Sunday, November 18, 2012

Busy times

This week has been busy. Finished off programs at three schools, and then on Friday evening, met Clokes in at the Martini Bar in the city.

I had two. First one was Grey Goose, second Imperia (as recommended by Mr E in a previous post.) I asked for them very dry, and they were okay but could have been colder. They weren't that cold at all, but they were stirred and not shaken and the olives were enormous green ones - delish.

Then we rolled up the hill to Flowerdrum. We had never been before and it was as good as I expected. Despite Gilbert Lau selling it (I think he still acts as adviser?) it seems the place has retained its charm and quality, though I can't compare. What I liked about it: the waiting staff were excellent and the sommelier deliciously casual and cheeky; the in-between courses hot towels on little silver trays; the generous servings of each course (we had a 6-course banquet, and there were four of us: this was an end-of-of year celebration dinner for our new business so it was me and my partner and our supportive, lovely husbands); the glassware; the cutlery; the way the tables were so spaciously positioned, you felt miles away from the other tables which makes for a very luxurious, special feeling.

We had three bottles of wine including a nice Henschke, not a Hill of Grace before anyone gets excited. And the bill came to under a thousand (just). Far out. But that's what we would have spent on a Christmas Party, say, for a staff if we had a staff. Mmmm, might be a reason to keep the biz small so we can have our annual thing at Flowerdrum rather in some tacky marquee in our backyard with sausages on the BBQ and Yellowglen on ice in the wheelbarrow.

THEN yesterday I had a writing thing. The best thing about this was: meeting (and hopefully making some sort of impression) on a writer that I admire. I negged him about his e-reader (see The Game, Neil Strauss) and poo-poohed one title he suggested for his next novel. This was at drinks, afterwards (see, even that impressed me, that he would spend that time. Most writer-teachers run away afterwards). I think I scared him a little when I brought out my copy of his book and asked him to sign it (typical fangirl but why not?), and THEN again when I said that I'd blogged about him and he'd emailed me saying 'thanks for reading, glad you liked it but what do you mean a bit of a spunk?' heh heh BUT I am hopeful that overall I didn't freak him out too much. Also he agreed to assess my ms if I want him to (paid) and I think I really would like him to, so that he sees my stuff primarily and then also to get his feedback. That would be ace.

So, this weekend thus far: Mission accomplished. Now to revisions for the agent, have to get them to her in January and someone needs to have a look at it (fresh eyes) (Alex?) once I've done revisions and before I send the full thing to her again.


Anonymous said...

Wow, Melba, sounds like a pretty swishy night out. 250 bucks a head sounds mind-blowing to me, but that's just because I'm a reclusive, uncultured yobbo. The closest I ever come to experiencing places like that is working on the computers in the office and then having a feed with the chef after hours; usually while listening to a stream of ironically racist anecdotes from "The Motherland" and softly playing European industrial metal.

I noticed you only mentioned the quantity of the food and not the quality. Was it not as good as the ambiance?

And I'd be delighted to give you some feedback on your work. If it has to be submitted before January, I guess it'll have to be done pretty soon. I shall postpone Wuthering until then so I can give it my undivided attention.

Also, you gave the bloke shit for having an e-reader? Really? Did you clip him for not using a typewriter too?

Melba said...

The food was superb, I must have forgotten to mention it. And it was horrendously expensive. People probably only go to those places to talk about how much it costs. I'd say the back of house experience would be equal to front of house in terms of anecdotal value?

Yes I gave him a gentle chiding for having an e-thingy but only to show him I wasn't scared to. If he wasn't someone I wanted to make an impression on I wouldn't have said anything.

I haven't finished my revisions but when I have then I'll get it to you. What format? I can send pdf/word/rtf... you'll probably want to load it into a piece of plastic with a screen? I'll try not to take too long and I'm scared for you to read but I think you'd be a close reader and I would value your feedback enormously. Thank you!

Anonymous said...

I think you'd be a close reader

I'll certainly try my best. Either plain text or RTF (if it contains any formatting, like italics) would be best, I imagine.

I'm scared for you to read

... Are you worried I'll be too critical? Do you want me not to be?

And yes, I'll probably be reading it on a piece of plastic with a screen, awful as that may sound*.

*I know it can get lost when written down, but I am just fooling around with this.

Mr E said...

Hi Melbs.

Sorry to hear of your experiences with what should have been the top end of the Martini world was so disappointing.

The last time I was able to do an A-B comparison between Grey Goose and Imperia was at the cocktail bar at the Georgia Terrace Hotel in Atlanta with my son, J and a bunch of his friends from spy school. Unfortunately by the time we were even close to making a clear decision between the two Vodkas the bar had run out of both, so the question remained unanswered.

