Saturday, March 23, 2013

Max Week & a 14-hour Brunch

So many things! First of all, it's important to point out that we did follow through on our agreement from Winter Formal.  Max brought in a bag full of clothes for us to wear all week, and while we passed on the khaki pants, Max Week (a full week of dressing & acting like Max) was a huge success. 

Shortly after Max week, I was invited for brunch by some great friends, Ludo & Svet.  We started at 1pm at their apartment for Champagne, olives, prosciutto, olive tapenades, and fresh twisty flutes of chorizo bread.  Around 3 or 4pm, we had a delicious, perfectly cooked roasted chicken with a special potato recipe by Ludo - thinly sliced potatoes covered in cream with prosciutto, a tomato & tabouli salad, and bien sur, a cheese course.  

Any time you are invited by a half Italian/half French person to dine, always always accept.  

I thought surely our brunch was coming to an end, but it continued into more chatting, somehow evolved to squeezing into the tiny backseat of Ludo's car around 7pm for a trip to Fouquet's on the Champs Elysee for a drink and snacks (round 3?).  We could barely fit our legs in back there, but we managed just fine.

Then suddenly 9pm dinner reservations were being made for Terroir Parisien.  A progressive brunch indeed.  

How about that mushroom ice cream.

We ran into a chef that Ludo & Nicolas knew, so he and his wife joined the table for dinner half way through.  Then of course, with new friends in tow, it was suggested that we return once again to Fouquet's, where a new set of dessert snacks were served, and where Ludo found himself a nice new hat outside.

All that to say...When you get invited to brunch by a French Italian, just be ready to leave in the morning, eat for 14 hours straight, and return when the Eiffel Tower has gone dark and most of Paris is asleep.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

First Annual Winter Formal

"You’ll have a ball in Paris. You’ll go to a party every night, drink nothing but champagne, swim in perfume and a new love affair every hour on the hour." 
-Fred Astaire

"You got that swag sauce, you drippin' swagu."
-Kanye West

No truer words spoken, Fred and Kanye. Thanks for summing up our lives.

Since the truth of the matter is that I haven't seen 80% of my coworkers in anything but a t-shirt, we decided to have a night where we would get all dressed up and go to a fancy cocktail bar.  And so a tradition was born: our First Annual Winter Formal!

Everyone was instructed to arrive strictly on time at our apartment and were allowed entrance only after saying the password.  ("Let them eat cake")

There were hats and suits, dresses and heels, ties and tuxes, even two top hats.

Then it was time for the revelation of Winter Formal dates.  All the ladies picked their corsage from the platter, which was a specific combination of flowers and ribbon colors.  Matching boutonnieres were waiting to be drawn in the most dramatic rose ceremony ever!

 The bowl of boutonnieres was passed around, and with each one drawn, a lucky lady had her Winter Formal date. You were to take official photos with your Winter Formal date and be escorted by your date when ordering a cocktail. Huge thanks to our resident photographer, Mr. Rick Alarcon, for our stunning Formal date photos.

We originally had an even number of guys and girls, but due to some last minute cancellations, two lucky ladies would have TWO dates.  Congratulations were in order to Sadie and Ellen for securing double date status.

Up next - the vote for Winter Formal King & Queen. Votes were cast for "most formal" and counted 5-6 times just to be sure.  Jillian announced our Winter Formal King, Mr. Gil Soltz!! And for Winter Formal Queen, a shocking shake-up, as Jillian announced: "For the first time in Fat Tire Winter Formal history...we have...a tie!!!"

Drum roll please....

Can you believe it?? Co-Queen of the Winter Formal!! It is an honor indeed.

The royal family, in all our royalty.

Official press photo

Please meet Cedric and St├ęphane, our luxurious furs. Jillian was kind enough to lend Cedric to me for the evening, as there is no better time to adorn yourself in jewels and fur than Winter Formal.

This is my Winter Formal Boo, Jonny. He was a perfect gentleman, escorting me through the treacherous hallways and stairs of the metro.

We made a reservation at an underground Speakeasy style cocktail bar called The Ballroom.  It just has an unmarked black door and a bouncer who judges you harshly, even if you have a reservation.  He eyes everyone suspiciously, then makes you wait while he goes inside to see if he could possibly let your lot inside.
After a little wait, he returns and agrees to lead you down a dark rickety staircase, through a specified hallway and into the area which he chooses. The interior is really nice with great music, and the bartenders all wear Prohibition-era clothing - long sleeved button-down shirts with vests, bow ties, hats.  All in all, it made the perfect location for our Winter Formal.

That's our king, keepin' it real.

I had a "Midnight in Paris" moment of sorts when I was looking at our group of 20 in their finest attire, chatting around candlelight on our corner section of couch.  Either I had gone back in time or we were some kind of fancy grown-ups.

There were three favorite moments of the evening:

1. When the surly bouncer from upstairs suddenly started dancing and handing out candy
2. When "All That Jazz" came on, and everyone instantly stopped what they were doing to perform their own rendition of the Chicago hit, as if it was the only natural thing to do.  
3. One of our guides, Max, agreed to eat two raw eggs if we agreed to have "Max Week" where we would dress and act like him for a full week.  (Max Week is currently in full effect.)

Favorite photos:

Overall, it was a huge success and widely agreed upon to have been one of the most fun evenings we've ever had as a group, to go down in the books. We greatly look forward to next year's Winter Formal. There are even talks of a Spring Formal, in case we can't wait.