08 February 2012

Le Bol Formidable and Harvey Weinstein

En France, a “football” is a slightly shrunken basketball, and is kicked with one's feet and bounced off one's head.

Except in January and February, and that’s the time when it morphs into an ovoid with pointed ends and laces.


Well, it all starts with Harvey Weinstein, who came down for New Years and decided that he and his celebuds needed a pick-me-up after partying all night on New Years Eve.

And as it happens, the Giants played a do-or-die elimination game against the Cowboys on the New Years night.  An opportunity.

La Bagatelle is a high-end white tablecloth restaurant on the harbor. Harvey rented the entire place, installed flat screens around the room, and had a football party for his 200 closest friends. The report is the menu was a blend of over-the-top French haute cuisine and Hollywood excess:  Kobe beef filet mignon, lobster, foie gras—get the picture?  Very successful party: the Giants won.

Happily, Harvey et al, were long gone soon thereafter. Now, nobody here but us chickens.  Dull month---if you don’t count the Super Bowl!

We do.  In the London family, a Super Bowl with Big Blue on the field is a major event.  And Jesse, who is visiting this week, is obsessed.

With the big game coming up, the first question is where to watch it?  Home? Well, football is more fun when you have lots of others cheering with you or against you, so we canvassed the local bars and restaurants and found three with a large flat screen and were planning to show the game. Pinks found and booked La Bagatelle. It was the only waterfront venue, and having learned from the Weinstein experience, they hung three or four screens, and promoted a Super Bowl party for the hoi polloi.  No foie gras, no Kobe beef, no escargot.  The menu for this Super Bowl party? Cheeseburgers, hamburgers, and pizza.  No Budweiser, we would have to make do with Caribe.

The place was jammed. They even put tables and chairs outside on the edge of the quay. I cannot believe somebody did not end up the water by the end of the evening. By 6:30 local time, (an hour before kick-off), the place was packed and everybody was getting very relaxed very fast.  Our friend Lee joined us and the four of us scored a table immediately in front of one of the big screens.

This was far from a typical NY football bar experience:
The ever-present DJ was on duty, and he cut off the network audio feed and blasted Springsteen, Queen (“We will Rock You”) and the like during the pre-game, post-game, and half-time talking heads’ analyses. (Hmm, something for the networks to consider?) The waiters wore black baseball caps and black tee shirts with white lettering on front reading, “What the fuck is La Bagatelle?”   Waitresses were dressed in cheerleaders’ costumes and danced and waved pom-poms during half-time (except, of course, during the 12 minute Madonna show.)  By half time some in the juiced-up crowd were dancing on the table tops.

This is not quite the way it would have been had we watched the game at home. What a sensational party. The best.

Of course, in retrospect there is no way this would have been as much fun had Manningham not kept ces pieds in bounds to start the Giants’ fourth quarter winning drive with 3:57 on the clock and the Giants down by two. Very tense game.  Literally stomach ache inducing. And the Bradshaw “accidental” touchdown was torture. While much of the crowd, (especially the French) cheered lustily, at our table we groaned.  We knew it was a gaffe of major proportions to give Brady the ball with a whole minute on the clock, and moaned that Belichick had outsmarted us.  I hate Belichick.  Hate him.  And I confess I never thought we would beat Brady again. He is just too good.  Well, almost. And now the guy has to go home a two-time loser, and to top it off, he's gotta deal with his wife’s post-game gaffe. Not a good week in the Brady household.

On the other hand, the London household is off to the beach.

A bientot.