Saturday, July 13, 2013

Fresh Hell of the Best Kind

Turns out Dorothy Parker and I have a lot in common.

Like drinking and talking.

Which I began my evening by doing at my neighborhood joint, Bistro 27, to pre-game before the theater.

Between my week at the beach and Chef Carlos' trip to Brazil, it had been ages since I'd seen him.

We corrected that with some face time tonight, early enough in the evening that the place had not yet filled up.

Vinho Verde in hand, I listened as he told me his concept for a TV show that involved a chef, a front-of-the-house manager and a writer sharing their opinions as they visited every gay bar in the country.

Now there's a career path I could get behind.

As long as I was there, it seemed silly to resist a new small plate of braised calamari over white beans.

The garlic and clam juice-infused beans under the shallot-braised calamari with micro-greens was a flavorful way to kick off my night.

I met some nearby bar-sitters, foodies from Hanover County, and we talked about the local eating scene while they experienced 27 for the first time.

It's always a pleasure to watch as newcomers get sucked into the 27 web, first by Carlos' charm and then by the exceptional food.

Let's just say that I expect that I'll see those two again at my neighborhood bar.

My next stop was at Prudence's house to pick her up for an enlightening evening at the VMFA.

"The Portable Dorothy Parker," a one-act, one-actress play with Broadway actress Margot Avery, drew a sell-out crowd (mostly women or men with women).

Three be the things I shall never attain
Ency, content and sufficient champagne

Most of the performance was laugh-out-loud funny, but for some of us, none more so than her observations about the writing life.

When I was younger, I was already gainfully unemployed.
I called it freelancing.

Amen, sister.

The set was simple - a wing chair with a telephone table, a table for a bar (frequently used) and a desk covered in books and manuscript pages.

But I shall stay the way I am
Because I do not give a damn

Avery used them to advantage, frequently making drinks before collapsing back in her desk chair to answer questions from the unseen assistant.

As Dorothy, she talked a lot about the members of the Algonquin round table and what a boys' club it had been.

All I need is room enough to lay a hat and a few friends.

It was an audience of Parker fans, quick to laugh at every bon mot, and, like me and Prudence, familiar with many of them.

And while Dorothy drank throughout, her smoking habit was conspicuously absent.

I couldn't decide if this was a nod to the VMFA crowd or a politically correct concession.

Either way, bad call.

The first thing I do in the morning is brush my teeth and sharpen my tongue

Through observations about love, men and life, I consistently found myself laughing most at her comments about the writing life.

The two most beautiful words in the English language are "check enclosed."

God knows that's true.

Once the play ended, we didn't go far, ending up at Deco for a bottle and a bite.

The little restaurant was just about full when we arrived and our server, sweet and eager, told us she'd just turned 21.

Her extreme youth meant that she couldn't tell us anything about the 2011 Cantina del Taburno Falanghina we were considering, but the owner breezed by, assuring us that if we didn't like it, he'd happily drink it instead.


Crisp, intense and with a long finish, we needed no help from the boss man to polish off the bottle without him.

We made a meal of the Sicilian street food menu, with arancini con carne stuffed with Mozzarella, falling-off-the-bones pork ribs in marinara, and meatballs with currants and pine nuts, a dish I get every time I go.

"All meat?" Prudence asked, raising an eyebrow, as if that were a problem.

As I told her, after an evening of sparkling wit, I'm happy to make do with meat.

Because, as Dorothy, Prudence and I agree, there can never be sufficient champagne.

We make up for that with meat, bone-sucking and long discussions of love, men and life.

The cure for boredom is curiosity
There is no cure for curiosity

Nor would I want there to be.

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