Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Close Encounter...

I had a brush with fame the other day that I need to mention. I was attending the grand opening of the Palazzo last week - the new resort on the Las Vegas Strip - and I found myself outside the restaurant Carnevino. Actually, I was just passing by on my way up the stairs. As I walked past, a chef came out of the restaurant in a hurry. He was a roly poly little man, fairly barrel shaped, and he had on the whole chef's outfit, complete with poofy hat and a tied-off scarf. He also had a fairly striking ginger beard. He huffed and puffed, and craned his neck upward, looking out into the crowd, staring intently into the middle distance.

My only thought at the time was "What an odd-looking little man." although as I walked away it occurred to me that line chefs wouldn't be permitted to walk outside the restaurant like that and that therefore this guy must be the head honcho. But that's all I thought about it.

Until the next day, when it suddenly dawned on me: doesn't Mario Batali, the imbecile author of that idiotic Starbucks cup quote have a restaurant at Palazzo? Could that have been the restaurant? And could that have been Mario Batali? The guy who talked about what the air and soil "knows", and argued that the only way to find solace from the headaches of soul searching on how to acquire inner peace was to have a grandfather who once shook the hand of the individual that shucked his corn? The same guy?

So I google-imaged his face and lo and behold:

So it was Mario Batali! Just think, I was only feet away from the guy whose irritating prose I had to read on my coffee cup for months and months. I could have confronted him. I could have called him an idiot. I could walked up to him and said "Hey man, do you know that I pick your peas? How bout a hug?" At the very least I could have grabbed his hat and ran away. Too bad.

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