Denis’s family was in from New York and Spago Beverly Hills was the place to go for dinner last night. It’s always an experience to dine at this famous landmark but I could not eat my food. I wanted their famous pizza but it wasn’t on the menu. Our waiter recommended the short ribs so I thought I would try them. Since I make my own, lean, melt-in-your-mouth short ribs, I decided to see how mine compared. These were so laden with saturated fat, they should have come with a cardiology team standing by. It was like chewing on meat-flavored gummy bears. I casually removed the first bite from my mouth, then moved my entree around the plate so it looked like I actually ate some, hoping not to make a scene. This was upscale dining: we had a waiter, a wine guy, a bread guy, a food bringer, a plate taker, and Wolfgang Puck was walking around. So the bread guy kept coming by and must have heard me say the kitchen looked amazing (you could see it through glass windows) and he said, “You know, you can take a tour through the kitchen.” We all said we would love that and he said we could go after our dinner. When the waiter brought our check, I told him that we understand we can take a tour in the kitchen and he said, “Who told you that?”
I didn’t know what to think. Was I overstepping my bounds? I didn’t want to get bread-man in trouble but I had to say that he was the one who told us. “I’ll be right back,” he said, as we assumed he went back to fire bread-man and we’d see him leaving out the back in his street clothes, final paycheck in hand, glancing back to give me the evil eye for rolling over on him. Or… security will be escorting us out of the restaurant, being asked never to return… the Spago walk of shame. Our waiter came back a few minutes later and said someone would take us through. I didn’t want to go now. Not this way. But if we declined, wouldn’t that be worse? Mind you, the kitchen is very visible and we never saw anyone walking through except the staff. This just felt wrong. But we went, walking right past Wolfgang himself, barging into his kitchen, where no one else had gone all evening. I wanted to be invisible. I wanted to leave. I wanted to eat – I was still hungry.
There must have been fifty people in there, all dressed in white, each one tackling his or her own specialty. Then I saw a pizza oven (with pizzas cooking in it!) and I asked who they were for. Our guide said, “Oh, we always make pizzas, you just have to ask for them.” What?! I could have had pizza?! I want it now! I’m starving! But alas, it was too late. We left, went home, and I had a sandwich.