The day that tickets went on sale, I literally sat at my computer hitting refresh until the screen appeared telling me I could buy them.
Photo from official website.
Quite obviously not from me, what with it being in focus and all.
Quite obviously not from me, what with it being in focus and all.
This is how some people buy tickets to rock concerts. This is how I buy tickets to eat pork. Perhaps my need to diet isn't exactly shocking.
Anyway, Ish and I had determined we really only needed to go to the Friday night dinner because that's where you walk around and taste the top 50 pinot noirs in competition with each other, and sample amazing pork-related dishes from great chefs. Like Charlie Palmer, who created the event, and like Top Chef's Bryan Voltaggio and Kevin Gillespie. And, yes, Tyler Florence.
So let's fast-forward to where we're now AT the event, and I remember that I am very, very, very bad at meeting "celebrities." This has never stopped me from walking up to them and introducing myself, of course. The moment before I decide to introduce myself, I think it will go fine and I'll know what to say and maybe THIS will be the time I'm utterly delightful. Except then I open my mouth and suddenly I hear the things I'm saying and my meta-narrative starts so I have two simultaneous dialogues happening in my head and neither are going the way I'd hoped.
Dialogue One, spoken: Ridiculous things I'm saying to celebrity, who doesn't know me, hasn't met me, doesn't care that I have a blog or a child or grew up in Connecticut or whatever I'm babbling about...
Dialogue Two, internal: WHY ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT YOUR BLOG SHUTUPSHUTUP OHMYGOD YOU SOUND SO CRAZY...
As I was approaching Bryan Voltaggio, I realized that the only thing I could think of to say was that I thought his brother was a giant asshole on Top Chef and I was totally disappointed in the show's finale. Luckily, I had the good sense to know that "God, your brother seems like a total douchebag" is not an appropriate conversational "ice breaker." So mostly I just sort of mumbled at him and took whatever food item he handed me and skulked away.
Unfortunately for him, Kevin Gillespie was a different story. He was the one chef I was most excited to meet (yes, above Tyler Florence). Of course I thought that he would be more approachable -- probably because I adored him and he just seems like a nice guy -- and that's pretty much the death knell for Celebrities Kristy Is About To Meet.
"If this...I mean...don't take this the wrong way, I couldn't mean it more...better...it's just...well, like if this were Disney World? Meeting you would be like meeting Mickey Mouse!"
Oh, yes. That actually came out of my mouth. Mickey Mouse. The conversation didn't go far beyond that AS YOU MIGHT IMAGINE.
Later in the evening, we got to meet Tyler Florence. Now, I realize he's like SUPER celebrity chef-man, but I am not that familiar with him. Which is probably why I referred to him as Tyler Perry all evening and Ish had to keep correcting me. Also, wine.
So just before I got to chatting with him, I scanned my brain for what I would say, and the thing that popped up was "YOU MADE HIS GRAVY AT THANKSGIVING!"
Which is true. The first and only recipe of Tyler Florence's I've ever attempted was his made-for-imbeciles gravy (not what it was officially called but may as well have been). Because this was the first year I attempted homemade gravy and I didn't really know how it was done, and he had a like, two-minute segment on the Food Network for how to do it so you can't screw it up.
And that's what I thought of as I met him and AS PART OF MY INTRODUCTION to him I blurt out "...and thank you for your gravy recipe."
Who? Who says that? Even when meeting chefs, gravy is not an acceptable topic of a proper introduction.
He looked momentarily stunned but then just went with it and asked me what the fuck I was talking about, only more politely.
So then I said that I hosted my first Thanksgiving this year and had never made gravy before and so I found his gravy recipe very useful, thank you.
And then he asked, "Which one?"
I hesitated. I was not prepared for a follow-up question.
He asked, "The one we did this year, with the pumpkin?"
I must have looked like a deer in headlights.
He went on to explain this amazing-sounding recipe involving roasted pumpkin and deglazing and I just sort of stared at his hotness with my mouth agape. Because no. No, I did not use pumpkin in my gravy. I barely used gravy in my gravy.
"Oh...uh...no. I just...it was the really simple one. For um, beginners." I said with a note of shame.
And he replied with a note of disappointment, "Oh, THAT one."
I'M SORRY, TYLER
So then I felt compelled to add, "But it was so great! I really appreciated it!"
AND THAT WAS A LIE. I DISAPPOINTED TYLER FLORENCE AND THEN I LIED TO HIM.
Because that gravy that you can't screw up? Oh, boy. I screwed it up alright. It was all gross and lumpy and separated. By the time it had been in the makeshift gravy boat for five minutes, the bottom half was a flour-y clump and the top half was an oily pool.
Surely it wasn't his fault. Surely the fault lay with the woman who had to rewind the uber-brief segment over and over in order to scribble the 3-step directions onto a piece of paper. Surely.
Not long after meeting not-Tyler-Perry, toward the end of the night, Ish and I had the opportunity to talk with none other than Ray Isle. You know. The WINE EDITOR OF FOOD AND WINE MAGAZINE. A delightful, smart, engaging man who WRITES for a living.
And do you know what I said to him?
That's right. Nothing. Absolutely nothing.
I smiled and nodded and let Ish and Ray discuss the finer points of wines and food and vineyards and the wine industry and Stanford and I did NOT interrupt or call Ray Mickey Mouse or say anything about blogging or Twitter or take an awkward photo.
I met a world-class writer and couldn't think of a single thing to say.
* * * * *
Overall, the event was wonderful and the pinots were great and my diet went on hiatus (as I'd planned for it to) for the evening because I'm sorry, but a) we'd been waiting for this event for a year and
b) see those things up there? Those are warm, bite-sized maple-glazed doughnuts with bacon.
Before I end this post, I figure I should add the following -- for anyone reading this who might actually be interested in food and/or pinots as opposed to what ridiculous things I said to celebrity chefs and didn't say to a world-renowned writer:
- My favorite single food item -- doughnuts notwithstanding -- was the "Po'Boy Slider" as prepared by the chefs from Cyrus. I have never eaten anything more amazing in my whole life. I know it's completely wrong to celebrate weight-loss goals by eating out, but whatever. We're making a dinner at Cyrus our next big outing.
- The winner of the Pinot Cup was Woodenhead. I loved it. Ish preferred the runner-up, Williams Selyem.
*Hurrah! I weighed myself this morning and I weigh exactly what I did on Friday morning. Not bad, considering. I'm still 12 pounds down.
**Special shout-out goes to Lynae, who was at the event and introduced herself to us because she reads this blog. Meeting her/hearing that was kind of the highlight of my evening. I am certain I said entirely inappropriate things to her as well, but she was delightful.