Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Farewell and Congrats

Sunday was party day and I'm not talking birthday.

The first was a surprise party for my food editor who has decided to chuck the cut throat world of food writing and focus on enjoying herself splitting her time between the east and west coasts.

Needless to say, I am pea green with envy while at the same time thrilled for her (she so deserves it) and her adventure.

A host of food writers, editors, restaurateurs, wine reps and food-related types gathered at the Roosevelt, food and wine in hand, for a potluck with the early evening sun streaming through the big front windows.

Once her husband and friends had connived to deliver her at the appointed time, the party could begin. Like a radiant, just-wed bride, her first obligation was making the rounds of the room to greet everyone, a receiving lines of sorts.

That allowed everyone else to dig into the feast spread down the middle of the room, equal parts homemade and purchased from restaurants and stores because, when it comes down to it, the last thing some restaurant people want to do on their day off is cook.

Then there are lazy writers who just bring deviled eggs with bacon stuck on top and call it a day.

I ate plenty of Olli and way more than my share of Fritos and guacamole, along with caramelized onion bread pudding, barbecue and Mekong's crispy spring rolls.

It's always a blast being around food people away from their work because they're just happy to be around so many of their kind. Conversation ranged from last week's mega-storm to children to the definition of Asian food, with a whole lot of drunken blather throughout.

The guest of honor gave a heartfelt speech about how Richmond's food scene has changed over the years she's been a part of it, but the fact is, she's been the class act in food writing in this town since before some people knew what head cheese was. I, for one, will miss her guidance and input terribly.

Desserts were abundant with a beautiful gluten free cake from WPA Bakery and a couple of ridiculously tall Shyndigz cakes, including my childhood birthday cake, chocolate cake with white icing, meaning I could pretend it had been chosen especially for me.

I would have liked to have stayed at the party all night - there's nothing like talking to tipsy foodies- but I also had an anniversary party to make in Carytown.

Amour Wine Bistro was celebrating its fourth anniversary and I walked in to find a drapery blocking the dining room from the front door, always a good sign.

A bit further in, I saw a favorite server sitting in a chair, steering wheel in hand, in front of a screen pretending to be some kind of race car driver and clearly having a blast.

I kept going towards the music where I found a karaoke session in progress, multiple people with microphones in hand.

The standout was one of the kitchen guys who not only had a good voice but no shame about playing to the crowd, even losing his glasses once as he slid to a dramatic stance on his knees at his girlfriend's feet.

It took only moments to see where I fit into this equation. I got a glass of Valcombe Rose, a slice of pepperoni pizza and took the karaoke song listing in hand so I could request the kind of songs that would turn this to-do into a raucous singalong.

The Supremes' "You Can't Hurry Love" got things off to a fine start, despite the fact that almost no one singing was alive during the Supremes' reign. That was followed by Stevie Wonder's "My Cherie Amour" and Gloria Gaynor's "I Will Survive." Oldies but goodies.

One of the high points came when owner Paul sang "Comme d'Habitude," also known as "My Way" in French.

Did I mention there was a smoke machine that would occasionally envelop us in mood-enhancing atmospherics when the crowd really got singing?

Welcome to Carytown's only French disco, now officially four years old and Richmond the better off for its charming take on the pairing of supping and sipping.

As birthday weekend closers go, a going away party and anniversary party were petty stellar ways to keep the fun going, even if had nothing to do with me.

Fact is, if there's pig, cake and Rose, it has everything to do with me.

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