Dickens and Christmas are inextricably linked. But I don’t think of Bob Cratchit, Scrooge and Tiny Tim. It’s Oliver Twist who comes to mind during December. The Radio City Christmas Spectacular used to show feature films following the Rockettes’ March of the Wooden Soldiers and Living Nativity. I have yet to confirm with Mom and Dad, but I think that’s where I saw the British film “Oliver!“, so the holiday and soundtrack are permanently merged for me.
I can still sing bits and pieces of many of the songs (a very weak version of “Where is Love?”; a terrific cover of “You’ve Got to Pick a Pocket or Two”). The film’s showstopper is “Food, Glorious Food.” Poor Oliver and the orphans are tortured by the sights and smells of the governors’ banquet in the workhouse. Oliver has the audicity to request another serving of gruel. “Please sir. May I have some more?”
More is what you get at the holidays, particularly when it comes to food. There’s a reason Weight Watchers and Jenny Craig blast their ads in January. We’re all feeling like the fatted pig by then. However, if you’ve still got some room, I’m suggesting you head out to a lavish meal at a restaurant known for its holiday decor before the season of shame is upon us.
Go to the restaurant in your town that’s bedecked, bedazzled and bejeweled beyond recognition. Every place has one; NYC has several. Rolf’s in Gramercy is particularly infamous for its over-the-top holiday decorations. This year we headed to Westchester, to Mulino’s in White Plains, a classic Italian restaurant catering to the city’s business clientele (translation: prices are 2x what they should be).
But it’s worth it. Every inch of the place is adorned and the waiters are fantastic…I think their accents are authentic and they know how to flirt with the ladies and flatter the gentlemen. It’s truly a wonderland.
If you can’t get a dinner reservation (Entirely possible. They were able to squeeze us in at 4:30.), enjoy a drink at the bar and watch Santa, the elves and reindeer strut their stuff.
The best part of all? The restaurant sets up a wood-fired roaster outside the door and departing patrons receive a bag of hot chestnuts. It’s beginning to smell a lot like Christmas.
Tell us about your favorite holiday restaurant. What makes the experience memorable for you?