When We Were Kings

When We Were Kings

Let me take you back to a day in my life. A day, more like a few hours, when we were kings, when we were treated as quasi-royalty and as if we mattered more than the common customer. I will venture back to this past Saturday when we proliferated our recreational lives on the beautiful streets of South Beach. 7/7/7. That is the birthday of my best friend and closest associate. A group of us (7 of us total) went to SoBe this past weekend to celebrate my friend’s bday and boy, did we celebrate. Then, the day that my friend had been waiting for for months had arrived: 7/7/7 – his bday. We had reservations at an Italian restaurant (Cafe Prima Pasta) in the North Miami Beach area. The restaurant was referred to me by a co-worker who grew up in Miami.

The plan was to make our bday friend feel as much as a celebrity as possible – and that meant that the rest of us each had roles pertaining to the upkeep of the temporary status and celebrity of my friend. I was the manager, my cousin was the bodyguard, another cousin of mine was the food tester/assistant and everyone else served as the entourage. As soon as we arrive in the restaurant, we are promptly seated and told by the host “there, your table is ready in the back, just like the Godfather”. Once seated, my friend decided that anything he wanted or any request he wanted to be made, he would whisper into my cousin’s ear, who would then whisper into my ear; essentially serving as a messenger. I would then relay the message to the waiter. Once the food arrived, we immediately passed the food to my cousin who would smell it and then taste the food (if it was vegetarian and if not, would pass it to my other cousin who ate meat). Once the food had been approved by the tester, it was handed to my friend. After a while, the waiter just started to bring the food immediately to our “tester” rather than our friend. I have never tried so hard NOT to laugh before in my life.

We were even given a fresh plate of bruschetta on the house. We then ordered a few bottles of wine and were given a bucket filled with iced seated on a tripod which kept our wine chilled. Wow. During the course of the meal, my cousin decided to tip the waiter $10 for simply doing a good job and told him to keep it up throughout the rest of the meal. The bday boy then whispered into my cousin’s ear that he wanted more mushrooms on his plate and that request was then relayed to the waiter, who immediately obliged. He then returned the food to us within 5 minutes with more mushrooms, more marsala sauce, and on a DIFFERENT plate. We were taken aback by the luxuries we were being afforded that evening. We couldn’t believe our eyes. It felt great, for once, to be high-class – to be treated high-class. Every spill that we made or any culinary debris that was scattered on the table was immediately cleaned up and then covered with a fresh napkin. There were at least 5 or 6 napkins they spread on the table to keep the table looking impeccable. During the middle of our meal, I motioned the waiter over and told him in Spanish how much my friend was enjoying his food. About a half hour later, I approached the waiter away from the table and explained (lied) to him that the bday boy was a “very important” client of ours and that it was his bday today. They told me they would be sure to sing a song and take care of him. Sure enough, at the end of our meal, they sung him a song and served him a delicious cheesecake dessert. And if all that wasn’t enough, we were given free shots by the restaurant. They were some sort of lemon-liqueur concoction that went down smooth. Even the glasses the shots were served in were elegant. Needless to say, we tipped the waiter very well and thanked all the staff for the prompt, exemplary, and courteous service.

The preceding event I have just described was maybe the most exciting and fun rouse I’ve ever participated in. We were sure to NOT be assholes at the restaurant (meaning we didn’t ask for anything ridiculous or try to embarrass their wait staff). I haven’t had that much fun at a dinner in a very long time. We all agreed to emulate this same approach to everyone’s bday. I’ve never been able to live the glamor life or enjoy the extravagant excess of riches that some people are privy to enjoying on a regular basis, but it felt good for once to feel like, be served like, and to be treated like kings.

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