Spending Suppertime with the Other 1.3% Half
This piece is going to expose me as the frugal, why-eat-out-when-it-costs-less-to-eat-in, bring-my-sack-lunch-to-work, cheap SOB that I am. But, I can live with the world knowing my miserly secrets, for the big bucks I’m being paid to write this piece.
Recently, my wife and I had the opportunity to eat at the posh Bella Vista at the Four Seasons Biltmore. I got to live like the other half—and when I say, “other half” I mean the 1.3%-half (who lives like this?). Before we go any further, let me make it perfectly clear that my wallet stayed securely beside my cheap behind this evening. The meal was a whatever-you-want gift that we gladly, yet cautiously, accepted.
What does a hermit wear to an eatery frequented by high-class, out-of-town, business folk, Hollywood producers, and local celebrities (none of whom we could confirm were actually on the premises)? I thought I’d try not to look like I was trying not to look like I didn’t fit in. So, I considered jeans, but remembered seeing a young woman kindly asked to leave a La Cumbre Country Club evening affair the week before (a fluke how I ended up there, too), and thought better of it.
But once inside, the atmosphere was actually far from intimidating. Everyone was courteous and seemed genuinely glad to serve us. God’s honest truth: four servers approached us within the first three minutes (that’s one every forty-five seconds): “Can I take your jacket?”, “Would you like Evian or Perrier?”, “Which type of bread can I offer you?”, “Here are tonight’s specials…” It felt as though there were four of them for every one of us. The staff were like ants at a cotton candy convention. Before I could take the glass of lemonade from my lips, here’s one of the Stepford Waiters with a fresh pitcher, “Can I fill that for you?” Why, yes you may. The service was impeccable.
My wife ordered an asparagus salad appetizer with scallops and caviar. (Yeah, I know. I felt like Jed Clampet at one of Mr. Drysdale’s dinner parties when she gave me a taste.) I wanted meat, hearty meat for my entrée. One of the six-hundred waiters recommended the most expensive cut of beef, the $43 Kobe tenderloin. It was a piece of meat the size of my fist. It was good, tender, juicy, but $43?! I don’t get it, but I’m glad I was given the opportunity to try.
For dessert, my wife and I both had the sinfully rich chocolate sampler. The dessert alone was worth the trip to the Bella Vista. But, just one cost the same amount I’d pay for dinner for my family of four at Baja Fresh. To each his own, I guess.
It was a dining experience I won’t soon forget. The decadence, the service, the opulence, and the food. I almost bought into it all until I got home. Come to find out Bella Vista’s asparagus affects urine’s aroma just like the poor man’s asparagus. Fun to pretend now and then, but I’m glad to be back with the other 98.7%-half.