On Monday nights I hang out at the Drake. It's where most of the food community meet up since that is usually the night off of the chefs, the sous chefs, the waitstaff, the restaurant owners and all those people who just generally speaking, love to eat and drink. We've done everything from the Holy Guacamole smackdown to a Crunch & Munch for pickled food. Hell, there's even been Manhattan Monday. I say, bring it!
I have a regular crew I hang with. They are fun. Ivy Knight, I want you to know that this girl appreciates how much more fun you've made Monday nights. I'm going to do my very best to make it out to the cookie exchange.
So far the highlight of Monday night at the Drake (besides some of the best R&B tunes this side of the GTA) is the night I got to meet Michael Smith. At 6'6" this food dude/writer/tv chef is just nothing short of being one long, tall, cool drink of water. So here's my Michael Smith story. Rumour on the street was that Mr. Smith was gonna show up and bring something pickled to be judged at a smackdown. So I show up early. Hey, a girl likes to make sure she has a good table! So upon my arrival I'm told at the door I have to wait until 7 pm and that they are admitting Media first. WTF? Doh. I look at the doorman with my usual 'tude and say "dooood...we are Monday night reg's. We are your bread and butter. Don't tell me you are putting media before your regulars." Apparently they are. So I plunk myself down in the cafe, gnawing on a glass of wine, commiserating because I've been cast aside by someone with a media badge. Then all of a sudden I see 6'7" walking past the front window. I jump up from my table, hurdling over a couple people and tap him on the back. Sure enough it is Michael Smith. We smile, introduce ourselves and I tell him my dilemma of being cast aside and says "go get your stuff, come in me with". Oh lord, he had me at his smile. It was a fun night at the Drake. We crunched, we munched, we nibbled and we voted. Big props went to the Kaiser sisters who edged out Chef Smith's pickled caramel apples. You just can't miss this guy in a room, no matter where you stand, he stands heads above everyone else. Let me tell you, he's a personable in real life as he is on television. Him and Chef Lynn Crawford run neck and neck for the "what you see is what you get" personalities in front and behind those food network cameras.
I'm a silly food girl. I laughingly tell Michael Smith that he's the only guy I've ever met whose pantry I want to get in to. Kinda makes me sound like a dirty old lady but I don't give a hoot. It's Michael Smith and he's smiling at me, laughing at my comment about young guys like him keep old broads like me young at heart. I drag my friend, Chef Rossy Earle (of the Belfountain Inn) over to the bar to meet Michael Smith. I promptly inform him of her cooking status and then tell him she makes some of the best hot sauce I've ever eaten. I ain't letting her off the hook and I insist she bring over one of her bottles for him. This is Monday night at the Drake with Michael Smith.
I did make sure to get him to sign his cookbook that I had dragged all the way from Caledon. He is so obliging and he notes that several of the pages are flagged with stick it notes. Those, I point out, are recipes that I have tried and I tell him that so far my fave is the Barley Risotto. We talk food. We talk about his pantry. We talk about food and friends. This is my kind of my Monday night.