Just An Online Minute... Saveur Wants To Plump! You Up!
Saveur 100 Launch Party, Saveur Test Kitchen, New York
January 8, 2009
Tuesday morning I hopped out of bed, tripped over my yet-to-be-unpacked suitcase from the holidays, blearily set up my old and ugly coffee machine, and started the shower water (which, of course, didn't come out right away -- love that Manhattan apartment water pressure). I opened my mouth to wish my guy a good day -- and croaked. My throat unleashed a handful of esophageal porcupines wielding circular saws covered in diamond blades. Awesome. I made it through the NY Tech Meetup without an embarrassing phlegm incident, but I stayed in Wednesday night because nothing, NOTHING was going to keep me from the Saveur 100 launch party. In fact, I heard it's quite healing to quaff red vino when your throat is ailing.
Before Saveur, I've only dabbled in foodie parties. The Bon Appétit pre-party for the James Beard awards was the seal popper for me, where I met Jayanthi Daniel, formerly food writer for the (now defunct) New York Sun, and the La Cucina Italiana party was just incredible, nestled in the gloriously silvery glow of the SubZero test kitchen. Saveur hosted its party in its own test kitchen, which is literally bordered by the Saveur cubicles. I was torn between envy at working in an environment where the scent of simmering treats waft under your nose while you pour over spreadsheets and Solitaire -- and the relief that I don't have yet another opportunity to get chunky.
I couldn't believe I wasn't hungry. I blame DayQuil, it robs my appetite. It didn't stop me from scooping up the pale peach champagne green tea punch offered up just around the corner from the coat check. Its chilly fingers tickled my angry throat as my guest Rebecca Reyes, Intranet editor, IBM global technology services, and I weaved our way through the cube farm to the smells of hot cheese and Le Creuset cookware. I peered into the kitchen and immediately spotted a deep red pot bubbling jauntily. Flanking the kitchen was the lounge area, where stood slender gals in elegantly tweaked hipster wear, Dapper Dans in banana sweaters and tweed jackets, and middle aged foodies in skinny jeans and riding boots mixed in with the waitstaff (Saveur interns maybe?) and peripheral watchers.
The call of free nibbles and sips beckoned and Rebecca, a fashion writer recently a victim of the fickle economy ax, but don't worry about her, she's scooping up lots of freelance work, and her +1 Mae, an opera singer, answered. While yakking about Harlem, church bells, white pumps with black stockings (I say thumbs up!), and Fairway (my fantasy meat closet) we were approached by Dori Fern, Senior Interactive Editor at Meredith Integrated Marketing. Dori rocks for a number of reasons. One, she was getting compliments on her $.25 gumball machine ring; Two, she wants to jump into photography to bolster her food writing; and three, she's incredibly down to earth and had a bucket of things to say about the lovely economy and traditional media. She shares the view that while today sucks, tomorrow could give birth to caution-to-the-wind risk-taking - yielding innovative new twists.
Speaking of new careers, I met Tony Garcia, Director of Marketing and Licensing and Margaret Warren, Sales & Marketing Coordinator, both of Le Cordon Bleu. We shared the Detroit AND Ohio connection, a connection that reveals itself at every single party which shouldn't surprise me anymore; this town is a roiling pool of nomads. I also tried to convince them that they need to give me a free week at their Paris school. Probably talking gastronomy with Tony and Margaret was the beret-topped Seánan Forbes, writer. Seánan's business cards look good enough to eat with their photos of little chocolate kisses, coffee, and red peppers. While hunting for the restrooms I reunited with Jayanthi, who I mentioned earlier. It was almost a year ago that we first ran into each other. Time flies when you're eating lasagna.
I finally listened to my wounded vocal chords and started to wrap up the night, observing the carnage that used to be the food buffet of cubed and wheeled cheeses, olives, and veggie lasagna (which tasted like meat!). Making a final round (aka grabbing that last plastic cup of white vino) I ran into Rick Smilow, President and CEO of The Institute of Culinary Education. He was holding court with a longtime producer of cheffy food shows ranging from the iconic Julia Child to the lovely Lidia Matticchio Bastianich (Lidia's Italy!). I asked Rick if he wanted to throw down with the reps from Le Cordon Bleu, jokingly. It wasn't well received. Dorky "breakdance fight!" comments are hit or miss, people. Learn from me.
I would be an idiot not to point out what a jalapeno popper of energy James Oseland, Saveur Editor In Chief, is. He popped up onto a chair to announce the winner of the "name item #101" contest (which was parchment paper)(home cooks in the know... know) of the Saveur 100 as well as the raffle winner, Darius Wadia, who won a much coveted full Le Creuset cookware set. My +1 tried to convince him to let us "help" him carry it home. AKA five-finger discount.
Judging by the bullfrogs slowly subsiding in my throat, next week is going to be 80 million times better than this week, healthwise. You'll get the inside scoop from the Gotham Media digital breakfast (oh yes, I'm going to get up early) and the Mashable New Year Networking (could be a bloodbath). Until then, please send tissues.
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