Another food & politics report from Extreme Mortman culinary correspondent Vic Matus, known in other sophisticated literary circles as Weekly Standard assistant managing editor and blogger for Galley Slaves:
Last week, the Absolut Spirits Company and the National Distributing Company debuted, respectively, its latest line of vodka, Absolut Ruby Red, and a redesigned bottle for Plymouth gin. And as can be expected at such an outing, it was done with the sort of hipness normally seen in New York or Los Angeles, but is rare for a town like Washington. For instance, walking into the Terrell Building across from the Verizon Center, the first thing you notice is the lifelike Greek statue in the center of the hall. But upon closer inspection, you realize this is no statue. It’s a real man–the kind you see on the boardwalk, in which he will only move if you drop money in his hat. (So, you see, it does pay off.)
The main room was swarming with restaurateurs who must make the crucial decision of adding Ruby Red to their inventories. (I would–and I didn’t even get a free bottle. Yet.) A spokesmodel (who looked an awful lot like Molly Sims) offered me a Summer Collins, which, it turns out, did not have vodka but Plymouth gin. It was a definite refresher on this humid and rain-soaked evening. (But I couldn’t help think of my freshman year in college, when I would try to order sophisticate cocktails and pass myself off as a 21-year-old. “I’ll have … a Tom Collins!” I would tell the bartender confidently. Despite moving on to such drinks as Scotch on the rocks and vodka-soda, my friends never fail to remind me of my manly past.) Props also go out to the caterers, who provided such hearty hors d’oeuvres as empanadas, crabcakes, and Beef Wellington.
As the rain subsided, we made our way to the tented rooftop and, thanks to $150 in fake cash, played our way through the Monte Carlo-themed casino. It figures that when it doesn’t count, the shooter at the craps table goes 30 minutes without hitting a 7. I must have walked away up $300. In between I did enjoy my favorite concoction of the night, Absolut and cranberry (and possibly tonic). “Funny,” I noted to the spokesmodel, “I thought Absolut Ruby Red would be more, well, red.” “Have you ever seen a real ruby red grapefruit?” she replied. “It’s not really red either.” Huh.
While the weather was stiflingly hot, the guests did not seem to mind, what with the even hotter tables (blackjack excluded), the “waitress” giving away free cigars, and a crowd that now included my good friend, Redskins runningback Clinton Portis. Before I left, I chatted away with my man Clinton*, who seemed to have a better time playing cards than I did. He was dressed modestly and wore tinted sunglasses (yes, when you are Clinton Portis, the sun shines on you 24 hours a day). He’s not a tall fellow but very stacked. Still, I think I can outrun him.
*Actual conversation with Clinton Portis:
Matus: (Shakes his hand.) I just want to say I’m a big fan and good luck next season.
Portis: Thanks a lot, man. I appreciate it.