and I had a cup of espresso.
As we gathered our boxes of uneaten food and rose from the table, I noticed the restaurant was full, with a line of waiting patrons out the front door. It was shortly passed eight. We kissed our farewells and found our vehicles and called it a night.