Glitz in Smalltown

© 2008 Teri B. Clark All Rights Reserved

Writer's Note: This story was written for a writing prompt at Jays Writers World. Check it out!

I've been tasting my way through hot spot restaurants in the Southeast for what seems like my whole life. And today? Well, today I'm stuck in some backwoods town of North Carolina. I think it may be the armpit of the state, but folks around here seem to like it just fine.

Why here? Why the armpit of NC? According to anybody that is anybody, La Glitterati is the best up and coming restaurant, and it just so happens to be here. Why would anyone put a such a fine restaurant in a town with only 2 chain hotels, both of which are the budget variety? Oh, I have a few other choices, but somehow a motel sign with one letter blinking and two missing just isn't my style.

My editor got the tip. He wants to scoop our competitor so he sent me down quick as a flash. He's heard the muttered words 'five stars." Well, no amount of stars will fool me. If it is good, I'll know it. If it isn't, I'll know it and no amount of stars will change the fact.

Luckily, the big guy, my boss, knows someone from around here. He'll be showing me the town. Last night was a trip to the theater to see Ain't Misbehavin'. I have to say I was impressed. Such a little town with such big theater. Gave me hope that I might find something to eat that suits my style. But, of course, I didn't let a good night of theater sway me one way or another about the restaurant. No, it was going to have to stand on its own.

So, tonight, around 7, my escort John arrived. Handsome man. He's trying to look a bit too 'hip.' Like maybe he saw someone dressed that way in a fashion magazine and is trying to impress me. I don't think he saw me smile into my hand. I must admit that he has a gorgeous car. Convertible. Red. A car to be seen in. A car to be seen in when there is somewhere to be seen. And I'm here in nowhere....but somehow, nowhere seems like somewhere the longer I stay.

La Glitterati. The name says it all when it comes to ambiance. Nothing subtle here. Almost tacky. Almost. But not quite. It is like a single thread is what stands between La Glitterati and a flashing neon flamingo. It's glitzy. It's bright. It's got flash. And it makes me forget that I'm in smallville.

We are seated and I take a long look around. You can learn a lot about a restaurant by what and who you see. Well dressed. That is how I would describe the customers. Well dressed, yet stunning, and somewhat over the top. The ambiance was rubbing off on everyone. It is as though we all have some la glitterati of our own.

There is a slight ripple and the heads are turning. I strain to see, though I don't know that I would know what I was seeing if I saw it. Tall man, petite woman. Flash of a white smile. Hands shaking. A casual wave. Murmuring all around. And then he steps forward and I realize that I recognize that face. No lie, it's Sam Neill. What in the world would Sam Neill be doing here?

I turn to John and ask if he knows the new guest. He doesn't. So I tell him it is Sam Neill - the actor. He played in Dead Calm with Nicole Kidman. Way back. In 88 or 89. I ask him what he thinks Sam Neill is doing here. He hasn't been on screen much recently. But I know he owns a production company now and has an incredible winery in New Zealand. Yeah, ok. You guessed it. I really like the guy. I thought he was good....and good looking.

John reminds me that in another sleepy NC town not far away, a movie studio or two exists. And of course, NC is becoming known for its wineries. I guess Sam could be here for either reason. Or, maybe like me, he'd heard the food was good. I watched him a few more minutes. It seems that he knew everyone. I think he must be a regular.

No matter. Anyone can eat and anyone can eat at a bad restaurant. I will not let the flashy smile of Sam Neill keep me from my mission - a rating for La Glitterati.

It is time for the menu. I'm pleasantly surprised. With a name like La Glitterati, you might expect exotic dishes with names you can't pronounce and prices you can't afford - eventually finding food you don't want to eat. But not here. The menu has classics but with flare. Baked onion soup, but with Gruyere rather than mozzarella cheese. La Glitterati grilled chicken salad but with fire-roasted corn vinaigrette and asiago cheese crisps. You get the picture.

You'd think that as a restaurant columnist, I would take an appetizer. But I don't. I never do. I want to keep my eye on the prize. The main courses. Anyone can throw together a good appetizer and fill you up so you don't care as much about the main dish. So, for me, I go straight to the main course and see what they have to offer. I asked John to order something different so that I could sample his as well. He ordered the blackened catfish with sautéed spinach. I decided on tomato basil chicken with garlic mashed potatoes.

The waitress is good. Very efficient and hardly noticeable. Not a lot of small talk but friendly - very friendly. I've always felt it was a gift to appear friendly without injecting yourself into someone's meal. This was definitely a 5 star waitress. I watched the others weave in and out of the tables and was impressed as well. Smiling. Friendly. Available. Invisible unless needed.

I glanced over my shoulder. It seemed that even Sam Neill was able to get a meal without much ado. After the first ripple of awareness wore off, he and his date, wife?, were quietly talking and their waitress was as impressive as ours.

By now, John was watching me. I wondered if this is how the others here felt as I watched them - as if they were under a glass? Now it was my turn to make small talk and I'm not much good at it. I'm too blunt. Too forward. Definitely one explanation as to my marital status, but others could give you far better reasons.Thankfully the food arrived just before I placed my beautiful jeweled foot into my size 10 mouth! <

Presentation. Excellent. Beautiful. La Glitterati.

And then the first taste. Not too fast. Not too much. And I have to stop my mouth from dropping open. It is beyond delicious. I've eaten in the finest restaurants in the Southeast. I've even eaten in a few of the finest in the world. And this was beyond the best.

Incredible food. Exquisite ambiance. Fun people. La Glitterati has it all.

I just have two problems. Nowhere NC is growing on me and I only have 5 stars to give a 7 star restaurant.

© 2008 Teri B. Clark All Rights Reserved

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