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'Real Housewives' at Etoile in Napa

n
newhavener07 Dec 10, 2008 09:59 AM

Did anyone see this last night? It was a pretty interesting clash of cultures....But in defense of the wives, the ordering system at this restaurant seemed pretty dictatorial. Has anyone been to this place? Does the entire table really have to order one way?

  1. Ruth Lafler Mar 31, 2010 04:08 PM

    I thought it might be fun to resurrect this thread in light of last night's episode of Millionaire Matchmaker (a guilty pleasure, I admit). Last night this 40ish millionaire movie producer takes his date out for dinner and the chef sends them something "special": a nice slab of seared foie gras. They were totally grossed out: they sort of dared each other to eat it and then were all "yuck!"

    Not only that, but they didn't appear to be familiar with the concept of foie gras. They were all "liver, it's an organ meat, what's special about that -- that's the stuff no one wants to eat" about it. It's one thing not to like foie gras, it's another for a supposedly sophisticated wealthy American to not even know what it is and that it's considered a delicacy.

    1. ChinoWayne Dec 14, 2008 10:55 AM

      "interesting clash of cultures..."

      Yeah, cartoon characters meet real life. In news from Atlanta, in a recent episode Kim got grossed out with her first taste ever of guacamole, apparently an avocado was foreign to her, and when the waiter prepared it table side using a molcajete, that sent her over the edge, she couldn't handle eating food out of a rock.

      In real life, NeNe and her real estate investor husband were recently evicted from their house, not for failure to pay the mortgage, but failure to pay the *rent*.

      Classy, real classy people...

      But a hoot to watch, money can't buy you brains, taste or intellect.

      2 Replies
      1. re: ChinoWayne
        Ruth Lafler Dec 14, 2008 01:35 PM

        I'm embarrassed for them! Where do they find these women, anyway? Do they go to the country club and ask everyone who the most clueless members are?

        1. re: Ruth Lafler
          ChinoWayne Dec 14, 2008 04:14 PM

          Believe it, Ruth, there are plenty more like them walking around, our media/marketing culture breeds them.

          http://thebfdblog.com/2008/10/15/a-po...

      2. e
        eddieandhismommy Dec 14, 2008 10:22 AM

        They had no appreciation for the food or wine. One doesn't eat oysters, one doesnt eat beef, one wouldn't eat frois grois, one would only drink chardonnay and not have the wine pairings. I feel bad for the disrespect they showed for the chef and the restaurant.(Can't believe I watched the whole show)

        1. r
          ral217 Dec 13, 2008 12:57 PM

          it was probably one of the most uncomfortable episodes to watch. i was genuinely embarrassed for them. it varies depending on the restaurant if the whole table needs to order the tasting menu. but, whenever I am in a group and think a person may not like something on the tasting menu, i wouldn't dare to suggest ordering it. having money certainly does not equate to having manners or class.

          1. c
            cpark Dec 12, 2008 10:14 AM

            coordinating a tasting menu with so many courses is tricky for the kitchen so it's pretty standard to insist that the whole table do the tasting courses or order a la carte. it's not dictatorial, it's logical. try to imagine two people at the table ordering an entree and sharing a dessert and the remainder of the table ordering a 5 course tasting menu. when would the a la carters get their food? would you wait until the tasters were on their entree and the a la carters had sat through three courses of food without eating to bring out their entrees? or would you bring it out when the first course came out for the tasters so that they had to watch their companions eat after they finished their entree. it's a mess.

            3 Replies
            1. re: cpark
              n
              newhavener07 Dec 12, 2008 11:21 AM

              I guess that makes sense--this was probably not the table of people to deal with it, however. Although it was hard to watch, the scene at Etoile was interesting in that it was a full-on collision of "foodie" culture and Olive Garden sensibilities. You'd think a table full of wealthy OC types would be able to deal with raw fish and foie gras, but all but one freaked out. That said, I have to cringe at the snobbery the whole thing brought out in me, and other posters. Some of the nicest people I know love the Olive Garden...

