Vox

We did manage to eat at Vox a few nights later.  Tucked into a dip in the road at the intersections of Route 121 and Route 116 in North Dreadful, this well-loved French restaurant is our go-to choice when we think “Let’s go out-to-dinner.”
This is the kind of French restaurant with escargot on the menu, attentive and thoughtful wait staff, and an owner who greets you as you come in and takes your coat to hang it up. If our experiences at Vox are typical of restaurants in France, then maybe I need to go live in France. We are greeted so warmly every time we go to Vox,  I can’t tell if this is how they greet everyone or if it is that my husband, the Medium Cheese, is memorable, and in that case  because he is distinctive-looking or because he looks like a celebrity. In some circles, he is a bit of a celebrity. It may simply be that the owner knows that when you are a Medium Cheese, you like it when people welcome you like you are a Big Cheese. Really, Big Cheeses come from somewhere.
On the left, actor John Stamos. On the right, Otto Berkes.
After they seat you, they bring you a small bowl of popcorn seasoned with truffle salt, and they do not assault you with a menu until you’ve had the chance to settle in, give a drink order, and adjust to the leisurely pace of proper dining. By complying with these ground rules, we are always cajoled into several courses plus dessert. When you live wait out here in Northern Westchester County, you cannot possibly be in a hurry in the evening because there is no place to go but home.
We have eaten dinners at Vox with large parties, just our family, and just the two of us. Once I left my purse on my chair and had to go back for it after I had driven everyone home. It was still on my chair. Another time, a table nearby was full of increasingly inebriated equestrians, loudly sharing the vivid details of stories about getting away with drunken driving, among other things.  Eavesdropping in this situation was unavoidable. As I recall, we left before they did.
Acoustic panels on the ceiling at Vox means it’s not too loud
Salads and entrees change with the seasons, as they should. We usually get oysters and they never disappoint. In addition to escargot, they offer French onion soup with melted gruyere and real Caesar salad, musse4ls grilled fish, steak, veal, duck, Croque-Monsieur, and even a burger worth mentioning. For dessert we have ordered tarte-tatin, molten chocolate cake, crème brulee, cheesecake, and bread pudding. I do not recall ever being even the slightest bit disappointed by any dish we were served in any way. I also do not recall any particular dish standing out as exceptional. I believe the reason for this is the superlative attentiveness of the staff, the perfection of the timing of the arrival of dishes, and the remarkably excellent wines they offer by the glass. Vox delivers all this at prices that are in the “nice restaurant” range, rather than the “incredibly nice restaurant” range.
Before we move to Manhattan full time in early September, I am sure we will eat there once or twice again. I won’t have the heart to tell them it will be our last visit, or that they have been the most consistent, least dreadful thing about living here.

Last Monday

At lunch in the city I saw someone across the room who was a pretty good friend of mine in college. I was trapped on the wrong side of a large table, so getting up and saying hello would have been a huge distraction: drawing a lot of attention to me and isolating my kid (who was sitting next to me). I had nearly summoned the energy to do it anyway, when she was joined by a male friend that I did not recognize, and I gave up.  While I ate, she glanced over at me at least once, but either she did not see me or she did not want to see me. It is also possible that she saw me but did not remember me, even though my kid looks like a 14-year-old version of his father, who she also knew.
It is not a wholly new situation; we have all been in it before. You wait for the chatty neighbor to get in his car and drive away so you won’t have to say hello. You ignore the fact that Leon Redbone is struggling to be re-booked at a USAirwayscounter because you know that celebrities deserve to suffer the humiliations of airline travel undisturbed. You pretend you don’t see your grandpa in Steak ‘n Shake because you go there to smoke and it’s your super-secret hideout.
Meanwhile, my husband, sometimes known as the Bacon Provider, got an email at work that day. Now he is a bit of a Medium Cheese in the world, having been on the creation end of a number of gadgety electrical things like the Xbox and tablets, and recently enjoyed a bit of extra media attention owing to his quitting work.
Well, the Medium Cheese got one of those creepy do-you-remember-me-?emails on his work account. Apparently, a woman who went to elementary school with him one year remembered his name and wondered, something like 35 years later, whatever happened to that guy?  The Medium Cheese’s family moved frequently when he was a kid, and his quiet, studious nature had left an impression. “I’m sure you don’t remember me, but I’ve never forgotten you…. I often wondered how you turned out. Imagine my surprise at when I Googled you. I’m so relieved you didn’t turn into a serial killer.”  
Apparently there just aren’t that many serial killers around anymore. When they are revealed, there is the usual set of interviews with the neighbors, who always say the vicious murderer was “kind of quiet.” Who doesn’t fit this description? David Lee Roth? 
The Medium Cheese is mostly unperturbed by the creepy email, and I think it bothers me more. This is a guy who will not kill spiders and who once stopped his Mercedes on the 520 bridge to rescue a baby duck.  But then again,  they say Hitler was an animal lover