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.

A Busy Day

Yesterday, around 1:20 p.m. my husband Otto submitted his resignation from Microsoft, effective immediately.  
He texted me at 1:21, but I was having lunch with a couple of former students of mine, and I did not see his message until about 2:10.  It was a one-word message, “Swordfish.”  When I did see it, I burst out laughing (so much for the sneaky glance down at my iPhone). 
At 1:22 p.m., local technology journalist Brier Dudley’s blog post went up. 
At 3:37 p.m., Otto got a text from my brother’s ex-wife saying, “The ex-sister-in-law is always the last to know…” For at least part of the afternoon yesterday, it was the lead story on the Seattle Times online. I feel perfectly terrible thinking about her sitting at her desk at work, opening another browser tab to check the news, and seeing Otto.
Of course, it has been in the works for a while. Otto is leaving a company in which he has invested his last 18 years, and a decision like this came after months of uncertainty.  Until we were absolutely sure it was happening, we had to assume that he would stay at Microsoft and life would continue as before.  
I imagined the outpouring of goodbyes and good wishes from colleagues and former bosses, including a whole bunch of people who left Microsoft a year ago or five years ago. I did not imagine that four or five new articles generated by paraphrasing the original would appear by dinner time.  
The interview with Brier Dudley states “Berkes is leaving for another company outside of the Seattle area but he wouldn’t say which one.” At 5:51 p.m. Tom Krazit of mocoNews.net reported, “He’s leaving to join a Seattle-area startup, according to the Times.” At 6:10, Todd Bishop wrote on GeekWire.com “Berkes plans to work for another company, based in California, but he isn’t saying yet which one.” I am not at liberty to tell you which one of these is true.
His phone burbled with texts through dinner, his email inbox kept refilling, and he was still receiving calls at 10 p.m. At 10:33 p.m., Otto’s most best-known former protégé showed up at our front door with his girlfriend, and we all went out and I watched them drink martinis until last call. 
Our youngest son, who is 13, was baffled by the interruptions to dinner and the article in the local paper. “Why are they making such a big deal about you?”  he asked. “You’re just you.”