The Day I Met Angelo

I walked into Angelo’s Italian Deli on 2nd Street one day.  A young woman was sitting on a stool at the register reading a book.  She looked up and asked if she could help me.  I stated the obvious and said “Thanks, I’m just looking around”.  She replied the usual and said “OK, just let me know if you need anything.”  We each went back to our business.

I was actually looking for some cannoli shells.  My dream was to make mascarpone-stuffed cannoli, drizzled with raspberry, pomegranate, Chambord or Amaretto, and dusted with cocoa powder and lemon zest.  I made up the recipe myself.  Probably would work well with profiteroles, also, just a bit smaller volume to stuff in.  Less mascarpone.  Hmmm.  Better stick with the cannoli-size.

Angelo’s has three rooms: the front room is for ordering, eating and browsing; the back is more stuff.  Lots of stuff.  The deli counter is back there, too.  In the two main retail spaces, they have olives, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, Limoncello, Torpido sandwiches (that’s how they spell it), pasta salad (changes daily), salami, prosciutto, meatballs, Orangina, wine, garlic, provolone, parmesan, dry pasta, decorative plates, cups, saucers and tablecloths for sale, and….well, you get the idea.  Well-stocked.

The middle space is the kitchen.  No windows.  An “Employees Only” sign in big red letters on the door.  Mysterious things happen in there.

So I wandered around the front room of Angelo’s, admiring their wares.

I saw several types of cannoli shells on the shelf and started reading the directions.  Most were in Italian.  I could sort of figure out what they were saying.

“Whaddya think?”, said a short, stocky man in a black t-shirt, black pants and black apron suddenly standing next to me, wiping his hands in his apron.  I jumped.

“Uh, yeah, hi,” I stumbled.  “I’m just looking for some cannoli shells, I think.”  Smooth.

The Man In Black grabbed the box I was holding and put it back on the shelf as he said, “You don’t want those.  You want these!” and shoved another brand into my hands.

I had noticed the price of the box I was holding when he came up.  The new box was cheaper.  And better, according to The Man In Black.  Go figure!

“Great,” I said, “I’ll take it, I guess.”

He smiled at me as he shook my hand, and started to walk away.

I said “What was your name again?”

The Man In Black turned back to me, paused and pointed to the painted sign in the window.  It was in reverse, so people walking by could read it:

I nodded, gave him a small salute, and stepped over to the register.

I started to say, “Thanks, Ange…,” but he was gone.  I heard a door slam shut.  I stepped around the corner and saw the “Employees Only” sign still shuddering on the windowless door to the Mystery Kitchen.

I went back to the register.  The young woman with the book saw the cannoli box in my hands and said, “Is that all?”

It was 11:00am.

“This and a Torpido, please, with everything, to go.”

And I have dessert, too.  Perfect!

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