CAPRI IS BURNING

Reporting from Isle of Capri  August 18, 2013

This sunny morning, sitting at a cafe sipping cappucino with Nancy Silverton at an outdoor cafe fronting a rocky beach on the Mediterraean, I realized my memories of Capri go back nearly 30 years.  

It was in 1986, on the corner of Compton and Crenshaw boulevards, that my 1973 Mercury Capri caught on fire.  Me and my boy Nate Bowman quickly exited and took several steps away as my model 2600 went up in flames.  

"Capri is burning," I said numbly as my transportation melted before me.

"No," Nate told me. "Your motherfuckin' Capri is burning." 

We walked a few blocks up Crenshaw and bought a half pint of E & J brandy.  

I  thought of that this morning as my gaze shifted from the deep blue of the sea at Capri's Piccolo Marinia to the mustardy color of the chairs we sat in.   

"What color is that? These chairs. Like a mustard, but not French's." 

"It's like Gulden's Spicy Brown," Nancy said. 

"I used to have a Mercury Capri that color."

I told her the story of the Merc burning. Seconds later, like a master of ceremonies pointing to the band, a song came on the cafe's speakers. A woman singing.  The opening lines:

"Sometimes I hate every single stupid word you say

Sometimes I wanna slap you  in your whole face" 

We looked at each other and started laughng. I went to the bartender and asked what was the song. She looked. "PInk. Song is "True Love".

I told Nancy, "This could be our theme song."  

 Today is the last of our five night stay in Capri, and while I disparaged it on the first day, referring it as "Rodeo Drive Island", I gotta say, I had a ultra lovely time here.

The hotel, La Scalinatella, is probably nicest place I have ever stayed. 

We got into the Capri groove. A hour walk in the morning, down to the pool overlooking the sea. lunch from a poolside buffet, back to the room, drinks by the pool, walk or taxi through the narrow streets to dinner, drinks by the pool.   

The food was good, though this is not a foodie destination. The best meal we had, which was excellent, was at Paolino, http://www.paolinocapri.com/en/  This place is covered with lemon trees and we had the best tomato of the trip here.  So good, we ordered another one. Just a big tomato, called a "heart of bull", one of the owners said, with basil and a little olive oil. I'd say it was the second best tomato I ever had, coming in not far behind one from my friend Mark Arax's Fresno backyard.  

On the important people-watching front  the isle was superb. (Capri boasts one the highest Michelin one-star ratings for women per captia I have ever seen in Europe).  

Nancy saw a fancy dress.  "Maybe if your book does good, you can buy me a dress next year." Other than rescuing  a kid from a burning car, there's nothing I'd rather do.  

CapriPart2 004.JPG
 Poolside pasta at hotel La Scalinatella

Poolside pasta at hotel La Scalinatella

 Everyday at 1 p.m., we get in the line for the buffet at La Scalinatella . Line has two people  

Everyday at 1 p.m., we get in the line for the buffet at La Scalinatella . Line has two people  

 Storied "Heart of Bull" tomato of Ristorante Paolino

Storied "Heart of Bull" tomato of Ristorante Paolino