Who ever coined the phrase "You can never go home" must have burned all his bridges behind him. One of the things I enjoy best about our annual trip back to the U.S. and my hometown is visiting friends I haven't seen in a long time and making un-announced stops at previous places of employment and other old haunts. I have had the extreme good fortune throughout my life to find myself in the right place at the right time. During a particularly painful period, after the death of my mother, I found myself back in Albany, parentless, unemployed, painfully single and responsible for taking care of my brother and cleaning up an estate nightmare left to me to sort out. In search of gainful, temporary (I thought) employment, I applied for a job waiting tables at a nice northern Italian restaurant, Milano, just a few moments from my childhood home. Thankfully, the owner/chef, Dan Darves, saw something in me (past a grief-stricken, vodka soaked, emotional wreck) and hired me on. Over the next few years, the Milano family was there to support me through the healing process, didn't fire me for showing up hung-over or worse, promoted me to manager, catered my first wedding, watched without criticism as the marriage quickly dissolved and gratiously let me move on when I was finally ready to take on new challenges in my life. Needless to say, Milano is one of the first places I gravitate to when I return to my hometown. This time, I treated Birdie and Cole to lunch so they could meet my old friends, taste some of the best food in the Capital District and experience a little bit of their Mom's history.

Margherita Pizza (Wood-oven fired Pizza with Fresh Plum Tomatoes, Onions, Garlic, Basil and Mozzarella)

Tortellini Arcobaleno (Tri-Color Cheese Tortellini with Prosciutto and Peas In a Parmigiano Cream Sauce). 


It was great to see some of the old crew, Scott and Timmy, and of course, one of the original "Milano Girls" and my dear friend, Heidi. It's nice to be able to come back to open arms and people who have always been supportive of your efforts (no matter how mis-guided they were at times) and are happy to see you happy and successful in life. OK, now I'm a little bit teary, damnit!

If you are ever in the Albany area, be sure to stop in to Milano and let them know Michele in Mexico sent you with love.