“The guy built everything in here except for the chairs and the barstools.” “The guy” was the previous owner. “In here” is Woody McHale’s, a cozy neighborhood bar on W 14th Street. “He did the tile floors, the pine wood-paneling, all of it. Then a week later, his wife left him, and he died of a heart attack. So, we bought this place.” “We” is Douglas Sokoloff and Steven Molinari, also partners in Frank’s Restaurant and butcher shop.
I’m sitting at Woody McHales, drinking an unoaked Chardonnay with Douglas. I met him through the blog when I posted about hamburgers. Via email, he insisted I try his. A friendship formed along with an insane affinity for his entire menu. Mac & cheese, ridiculously outstanding Philly cheese steaks, a spectacular (and large) burger, and damn it, key lime pie martinis to make the girls happy—though I think they should rim the glasses with graham cracker crumbs instead of sugar. Hand-cut waffle fries, only slightly thicker than potato chips. Oh, and fried twinkies with fresh hot chocolate sauce for the dunking. I digress. So I’m here with Doug, The Suitor, and two of his male friends. I’d like to call them my friends too, so I start in. “I’m having an Oscar party, but Phil said his friends would want no part in that.”
Okay, I admit Oscar parties fall on the girl side of things, but there will be lots of alcohol and really good food. It’s an excuse to get together for lasagna with béchamel, smoked salmon stacks on homemade dill waffles with crème fraise, and flutes of champagne. Or scotch. Or something brown and manly. I’ll make sausages with hot mustard. Baby back ribs for days. I will. And there will be a pool worth lots of money, so you’ll want to watch the sound category. Really, you will! “Nah, I’m tellin’ you, my friends want no part of that.” My eyebrows pinch together. “What I mean is, your friends would appreciate that kind of thing much more than mine would.”
“I think you’re selling your friends short.”
“Sure, Jen and I would love to come,” his friend responds on the spot. “Why not?” Exactly. Why not? I come to learn exactly why not. Because I even tried to offer our place up for a super bowl party, extending the promise of more man food. The thing is, I love to cook for people who love to eat. To plan menus. To entertain. Apparently guys are cool going to an apartment for the super bowl if it’s the apartment of another guy, not of a couple. When a girl is there, something just isn’t the same. Unless, I learned, it’s a bunch of single horny hot chicks. That’s the exception, even if all the guys are in relationships. Oh well. Looks like I’m having an Oscar party; I’ll let you know how it turns out, and who shows up.