02 August 2010

dining with darling Reggie: Boy, L'ABSINTHE & the Rules


it is true-I dined with Reggie Darling and Boy - at - of all places- their L'Absinthe.

The restaurant L'Absinthe and Reggie are everything purported, reported and more.
Much more.

Reggie and Boy, in turn, looking admiringly on as I sip.

I was a bit nervous. I mean really-dining with Reggie & Boy. I am a little bit of a rebel as Reggie already knew from my blog and my comments on his own.
Have you read Reggie's Rules for Popular Party Guests? Well, I have. For this dinner date, I printed them out for quick reference as the night-fittingly Bastille Day- approached.
Of course Reggie knew it was Bastille Day and I nodded a reciprocal- OH! Of course, OH Yes Reggie Darling! Bastille Day, Yes. Yes.
I knew the 'RRPPG' would not quite the same for brasseries -but-all the same, I took NO chances.
In lieu of an actual RRPDGL'A (Reggie's Rules for Popular Dinner Guests at L'Absinthe)- it would have to do.
Of course it adapted beautifully-I'd expected NO less.


One of RRPPG is Dress Appropriately. Make an Effort. It was as if RD had even given me a hint about what would be the thing for L'Absinthe in his review :

Not surprisingly L’Absinthe tends to be somewhat dressy for dinner during colder months, when many of the men dining there arrive wearing sport jackets (and older men often wear ties) and ladies arrive dressed, wearing jewelry.

I did all that. I had a rouge absinthe Isabel Marant dress that I wore with jeans.
Was the jeans thing ok?
Super looking black Ferragamo strappy buckled heeled sandals-did they even get to see those?
Some African wire bracelets (that was the jewelry). I forgot my ring in the rush -a whooping Indian ruby. (um-hum)
 & what was Reggie wearing? He was flat out Elegance in a suit. Boy the same- with more of a slightly hip Elegance- Elegance with a twist you might say. 
& it was HOT. very HOT. So I think we all did mighty well in the DRESS APPROPRIATELY department.

Reggie says in his review:
We always sit at the same banquette whenever we dine there, which is at least once every several weeks and sometimes more frequently. I have eaten at L’Absinthe so often over the years that I almost don’t need to look at the menu, whatever the season. And they know exactly how I like my martini: Beefeater gin, up, with olives, very cold, and very dry.

I was LATE. (this wasn't good, but maybe to be expected after all it was little ME in the big city) My driver- it seemed knew less than I did. Friendly-HE, but I was to preoccupied with the air conditioner vents and getting them just so- So I didn't wilt.  Wilted  in rouge absinthe isn't the thing-by a long shot. I did call RD- Nothing but gracious and understanding. I went back to the ac, while HE chatted away.  As we approached HE strategized on his actually getting me to the right place.
Could I call Reggie Darling again? Reluctantly I did so. Let it ring once. Hung up. I was paying a driver to get me there late and I was doing all the work.
So sorry RD doesn't answer.

We did arrive. There was an older-elegantly turned out couple getting a wheelchair oriented into the restaurant. I smiled and waited, holding open the door for the pair. Just what I needed.
The hostess showed me the way, complementing me on my jewels (wire bracelets)- this was going quite well. The hostess was impressed.

They were waiting, just as RD said- in a banquette near the bar. Smiles flashing, RD & BF stood up (of course).
Girlish giggles from Me as I slid into the banquette beside Boy.

RD & BF waiting for LA

Reggie says- Do not feel compelled to arrive bearing a gift. For us the pleasure of your company is sufficient.  I certainly won't object to receiving a small gift, but I don't expect it.
I took Reggie at his word on this & figured it was a bit premature- I would wait-Let it be a surprise when they least expect it. Still working on that one-What do you get the aesthetes who have everything? Everything I want- I should say. Just take this Paris Porcelain loot for instance, or this, my favorite of all their collections- Darlington House itself. Picture Perfect.

Reggie does a beauteous job describing L'Absinthe. Decorated in high Belle Époque style, its walls are covered with large mirrors and framed cartes and posters, and the room is beautifully lighted by gorgeous, flowery Art Nouveau chandeliers and wall sconces.

L'Absinthe's bronze & crystal tulip chandeliers

We talked.
Keep it light.  Leave your worries at home. Conversation at parties should be light-hearted, topical, or amusing.  It is not the venue for describing in detail the miseries of your gallstones ordeal  from RRPPG
Our conversation spilled over right onto our menus. I lost my appetite and rather- dined on clever and warm conversation. I did not wine- None the night before a flight. It is a "superstition" of sorts. I did say I was superstitious more than once-So you la reader should know. The waiter had to come back several, several times-always patiently to get our orders.
We ordered.

How easily we talked. All chattering away (magpies come to mind). Sharing so many "un"common interests-there was limitless conversation.
Who would you dine with if you could choose anyone famous?
Of course presently company excluded, We agreed on Oscar Wilde. RD added Lady Diana Manners-that suited me fine and I added Lady Mary Wortley Montague. I think Boy suggested Horace Walpole. The did not get along- so one wonders how they would get on with Oscar and Diana? Who would dominate? I have contended that a dinner with Oscar would cover all conversation. His. Mine. Whatever the dynamics- I want to be seated and dressed appropriately.
I'm so there.

