The B.S. Report

I’m too giddy with anticipation of Rickey Henderson’s Hall of Fame induction speech to do any real blogging this weekend, dear readers! I know it’s too much to hope that he’ll deliver his speech in the third person, but chances are it’ll be a memorable speech (not as awesome as Ozzie Smith’s, but hey).

To tide you over, I offer up a post from fellow St. John’s alum Bourgeois Surrender. A few weeks ago in Unrequired Reading, I linked to Fired from the Canon, about “canonical” books that don’t deserve that status. I was too busy to write about the list and the comments, but it turns out that B.S. ruminated on the topic for a bit and offered up his takes on the books mentioned there. I liked his exploration of Absalom, Absalom!, a book I really need to read again. (He closes with some thoughts on National Geographic and Children of Paradise, but those are entertaining too.)

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In honor of this evening’s fine dining experience — I’m taking Amy to Chef’s Table, a wonderful French restaurant here in NJ — I’ll also link to Bourgeois Surrender’s take on fine dining.

I think he may be conflating Really Amazing Restaurants with Very Formal Restaurants, but I can understand where he’s coming from. Thanks to years of business travel, I’ve learned to appreciate Really Amazing Restaurants, even when they’re a little pricey.

Two years ago, I met up with my pal Elayne at Otto, the Mario Batali pizza restaurant near Washington Square. During our meander after (she was chaperoning two teenagers who were in town to see a Korn concert at South Street Seaport), she mentioned another Batali restaurant, Babbo. She mentioned that Babbo was so expensive, she felt it wouldn’t be right to eat there. She’s progressive, politically speaking.

As is my wont, all I could do is quote from Miller’s Crossing: “You’re missing out on a complete life.”

(While our recent meal at Batali’s Del Posto with some food-blogger friends of Amy’s was nothing to write home about, it was the single best service-experience I’ve ever had in a restaurant. The wait-staff was mind-bendingly good.)

When my brother and his family were visiting last month, he told me that a friend of his from college had recently gotten hitched. The bachelor party took place in Las Vegas and the bill for one dinner of 20 patrons came out to $6,000. I said, “Yeah? That’s $300 each. If you’re buying wine or booze, you can hit that number in no time.”

I think he was a little shocked at my blitheness. It’s not that I go out and spend that sort of cash on meals, but I’ve been out with clients to good restaurants and peeked at the check before my boss picks it up.

That said, my brother’s circumstances and fine dining opportunities are different than mine. He has two children and doesn’t drink. Our lives sure have diverged over the years.

All of which is my roundabout way of saying, people shouldn’t splurge on fancy meals when they can’t pay their bills, but sometimes an expensive meal is worth it. (And I can understand how working people with children would be averse to this sorta thing.)

Now go read some Bourgeois Surrender!