Saturday, Marv and I took his sister Sandy to dinner at the Waldorf-Astoria in Beverly Hills to celebrate her birthday. The hotel’s finest restaurant, named after the award-winning chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten, is one of her favorites. And ours. Yes, we have been here before. It is the Jean-Georges. French food that is unforgettable, an occasion itself. This time we ordered the veal chops: $51 a la carte – ecstatically recommended by Sandy from her most recent past visit.
Now for my personal gripe. We drove from Orange County to Beverly Hills: a one-hour drive. We were dressed up to celebrate a special occasion in a world-class hotel restaurant. Everyone else in the restaurant was dressed in clothes for cleaning out the garage. It is unbelievable that people come to an elegant hotel, plunk down $300 for a world-class dinner, and do not honor the hotel, the food, service, or occasion.
When do people dress up these days? For a wedding? funeral? Maybe. But how often do those come around? Ah, I have it! For Christmas Mass, or for the Jewish High Holy Days.
Marv’s sister frequents the Jean-Georges often enough – yes, she’s rich now – to have won over her favorite staff people to attend her table, provide personal attention throughout the meal, and add special drinks and taste treats. They escort her in and out of the hotel, and fetch her car. She is inclined to table hop when she sees another person such as herself in the film world. All this having been said, the three of us were dressed up, retaining the standard of the venerable hotel’s New York reputation. Order the incredible mushrooms along with the veal chops.
We’re coming again at the end of October for my birthday. Sandy has already ordered our table. I have already chosen my outfit. Yes, we will be dressed up.
Most of the women dining in the restaurant were in their 20’s and 30’s. They were not wearing the artistic concoctions in the high-end fashion magazines. Few have the originality and daring. They follow the garage-wear trend. I wondered where their parents’ generation was dining. I like to see my husband dressed up in a tie, jacket, and fancy shoes. I feel romantic about him. I dress up with a feeling of expectancy and feel beautiful.
And what about the young men in the restaurant? They may be gazing at the pictures in GQ, but the only aspect in common with GQ is the trendy “cool” three-day growth of beard. (Cary Grant said without a shave he felt like a hairy ape.) Admit it, we women endure whiskers!
Then I thought about the professionals who dress in suits all week long. They want to relax on the weekend in their casual sloppy garage-wear. Okay, but at home.
After that, I thought about the visitors staying at the hotel who were shopping all day in the fine Beverly Hills shops. They worked hard. Well, some had the good sense to dine on the two hotel patios.
Nightfall came with a darkening of the interior and the soft intimacy of candlelight. It beckoned interesting conversation, the telling of good stories, the waving of hands wearing exquisite jewelry, and GQ/Vogue attire.
At the Jean-Georges, I replicated the cover of my novel CONCERNING GEORGIA STEKKER. I wore a black suit and crushed diamond pin.