August 4, 2004

Matt, Faux-Matt and the Swantata

While in New York, I went to this brunching spot called Norma’s to meet up with my friend Matt and blow my eldest child’s college fund on a one thousand dollar egg frittata. YES. They really have it on the menu.
NO. OF COURSE I did not really order it. If I had a thousand dollars lying around I would NOT spend it on BREAKFAST! Especially not in NEW YORK which has SO MANY WORTHY SHOE STORES. Anyway.

I went to meet Matt. Matt tops six feet and has dark hair and dark eyes. He’s a bit of a hottie, but not in a clothes-horse way. He’s your basic GUY, you know? A khaki pants and a Yankee’s hat kind of guy. You can’t IMAGINE him in a Pierre Cardin yachting jacket and a monocle.

So I haven’t seen him in a while and I head to Norma’s to meet him, and as I am walking up the stairs toward the front door, this man comes down the stairs toward me, grinning, clearly delighted to see me, already holding out one hand to clasp mine warmly and pump it solemnly up and down. The light is behind him, but I can see he is the right height, dark hair….similar facial features…but…but….

I am looking at a three hundred dollar hair-do on top. Below, I spy freakin’ VINTAGE RAT PACKER WINGTIPS. And…heaven help me! A TIE. In the months since last we met, my friend Matt has apparently been killed by the Queer Eye guys and replaced with a fashion conscious Matt-esque robot with a pointier nose. I pump his hand warmly and solemnly back and say, “Um hi. Hi.”

Wait a second. A MUCH pointier nose. And Matt has become NARROWER in his shoulders. He has clearly had shoulder reduction and is now shaped more like a cigarette than a carrot. And he has bleached out his skin a shade lighter and he has PIERCED A HOLE IN HIS FACE AND PUT A RING IN IT! IN HIS FACE!

“Where do we want to sit,” croons Matt to me, still warmly clasping my hand. “Are we dining alone?” I boggle for a second longer and then the switch that powers my brain apparently flips to the ON position and I realize that this is NOT Matt. It is Faux-Matt and he is the HOST. He is trying to SEAT me in a very personal, hand-clasping, warm-to-the-point-of-being-moist bizarro way. And I could have at that point carried it off but instead I got the giggles and laughed until I started snorking which made me giggle more until I had to let go of his hand and lean against the wall. “I am SO Sorry,” I said. “SO SO. SORRY. I thought you were my friend MATT. I just couldn’t figure out…*giggle* you looked different but…*snork* not…*giggle snork*”

He hovered near me, radiating concern and interest for the nice crack-smoker who was making pig snork giggle noises and choking for air in his entryway. Finally I got myself under control and crept back down the stairs to the lobby, mumbling, “I’ll wait for Actual Matt out here.”

SO Matt shows up, and I tell him all this as we hide out by the poufy chairs in the lobby until Faux Matt steps away from the podium and then we DASH up to get seated by the NON-Mattish Replacement Host. NMRP seats us in the normal brisk manner, with no clasping and without employing the nursely “we.” It’s a little disappointing.

So we sit down, we order, and Norma’s has that weird kind of brown coffee with the BLACK coffee that LURKS under the regular coffee so every time you set your cup down there is this SWIRL of evil darkness that catches your eye but by the time you flick your eyes down to LOOK at the coffee it has already subsided. It’s like drinking coffee that was directed by M. Night Shyamalan.

We are still at the amuse bouche smoothie stage when I notice that Faux-Matt is circling our table like a shark. Our eyes meet and Faux-Matt veers off and disappears into the kitchen. Lather. Rinse. Repeat. Every time I look around I catch Faux Matt zooming away. I cannot figure out what in God’s green meadows he is doing, and then it clicks. He is trying to get close enough to get a GOOD LOOK at REAL Matt to see if Real Matt a) looks anything like him (he does) and b) Is cute enough so that this is not mortally insulting. (He is. Real Matt is SO cute, in fact, that Faux Matt keeps circling and scoping out Real Matt LONG after point a) has been reasonably established. Which is SOMEWHAT DISCONCERTING for Real Matt, who is straight, and who finds that being cruised by his doppelganger while trying to catch a glimpse of the Something Evil in his coffee before it subsides is a little bit too WACKY for 8 am. I mean, the psychological ramifications!)

Then our meals come and Matt’s Huevos Rancheros have a completely inexplicable SWAN SHAPED FRITTATA thing sticking up a good foot into the air. The Swantata is POINKY and BOLD and I am DYING for him to eat it, but he refused to oblige me. He insisted it was GARNISH. It wasn’t though. I mean who ever heard of 11 inch FRIED garnish. WITH A BEAK. But Alas, he wouldn’t even TASTE it. It was too frou-frou for a Yankees cap guy who reached his maximum weirdness capacity about one cruise-run-by-a-look-alike ago.

Other than the sadly untasted Swantata and the disconcerting coffee, I have to give the food at Norma’s a solid nine. I had some sort of variation on benedict that was worth the 9 zillion calories. If you go (and you should) try to time it so the tall, dark guy with the really good hair cut seats you. If he does, do a little double take and say “MATT? Is that YOU?” I dare you.

Posted by joshilyn at August 4, 2004 7:52 AM

Want to make the now famous "Zillion Dollar Frittata" for the kids before school? Here's the recipe:

Personally, I'm sticking with oatmeal.

Posted by: Mr. Husband at August 4, 2004 11:22 AM

Hey, that sounds like reason enough to go to New York to ME! I could take the boys and teach them to cling to Faux-Matt's legs, crying, "oH Matt, it's you, it's really you!"
And now you see one reason I really should NOT be the one in charge of my children's education. I'm simply not above using my kids for a laugh.

Posted by: Kira at August 4, 2004 5:19 PM

If you remember correctly I said I would be more than happy to taste The Swantata if you tasted your mossy patch of garnish. You respectfully declined on the offer, so the 3 oil saturated Chinese noodles..err.. I mean The Swantata was pushed to the side.

Posted by: Not Faux Matt at August 5, 2004 8:12 AM

Interesting thoughts, just wanted to mention I came from blogspot.

Posted by: Twinks at September 22, 2004 10:54 PM