The key thing when you dine at a place like Osteria Mamma is not to anger your waiter. Don’t send too many things back, I mean. I sent back a puree-like green soup because it wasn’t exciting enough. Then I added insult to injury by asking the waiter to please re-heat the potatoes. So I was pushing it.

For a half-second I saw the waiter looking at me sideways and I knew…I didn’t think it was likely that he would spit in my one of my dishes, but the thought occured to me that if I don’t stop sending stuff back something like that might happen.

That said, he was a very nice and polite guy, and he spoke with a genuine Italian accent. The bill was split in half and we (i.e., attorney friend Mark and myself) tipped him 20% each. I know, I know…some waiters might seethe and mutter to themselves “fuck you…why didn’t you tip me 25%?” But I took a chance with 20%.