Monday, June 29, 2009

I Want To Be Mary W. When I Grow Up

I want to be Mary W. when I grow up. You want to know why? Because Mary W. (henceforth known as Mary because 1) this isn't an AA meeting and 2) I think after typing her name more than twice you get that she is the ONLY Mary I am referring to in this post and 3) y'all are smart cookies and 4) I only used the initial because I didn't want to write her real name because while I may choose to live my life very publicly I also know how to respect the privacy of others) is BAD-ASS!

Mary is in her mid-60s and yet...she txts (and yes, for the record, that is how I write that word - even when I am not txting), she is on Facebook, she is on TWITTER people. In fact, when she was trying to reach me the other day...she TWEETED me because she assumed I would have the Crackberry glued to my hands (as I am prone to do). Oh Miss Mary...

She is also the consummate hostess. As soon as we discovered our shared love of wine in general and sauvignon blancs from Marlborough in particular, she invited me over for a "tasting." When I showed up on that Sunday afternoon, there were not 1, not 2, but 3 bottles of SB (yes I am lazy but you try to keep on typing sauvignon over and over and over again - it's a giant flipping pain in the ass - and yes - notice my use of the word flipping - I am trying to clean up my language because as dad pointed out I had 13 f-bombs in my post the other day and well, I'm not so sure that's something to exactly be proud of) for us to taste. And of course we didn't just taste willy-nilly. They were laid out in proper order so we could go from lightest to heaviest. And on top of the wines she had like 2 or 3 spreads, crackers, 4 cheeses, bread, and Lord knows what else. But it was a lot. And it was GORGEOUS. And the linens were freshly pressed and the crystal was real crystal and the silver was sparkly....Oh Miss Mary...you are the best.

Mary is known for her party throwing skills. In fact, she is famous for her Kentucky Derby parties but she will consider a fete for any of the Triple Crown races. Witness this email I received when I told her I was thinking of doing something for the Belmont Stakes:

Last year I did it as a Triple Crown and had representative foods from all three races. Tenderloin marinated in bourbon (Derby) or tenderloin rolled in herbs and done cocktail size, Carnegie Deli cheesecake for dessert with strawberries and whipped cream on the side (optional), Derby Pie, made crabcakes (Preakness) with a couple different sauces right off the stovetop for everyone to come by and get hot out of the skillet, then filled in with a savory cheesecake with crackers, salads, a silver tray of fried chicken wings (Preakness), marinated shrimp (Preakness) and then folks brought salads and other things. If I'm doing only Belmont I usually feature tenderloin but not marinated in bourbon or a summer tenderloin or strip steak spiced island salad done right off the stovetop but has to be a small group.

I mean seriously - do you not LOVE this woman already?

So Mary and I are working together on a massive-grand-scale-the-likes-of-which-this-town-has-never-seen benefit for the Lincoln County Historical Association this fall and this weekend was all about "working on the benefit." It started Saturday night when Mary picked me up and we headed to Youssef 242 in Hickory for dinner. The massive-grand-scale-the-likes-of-which-this-town-has-never-seen benefit is actually a tasting event (hence the name TASTE '09) and we are looking to get various restaurants/chefs in the region to participate. Youssef 242 is one of the best restaurants in Hickory - in fact, it's one of the best in the entire area and we would LOVE LOVE LOVE for them to be there. We had sent a letter inviting them but had no response and so forcing ourselves to dine there and hopefully talk to the chef seemed like a small price to pay...

I was thinking I'd have a glass of wine, eat dinner and then ask to speak to the chef. But pretty much as soon as we were seated and had our first glass of vino in hand (and this is another reason why I love Mary - she is not afraid to ask to taste a wine before ordering and in fact she tasted 2 whites neither of which she cared for before ordering one of her faves, the Bel Glos Pinot Noir - and yes - pinot is a helluva lot easier to type than flipping sauvignon), Mary boldly told the waitress that we would like to speak to chef Andrew Roth if he was in the restaurant and available and about 45 seconds later, he was table side. Oh Miss Mary...

So we made our pitch and then promptly dove into a DELICIOUS DINNER OMG WAS IT GOOD. We split a lovely wood-grilled Caesar salad and they even plated it on 2 plates and gave us extra breadstick crouton thingies which was nice because the crouton breadstick thingies were really, really good! And then I had a ribeye (I can't tell you the last time I had steak. Really. I used to eat it once a week. Or more. But it's been AGES. OMG it was soooooo goooood!) with garlic-chive whipped potatoes and a glass of 20 Bench Cab and Mary had a seared tuna over a yummy succotash that had sweet potatoes. And then I was feeling sooooooo indulgent that I ordered Oreo cheesecake for dessert and the chef re-appeared to inquire about our swoon-worthy dinner and he insisted on adding a scoop of home-made Oreo ice cream to the cheesecake because apparently one can never have too many Oreos with dessert (who am I to argue this point?) and so yes....THIS WAS WORK! We called it dining reconnaissance. PS We invited 32 chefs to participate in the massive-grand-scale-the-likes-of-which-this-town-has-never-seen benefit and so I see a lot of dinners with Miss Mary in my future. PPS Y'all need to get your butts up to Youssef 242. That place ROCKS. And I am not just sucking up in hopes that they will participate in TASTE. I genuinely mean it. Although I am also sucking up just a tad...

And as if that was NOT ENOUGH...Sunday we tackled the wines. So far four wineries are on board to participate: my beloved Gundlach Bundschu, Childress, Estancia, and Fransiscan. We had 4 whites and 6 reds total to taste and Mary put together an insane tasting. Each wine was on its own silver dish, cork to the right. They were set up in order of lightest to heaviest. There were bland cheeses and bread to keep us mildly sober clear our palettes. There were little carafes to pour out the undrunk wines. There were FRESH FLOWERS people. Freshly pressed linens. Real crystal. TASTING NOTES FOR EACH AND EVERY WINE! I mean...for me a wine tasting means sitting around and drinking too much wine. But Miss Mary takes her business SERIOUSLY. I was floored. And of course, despite the fact that this was serious business, we totally had fun because this is Miss Mary we are talking about and as I have said...the woman is a total ROCKSTAR.

And I know I said I respected other people's privacy but to Hell with it - I am posting a picture of me and Miss Mary because, OMG - how could I not?



Doesn't she look like an awesome, devilish, little minx? 'Cuz she totally is!

And so by the way - this picture of us was taken at an archaeological dig. I know right - INSANE!

And if that ain't country, I'll kiss your...

PS This is only a FRACTION of what makes Miss Mary completely AMAZING and TALENTED. We'll have to address the rest in about...1019 additional posts.

2 comments:

Zibel said...

I'm pretty impressed by all of this. I mean, she tweets, she does things perfectly, and you had a great dinner. I can't even tweet.

AndreAnna said...

OMG, WHEN can I come hang out with you two?