Sunday, April 06, 2014
The posh martini and the olive that got away
As mentioned in my previous, more countryfied post, I've been traveling again.
Originally I was supposed to go to London on the 19th for a few days "me time" before a raft of meetings for work the 24-28th. But then Mom called, Dad had a set back, so I changed my ticket for London and went to Missouri to be with her for a few days. Dad's ok, but not really making the progress we would wish. I won't go into that, though. Anyhow, I got back from Missouri Saturday and flew to London the next day, to arrive Monday just in time for the meetings to start.
The meetings were long, and very busy, but interesting. They ended Friday afternoon, and i hared off to Winchester to spend time with my cousin, Eddie, and we did the usual shopping, bar hopping and so on, including spending time with his lovely group of friends. Winchester is a great town, I could live there.
Then back to London, for three days, for the 'me time" I had originally planned for. I splurged and booked myself into the Dukes Hotel, they had a pay 2 get 3 nights special.
I should mention, it seems a pattern with me, that i book into hotels that are known for having good bars. The Zetter has an extraordinary bar, and the Dukes is world renowned for its martinis. Ian Fleming used to drink there and they say that the martinis James Bond drinks are inspired by those at Dukes.
Don't believe me? Go here for a start.
So, last Tuesday (April 1, which suits this story), after a long and successful day of shopping in London, I toddled down to the bar at the Dukes and ordered my martini. (I had been to this bar before with my friend Karen who lived in London at the time, and she and i had a great time there.) I can't drink gin, so ordered a vodka martini, and the bartender, Alessandro, rolls his cart to your table and mixes the martini right there, with a sense of pomp and circumstance. I was surrounded by posh Englishmen with fruity accents, and American financiers who kept talking stocks and margins and venture capitalism. Basically, I was the 99% infiltrating the 1%.
All was going well, the martini was excellent (and VERY STRONG), I had my mini iPad and a newspaper and little snacky things for my entertainment, which mostly kept me looking busy enough that the lofty denizens of the bar didn't really notice me listening to them and wondering at their...confidence? Arrogance? I don't know, it was pretty dang enlightening, what they talked about.
All was going well....until I reached for an olive. The little bowl of olives came with little olive swords, you're meant, of course, to stab the olive and eat it off the stick. I spied an olive. Picked up my sword. I aimed. I stabbed. The olive flinched, jumped, and hopped out of the bowl, onto the table and made a run for freedom onto the floor rolling allllllll the way across the bar to land at Sir Poshiford of Poshchester's handmade leather shoes clad feet. As it rolled, all eyes followed it...it was a traffic stopping olive. The bar got silent.
I sat, empty sword in hand, feeling like Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman when the escargot got away and she exclaimed "Slippery little suckers". Being me, of course, I said "Bollocks! It escaped!" and chased after it. I'm sure posh English people just wait for the help to pick up their renegade cocktail snacks, but here in 'Murca, we hunt and kill our own. So I grabbed the olive from Sir P's feet and placed it in the little white 'dead olive' plate, and it can be seen in the picture above.
I'm kind of glad I'm at an age now where embarrassment doesn't affect me that much. As it was in this case, I just giggled and texted a few freinds about it, hahahah the olive escaped, omfg, I'm such a dork, That kind of thing. Then i ordered another martini.
I was a third of the way through the second martini when I realised....I was drunk. And I hadn't eaten. Those martinis are STRONG and I am a lightweight and there was NO WAY I was going to make it through that second martini without some serious tipsiness happening.
As a happy drunk, this made me giggle, so there I was in the corner of the bar, giggling and texting and honestly really quite happy with things. I realized I would have to carefully plan my exit from the bar, as I didn't want to seem as drunk as I was, so I owlishly scouted the route, pre-thought out standing, walking and exactly how many steps it was to get out of there. I really had to think it through. After the Great Olive Roll I didn't want to reveal myself as part of the 99% any more than I had to.
So, after a somewhat giggly self count to three, I grandly stood from the chair, picked up my ipad, told the bartender my room number for the bill, measuredly strolled form the bar, and (once safely out of anyone's view) careened from side to side on the stairs up to my room, where I passed out face first on the bed, at 830, drunk as a lord from 2 martinis a la 007. Hats off to James Bond. A man who can hold his liquor.
(The next night, btw, I went out with my cousin and his friend Streaky, where more martinis were consumed and I slighty redeemed myself by getting back to the hotel at a more appropriate midnight, sans staggering.)