              1. re: newhavener07
                coney with everything Dec 14, 2008 02:42 AM

                I disagree about the snobbery, newhavener--this website is Chowhound: for those who live to eat. The behavior displayed in this episode is antithetical to that--didn't one of them make a comment about not caring about the food they eat? So CH'ers would naturally be appalled by that, and envious--I'd bet a lot of us would appreciate an opportunity to eat at a place like that, while the people on the show just do it to put another notch on their "things rich people do" list.

                Other than Jeana (for now, anyway), all those OC housewives are poster children for eating disorders--among other things, of course, but that is a discussion for another website!

                1. re: newhavener07
                  t
                  taos Dec 14, 2008 04:18 AM

                  Some of the nicest people I know love the Olive Garden, too. But I'm pretty sure if they went to Etoile, they'd know better than to shriek, turn up their noses and say they can't eat the food. By the same token, some of my best friends (and me) love the best restaurants in the world. If and when we go to Olive Garden, I would hope we'd know better than to shriek, turn up our noses and demand foie gras and truffles. It's all about acting politely and appropriately in the setting. Isn't this something the "Housewives" should have learned as 3-year-olds?

              2. themis Dec 10, 2008 01:23 PM

                Because I don't intend to watch it, and expending the effort to google this for myself would just leave me feeling dirty, I'll just ask: which of the tribes of Housewives was featured doing this? OC, Hotlanta, or UES?

                3 Replies
                1. re: themis
                  Ruth Lafler Dec 10, 2008 02:40 PM

                  I was assuming OC, since it's a doable "roadtrip" to Napa. But really, any of Housewife "tribes" prove that all the money in the world can't buy class! In fact, they're self-selecting for vulgarity, because no one with any class would agree to be on a show like that! (Okay, I admit I did watch a couple of episodes of the NY "housewives" who seemed like slightly more interesting people than the vapid, materialistic gals from the OC and Atlanta, but I couldn't stand the backbiting, social-climbing and overbearing auras of entitlement for long.)

                  1. re: Ruth Lafler
                    j
                    jarona Dec 11, 2008 12:04 PM

                    I agree wtih both you and melly(LOL) regarding the "Housewives". Although when I catch Atlanta, I feel both voyueristic AND so much better about myself--it's so true--all the money in the world cannot buy class, but in their case, it buys crass!

                  2. re: themis
                    goodhealthgourmet Dec 10, 2008 04:35 PM

                    it was OC...and it was painful to watch.

                  3. goodhealthgourmet Dec 10, 2008 10:23 AM

                    i tuned into Bravo hoping to catch some TC reruns, but when i saw that they were touring wineries i got sucked in to watching this show. it was pretty offensive.

                    newhavener, if you can find it in yourself to "defend" those women, then you're a more generous soul than i am. being out of one's element doesn't excuse juvenile, crass, and disrespectful behavior. seriously, one of the women practically *shrieked* when the server told her that the plate of foie gras in front of her was fattened duck liver. i was appalled...and i felt terrible for the poor souls who had to wait on them.

                    i'm not sure if they really do require the entire table to order the same way - i checked their web site and they have the a la carte and tasting menus posted, but nothing about a specific ordering protocol.

                    http://www.chandon.com/web/etoile-res...

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: goodhealthgourmet
                      Ruth Lafler Dec 10, 2008 11:19 AM

                      Many restaurants require the whole table either to get the tasting menu or to order a la carte. I never watch that show (although I see the promos on Bravo, so I almost feel like I've watched it). Sounds like these women aren't nearly as sophisticated as they think they are!

                      1. re: Ruth Lafler
                        m
                        melly Dec 10, 2008 01:19 PM

                        They make Kathy Lee Gifford look like Grace Kelly. I've seen the promos too.

                        1. re: Ruth Lafler
                          m
                          ML8000 Dec 13, 2008 02:47 PM

                          It's pretty standard now for restaurants to require the whole table to order the tasting menu if it's offered and people want it. Without it, there's gaps in service for those only get 4 courses to those that getting 9 or more. Goofs up the kitchen/wait staff timing too and those that don't get a course feel weird. As for the show...it's a flip through. 3 seconds is too much...but then the producers obviously know this. It's like watching a car wreck.

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