Thursday, February 05, 2009

different fats, people with the same name, and karaoke

February 5

“Are you Bret?"
“Hi, I’m Brett.”
I’m pretty sure Davids and Michaels and Saras get no thrill from that kind of conversation, but there just aren’t that many Brets out there, so we do derive a fair amount of joy from meeting one another, even when we stand on opposite sides of the fence when it comes to the number of 't's we use.
Brett in this case was the bouncer at Little Branch, keeping a line of people, well, in line with gracious authority, even in the cold February air.
Not me, though. I just went right in, as my friend Jim the goose man was already there, and I was expected.
In my mind, I said to the people in line “get out of my way, you ill-connected rubes, I’m with a goose farmer from South Dakota!”
In retrospect I feel bad that Little Branch was my third stop in the evening, because it is supposed to be one of the great cocktail bars of the city, and I had been out way too long to care. It was dumb of me not to pay attention.
I had come from the Hall Company's 13th anniversary party at Pulse Karaoke Lounge and Suites, where I sang "Sweet Caroline" with my boss, Ellen Koteff, and Stephen Hall's business partner Sam Firer, and assorted others who came on stage because "Sweet Caroline" is a crowd pleaser.
I also chatted with Ed Witt and expressed sympathy that his restaurant Bloomingdale Road had just closed.
And I drank Maker's Mark on the rocks.
It seemed reasonable and proper to continue with the same theme when it came to drinks at Little Branch, where I also ordered whiskey on the rocks from our booth. They asked me what sort of whiskey. I said I didn’t care. And that’s true, but Jim had likely told them he was bringing the food editor of Nation’s Restaurant News and I imagine they wanted to leave a good impression. For me to be dismissive of their stock-in-trade was wrong.
In fact, they gave me a tasty whiskey cocktail that was wasted on me because I was focused on discussing goose fat with Jim and a new acquaintance of his, animal fat enthusiast and jazz musician Jon Burr.
My apologies to the nice bartenders of Little Branch, whose drinks deserve more consideration.
Jon was playing the bass at the bar that night and Jim and I were there ostensibly to listen to him play. But we were really there to talk about animal fat, and ways for Jim to market the rivers of goose grease that are soon going to be available for consumption.
Now that’s interesting, because the evening began with fat.
For the first time, I had been invited to an event specifically as a blogger. Iron Chef Cat Cora was going to be there. Those two facts were interesting enough for me to go to the event. It turns out that Ms. Cora is now working with, which is an attempt by Lever Brothers to promote its “soft spreads” new-generation non-margarines that they’re promoting as heart-healthy and convenient. They’re certainly trans fat free, and convenient. Cat did a cooking demonstration of baked wontons, brushed with one of the soft spreads beforehand to make them crunchy. I personally would rather eat deep-fried foods, but less of them, but to each his own.
The highlight of the party was the fact that Sara Bonisteel was there, recently freed from her job with Fox News and now working for AOL. I also met a new work colleague of hers also named Sara (or maybe Sarah, I didn’t ask).
So finishing out the evening with fans of animal fat (and fiber, Jon’s also very big on fiber) balanced it all out well.


Kat Kinsman said...

We've now got both Sara Bonisteel and Sarah De Heer in our clutches at AOL Food, and we're so much better off for it.

Bret Thorn said...

Indeed you are.

Mark Brandau said...

When you started off talking about Brets and Michaels, I thought you were talking about Bret Michaels. Were you a Poison fan in the '80s?

Bret Thorn said...

I was not, but NRN’s IT guy when I started at the magazine was a big fan, so my first password at NRN (long-since replaced, so I can reveal it to you) was po1son.
But thanks for asking, as this blog entry now might be visited by people in search of Bret Michaels and Poison and thus boost its traffic.

Gretchen said...

I can totally relate to the "Bret meets Brett" thing. My name is usually given to dachshunds, schnauzers, and German shepherds. Whenever I meet another human named Gretchen, we both are invariably delighted!