"I just realized that we have half a job between the three of us," my buddy A remarked as the barkeep at the Ritz-Carlton delivered our third round of Ketel martinis. we three amigos spent last night livin' large, which is just slightly inappropriate, considering A and i are both on "sabbatical," and Shaunice has only a part-time job while she's attending an expensive law school.
i'm not sure how we got to that point, or how we spent hundreds of dollars on beer and vodka. the night started off with good intentions, but i guess it got out of hand. where do i begin?
let's begin with our good intentions: a cool new "asian street food" restaurant called Sampan opened up in the middle of the gayborhood, and lucky for us the place has super cheap happy hour food and drink specials. you can't beat delicious $2 appetizers or $4 beers anywhere, but Sampan has an awesome (and handsome!) chef and a chic interior. the walls change color, and the red light bathrooms have scenes from popular movies piped into them. fun! i would give it a great review, but that's not the point of this post. come to think of it, i haven't reviewed a restaurant since about a year ago, when the same three amigos went to Kanella.
after our thrifty happy hour in the g-hood, we sort of lost control. Del Frisco's is really just another expensive steakhouse chain, but the one in Philly is worth visiting. it's located in what used to be a monumental bank in Midtown, so the interior is spectacular. even the photos give you an idea of how ridiculous the place is. everything is huge, with staircases and columns and a 4-story wine rack/cellar.
the place is also fabulously colorful, which was a trend in our night. like i said, the walls of Sampan glow shifting colors, and we ended up at the very very pink Ritz hotel lobby. notice the pinkness in the photos below.
but back to the food. lucky us once again: $5 plates and $4 beers on select evenings at Del Frisco's. i'd have to hide my head in shame if i told you how much delicious, hearty food we ate (steak,dumplings,potatoes,truffledgnocchi,lemoncake,omg), so i won't even go there. we were still being frugal, though our consumption resulted in a pretty hefty bar bill... so why stop there? let's head to another bar at which we can't afford to hang out!
there were no drink specials whatsoever at The Ritz, but after 5 hours of drinking, nobody really cares. AmEx pays for it all, it seems. and i'm so glad we went. meeting and hanging out with Top Chef Jen made it worth the $15 martinis.
"She doesn't normally come out of the kitchen and socialize," the super-friendly bartender told us. i guess we were special, because all it took was obnoxious A screaming "HEY! JEN!" across the (massive and very echo-y, also formerly a bank) hotel lobby to get her to come talk to us.
she was sweet and very friendly; she happily indulged A's many questions about her Top Chef experience. very cool, but that wasn't the best part. the best part was probably when, about fifteen minutes after Jen ended our nice chat and went back to the kitchen, a couple appetizers mysteriously appeared before us. grilled octopus, plantains, and chick peas, as well as soft pretzels with dipping sauces. or maybe the best part was when, about fifteen minutes later, several desserts also mysteriously appeared on the bar. i don't remember what they were, but i remember enjoying them. all compliments of the fantastic Top Chef.
in a way, the three of us -- with half a job between us -- did an admirable job of being frugal while also indulging our epicurean desires. we chased happy hour specials, we ate cheaply and shared everything, and we chatted up a celebrity chef until she gave us a bunch of free food. how many struggling twenty-somethings put that much effort into saving money during a night on the town?