Lidia Bastianich and her daughter, Tanya Manuali, have come out with their eighth cookbook, “Lidia’s Celebrate Like an Italian.”
Munch and Dear One of Munch have become a bit set in our ways.
On Sunday mornings, we like to have breakfast at neighborhood diners and slowly digest The New York Times.
On this particular Sunday morning, we strolled into MauraMori Cafe on Butler Street in Lawrenceville around 11. It was packed, but there was one round table available by the window, so Munch and DOOM sat down and began the weekly negotiation over who gets the A section first. (Munch won this time.)
We waited a bit for our coffee and orange juice, but the Sunday Times kept us company. After our drinks arrived, we ordered promptly. Munch decided on "Dave's Favorite" ($5.49) -- two eggs any style (Munch went scrambled); choice of bacon, sausage or ham (always bacon); and toast. To get a well-rounded breakfast experience, Munch also ordered a chocolate chip pancake ($1.39). DOOM opted for the Western omelet, sans ham ($6.49).
Munch and DOOM continued reading and waited for the food to arrive. We waited. And waited. Every table at the restaurant was full, but the wait was closing in on 40 minutes. We'd been to MauraMori on busy Sundays before, but this was the first time the wait was substantial.
DOOM peered over the top of the Week in Review.
"They're victims of their own success," Munch's dining companion grumbled.
A waitress appeared to apologize for the delay and explained that food was dropped and the kitchen was backed up. She offered Munch more orange juice on the house, but Munch asked for chocolate milk instead. ("Because you're 12," DOOM smirked.) The milk arrived and coffees were warmed up, but still no food.
DOOM was getting agitated. We were scheduled to attend a Pirates game at 1:35 p.m., and it was already closing in on noon.
Finally, our meals appeared. DOOM, who comes from a state renowned for its diner fare and can be a bit of a snob about breakfast, was pleased that the omelet was made to DOOM's specifications -- cheddar instead of American cheese and no trace of ham.
Munch had no complaints. The eggs were perfectly scrambled, the bacon crispy, the pancake fluffy and full of chocolate chips.
DOOM asked for the check, noting that we were in a rush. The waitress apologized profusely and said she would take 20 percent off our bill because of the wait. Munch took the bill up to the counter, where a different waitress rang Munch up. She failed to take off the 20 percent, but Munch was concerned that DOOM would have an aneurysm if the credit card had to be canceled and then run again. The bill, including food, coffee, orange juice and chocolate milk, was still less than $20.
Munch and DOOM raced Downtown, planning to park and walk across a bridge to PNC Park, only to be foiled by the Pride in the Street parade and festival. We parked in the first available lot and headed toward the North Shore, arriving after the first pitch was thrown, much to DOOM's chagrin.
As fans of leisurely, inexpensive and tasty breakfasts, and neighborhood diners, Munch and DOOM will definitely return to MauraMori Cafe, but probably not on days when we have somewhere to be.
MauraMori Cafe, which serves breakfast and lunch every day, is at 5202 Butler St., Lawrenceville.