I couldn't have been more surprised when a friend suggested Stuzzi for dinner. She's the only person I know who actually loves cold weather, prefers it even. We are very poorly matched in this because I get cold at the drop of a hat and she gets hot when my teeth are still chattering. My first two visits to Stuzzi had been quite warm and while I loved that, I knew it wasn't her style.
Turns out she was enamored enough of the pie to overlook the temperature issue, which admittedly was far cooler tonight than on my last couple of visits and really quite pleasant. When I arrived a bit before 8, the place was full, with people waiting for tables.
The music was just loud enough and the mix was excellent. When I asked about it, all anyone knew was that it was the restaurant iPod, so multiple people had contributed to the mix. I loved the variety of the music...and the volume. It really amped up the ambiance.
Since I'd not gotten it last time, I ordered the Margarita pizza (A.O.C. and all) preceded by the Gorgonzola salad; my friend got the Carnivore because meat is her god. The crust was not soggy, the sauce, cheese and basil sang with freshness and I ate the whole thing. Meanwhile, I struck up a conversation with the guy next to me, a student of psychiatric genetics, and we eventually got to talking about looks, his in particular.
He had beautiful curly hair which he'd only discovered he had two years ago. His mother had never told him it was curly and he'd always kept it short, so he'd had no idea. His driver's license showed a guy with short, dark hair without a hint of curl. I asked if his longer locks got him lots more attention, but he demurred. "I'm not exactly up Richmond's alley," he said by way of explanation. And he didn't look like a hatboy or a WASP, so I knew what he meant.
He said his goal is to be a writer, but at 25, he feels like a lifetime spent in Fairfax County does not represent enough life experience from which to knowledgeably write. So instead he's spending his time acquiring the experiences which he hopes will inform his future writing endeavors. I can't think of a better plan and told him so.
It was on this visit that I noticed the diversity of the crowd under the dimmed lights with the music pulsing. There were a few families with kids early in the evening, some older couples throughout, but mostly, as owner Peter put it, "There's no one here over 30." I think it's safe to say that his price points are appealing to almost everyone.
Peter came over to talk like an Italian (or was it a New Yorker?) and bring me an Aperol Spritzer, a truly refreshing Italian summer beverage, with which I wasn't familiar. It was the same color as my dress, surely a sign of something. "Be careful, it'll make you amorous," he warned grinning, going on to explain that he's so busy working seven days a week that he has to date on-site.
When things finally wound down, pizza genius Giuseppe came over and sat down next to me to chat and have a Campari. Although we'd been introduced before, this was our first in-depth conversation and he gave me the full story about men and women from "someone who knows, an Italian," to phrase it like he did. In any case, I think that now I'm clear on what it is men want in a relationship and why.
Lesson learned: I was right to be concerned about my cold-loving friend. It can get warm in Stuzzi.