[July, 1991] Royalty = Me
Saturday, July 20, 1991
Les Mis was fabulouse. I took out the (very thick, 1,232 page) book out of the library and I will read it when I find time.
Yesterday I had the wonderfull experience of being royalty. What I mean is my father’s friend Abe took us out to “tavern on the green” which is a very expensive, ritzy restaurant in Manhattan (central park). Outside there is this tree wrapped in lights. The trunk and roots of the tree (the base, or whatever) is in a glass-enclosed thing in a mirrored hall that leads to different rooms to dine in.
Everything there is done with class, good taste, and style. The food is exquisite (though the portions aren’t) and it’s the best meal I ever ate, and the best restaurant I have ever been in.
Thing that isn’t surprising at all #1: I never “found time” to read more than about 100 pages of Victor Hugo’s novel. The bleakness of the story, the abject poverty, war, and heartbreak, all of these things were somehow more palatable when interspersed with catchy tunes. Reading about a man going to prison for stealing a loaf of bread just wasn’t as enjoyable when it wasn’t set to music.
Thing that isn’t surprising at all #1: I did not end up at Gourmet, or any other publication, as a professional restaurant critic.
Between attending Hunter on Manhattan’s wealthy Upper East Side, seeing the more relaxed but also moneyed Upper West Side during a trip to the Museum of Natural History, and this sort of restaurant outing, I was getting a glimpse of the good life (or at the very least, the rich life). Up until that point, my notion of a nice restaurant was Beefsteak Charlie’s or our local Chinese restaurant, which had red leather booths, rice paper lanterns and served cocktails in ceramic coconuts. For me, the Tavern on the Green level of opulence never existed, though I made sure I took well advantage of that fine meal and ordered the lobster.
It didn’t help matters when my mother told me that she actually has royal blood in her lineage and that I’m descended from a countess. Somewhere along the way, our Russian ancestors lost their wealth and had their land confiscated, and generations later we ended up in New York City as struggling immigrants. Still, it was great to experience such awe and get a taste of luxury, even for a single evening.