The Paupered Chef: How does a guy get a drink around here?
With the awards still in full swing, and most of the chefs watching inside, the hallways are pretty bare. Though nearly an hour and a half before service officially begins, we decided to see if we could, well, get a drink.
Our first stop if the Midnight Sky Lounge, sponsored by Delta, which is apparently supposed to remind you of the comforts of air travel. So this is what first class feels like. Blake took a seat and waited for some service, but none arrived. At the bar we joked about a sample cocktail, but were only reminded of the drinks that we could have eventually after the ceremony. We moved on.
Most of the cocktails are conveniently located out on the hot, muggy balcony, where most everyone is still sweating. The glasses are empty, and everyone’s standing around. But no one wants to pour us anything.
The Wild Turkey table had some guy who had never been to Kentucky, and showed us their fruity honey liquor instead of the real aged stuff. He wouldn’t open a bottle. Over at the Don Julio Table, Mike, cocktail manager at Back Forty, clad in a sweaty t-shirt and long wet hair, was getting all of the Red and Black cocktails ready, which have strawberry and black pepper. He commented that he was basically done, and that he should have arrived later and not had to brave such heat. No luck, though: he promised us a great drink when the time came.
Finally, we passed the Puerto Rican table where they were serving all things rum. Before we ever introduced ourselves, they asked US if we wanted a drink. Spoiled for choice, Blake had a Naked Q straight up and Nick had a Lavender Rum Tonic. “We’re from the Island,” they explained, when we let on that they were the only ones pouring anything.
Refreshed and ready to go, we’ll probably have enough courage now to actually talk to some great chefs.