We spent this past weekend in Savannah (“The Beautiful Lady with the Dirty Face”) visiting the Mistress of Sarcasm, accompanied by our friends Gary and JoAnn. The weather was dead solid perfect – cool, sunny, with low humidity – not all that common for Savannah, in our experience, but an extra treat.
Gary and JoAnn, owing to the passing of JoAnn’s mother, had missed the chance to visit Savannah during the Mistress’s graduation weekend back in May, so this was a chance to reacquaint them with the city: neither of them had spent any time there in the last 15 years or so.
When I was booking the hotel accommodations, I saw that most of our usual venues were unavailable. It turns out that Savannah was the focus of a “Perfect Storm” of events that packed the town with visitors:
- The Florida-Georgia game was being held just a couple of hours down the ’pike in Jacksonville, which meant that Savannah was a good stopping point for the hordes of people driving in from Atlanta.
- Savannah State University was having its Homecoming weekend, complete with parade on Broughton Street. It almost felt like the entire Homecoming celebration was centered at our hotel, given the packed conditions each morning at the “Scoop Your Own Cereal, Bake Your Own Honkin’ Big Waffle” breakfast buffet.
- And there was the Savannah Film Festival, a Big-Deal Event put on by SCAD, the Mistress’s alma mater.
Neighbor, the Mistress’s new Animal Companion, was unfortunately not at home. She had taken ill with some sort of Mysterious Kitty Affliction that necessitated a weekend stay at the local Animal Hospital. The good news was, she was well enough by Saturday morning to receive visitors, so we all had a chance to bond with this latest addition to Clan Elisson. Of course, she took a shine to me right away...
Elisson and Neighbor get acquainted.
Thanks in part to her new position as concierge at one of the tonier bed-and-breakfasts in town, the Mistress now knows where all the good restaurants are. We enjoyed Serious Dinners on both Friday and Saturday nights, the first at aVida Restaurant and Wine Bar on Broughton, the second just a few doors down from there at Gottlieb’s.
The Mistress’s workplace.
Both dinners were excellent, but the one at Gottlieb’s really stood out, with both food and service hitting a level we had not previously seen in Savannah. And, thanks to the Film Festival, there were some interesting personages dining scant feet away. The party of seventeen at the next table included Sidney Lumet (with credits that include Fail-Safe and Dog Day Afternoon, he had just come from the Festival where he received a Lifetime Achievement Award for directing); James Franco (late of the Spider-Man movies and a TV-movie portrayal of James Dean); and someone who looked suspiciously like Griffin Dunne (American Werewolf in London). The fellow running the show was legendary publicist Bobby Zarem, who had, earlier in the week, struck up a friendship with the Mistress’s boyfriend Mickey...and who, seeing Mickey with us, had come over to our table to be introduced to all of us. Zarem, who bears a vague resemblance to my Minyan Boyz buddy Irwin, was the (partial) inspiration for the character Al Pacino played in People I Know, and has played himself on a “Law and Order” episode (!)
Not every meal we had was a Fancy-Pants meal, of course. One of the nicest lunches we’ve enjoyed in a long time was at Back in the Day Bakery, a little place a couple of blocks from Chez Mistress that serves a killer chicken curry sandwich, hand-made marshmallows, and the densest, most evil chocolate brownie I have ever set teeth to. Oh, and did I mention Nanner Puddin’?
As if all this were not enough, there was a Jewish Food Festival on Sunday at Forsyth Park. One last chance to stuff our faces before heading home, it afforded an excellent opportunity to introduce some of the Mistress’s friends to the delights of blintzes, stuffed cabbage, and similar goodies.
It was tough to say goodbye to our little girl Sunday afternoon, but with Thanksgiving week rapidly approaching, we’ll be seeing her again soon (kenahora).