The Biltmore’s Bella Vista

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
. biltmore.jpg 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…”
bella%20vista.jpg 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. biltmore%20lobby.jpg 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.

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