Adult diaper rash. Yes, it’s finally come to this.
This past week we hosted the James Beard Foundation’s Legends of Wine event at the restaurant. It was a great event filled with luminaries from the world of food and wine. I usually eschew name-dropping, but there were so many to drop over the last two days, I just can’t resist.
This year’s honorees are Jim and Bo Barrett of Chateau Montelena (past recipients of the award have been Robert Mondavi, Christian Moieux of Dominus and Chateau Petrus, and Warren Winarski of Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars). So, along with the Barrett Boys, attending Sunday night’s dinner were of course Bo Barret’s wife, Heidi Peterson Barrett (she of the Screaming Eagle, Paradigm, Showket, La Sirena, and myriad other monster Napa Valley Cabernets); Dickie Brennan of New Orleans’ First Family of Restaurateurs (Commander’s Palace, Palace Café, Bourbon House and Dickie Brennan’s Steakhouse); Dan Berger, syndicated wine columnist; Chuck and Ann McMinn, owners of the Vineyard 29 label; Gary Danko, owner of the eponymous San Francisco restaurant, Gary Danko; Emily Luchetti, renowned pastry chef from Farralon in San Francisco; Guillermo and Junny Gonzales, owners of Sonoma Saveur, producers of this country’s best Foie Gras; and the visiting Chefs who prepared Sunday’s Grand Dinner: Neil Fraser from Grace in Los Angeles; Sanford D’Amato from Sanford’s in Milwaukee; Michel Richard from Citronelle in Washington D.C.; Ken Frank of La Toque; and Steven Durfee, pastry Chef/Instructor from CIA in St. Helena.
All this name/link-dropping has gotten me confused. Where was I? Oh yes, chaffing and irritated.
One of the events over the weekend was a multi-vintage tasting of the Montelena wines at the winery on Saturday, followed by a lunch, which we catered. My mantra for many years has been “Just say NO to catering…”, but when Chef asks for stuff like this, I can’t tell him I don’t do windows. So we loaded up the truck and took our show on the road.
It’s been a while since I worked an actual “double”. Even though my usual day at the restaurant lasts 10 to 12 hours, this promised to be an exceptionally long affair. Transport all the china, linen, food, etc. needed for service for 20 to Calistoga by 10:00am, set up the tasting of 16 different vintages of Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon, serve the four course lunch, pack up, back to Napa, dinner service for 70-plus in the dining room and a party of 40 on the patio; well this would be a marathon.
The function at the winery went off without a hitch except for the fact that lunch was served outside (the tasting was in a blessedly cool room inside) and it is July in Calistoga, which means 90 degrees in the shade; and Saturday was unseasonably humid (what we Californians call “earthquake weather”). Setting up tables, moving heavy umbrella stands, serving and clearing for two hours. My servers are wearing light, cotton-poly shirts but the two Sommeliers and I are in suit and tie; probably overkill, but you got to represent, yo. The event, of course took a couple hours longer than anticipated, so my plan to stop home for a quick shower was replaced by a frantic call home to my wife to iron a fresh shirt. That was all well and good, but the repeated in and outs from cool winery to beastly hot and humid patio resulted in profuse amounts of sweating and cooling, sweating and cooling; so by the time dinner service that night back at the restaurant was two-thirds finished (10 hours later), I was “walkin’ like a Big Dog”.
When we moved to New Orleans back in ’05 we had this running joke about Boudreaux and Thibodeaux (and indeed, they take the place of the “Italian Joke” characters of Giuseppe and Pasquale in Southern corny jokes). We encountered them everywhere: last names of co-workers, names of businesses, and even two Shar Pei puppies at the local vet’s office. We decided that Boudreaux and Thibodeaux is Cajun for Smith and Jones.
Sunday morning when I awoke, ready to play the lead role in the life story of Colonel Red Ruffansore, I was about to resort to the tried and true line-cook’s method of the Cornstarch application; but the chronic nature of my affliction precluded that. So, my wife went off to the store and returned with “Boudreaux’s Butt Paste”. I am totally serious. Yes, laughter is the best medicine. But the best part is that it really worked. I thought I would have a couple more decades before actually needing a product like this, but it’s nice to know it’s there when the incontinence and adult diaper phase hits.