FLAVORS OF HAPPINESS

AH1N1 virus just hit the Senate. Typhoon Feria just smashed through Bicol. Iranian pro-reform protesters were getting shot on Tehran streets. North Korea threatens to launch nuclear weapons against the US.  Perez Hilton called will.i.am a faggot, and made a stupid ass of himself.  My friends are getting addicted to Facebook games and quizzes.  The day… well, the day was just too glum.

Then Tristan arrives and announces that he and Joy were having lunch in Amici.  Would I like to join?  For someone who’s been snacking almost daily on cheese this past week I couldn’t say no.  Normally Amici (Megamall Atrium) fills up easily, but classes were suspended today and it was a slow retail midweek.  Tristan had a “Salsiccia” or Italian sausage panini while Joy and I shared a cheese and spinach cannelloni and a “Polpete” (meatballs) dish.  Excellent comfort food.

We were seated next to the gelato counter.  Normally my top choices would be Nocciola (hazelnuts), Gianduja (chocolate hazelnut), mint chocolate.  This time I wanted to try something different, because the strawberry gelato (with lots of real frozen strawberries!) was looking mighty fine.  Tristan picked the mint chocolate, and Joy picked the blueberry.

I am physically and emotionally soothed by ice cream.  “Why do dairy products have that lovely anesthetic effect on me?” What an exquisite strawberry gelato it was!  It was sweet, but creamy and subtle, with hints of tartness in the frozen fruit.  Joy was making little humming sounds over her blueberry.  “There’s a light floral aftertaste in the back of the tongue,” she said, “it tastes like I’m in a garden…”

“It tastes like summer,” I declared, “like… happiness.”  Tristan, enjoying the mint chocolate, said, “It’s like getting Andes chocolates for Christmas!  Happiness!”

Next time I’m having the Mango Jubilee, first recommended to me by Hector.  Joy wants to try something highly unlikely, the Pineapple.  Tristan, well, it depends on his mood.

We were waxing rhapsodic about the gelato, but when Joy said, “Where can you get something like this for just PhP50!” the two women at the next table started eyeing the counter.  As we left their eyes were shining with anticipation.

“Fate cannot harm us, for we have dined well today,” quoth a famous pundit.  Take that, bad news.

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