Boy and I swapped design stories and agreed on most everything. I extricated a date for scouring  the Flower District on my next trip to the city with him.
True to his word (natch)- Boy and I almost always start out with a plate of briny, perfectly shucked oysters flown in from the East and West coasts.
 We all tucked in. Dinner was delicious. Everything flowing. Tastings from one plate to another (Not sure about this-I followed their lead) And again truer words were never uttered. The cuisine, eliciting “oohs” and “ahs” of pleasure from delighted diners, (that would be me) was outstanding, but I could break bread in any joint with these two guys and it would be manna from heaven.

Finishing off -Reggie ordered dessert. It felt like a pact. No-Not Faustian- More like we will  meet again, eat again- sealed with shared profiteroles and three forks- Not Absinthe.

Reggie, that darling, coyly said-
"I’ve tried it several times... with little effect, but I understand that one must drink rather a lot of it to feel much of anything. 
 All the more reason to go back ..."

 RD quotes from his posts are in large font-click on any words to read his post


  1. I am as green as Absinthe with envy....

  2. I too had the pleasure of meeting Reggie Darling in the country.
    How pleasant to now put a face with the blog.
    I felt as though I was right by your side, super post.

  3. Oh, Lucinda darling- I knew I would risk the green But-It was exceedingly worth it! Delightfully Darling in ever way. Gaye

  4. Lucky is what we are Patricia darling.I want to meet you when I come back-You are near the city aren't you. It would be fun to get together an elegant table of elegants. I agreed wholeheartedly with you on your recent post about taking advantage of meeting fellows. It is really like meeting old friends. Gaye

  5. How I wish I could have been there, both to meet yourself AND your hosts!
    Blogs have this amazing ability to turn us all into instant friends, don't you agree? I mean -within reason....

  6. LA,

    What a wonderfully detailed account. One could nearly imagine your tremulous self walking into the storied L'Absinthe to dine in the company of the heralded Reggie Darling and Boy. Like the sentiment expressed by Lucindaville, the luminous green of the fabled drink is the only appropriate response to, what is sure to be, an evening long remembered.

  7. Oh, my goodness, now I'M nervous, having promised Reggie D to come up in the Fall! I'd better start rummaging through my closet (the NYC compartment) for just the right thing...jewelry no problem, check! But I hope he doesn't quiz me on Oscar Wilde and the like...I can always talk about Belgian shoes, pugs, Wall Street and maids, and we must have friend's in common...just please no Walpole, Boy!...Menu, no problem, already know the likes and happy he drinks and likes profiteroles and oysters. There! I'm almost ready to order already. All I have to think now is the main course, musn't get stuffed if we are having dessert! Hmmm...

  8. It must have been a blast. Reggie is one of those blogs that makes you crazy for more. I just love Darlington House. Did you get to see that or is that another post?

  9. Stefan, so true. We really need to have a fall conference! We fell into a great conversation and I did the same with Emily and Maureen and Ulla as well. Let's work on that meeting. There is something totally to be said for having so much in common to build on a friendship. Gaye

  10. EA, Oh I know it was so wonderful and truthfully- I know you are green. Reggie was so great, a real twinkle in those eyes. I keep thinking the next day about the Sting song-An Englishman in New York-honest all day in the airport,plane and home! That seems to really nail it! Gaye

  11. LinAxa- You are already in, I think you are one up on me- with the food knowledge you have. I had some delicious mini raviolis of some sort-RD and BF probably remember exactly. I was too dazed to be certain. The guys went for the beef, which looked delicious-I was trying to be dainty. pgt

  12. Anon, Yes a blast, they were wonderful hosts. Darlington House was not viewed- Next trip! I hope I passed!!!

  13. Dearest, most darling Little Augury:
    Reggie is touched, flattered, honored, and delighted to read this post, but such pleasure pales in comparison with the joy he experienced in meeting you and spending several luxurious, and honeyed hours in your captivating company. Both Boy and I were charmed and swept away in meeting such a glittering angel as is Little Augury, and we look forward to welcoming you to Darlington House, should we be so lucky as to receive the blessing of your visit. Until then, I shall always remain your humble servant and great admirer, Reggie

  14. Reggie darling- "honeyed hours" how lovely. LOVE FEAST- make that LOVEFEST. I think we must have a retreat somewhere between ME and THEE-with everyone above in between! (footnote-He said angel. See.) xo, Gaye

  15. How lovely! I wish I could've been there! Next time your in the city give me a buzz!

  16. DH, It was indeed lovely. I will do it. Gaye

  17. {Give ME a buzz as well!} In a word: JEALOUS!

  18. Adorable post. Such a nice community, and we are all jealous of you , little a.


  19. Ohhhhhhhh I want to be there!!! "Decorated in high Belle Époque style, L'Absinthe's walls are covered with large mirrors and framed cartes and posters, and the room is beautifully lighted by gorgeous, flowery Art Nouveau chandeliers and wall sconces."

  20. Most enjoyable recount of what clearly was a fabulous evening!

  21. the Zhush- will do!

    Dandy- thank you. it is a good one and all striving in the right directions-there really is camaraderie here.

    Hels- the atmospherics in L'A were so authentic feeling-beautiful lighting- transporting.

    Acanthus- thank you, it was memorable.

    So glad to share it with all Reggie's admirers.

  22. What a fantastic evening. Absinthe looks divine! I love that Reggie has a pug called Pompey! I've seen some great photographs of him on his blog xx



Related Posts with Thumbnails