I savor travel because I feel suspended. I can watch whole cities glide past the car window, then swoop in on an unfamiliar restaurant that is surely someone else’s tried-and-true favorite. I can skip down a street that someone else trudges up each week on their way to work. I can see things that, to others, have long become masked by familiarity. Of course, when it’s not your own town, you don’t always know where to look to find the best things. But sometimes sheer accidents (or tips from the internet) help you stumble upon them.
On our way to NYC, we happened upon Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania. A small community with a downtown straight out of a postcard. The kind of town that some high school kid surely can’t wait to get out of, and some college kid secretly breathes a sigh of relief when they return for winter break, the hills sloping under the snow, the familiar smell of mom’s cooking wafting out into the cold by the front door.
We were there around dinnertime and, aided by the wonders of Yelp.com, found Danny’s Fettucine Bar. Determined to make this a vacation and not a working holiday, I left my camera zipped up in the car trunk. (I’m sure you can guess how successful this idea ended up being.) I was determined not to photograph everything on this trip. Photography – real photography – is time consuming. It requires thought and intention – two things I didn’t want to deal with on this little dinner stop. It’s dinner, that’s it. We’re eating, then moving on, period.
This stubbornness is the reason I do not have any photos to show you of the heavenly alfredo placed before us. You will have to imagine for yourself the tendrils of steam that rose from the plate as I served myself from the family-style platter, envision for yourself the noodles swimming in sauce that struck that impossibly perfect balance between light and creamy.
Had you been a fellow diner with us that evening, you might have assumed that my husband and I were in an argument, because we barely spoke the entire meal – we just sat, heads bowed, lifting our spoons in silent amazement. I twirled my fork and briefly entertained the idea of moving to Stroudsburg, solely based on ensuring future access to this miraculous pasta.
And of course there was the impossibly endearing wait staff, the irresistible Italian-American grin of the owner who personally walked through the tables ensuring everyone was having a good time. In utter defeat, I left Danny to handle the check and slunk back to the car to retrieve my camera for a few quick shots.
So, sorry I don’t have any photos of the food. You’ll just have to swoop in and experience it yourself. But I’ll give you a few glimpses I caught as I headed out the door.
(They let me into the kitchen to grab the above shot. It’s one of the perks to having a professional camera – sometimes it becomes a backstage VIP pass.)