the man who ate his hat

I love this life, the one I live here, living so close to Artisinal.  You would have liked it but mostly because it would mean me and cheese and cabernet francs just down the street.  180 wines by the glass, with 70 varieties.  I could come here and try a new one each day.  I could, but I won’t.  I’d rather do it with cheese, which would be rather unhealthy.  Now cheese with wine, that’s a compromise, my friend.

Last time I was here, we were “taking the ring out.”  It fit my hand now, so it was time.  The hostess stared at it.  I’ve never been a hostess, or waitress, but I’ve dated a lot of busboys, only they weren’t busboys at the time. As a waitress, I don’t imagine I’d be very good at handling the picky eaters.  I’d be great at helping people decide what to order.  I almost have that ability to know, even more than the person who’s eating, what they should have.  Very scoop of vanilla, scoop of chocolate; don’t waste my time. 

I love that this entire place smells of cheese.  Because it is okay to smell like cheese when you sell actual cheese.  It’s not okay that I can smell the bread of the man sitting beside me at the bar.  I can smell the tang of his wheat sourdough.  I watch him knife a square of butter, spoon it on a wedge of bread.  He ordered a hat for dinner.  The man who ate his hat was sitting on the barstool beside me.  There’s certainly butter and puff pastry going on.  Everyone can smell the butter, even my father who’s not here and has no sense of smell.  It’s a wide shallow potpie.  It’s another dimple on my ass.  Another five dimples.  Why are these people out there who can eat like this without harming their health?  Oh my, it’s not a potpie at all.  It’s an escargot hat.  A layer of pastry tents the holy crock, and when he pokes at it, ribbons of garlicky steam breathe.  I take it back; I am a jealous person.

“A real Australian Jammy Shiraz.  You’ll like it.”  He’s right.  I’m sold on the word jammy.  It does a lovely thing inside my mouth when I hear the word.  Jammy.  I think of plumy stone fruits.  Of words ending in y, beyond scary.  It’s Shoefly, and it’s sweet without being sickening sweet and easy.  Shiraz is the college freshman of wines.  Rioja is where it’s at for me now.  I’m giving it a giddy up.



  1. You know that a recent study was done and it was determined that eating cheese actually has the effect of deadening the very tastebuds one uses to appreciate a fine wine? I can't find the study, but it was on NPR either last weekend or the weekend before.

  2. Yaay, an update!

    Mmmm…escargot. Oddly enough I, too, could smell the butter. And I am also jealous.

    I see no reference to past tense in your post…and the word ring. I'd love to speculate, but wont.

  3. Not engaged. The ring part happened with someone in the past. Either ex-husband post-baby-weight-loss when maybe the engagement or wedding ring fit again or maybe a relative who was passing along a family ring and Steph was big enough to wear it.

  4. Eat, drink and enjoy the company you’re with. That’s life. There was a study done that people who ‘feared gaining weight’ were the ones who gained it. They say if you eat ‘without thinking’ about weight gain—then you fight it automatically. If you resist, it will persist. I believe that everything in moderation is good—except for dimples on your bum. Believe me—living in an Italian household all my life, I know them all too well. *sigh* But don’t stop enjoying life!

    My girlfriend and I always sit at the bar when we eat dinner—and even if we’re there for a few drinks—the smell of good food always has us asking for the menu.

    Bon appetit!

  5. Lovely Stephanie. Truly. It's good to read happy.

    Congrats on the debut of the ring.

    I'm going to find some warm doughy bread now.

  6. Amanda, FYI–
    Artisanal didn't open until 2001 or 2002, if i recall correctly.
    not sure how that fits in the timeline of Stephanie's life, but i would venture to guess that she was "big enough" to wear rings prior to then…

  7. Hey there Stephanie,

    Bump it up to a Barolo – and fall in love. No cheese and ass dimples on the side. Barolo just gives it all to you by the mouthful….

    Sounds like a cute place….wish we had that in Atlanta :-) But NYC is only a short ride away. Can you spill the local?


  8. Next time, get their mac and cheese with a nice chardonnay (the college freshman of white wines!)

  9. Bread, cheese and wine oh my! Those are some of my personal demons as well. That’s why I’ll never go on those low carb diets, I can’t live without bread. When I went to Paris I gained 10 pounds in two weeks. They have the best wine, cheese and bread in the world. Watch out for Paris! After reading your blog about bread cheese, wine and escargot even though I gained ‘that weight’ I really want to go back!

  10. Stephanie…how did the shoot for New York Magazine fare? I hate to be off topic, but I'm dying to know all the deatail–namely, what you wore and how you felt. I'm hoping you exuded sheer sexiness :)

  11. Since the post is in "daily" and not "past tense"….I'm guessing this is a NEW ring from the Suitor….could just be a holiday gift, but then again…..

  12. to me some scary words ending in y— marry, baby, family, eternity…and sometimes happy.

    congrats on being happy.

  13. I am in shock that so many people take so much pride in describing why they know the ring cant be a current engagement ring. And the hypothesis that maybe it was a family ring that "stephanie was big enough to wear"? Seriously, you have to be kidding me. Unbridled admiration based on the fact that Stephanie MAY have worn a family ring? What would be so goddam brave about that? Maybe the ring was some random piece of jewelry that she picked up, maybe it was a ring that she took off of the flacid manhood of a one night stand, but in either case, who gives a sh#t. "big enough", i just cant stop laughing.

    No one can seriously be this curious about the details surrounding her brief mention of a ring in a blog entry, can they? Yeah yeah, i know, if i dont like the comments dont read them. But i like them like a person likes a train wreck: no one likes the carnage, but you cant take your eyes off of it. And i would argue that my comment is probably 10 fold more intersting than the sleuthlike inquiries as to what the origin of this ring was.

  14. Eat all of the cheese you want. The calcium is good for you and the baby. My vice during pregnancy, since I don't like milk, was ice cream sundaes from Baskin Robbins. Guilt-free eating. God, I miss that.

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