I find it totally appalling that a bar that calls itself the "Martini Bar" seemed unable to properly prepare a Vodka Martini.

I also find it a little disturbing that you cannot break yourself from this apparent Olive obsession. I mean, don't get me wrong, I have no real axe to grind where Olives are concerned, but am a little peeved that you didn't at least try a Martini "straight up with a twist".

You really need to get over this Olive thing and explore some new worlds.

And as for the Martini Bar Tapas Menu, I mean really guys, for fucks sake.
THIS is what a Tapas Menu should look like (my favourite place anyway).

Really glad to hear that the tyranical reign of Gilbert Lau has ended at the FlowerDrum. It's a fabulous restaurant, I used to dine there regularly with a bunch of friends and business associates up until being banned 20 years ago due to an unfortunate occurrence during dinner one night.

I've only been there once in the interim, having booked under my own name, being greeted and seated at my table only to be asked to leave 10 min later, these guys have got memories like elephants.

In any case, it sounds though you had a great night. But you should maybe think about seeing somebody professionally about this Olive thing, but as in all of these things the first step is to admit that you have a problem.

Melba said...

I think the so-called olive thing is because I like to eat things and I can't eat a piece of lemon rind. It's that simple, Mr E but next martini I have I shall indeed do the lemon twist. I promise. So straight up with a twist means: no vermouth, pour it in and add the bit o' lemon? I did a straight up last night at home, the vodka was freezing and perfect, and tumbled some stuffed olives into it. Sorry that will probably make your eyes bleed.

Being banned from the Flowerdrum - Mr E you are full of fascinating history. I think our next 'lemon meeting' should be in the evening, involve martinis and some seedy chat.


Alex, I wonder whether you are 'my reader' only in that I don't think you read my type of stuff ordinarily BUT that's okay, it would be more valuable in a way because then I'd be able to know if it appeals at all to anyone else. I want you to be critical and honest otherwise what's the point. It's just because I am in quiet awe of your intellect and I'm scared you'll think it trite and sentimental. Of course, if you find it so you must say so But anyway... I'll send it once I've finished revisions... PROMISE. Argh.

Melba said...

Actually it would be good to get your comments because some of it is set in the country and I've just made all that stuff up really, because I'm not from the country so you can pick out all the inauthentic bits...

Anonymous said...

If I remember Mr E's previous comments correctly Melbs, straight up means no ice, not no vermouth. It is the opposite, I guess, of on the rocks(?) I'm also guessing no vermouth would either translate to ultra dry or just a cold cup of vodka.

I am in quiet awe of your intellect


I think I awed some people once when I drank a cask of goon that'd been sitting in the boot of a car for weeks during summer in the top end. Of course, that might've been disgust more than awe. And I might have awed a bloke in a pub in WA when I came up swinging after he laid me out. At least he looked kind of awed. But this has got to be the first I've heard of anyone being awed by my intellect.

Having said that, I do really like the idea of my years of experience as a bush pig being put to good use.

Melba said...

Come on Alex, hard to believe. The way you write, you are articulate and knowledgeable on lots of things. Unless you hide this stuff from all those rough tough types you've been hanging with, then how can none of them ever have noticed that you are fucking bright?

Hmmmm... maybe (like me) you write better than you speak? I know I can come across better on the page than face to face, but I can't imagine you holding back on our opinions, even on politics let's say...

Some guy hit you in WA in a pub and you came up swinging? Wow, you are one tough chick.

Anonymous said...

Things were very different when I used to get on the grog.

Hmmmm... maybe (like me) you write better than you speak?

Infuriatingly so. For some reason my brain goes to mush when I start talking. I need large amounts of time to consider what people say before I can respond; I forget words and how to use them; meaning drops away as key terms are replaced with "thingo" and "whatchacallit"; and frequently, I get stuck mid thought and just have to give up. When I was younger, I'd habitually try to fill in the spaces with profanity, which obviously works out better in some situations than others; so the proliferation of email and instant messaging has certainly been a blessing for me.

Melba said...

Like me in many ways. I come across much better in type than in real life. This intermewebbystuff has been a boon for me too!

Well you do come across well, I have to say. Very shmart.

Anonymous said...

You do too. I never would have suspected you as anything other than an expert conversationalist.

Melba said...

I can hold my own and then will come unstuck or flounder for a word or gabble. I am better than I used to be, it's not a real hindrance but I am definitely more fluent on the page.