Wednesday, June 29, 2011

The night Bravo told me to stop tweeting

The back story....

I love Top Chef. I have seen every episode of every season, I have attended multiple live events and when I travel I eat at the restaurants of both the judges and contestants.
Last night I made plans to attend one of my favorite types of local events - a Beer Pairing Dinner at Luke. I am a foodie and I Facebook and tweet most everything I eat, so my phone was out and in full posting mode. These beer dinners are fantastic and this one in particular was made even better by the pairing of one of my favorite local brews Real Ale to the menu. To top it off I had the pleasure of befriending the Brew Master responsible for some of my favorite casked beers at the event - I was in heaven. Check out my Facebook page for a full rundown of the menu and paired beers - This was an amazing meal!

How it went down...

After dinner there was a recommendation from the Chef to check out a local bar for cocktails. He told me they had a Moscow Mule and that the bartender made his own Ginger Beer. I was sold on the idea immediately. My friends and I headed over and ordered tasty beverages.

This bar really was quite spectacular. The Esquire Tavern is the oldest bar on the River Walk and serves up some amazing tasty creations. It's a weeknight and was mostly dead when we arrived, but not for long. I turned my head and caught a glimpse of a beautiful bald man. I had to do a double take because one of my Friends bears a striking resemblance to this sex god of the foodie world ;) And sure enough it was the one and only Tom Colicchio of Craft Restaurants and Top Chef fame. I've adored him on TV and dined at his restaurants many times. He is simply stunning both in talent and looks. The buzzing of the crowd grew louder as other faces turned and were recognized.

Emeril Lagasse - who while amazingly famous and known to millions also happens to be the one responsible for my favorite stuffed chicken wing at his restaurant NOLA in my beloved New Orleans. I eat there every trip I make to that wonderful city.

Tre Wilcox who I had met at the Central Market Cooking School years ago when he taught a class and made one of the most tasty sea bass dishes I have had in my entire life - I said hi to him and he was super sweet and just as friendly as ever! Such a great guy and talented chef!

Gail Simmons - another member of Top Chef royalty - I'll get more to her later

Padma Lakshmi the amazingly beautiful and alluring goddess herself. She is even more amazing in person and it was all I could do to not go total fan girl and make an absolute fool of myself.

So I think my fellow foodies can understand how the atmosphere might change a bit having these people in the room. There were a handful of kitchen staff there from Luke. Our own local celebrity Steven McHugh was also in attendance after having made such a spectacular meal for us just hours before. I get foodie fan girl just being around him on a normal basis, so this night I was on overload.

I was lucky to have my dinner date with me for the night who kept me reigned in. I was flipping back and forth between my options: play it cool and enjoy your drinks with these amazing people, or go fan girl and start asking for pics and autographs. I opted for the play it cool and just enjoy the night. My phone was still out and I'm an avid tweeter so how could I not type in my few 140 characters or less possibly one of the greatest highlights of my foodie year?
Here's where things turn sour - On twitter I am a nobody or at least in the grand scheme of things I am a nobody. I have a tiny group of 500 followers or so. Some foodie friends, but mostly computer geeks like me from the other part of my world. Of those 500 followers none are paparazzi. Here are my tweets verbatim in the order posted:

I saw nothing wrong with any of these tweets - perhaps outside of my use of expletives, but really now - I was excited and dropping the f-bomb is not a punishable offense as far as I know unless you are 5 years old, and even then the punishments are light.
I was just hanging out with my friends, enjoying the evening and behaving myself. I wasn't snapping pictures, I wasn't asking for autographs, I was just doing the same thing they were - relaxing at a very cool bar, sipping at finely crafted beverages, chatting with the super talented bartender and having a good time with amazing people.

symigoddessAbout 50 minutes after that last tweet about my love for Padma a tall blond guy with walks over and places his Blackberry in my face with a picture of my twitter avatar on it and asks "Is this you"?

I politely yet quizzically respond "Yes" and the guy says to me in a very rude bad impersonation of my mother yelling at me tone "you need to stop tweeting... Now!"

I was in shock! I quickly turned on my phone and pulled up my twitter app to look for something awful - for a second I thought maybe my account had been hacked and someone was saying horrible bad things about these amazing people I adore - but no, just the few tweets above.

I have no idea who this guy is and I watch him walk back over to Gail Simmons and chat like this was normal acceptable behavior. My friends and I are all standing around in amazement and then my equally cute Tom Colicchio looking friend pulls out his phone and with amazing speed and dexterity displays a picture of Mike Score from Flock of Seagulls.

The resemblance to the rude Blackberry guy was incredible. And he went about responding to the jerk and defending my honor as an innocent tweeter. From here on out I will refer to him as Flock of Seagulls because he never did tell me his name. All I got later was that he worked for Bravo and was on the "job" that evening.

My Friend waves at the guy to come back over and when Flock of Seagulls arrives he pulls up the picture and asks "Is this you?"

Flock of Seagulls replies "Um, no"

Friend replies back with a "Oh, well you can go fuck yourself anyways" and a beautiful display of the middle finger to his face.

