Thursday, August 14, 2008

Star Struck on Date Night

I had gotten a big thing off my plate last week (grant resubmission) and Sara got a couple big things off her plate this week (chainsaw safety training talk and pruning the University Pres's beech tree) there was cause to celebrate.

Sara met me on the bus with a plan and we continued on into Ballard. Our evening started by shopping for backpacking gear at the seconds/used/closeouts/consignment place, Second Ascent. Sara found a Mountain Hardwear fleece windblock jacket for $50! Then, we ambled across the street to Conor Byrne's for a happy hour beer ($2.50 microbrews until 7pm). Bargins at every turn!

After our beers and chatting, we wandered up the street to La Carta de Oaxaca. A place I have been wanting to try for nearly a year after I read that the chef at our favorite restaurant, Tilth, eats there upon occasion.

"Maybe she will be there..." I said. Then... what to my wondering eyes did appear but Chef Hines...right there in line in front of us. Sara immediately wanted to go over and talk to her.

J: "No"
S: "What? Why? You love her" (its true I have mini star-struck crush on her...her food is amazing. None of you would blame me).
J: "That's why. If we went over there I would have to look at my feet and mumble. So, No. Besides, we don't want to bother them during their dinner" (I am trying logic and politeness now)

Sara started slowly moving her body farther from me...inching ever closer to them, and feigning that she was straining to hear what I was saying.

J: "I know what you are doing. No. No. No. We aren't going over there."
S: "Don't you want to tell her how much you love her place? Don't you think she would appreciate knowing how much people like it. And knowing that we tell everyone its the best meal we have had in Seattle?"

That Sara knows me too well. I think about this for a while and finally concede that she can tell Chef Hines how killer the fare is at Tilth after I am safely seated...giggling and mumbling while staring at the table seems so much less socially inept to me.

We had a fabulous inexpensive dinner that came out quickly, and margaritas that packed more of punch that we were expecting. Which is partially the reason for what happened next....

It was time for the sanctioned interaction. Sara got up from the table, and went over to where Chef Hines was and began to talk to her. I couldn't hear, but it seemed to be going ok. Then Sara pulled a piece of paper out of her pocket with something written on it. In slow motion now, my hand went to my face, like a Munch painting...'What was she giving her? Why did I say she could go talk to her? Oh no!'

They continued to talk briefly, Sara went on to the restroom, and Chef Hines got up to leave and came by my table to introduce herself. She was very nice. She said something about how sweet the invitation was (WHAT?!)...I don't remember anything else...I can't even remember if I did anything but giggle and blush.

I find out shortly, that Sara had given this nationally (internationally?) famous chef MY phone number and invited her dinner!

I thought she was joking.

She wasn't.

Sara's point is... who ever invites the person that cooks for a living over to be cooked for? Which I think is a good point.... But we don't really know the answer, since we don't know anybody that cooks for a living. Maybe it happens all the time. Maybe never. I doubt we will find out.

At any rate, Chef Hines, if you are reading this... We are not as odd as we may have come across during our brief interaction in Ballard. We love Tilth, and we were overcome with the opportunity to express our foodie-gratitude for the restaurant. And although I may have only blushed, giggled and stared at my feet, I can actually speak and will now work harder to muster the courage to pay the cold compliment I am no longer convinced these things should be left to Sara.


frank said...

Great story! I can see the entire event in my mind. Why can all my children write better than me?
What are you going to cook? That is the question. How about crab/corn fritters?

weese said...

so what will you make? :)

Syd said...

Karlene invited a Chef to dinner once. I wanted to kill her.

Has Sara recovered from the ass whipping you SURELY inflicted?

Jen said...

Thanks Dad...and, uh, I sort of doubt that I will have to worry about what to cook...

Weese - are you giggling?

Syd - Sara is still chuckling over how embarrassed I was...I had forgotten that Karlene did the same thing to you!

sageweb said...

Oh that is a great story. I have a friend that is a chef and I have never invited her over for dinner. I would not even begin to think I could serve someone that has tastebuds. Good Luck!

SassyFemme said...

As I read it my hand went to my mouth as I thought, "Oh no!" I would have died!

So yeah... what ARE you making?

sara said...

I must admit I did wake up at 2:00a.m. (after the Tequila seeped out of my bloodstream)a bit horrified thinking, "What the hell did I just do?"

What's funny is she asked if I cooked. I really hadn't anticipated such a question although I probably should have. I think I just shrugged and said "Not really." I think she was very impressed.

Maya said...

That is a fabulous story. Well I think should you ever be honored with chef Hines at your dinner table, she would be pleased. Look at all the delicious meals you 2 have made that were written about on you blog. Plus, as the recipient of many of your meals when Herb and I were both working outside the home and Chloe was a busy toddler (do you know how grateful we are for that??? SO SO grateful), I can vouch that you are an excellent chef. That chef Hines should be so honored.

greymatters said...

What a FABULOUS story ...

And I'd have killed MV if she did that ... (which she would). LOL