Another year older, and I still haven’t managed to escape the imaginary spirit-dampening rain cloud that follows me around. Or apparently, lost my sense of melodrama either…
Our cab driver from the airport to our hotel, Le Pavillon (which air conditioned the lobby down to a chill only to run the fireplace—I admire their adherence to creating a mood, environment be damned. That’s it burning away in the blurry distance) asked me if I was having a boy or a girl. When I scowled and didn’t respond, he just asked again.
I only bought tickets to attend one session at Tales of the Cocktail, “The Smooth and Creamy History of the Fern Bar.” James and I killed time (ok, sampled freebies from all the sponsored tasting rooms, my favorite being Absolut Brooklyn, complete with breakdancers and a cocktail called The South Slope. I’ve always imagined Fifth Avenue and 12th Street to taste like apple-ginger vodka, Chartreuse and lemon juice) until 4pm when it started. At 4pm we entered a talk/slideshow that was already wrapping up. Apparently, it began at 3pm and was winding down early. I had no one but myself to blame for the time mix up, but I can think of countless better ways to spend $80.
During the first course of my birthday tasting menu at August, James spilled a glass of wine and it managed to get all over my plate of food, the tablecloth in front of me, my new dress and new purse. Ok, it was an accident and pale Viognier, not Cabernet Sauvignon, but it caused a fight and ruined the meal. We didn’t speak through the rest of it. On the other hand, John Besh is the most social chef I’ve ever encountered. He was out meeting and greeting every table and ran over to pull out James’ chair for him after he returned from the bathroom. Great service and food, bad circumstances.
I guess that’s only three nuisances in four days. I could also dredge up the bar known for their classic drinks, not being able to make a Sazerac, because they didn’t have Peychaud’s bitters, but that was more weird than anger-inducing (and I imagine they had a run on Sazeracs with the cocktail convention in town—it’s kind of the quintessential New Orleans drink. The convention also brought a disproportionate amount of youngsters in fedoras, presumably from New York based on everyone and their toddler wearing the ridiculous style this summer. I think they were thinking that somehow New Orleans=frippery=fedoras. Thankfully, the Bubba Gump shrimp was wearing a sensible top hat). I did easily find one at the appropriately named Sazerac Bar.
Also, odd but not blood pressure-raising was not being told the specials at Cochon. When we saw other tables eating food not on the menu, we asked and were told they’d run out, which wasn’t true because the neighboring couple who were seated after us were eating the mystery fish with a poached egg that we were inquiring about. I take these things personally.
So, some strangers have big mouths and don’t know when to keep them shut (and the city, or rather the French Quarter, is teeming with obnoxious drunk-at-noon types in all age ranges) but service everywhere from fast food (yes, we ate at Popeye’s and Krystal’s) to high end was unfailingly polite. I forget how brusque NYC can be. And compliments aren’t scarce either. I can’t even recall the last time, if ever, someone I didn’t know has praised my appearance. I was complimented on my clothing and shoes by a handful of strangers. Definitely not something I’m used to. Brooklyn is all about dismissiveness or dirty stares. I know, because I’m guilty of it.
This is the first year where I’m genuinely not thrilled about being another year older. It was bound to happen eventually. I’m working through the crankiness. Or maybe being permanently grumpy with a pregnant-looking gut is the sign you’ve truly crossed over to the elderly side.