Saturday, December 15, 2007

The Bocce Balls of Monte Cristo

If you know nothing else about the Monte Cristo, know this: they take their bocce ball seriously here. In this gentrifying barrio of Portrero rests the Monte Cristo--your neighborhood milonga. Celebrating their 100 year anniversary last year, the first thing you see when you enter this old school Italian social club is bocce ball postings on their left wall. After you climb the stairs there's an Italian style bar to the left, which has ten bocce ball trophies proudly displayed on top of it. And to the right is the dance room, which feels cozy like tango should. It was packed the night I was there, partly because the awesome Trio Garufa was playing. The first woman I danced with is a very nice doctor in town from Washington (you meet the most interesting people in tango!). Later I just watched in a daze as the couples flowed around the floor like a noiseless river. Noiseless, that is, upstairs. I went downstairs to check it out and was standing next to a bocce ball rack outside the kitchen hearing loud, creaking sounds from above--I thought the floor was going to come crashing down. I realized I was standing directly under the dance floor, but it sounded like bocce balls rolling above. Then I see an announcement for their upcoming stag dinners of saltimbocca, polenta & rabbit--you won't find any foo-foo Cal fusion cuisine here. And now I'm back upstairs watching a hundred tangueros float around again. Where did all that noise go? All I hear are the sweet notes of Trio Garufa as the murmering river flows as one.

No comments: