Monday, April 12, 2010

Stealth Bartering at Lemaire

Having seen Lewis Ginter's mausoleum this afternoon, it seemed only appropriate that I wile away the evening at the hotel he built here.

A friend messaged me this afternoon suggesting we have cocktails at Lemaire and discuss some bartering.

What kind of unemployed fool says no to that?

I've been hanging out intermittently at the Jefferson since 1992, when the radio station I worked for started doing a weekly promotion there.

I know the place and I feel comfortable there. And still, some things never change.

Like knowing that there will always be a wicker basket full of tastefully-arranged female products in the ladies' rooms.

That every member of the staff who lays eyes on me will greet me.

What I didn't expect was being taken for a local while I was there.

An elderly trio coming down the grand staircase stopped me and asked where TJ's was.

I pointed to it and they asked for more specific directions, which I provided, all the while wondering why they hadn't taken me for just another hotel guest.

Am I starting to look like a Richmonder or what?

I met my friend upstairs, where I got a simple iced 1800 and she got the Garden Gibson (all I know about it was what I could see: thyme, cucumber and a salt rim).

Our handsome bartender said that although it's not currently on the cocktail menu, it will be for summer; no doubt it will be a hit with its bracing gin coolness.

Her response upon tasting it was, "I like herbaceous!"

Although the purported purpose of our get-together was business-related, we had to initially cover a lot of other bases.

It's tough to focus on work without first discussing relationships, smart women and restaurant goings-on.

She told me about all the changes for the good going on at the Boathouse; it'll be interesting to see what Jimmy Sneed and his hand-picked crew can do to whip that place into a worthy destination instead of a chain clone.

Let's face it, any menu with the word "colossal" on it needs to be revamped.

We gabbed so long that eventually lights went off in adjoining rooms and the gate to Lemaire was closed.

They left just enough staff for the two of us (unbelievably, that would be three people) so we kept going and finally moved on to her business at hand.

She told me what she needed done, I got an idea of the scale of the project and how she envisions it turning out; happily, taking care of business took only fifteen minutes of the three hours we chatted.

Then it was on to the job site for a midnight visit to consider light levels (too dim? too glaring?), marvel at window heights, admire materials and praise the ReStore. 

I even got to peruse the menus-in-progress and saw all kinds of things I'll want to try.

Let's just say she had me at caramel and sea salt.

I think I'm really going to like this barter business.

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