Wednesday, September 19, 2007

It’s after Labor Day, so I must be insane

September 19

I meant to sto`p by the International Chefs Congress at some point over the past couple of days, but it proved to be impossible. I worked all day Monday but wanted to at least stop by the evening reception, but first it made sense to make an appearance at a reception in the Sutton Place home of Jan and Mitsuko Shrem, who own the Clos Pegase Winery in Napa and, it turns out, the best view of Midtown Manhattan and the East River I’ve ever seen.
I ran into Crain's New York writer Louise Kramer on the way to the party and we caught up during the ride to the 32nd floor (don’t pass up time to chat in elevators; time is money).
Publicist Michael Gitter opened the door for us and I looked to the left to see a painting of a woman in profile, but with two eyes.
And I said to myself, “No, that’s not a Picasso. Are you crazy? It’s probably just a Braque or something."
But Braque did cubist stuff, not two-eyed profiles. Of course it was a picasso. I felt like a bumpkin.
Then I glanced past the painting to the windows and saw the Empire State Building, the Chrysler Building, Sutton Place and the rest of New York south of 58th Street stretching gloriously before me, the stately East River flowing by its side.
The East River is, too, stately. Don’t be such a snob. And in my view were at least two of the engineering triumphs that span its width to connect Manhattan and Brooklyn.
I’d meant just to pop my head in, sip a glass of wine, say "hi, hi," and go on either to the Chefs Congress reception or The Tasting Room, whose owners were celebrating the restaurant’s first anniversary in its new space. But as Jan Shrem began to hold court and the hors d'oeuvre from Le Périgord were passed, I realized that I was where I needed to be for the evening.
So the press party at The Tasting Room was over by the time I got there, but the family-and-friends party was going on and I ended up staying for that.
Wine was being served, but the food was gone, so I went from there to a Chinese hole-in-the-wall for noodles and got home at around 1 a.m.
I checked my e-mail and learned that the culinary pages in Nation’s Restaurant News would be closing on Tuesday instead of the usual Wednesday.
So the Chefs Congress for Tuesday was out and I was actually at my desk at 8:45 Tuesday morning.
If you don’t work with me, you don’t know how rare a thing it is to see me sitting at my desk at 8:45 a.m. (8:45 p.m. is less rare), but it had to be done.
It had to be done partly because I’d RSVPed for a lunch at the ‘21’ Club (I don’t know why the 21 is in single quotation marks, but it always is) featuring Bob Waggoner from Charleston, whom I hadn’t seen in awhile.
My table was awesome, with Regina Schrambling and Arlyn Blake and Laurie Woolever all seated there.
Laurie was at the Shrem’s party, too. All the more reason to stay.
I still had pages to read at 6:30 that night, but there was a lull in activity in the office, so I popped up to Daniel, which happily is just half a mile away from NRN’s offices, for a party that Evian was throwing.
They’d sent me an invitation in one of those fancy wooden boxes in which good alcohol is often sold, which was a mistake: If you’re going to send someone a fancy wooden box of the sort in which good alcohol is often sold, there’d better be good alcohol in it or the recipient will be disappointed.
Still, I went to the party (free hors d'oeuvre at Daniel? Of course I’ll go), just as I would have if they'd just e-mailed me an invitation.
The invitation in the box said the hors d’oeuvre would be infused with Evian, and I asked Daniel about that as I didn't know what that meant, and he said that they had planned to cook some of the appetizers in Evian, but ultimately he decided to use regular water, as Evian, as he said it, is for drinking, "not for playing."
I was still in the office at around 9 p.m., and decided that enough was enough and I should go home rather than to any International Chefs Congress parties, especially since I had lunch today at Nobu with a bunch of visiting chefs from Singapore who were being hosted by the American Egg Board. I’m not exactly sure what I was doing there, but I enjoyed myself, and was told from one of the chefs that Daniel was hosting a Fiji Water party later this week.
I don’t know if that’s true, but I hope it is.

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