The other day my wife, Hazel, and I went to the new restaurant at the Four Seasons hotel in New York, L'Atelier de Joël Robuchon. We were looking forward to a delicious meal, having enjoyed his brilliant culinary efforts in Paris years ago and at his new restaurant at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas last year.
We were taken to a long counter (called “a communal table”) facing the kitchen. I asked about a private table and was told by Ania, the sommelier, that the stools at the counter were most popular! OK, I'm a good sport, I said to myself.
We looked at a very interesting menu listing about 20 small tasting portions, followed by another dozen or so entrées. They all looked appetizing and made me even hungrier. I settled on three small appetizers--gazpacho with croutons and fresh almonds, crispy langoustine papillote with basil pesto, and Alsatian pastrami with potato salad and foie gras. Our waiter (behind the counter), Salah, recommended the Kobe beef rib eye for my main course, and I acquiesced.
The food selections offered were inventive and unending. I noted we needed to come back at least four or five times to try the wide range of dishes. The wine list was well thought-out, offering about 400 bottles from France and California.
Sitting next to me on my left was a smartly dressed, older woman, sitting alone.
Somehow she and my wife struck up a conversation and were talking back and forth across me. It was starting to annoy me, but there was something unusual about this lady. She was from La Jolla, Calif., and was in town attending a lecture at the Explorer's Club.
She told my wife she had just returned from a trip to the Peruvian Amazon rainforest with her 9-year-old grandson. They were writing a book about the trip together. The more she spoke, the more I listened. One story after another. Trips to China, Africa, Scotland. One country after another.
She has written five books, she told us. Her most recent book, which contains interviews of many leading figures, is called America's New Future. In it, she interviewed the likes of Colin Powell, Sandra Day O’Connor and Rudy Giuliani just to name a few. The meal lasted two-and-a-half hours. It seemed to flash by. By the end of the meal, I felt very lucky to have been seated next to her.
|The diner to the left: Doris McCoy|
Roger Mercier — The Woodlands, Texas — October 25, 2006 4:56pm ET
Colin Haggerty — La Jolla, California — October 25, 2006 9:04pm ET
Greg Malcolm — St. Louis, Missouri — October 25, 2006 11:05pm ET
Apj Powers — Dallas, TX — October 26, 2006 2:43am ET
Carole Wurster — New York — October 31, 2006 9:21am ET
Scott Young — Richmond, Va — October 31, 2006 4:22pm ET
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