The other day I went to another planning meeting for my Junior High School open reunion. It is an open reunion because one could attend it, if they only attended the school for even one year, but it has also been opened up to the other students that attended the parochial schools in the geographic area as well. The planning meeting was being held at Roman Village restaurant which is actually in Dearborn, and I have mentioned this restaurant before. Why did we meet at this particular restaurant, if we had all attended school in Detroit? The answer is quite simple; because it was located across the street from a municipal park that everyone from the old neighborhood frequented from the time we were old enough to walk over to the park. The park not only had a magnificent enclosed swimming pool, but there were many baseball diamonds for us to play sandlot baseball, before all such activities became the realm of adult supervision of their children. It was a general meeting area for everyone, even if they had to walk ten or fifteen blocks to get there. The park is also held in high esteem for everyone that grew up there as the annual Fourth of July Parade in Detroit finished there at the park, and later that evening everyone was still there to watch the firework presentation. It is with fond memories for everyone that attended this planning meeting.
As I pulled into the restaurant’s parking lot and noticed how packed the lot was, I realized that above and beyond the group I was meeting with, the restaurant still packs in people from all over, who return as well for the food and the great memories. I also had a moment to look over at the tip of the park, which to the best of my knowledge is still part of Dearborn, even though perhaps ninety-eight percent of it is located in Detroit. I also looked past the park to the cemetery that runs along the park on the other side and thought of my Mother who is interred there, as well as the many family relations and friends that left this Earth way too soon. We were all meeting in a side room, which also contained the bar service for the restaurant and there was ample room for all of us, though some of us were dining at the actual bar, because there was not enough tables and booths in this room. The service at the restaurant was excellent, and there was no problem with each of us having a separate bill for dinner and drinks, as some restaurants try to make it one tab for parties of this size. There were some jokes that we had all dined at Roman Village prior to all the staff that we encountered had even been born, I guess we are getting a little long in the tooth. I decided to have Gnocchi with a meat sauce, as this was the first restaurant that I had ever tried this dish and it brought back many memories for me as well as for the others.
As I was looking at the wine list, I had to recall the old days when there was only red and white wine by the carafes, and they were all jug wines. Times have changed and there was a very adequate selection of wines by the bottle and the glass being offered. I also admired the fact that there was a page of reserve wines being offered by the bottle including a wine by Gaja, but since I was by myself and not in the company of my Bride, I passed on such a lofty wine. I went with an old standby and it was a much better offering from this winery than is usually encountered. I decided that Ruffino Riserva Ducale Chianti Classico DOCG 2011 would be the wine to enjoy with my Gnocchi. This label is in a goldenrod yellow, where their premier Riserva Ducale Gold is printed on a gold label. Since I had just enjoyed a bottle of Ruffino Chianti a couple of days prior, I will not go over the same points, but will mention that this wine is from the “Classico” section of Tuscany, and the majority of the wine is made from Sangiovese grapes. The Riserva designation means that the wine has been aged commercially for twenty-four months prior to being distributed and it is a much more mellow wine and it may have been a bit over-kill for the Gnocchi, but it made the dinner even that much more enjoyable. Of course I do think back to those old glory days when we were drinking wines from carafes and having pizza there and thinking “la dolce vita.”