Waitressing is like riding a bike. You never forget how to do it. I recently served full English breakfasts to guests who were staying at my friend’s 15th Century Highway Inn in Burford England. I loved every minute of it. Something about the calm polite exterior needed to deal with the public, combined with the frenetic activity behind the scenes speaks to my personality. It is becoming something of a theme.
Years of experience have shown me the inherent dangers of combining wine with shopping and so the other day I took the precautionary measure of hitting the Fred Segal store before lunch and left my purchases to be wrapped while I went to Café Mauro. This stylish restaurant, at the front of the store, is as close as you’re going to get to Café Flore without flying to Paris.
It was during lunch, at around the second glass of Sancerre, that I fell in love with a graphic print on the wall and around the third glass when my husband, unbeknownst to him, bought it for me as my Christmas present. Complimentary champagne was sent over to the table and much merriment and bonhomie ensued. While the print was being wrapped, I collected my bags from the store and took them to the car.
Returning to the café, replete with the spirit of Christmas and feeling goodwill to all men, I noticed a gentleman waving his check in the air. My inner waitress kicked in and I helpfully took his Black Card across the room to the till. Black cards are made of anodized titanium and weigh a ton, which is why I noticed what it was. When the real waitress returned it, and explained why there was so much hysteria, he took it in good part and joined our table.
After the café closed at 6 o’clock, we stayed on with the lovely owner, the pastry chef, and the trio of Italian men who had been at the next table. Much merriment and dancing to The Stones ensued. We Ubered home at past midnight, after what turned out to be the longest lunch of 2014.
I love shopping, I love the holidays, and I love LA.
Thérèse is the author of India’s Summer and Letter from Paris.