The flipping of the bird to Flock of Seagulls offender pretty much made my night :) As crude as it seems, there's something beautiful about that gesture when given with that kind of passion.

Flock of Seagulls turns to the bartender and attempts to get us kicked out of the bar.

Friend then says "Don't be a pussy."

Flock of Seagulls then backs into the slowly escalating crowd and people start sticking their nose in and asking me "OMG what just happened", "What did you do?" I'm just standing there in amazement.

My dinner date for the evening, in his very calm and graceful demeanor starts asking Flock of Seagulls what the problem is and is trying to diffuse the situation. Flock of Seagulls has backup posse forming and they start saying that saying that someone had dropped the truly offensive f-bomb and called him a "faggot". He's pointing his anger at my Friend. This is where things got ridiculous. None of my friends nor I would ever use that word. Hell, had I seen anyone use that term towards anyone Flock of Seagulls included, I would have kicked their ass out myself. I have no tolerance for that kind of hatred.

Next thing I know I am pressed with my back against the bar standing with Colicchio and my Friend inches from me as they exchange peace agreement terms. My dinner date is trying to help me figure out what's happening. Colicchio wants my Friend to apologize for calling Flock of Seagulls a pussy. My Friend counters with a request for Flock of Seagulls to apologize for being rude to me. Flock of Seagulls wants to do no such thing and starts spouting off that he was just doing his job.

Gail Simmons is now standing across from me joined in the fuss so I politely say "I have no idea what I did to offend you guys but I apologize for being a fan and complimenting you on twitter"

Gail says back to me "You tweeted this location and have compromised our ... " I'm not sure what it was she said through all the shouting but I'm pretty sure my simple tweets didn't compromise a thing or what she was so upset about. I didn't see anyone show up after my tweets and it has been over an hour by this point. I mean if a flood of fans spilled in and crashed their party I could see how she might be upset, but that didn't happen at all. I'm sorry Gail - I don't understand what made you so upset. I was tweeting my love and adoration!

Then next thing I know Flock of Seagulls is making an apology to me, Gail Simmons is shaking her head and Tom is telling me "It's fine... It's fine..." and people are all calming down. My Friend apologizes to Flock of Seagulls for calling him a pussy. Everyone seems okay again. I'm still in shock. Flock of Seagulls is taken out of the bar.

I walk over to Flock of Seagulls' backup posse and have a nice conversation about Top Chef being in San Antonio for some undisclosed reason and they can't tell me and they are so sorry that their friend was so rude to me. One of them jokes that he was just jealous of my back tattoo. Then he shows me his awesome goat tattoo and we are back to laughing and enjoying ourselves. It was a really awesome goat arm piece and they were really sweet to make amends for the guy being out of line and trying to censor my tweets. We discuss the "freedom to tweet" and they point out that the chefs themselves are twitter users, but that Flock of Seagulls might not be and maybe he doesn't understand how it works?

We stay there for another hour or so, Emeril and Padma have stumbled out at this point, Gail makes her way out - still with the head shaking thing - I can't help but think she's upset with me for only tweeting her name and some exclamation marks and not saying how in love with her I am. Which I am sad for because I really do respect her work and she's an amazing woman. I do hope that if fate ever places in me in such close proximity to her fantastic-ness that she realizes that I am not out to compromise her anything :) I'm just a foodie fan. No press showed up, there was no picture taking by anyone that night - I still am not sure what the concern was over my few simple innocent tweets.

I walk down through the rest of the bar patrons both our group and the Top Chef group and everyone is still trying to make sense of what just went down. They are sweet enough to buy me a drink and make lots of apologies for this guy starting such a fuss and I'm back to being my somewhat normal self. Tom is smiling again and we all cheers over fantastic cocktails.

My notes from this experience:

1) if I ever need to broker a peace agreement or calm my normally crazy self my dinner date is the perfect guy for the job. He stayed calm through the entire ordeal and kept me from going fan girl crazy.

2) if I ever need my honor defended my Friend is an amazing guy and totally has my back. He's also totally trained to kick ass and he's crazy fun to hang out with. I'm pretty sure if it had turned ugly he would have won that versus challenge I posed earlier today. I also am now in love with his middle finger and rapid photo finding abilities.

3) my new friend who also makes amazing beer magic and might be a bigger guitar geek than me is great at photo bombing and we totally need a re-do attempt! I'm still wondering if it was my quirky karma or his amazing hair that caused the events that set in motion last night.

4) I love being surrounded by amazing chivalrous beautiful men :) I am a very lucky girl.

5) if you compliment someone on twitter, and there are other people nearby, the compliments should be equal or someone might get offended.

6) If you are insulted by professionals, their companies will make it right and send you formal apologies and gifts in the form of autographed cookbooks :)

7) I still love Top Chef and am super excited to see what brought them to San Antonio. I was honored to be in their presence last night and enjoy their company.

8) if there are celebrities around, be careful what you tweet because you might compromise their? oh wait... I never did learn what that was :P Sorry Gail!