It was Gram’s voice urging me to get out of my apartment even though I was dead tired. All I wanted was to kick back with a slice of greasy pizza, when Melanie gave me a call.
“Come join us at Bristol,” she had said and then had added mischievously, “I’ll make it worth your while.”
I was intrigued and not just because Bristol had a reputation for celebrity sightings, because let’s face it, even though I may have been craving pizza, The Bristol (located in the Four Seasons Hotel) is still some of the best food in town.
I was game, but I had to find something to wear. The ambiance at The Bristol is a balance of casual and sophisticated and so I flipped through my closet and pulled out a sleek three quarter length satin skirt in black with an asymmetrical thigh high slit and paired it with a black sleeveless crop top, and I was off. When I arrived at Bristol Mel had already ordered a mélange of items from the raw bar: jumbo shrimp in jalapeño cocktail sauce, a selection of east coast oysters. with cilantro vinaigrette, and half a dozen grilled and chilled littleneck clams with smoked jalapeño and corn salsa.
This alone may have made it worth my while. I flashed my most charming smile at Melanie and her boyfriend Nikhail, when I noticed a third guest. He looked vaguely familiar, stout with wavy white hair and jovial eyes. I felt like I should know him. Mel introduced us.
“Tasha this is Oliver Middleton,” she said excitedly. When I gave her a quizzical look she added, “his pen name is Arthur Muddle,” and I nearly peed in my pants. My brother Rumi and I had both loved his children’s books. We had devoured every book. I am not an affectionate person but I had no choice but to reach out and give him a big bear hug. There were times in our childhood when these books were the only things that could appease a feuding brother and sister. I told him this, while gobbling the Atlantic Salmon with white wine butter sauce and butter sauce and a side of truffle-parmesan fries. The twinkle in his eyes told me he heard this story countless times. As everyone else savored their dinner I spent the rest of mine chewing his ear off.
What I didn’t know about him could fill a black hole – including the fact that he knew Grams – she had never told me. I could picture my grandmother looking down from heaven snickering. An evening as scrumptious as this had to end with dessert.
The Boston cream pie (with blackberry ice cream, crème Anglaise) looked too good to pass-up and I’d ordered a slice to go, to share with Domnick, knowing that he wouldn’t be over until late. I would have to fight my nature, steel my resolve and only nibble on half, but later that night as I peeked at my dessert and licked crème Anglaise off my finger I realized, who am I kidding; I’d eat the whole thing.
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