6/20/08 – Iron Chef Groupie, Dave “Hendu” Henderson

A good start to the week of insane travel, I’d say. Jackie and I being invited to speak at a baseball caucus with slugger Dave Henderson. He rightfully showed off his World Series ring (1989 Oakland) while five of us gawked and gathered over lunch. His candor entertained us with clubhouse stories and was honest enough to dispel more than a few rumors. I could have talked to him all day. The speaking engagement was a ball and we sold lots of books. Not to say that’s all that matters, of course, but it was a nice perk. They were a great group. They were enthusiastic and laughed at my jokes. (They laughed harder at Jackie’s).

Since then, Jackie has traversed the Great Plains – or, whatever. I’m sticking with it because it sounds fully nostalgic – from Seattle to Detroit via car. Me? I took the easy way with a direct redeye flight to New York City. This was the beginning of a weeklong Bandaid crisis because everyone knows that you need an artillery of bandaids when you plan to walk the streets of NYC, as I did. Anyway, I never know when I’m gonna need some extra cash.

My redeye took me directly to the 9AM taping of the Food Network’s Iron Chef where my friend, Sabrina, was the day’s challenger. I signed a confidentially agreement so don’t ask me who won unless you have $1M burning a whole in your pocket that you’re willing to hand over. The most difficult part was that I was ravenous from my sleepless redeye and they were making some really good food. Really, it could have sucked. I was starving. The taping lasted until 2PM. “Pietro,” I said, desperately grabbing the arm of Sabrina’s husband. “If I don’t have a glass of wine in my hand in 30 minutes, I’m going to get really bitchy.”

Thirty minutes later I had a full glass of wine. But just not any glass of wine. I was seated in a fine Chelsea restaurant that is rumored to be co-owned by Iron Chef Mario Batali. We were directed there by one of the Iron Chef judges that Pietro had befriended– evidently during the time period that I had slipped into hypoglycemic shock. As the judge, himself, poured my wine, I looked around our intimate table-for-ten. There was a table for ten of us: family members, old friends of the family, the publicist, her sous chefs … and me. Yikes! I felt like such a groupie. But I ate, drank and was merry. I was probably the “happiest” of all because I was thoroughly jetlagged – and I felt charmed because I didn’t belong anywhere near that table and its eight elegant courses – very little of which I can remember. Well, that’s other than the lard butter laced with rosemary – wow. I was so happy, in fact, that I made an executive decision to “miss” my train to DC. That was my ultimate destination because I wanted to see my kids, Amelia and Tony (7 and 6) , before they left for a Disney cruise with my dad and stepmom. Their dad (aka Michael) had brought them out the week before and then “aka Michael” headed to North Carolina for a golf tournament. Truth be known, during that post Iron Chef meal, I was so taken with the Life of Riley that I doubted I’d see my kids until they turned 13. But, alas, I pushed the table away. As if! There was still the champagne course. I’m was brought up properly, after all. Then, when all was right in the world, I left. Mother would be proud.

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