Frank Bruni would have you believe that a Manhattan waiter nearly suffered a heart attack when writer John Grisham placed a carbohydrate-laden lunch order:
“The risotto special and the farfalle special?” the waiter said, as if such carbohydrate incaution were unthinkable beyond the world of 4-year-olds on a Saturday morning trip to Krispy Kreme.
Yes, Mr. Grisham assured him, that was right.
“Together?” the waiter pressed.
The risotto first, Mr. Grisham said, and then the pasta. Half orders of each, he clarified. And some wine. Definitely some wine. Would a sommelier wander by?
Mr. Grisham turned back to this reporter, at Fresco by Scotto, an Italian restaurant in Midtown Manhattan, and smiled. He was visibly unfazed by the surprise at his order, palpably unconcerned about its lack of sophistication and clearly at ease with the revolutionary idea of eating precisely what struck his fancy at precisely the moment his fancy was struck.
Hold onto your hat, Mr. Bruni. At a West Village restaurant last week I ate four pieces of free bread and ordered a coke, pasta, and a slice of cheesecake for lunch. And you know what? Nobody batted a fucking eye.
Try leaving Midtown sometime.