A Broken Heart Isn't So Bad at Altura

I can think of younger days . . . when eating like I do would have been unimaginable. As a kid, I was a bit fussy. I actually hated the texture of lasagna.

Now I'm in Capitol Hill at Altura, where Nathan Lockwood serves seasonal Italian cuisine in the form of multicourse tasting menus. I happily leave myself to the mercy of this cooking maestro.

I enjoy an extravagant feast, including a chance to share all five pasta offerings with my dining partner. Each one is fantastic, boasting unique flavors. With a mission to incorporate locally foraged and grown ingredients, including some from his own garden, Lockwood impresses me with an assortment of herbs and peppers--some spicy--in many of his dishes. Most surprising to this non-gnocchi fan: My favorite dish of the night is the potato pasta, its texture simply terrific, topped with a rich Abruzzese ragu of lamb and beef.

Perhaps most intriguing is the tagliatelle. This ribbon-like pasta is served with fried garlic and fried parsley, lubricated with olive oil, and then showered with cured tuna heart shavings. The flavor of the heart is dark and mineral-rich, like the ocean splashing itself on the dish sparingly and yet assertively.

So what does Altura's tagliatelle teach us about sex?

It's all about picking up the pieces of a broken heart.

Lockwood hits the tagliatelle with tuna heart just before sending it out to the diner, the shavings dropping from a Microplane grater like tears falling from the eyes of a teen suffering a first break-up.

How do you mend a broken heart? It should start with tears, as it's OK to be sad. Mourn, but also breathe and be confident knowing you'll eventually get through the sadness. Reach out to family and friends, find distractions, and take care of yourself. Exercise. Rediscover things you like to do, and discover new things as well.

Don't blame yourself for failure. And don't feel compelled to find a replacement for the person who's gone. Learn the difference between being alone and being lonely.

Seek counseling if you need it, and socialize as you find yourself ready. Be yourself, find yourself, treat yourself, and allow yourself to . . . live again.

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