Saturday, August 27, 2011

Does My Fig Look Big in This?

No question, everyone was in full pre-hurricane mode tonight.

The general attitude was, "Party tonight, for tomorrow we may be trapped inside our powerless homes" or some such thing.

And while I never let a little something like a hurricane or a major snow keep me at home (why do you think I live where I live, for goodness' sake?), I joined right in.

First rule of a busy night: start at your most distant destination.

For me, that was a party on Southside comprised of theater women, my second such gathering this week, but at this one I knew a lot of the people before I got there.

It was one of those times when I was pretty sure everyone there was way more talented than I am, but when you start talking former lovers, speeding tickets and drunk cooking shows, the field is pretty much leveled.

And I can be dramatic when I want to be.

Through multiple courses of wine and food (including a divine chicken thigh dish with prunes, olives and enough garlic for our hostess to promise that no one would want to kiss us), we shared stories of love and lust, past and present.

My favorite thing about this group of females is that just when I think my personal life is/has been abnormally fill-in-the-blank (colorful, bohemian, busy, juicy, odd), I am reassured by one of their tales that I am not alone in that.

Oh, the book I could write!

But after four satisfying hours, I knew it was time to move the party back to the city and closer to home for me.

I stopped at a farewell party a friend was giving, where I had the pleasure of meeting his parents, who knew so much about me that I was surprised every time they opened their mouths.

It's flattering to know that your friends talk about you and it's a tad unnerving to meet people who already know what you do. And what you don't have.

Somehow, I continue to be praised for the things I do without. No one else wants to do it, but damn if they don't admire me for it.

My friend's brother I had met on multiple occasions before because he's a musician and, well, I go to a lot of shows (although this week was an all-time low).

He even gave me his band's new song to listen to. I love when that happens.

Last up for the evening was yet another farewell party, this one for mixologist extraordinaire Bobby at Mint.

Walking in to a packed Julep, I found friends scattered throughout the lively and somewhat loopy crowd.

It required some work just to make it to the bar to get a cocktail, or in my case some spirits, but when I did, I arrived just as a bar stool was being vacated.

That gave me a prime viewing space for the frenzied drink making that was going on behind the bar.

There must have been four different people endlessly giving their arms a workout with a cocktail shaker to supply one of the evening's creative drink specials.

My front row seat to a cocktail cabaret did afford me some mini-drinks, an unexpected bonus.

Bobby's classic Jack Skellington with a toasted marshmallow and the cool-as-a-cucumber Wimbledon were amuse-bouches to my inevitable choice.

In fact, as soon as Bobby saw me, he turned in mid-shake and said to one of his assistants, "She'll have a  Cazadores on ice," with the resigned grin he always gives me for my lack of additives.

I ran into a couple of fellow bloggers at the bar and enjoyed some conversation (and a sip of a spicy Employees Only) with them before half of a favorite couple came up behind me and asked, "What the f**k are you doing over here?"

Somehow I'd missed the engraved invitation to join them at their table, so he'd come to summon me. Pronto.

Over at his table were some transplants looking for brunch ideas (Amour Wine Bistro is high on my list these days), a very handsome man spouting generalizations about women ("Women can be so sensitive!") and Julep's new chef.

For the second time this week, a chef wanted to hear my thoughts on some of the new restaurants and no one loves hearing their opinion of a place validated more than a chef.

And no one can resist showing off more than a chef but this was to our advantage.

He brought out some of the cheeses he's been making and the aged goat cheese with fennel was the kind of taste that made your eyes close.

Swoon-worthy says it best.

He then brought out a spoon of salt and laid it on the table like a prize.

My friend got out a dollar bill, rolled it up and pretended to snort it. Instead, we all tasted grains of it, savoring its purity of flavor.

During a discussion of needlessly complicated cooking, the chef disappeared into the kitchen, returning with two plates.

On one was a sliced up Sun Gold tomato and on the other, chunks of fresh fig.

"That's the two best things I could serve you right now. Nothing I could cook would taste better than that!" he said with a flourish.

With a light sprinkle of the crack  salt, the tomatoes confirmed his words.

The figs had been picked that morning on his parents' farm in Goochland and as one who has spent the past month in a fig-induced euphoria,  I knew what I was in for.

But surprisingly, there were people at the table who don't usually like figs (she liked these) or had never had them. Tragic.

Once the complete madness died down, Bobby joined us at our table to talk about his mixology future.

The guy who first showed RVA that gin and tequila could peacefully co-exist in the same glass clearly has a lot of options and a huge following no matter where he chooses to land.

And lots of places want him right now.

We didn't realize how late it was getting until we began to notice the hordes of scantily-clad girls spilling out into 18th Street.

Honey, does your mother know that you're out in a bra and a pair of shorts that look like a twist-tie and calling that an outfit? I doubt it.

But, hey, that's the street theater of Shockoe Bottom and since my evening had started with theater people, why not end up seeing some performance art?

Because a 250-pound woman in short shorts and a tube top walking in six inch heels is a performance you're not going to see just anywhere.

And while all of us gaped a little (or a lot), maybe she was just in pre-hurricane mode too.

A girl's got to wear it while she can.

How else will she have stories to share with her friends at a dinner party when she's older and wiser?