When I was a kid, my grandmother and grandfather fought their most vicious battles over scotch lowballs and plates of cannelloni at a Palm Beach Italian place called Maurice's. He was an aging artist, she a lifelong floozy and tippler 25 years his junior, and their shrill skirmishes were part of the warp and woof of the neighborhood fabric till the day his heart gave out late one afternoon as he was shuffling home. This was Palm Beach circa 1975; Maurice's was on the corner of Seminole Avenue. I can't remember if the place actually had red- and white-checked tablecloths, but I do know that an empty Chianti bottle with a candle stuck in it sat on every table, striated with ribbons of confetti-colored wax. More straw-wrapped bottles hung from the ceiling along with green and purple lamps shaped like bunches of grapes, and bad murals of the Ponte Vecchio and the Coliseum loomed on every wall. The place was as dark as a catacomb. It smelled of spilled red wine and White... More >>>