Friday, May 27, 2005

Boogie Woogie Woogie

Tonight I spent with Kerry, Chris Monaco and Chris’s girlfriend Kristen. Before I retell the night’s events, some back story. I worked with Kerry at Per Se and remains the only person that I talk to from my stint there. She's a vibrant and passionate young woman who loves food. She's known that she wanted to be in the restaurant industry since she was in junior high. She went to Cornell for restaurant management. Her eye for detail is sick. I have no doubt she'll be a huge success. We’re very close. Chris and I met last year when we worked at a rather ill-conceived restaurant near the World Trade Center. He’s the only person I’ve maintained a strong relationship with from that establishment. We both quit that job and he went to work at Café Gray while I went to my restaurant. He's one of the hardest working people I've ever met. On top of the full-time schedule at Per Se, he is a student at French Culinary Institute (one of the top three students in his class...not top three percent...top three). He's destined for greatness. The kind that you read about and are inspired by. Anyway, after a while he learned everything he could from Cafe Gray. His restlessness prompted him to call me. He wanted to work at Per Se. So I talked to Kerry and told her about Chris and she agreed to letting him use her name to get an interview. He got the job of course. So now they work together and it’s all because I made it happen. (One day soon, I'll be a well-paid film director and I'll be able to finance a restaurant that Kerry and Chris would run. That would make me very happy.)

Time for a little tangent. I had a bigger plan than I let on when I got Chris his job at Per Se. Kerry, whom I love, had bounced from bad relationship to awful relationship the entire time I had known her and I for one was tired of seeing her get hurt. I thought Chris, who is a good guy and obviously interested in the same things that Kerry is interested in, would make a fantastic partner for her. They make sense together. Keep in mind, I was fully aware that Chris has a girlfriend, but that was incidental. I knew Chris and Kerry would hit it off. My plan was in motion. (Oh and I made Kerry totally aware of my ulterior motives. She never thought I was that serious.)

So now back to tonight. Kerry, Chris and I meet up at my restaurant and we go to The Spotted Pig. We’re waiting for Kristen to get off of work and we enjoy a couple rounds of drinks in the meantime. Right away I can see the chemistry between the two of them. It’s electric. Boogie woogie woogie. My instincts were correct. I sit as quietly as possible and drink my Red Stripe, only speaking to help keep things rolling conversationally between them. Eventually Kristen shows up. She’s a beautiful young woman, but is all wrong for Chris. As soon as she walks in, I turn to Kerry and whisper in her ear, “You are so much hotter than her.” She gives me a big kiss on the cheek and smiles. She likes Chris but won’t make a move until Kristen and him break up. Luckily the night before, Chris had mentioned that he and Kristen are on the verge of doing just that. So it’s all a matter of time. Excellent. After some heeing and hawing we eventually end up at Mary’s Fish Camp for dinner. Because of the lateness of the hour and the size of our party we end up at the counter, which is fine by me because I put Chris and Kerry in the middle of the four of us. They control the conversation and I just try to distract Kristen while they bond. The food at Mary’s Fish Camp is wonderful and messy--lobster knuckles, cockles, oysters. My parents would love this place. I can see Jenni and I spending many lazy afternoons there. Anyway, I order a second bottle of wine and we are off to the races. Kerry is hanging onto me for dear life. She’s three sheets to the wind. Chris is in heaven. He loves seafood. Between the soft shell crab, skate and grouper he can’t get enough. I am laughing very loudly. The two of them together are hysterical. Kristen looks lost. We're all drunk.

So my night was full of mirth and good humor. That’s all that one can ask for, right?

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