Last summer, exactly on the first day I began my highly anticipated two-week summer vacation in Woodstock, I received a call from one of our biggest and brightest celebrity clients that needed a last minute party in the Hamptons. (Think BIG ;)
This is a moment that NO is just not an option.
When “this client” calls, you quickly turn off that Joni Mitchell record, remove the sheet that you have fashioned into your casual evening wear, jump in the shower (yes the one you weren’t planning on using for two weeks), and get right back in that car and point her Southeast…because that is where you are headed.
6 hours later, I pulled into “this client’s” driveway (story would be SO much cooler if I could actually tell you who it was…again…just think BIG) where the Captain of the party was waiting for me with a briefing.
“Mary, I think it may be Madonna’s birthday party, not sure, but they are making quite a fuss.”
“Did you shower?” he asked, as he looked me up and down.
“Yes, I showered.”
While we walked up the long beautiful driveway together, I began to think about all the amazing clients we have been blessed to work with, and ok, for a hot second allowed myself to fantasize what it would be like to just be a guest at one of these amazing parties rather than the girl serving the crab cakes, but I could not ponder for long cause it was time to get to work.
So, the dinner begins and, the waiters are coming in and out of the kitchen giving me updates (NONE food related of course), listing off all the A-List celebs that were partying in the room just outside the kitchen. None really piqued my interest until the below was uttered.
"Mary!" Waiter A began, "Alec Baldwin is here.”
EXCUSE ME! Alec??? MY Alec??
I LOVE Alec Baldwin. I love Alec Baldwin so much that if I were HE, I would NOT allow ME, near him.
But, I bet you think I am talking about the cute, young Married To The Mob, Knots Landing or Working Girl Alec Baldwin
No, no, my dear friends. I love the big, messy, overweight, perfectly blown out Alec Baldwin. My porn is a paparazzi shot of him with Jack Nicholson on a yacht in St. Barth’s…..shirtless! Think pre-Hilaria Baldwin.
I LOVE ALEC and HE was finally within meeting distance.
just a quick glimpse
OK, so start your small violin for me because this is Part One of why being Caterer to the Stars sometime STINKS!
You know how couples have passes in their relationships that they create, like “Honey, if you ever met Angelia Jolie you could totally have sex with her as long as I could have sex with Brad Pitt?”
Couples say this knowing that they have a one in a million chance of this ever happening. Safe bet right?
Well here is the pain of my life: Ryan and I do from time to time meet “our free passes,” and now mine was less than 10 feet away. TORTURE!
“I NEED to see him up close, but I can’t just walk through the party,” I crazily whisper to my Captain.
So, what do I do? I excuse myself from the kitchen and begin a ninja-like obstacle course through the backyard of “this clients” house to sneak a peek of my Alec. Fabulous landscaping by the way.
Once there, I stood outside the window, and there he was….my perfectly imperfect Alec enjoying one of my mini tuna tacos…take your head out of the gutter.
I felt like Stella Dallas standing outside the window of her daughter’s wedding. And then the harsh reality of two things began to set in.
One: there was a considerably large piece of glass and house in the way of me ever even meeting “My Alec.”
Two: Even if the universe wanted our stars to collide and I was in the exact place “The Secret” wanted me to be, I was, in fact, a very happily married woman of ten years.
I took one final glimpse, sighed, maybe even spoke a small “we could have been something Baldwin,” and began a deflated walk back to the kitchen.
“What do you think?” my Chef asked as he shoved a plate of filet in my face for the first course approval.
“It’s fine, but NOT fair” I dramatically pouted as he looked at me totally confused as to what fine or fair had to do with a piece of filet.
And THEN the kitchen door swung open, and there he was: huge, beautiful, gorgeous, MY ALEC in the kitchen. I looked up and we made direct eye contact, his eyes so piercingly blue and beautiful they actually played music, his hand outstretched to MINE! The biggest hand in the entire world enveloped my small trembling one.
meet and greet
M-M-M Mary. Nice to meet you.
“What’s for dinner?” he asked, but what I heard was “What are you cooking for me and then feeding me with your hands after a sweaty love making session in “this clients” wine cellar?"
“Do you like Italian?” I managed to get the words out of my mouth
“Yes, I do.” He said.
Which I heard as "Let’s skip the sex Giuliani, let’s go straight to marriage. You, Mary, are what I have been looking for my whole life, and I want to grow old with you."
We were quickly interrupted when the kitchen door swung open and an agent type man walked in and grabbed Alec to come out to see someone he said was very important.
And then he was gone.
Without skipping a beat, I reached for my cell phone in my pocket and found myself inside the coat closet of “this clients” kitchen.
“Yes.” my husband answered, with a “Are you really surprised that I am answering our home phone?" tone.
“I need to tell you something. Never before has our marriage been compromised in any way…as it is right now.”
Without skipping a beat, Ryan began to laugh and replied.....…”Is Baldwin there?”
There was a knock on the door.
I opened it….
My Chef was there with a get your butt back to the kitchen immediately looks. (He knew where to look for find me as I often can be found hiding in the coat closet of my client’s kitchens).
I love you honey, I told Ryan as I pressed the red button on my phone.
Alec was BACK and looking for ME.
I walked towards him again, guided only by the blue light from his piercing eyes.
Here it was…the moment I both dreaded and welcomed at the same time.
Sure, Ryan would be upset for a week, maybe even a month. But after we divided the assets, he giving me the Woodstock house and I reluctantly giving him our dog Stanley to mend his broken heart, time would heal all wounds, and we would both realize it was for the best.
Alec stopped in front of me. He had a question.
I was ready to respond and leave my worldly life behind me.
And then it came….
"Can I please have a diet coke?”
As my Chef recalls, I made my way to the fridge and poured him the “saddest diet coke ever served.”
A simple” thanks” as he turned his back to me as he made his way out the swinging kitchen door.
“Could Have Been So Beautiful” by the great Debbie Gibson began to play in the soundtrack of my mind and with that……our romance was over.
While Alec may not have been interested in me, he sure was in these tacos.
Mini Tuna Tacos with Italian Guacamole
Yield: 24 mini tacos
Prep: 20 minutes
For the taco shells:
8 soft 6-inch corn tortillas
2 tablespoons olive oil
For the tuna:
8 ounce small diced or chopped sushi-grade tuna loin
1 tablespoon chopped Gaeta olives
1 tablespoon diced roasted peppers
1 teaspoon chopped salted capers
1 teaspoon small diced preserved lemon or lemon zest
1 tablespoon Sicilian extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper, to taste
For the guacamole:
Juice of 1 lemon
1 clove garlic, peeled and minced
3 small or 2 medium ripe avocados
1 cup loosely packed basil leaves, chopped
1/4 cup scallions, finely chopped
Salt and pepper
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