Cafe Society

Gael Force

Dinner at Mel's on Monday night for Gael Greene (see "Sex and the City") and about fifty of her dearest admirers. Was it a good time? Tough to say. For starters, the median age in the room (not counting press) was ancient, and most of the diners were rushing the door the instant Gael finished her reading like this was Logan's Run and all their life clocks had just started blinking. Also, Mel's new chef, Chad Clevenger, wasn't in the house that night, so though he wrote the menu and had some great hits on it (like open-faced peanut butter-and-banana sandwiches with bacon served on toasted rounds of French bread, in honor of Gael's youthful liaison with The King, and an excellent carpaccio served in simple oil and Balsamic vinegar), it was actually executed by Chad's sous, Mark Teffenhart (ex of Solera and L'Atelier, most recently), who did an admirable job of translating a difficult event menu for a room full of some of the most over-fed foodies in the tri-state area.

The food was good, Gael was a trooper — signing every book presented to her, answering questions about where to eat now in New York, and gossiping on the side about who was the best lay of her life (it wasn't Elvis) and what it was like to be one of the most powerful critics in the country during one of the most formative generations of American cuisine. But by the time Gael finished reading and returned to her seat, there was no one left in the room but the press contingent (most of whom, like Gael, had just returned from the annual Food & Wine bash up in Aspen -- an event that I had the distinct pleasure of not attending) and we did our best to help with the clean-up by finishing all the leftover wine on the tables. Gael insisted that Mel have Chad add the peanut butter-and-banana sandwiches to the regular menu. Former Westword critic, former Denver Post critic and current Post travel editor Kyle Wagner and I laughed ourselves stupid over our collections of awful Kevin Taylor stories.

And about the time it became obvious that no one was going to be bringing us any more booze, the whole lot of us (minus Kyle, who had better sense, and Gael, who had to get to bed in anticipation of a double-date the next day with Mel and his son, Charlie, from Brix) bailed out to keep the party going down at Sketch.