Matt and Ted Lee have a lot of friends, or at least they can get a lot of people to show up at a party, as I found out this evening, the first truly warm night of the year.
The Lee brothers were celebrating the fact that their cookbook had taken top honors at the James Beard Awards by throwing a party at an art gallery in the Brooklyn neighborhood of DUMBO*.
The party didn't start until 9:30, so not only did I have time to go home beforehand, I actually had time to kill. I also had to find my way to the F train, which is in southern Park Slope. I live on the other end of the neighborhood, near Grand Army Plaza, and so I decided to wander down 5th Avenue (more interesting than 7th Avenue, although farther from the subway) and eat at whatever restaurant caught my eye.
The ever-popular Al Di Là had a wait of just 20 minutes, at 8pm on Friday, so I took them up on it, relaxing with a glass of Sancerre in their neighboring wine bar until I was summoned to my table, where I started with the special of grilled sardines over salad greens and then had cazunsei, a type ravioli, with beets, ricottta and poppy seeds. With dinner I drank a couple of glasses of Erbaluce, a Piedmontese white wine made from the indigenous Erbaluce grape, which I had just recently learned about (high acid with floral and herbal notes).
Feeling slightly bad that I was dining solo at a table of two, I gave up my table and had coffee at Cocoa Bar, drinking it as I walked to the F train.
I got to the party at 10:30 and it was in full swing. I congratulated the Lee brothers and chatted with Salma Abdelnour briefly before getting in line for beer. Then Julie Besonen from Paper arrived with her husband Jim Knapp, and I got back in the beer line with them and caught up.
You would think that an art gallery would have air conditioning, but I guess not. People were still psyched to be there, though, although half of them stayed outside and chatted.
I talked to a couple of publicists and then decided it was time to go. Since it was only 11:30 I stopped by Excelsior for a beer once when I was back in my neighborhood and then went for a stroll. I was stopped by jazz music coming from a storefront I'd never noticed before. Turns out it was Puppet’s Jazz Bar, which I learned was in fact a couple of years old and I just hadn’t noticed, and now it’s losing it’s lease, or so the owner tells me. He’ll be throwing some fundraisers in an attempt to relocate, so stay tuned for more information on that.
I drank Australian Shiraz and listened to the music. Victor Bailey was in the audience, too, wearing a T-shirt with a bass clef on it. He sat in on the bass for a song or two, shrugging off praise. It was a nice way to end the evening.
*Non-New Yorkers might not know that that means "down under the Manhattan Bridge overpass."