Saturday, November 8, 2008

Happy Birthday, Joaquin...oh hey, Johnny Iuzzini just showed up with cake

also, some changes forthcoming for Sasha Petraske's White Star at the end

Today, er, I mean yesterday, was the birthday of Death and Company's Joaquin Simo. It must be pretty gangsta to be Joaquin on his birthday because apparently Jean-Georges pastry chef Johnny Iuzzini will show up hand-delivering a fantastical confection he made for you.

(photo courtesy of Joaquin's lovely girlfriend Rhea Wong, via Joaquin's iPhone)

At the Marie Brizard competition Don Lee asked if I was coming to the b-day celebration at the Clover Club later in the evening. I wasn't sure if I was going to at first, but I when I finished things up at the office and saw that it was now 9:30 pm, I shrugged and hopped on the F train to Brooklyn.

When I got to the Clover Club I asked Giuseppe if Joaquin was in, and was told he was in the back bar with everyone else, just then John Deragon came out from back and I said hi. I went to the backroom and said hi to Don Lee, Daniel Eun, and then Richard Boccato showed up, and Alex Day, and even Sasha Petraske and, know what, I'm just going to stop here because I realized I should probably just name who wasn't there. It'll probably make this a much shorter paragraph. Joaquin knows how to throw a party. When Don told me "Everyone's going to be there," he was not joking.

The party was split between the front and back bars as more people arrived to wish Joaquin a happy birthday and the back space got crowded.

Johnny Iuzzini showed up with a cake he made for Joaquin as well as some pretty ouch looking sear marks from the Blue Blazer Mix-Off. Technically it was also for Jim Meehan whose birthday is on Monday as well as a lure to bring him out to Brooklyn, but hey, Joaquin's the one that got his name on the cake.

After singing happy birthday, the cake was divided amongst those gathered and I overheard Johnny describing the cake to John Deragon. I caught chocolate mousse, and raspberries, but then I distinctly heard "pop rocks."

"Oh, he's just messing with John," I thought as I took a bite of cake only to pause for a second and realize this really does have pop rocks on it. Deliciously ridiculous? Ridiculously delicious?

I got to talk to Sasha a bit about changes over at White Star. Due to customer demand and expectations he's switching it over to serving cocktails. It started off as a no cocktails place and Sasha wanted it to be a simple one-man behind the bar operation where people could come in without much fuss and just hang out without worrying about loud noise or music. The no cocktails rule was more like a, "no citrus" rule since you could wrangle the bartender into making you something that's stirred as well as being able to get a Bellini, but too many customers were expecting to get mixed drinks only to be disappointed. So Sasha decided to switch it up and is planning to make it more like a mini Little Branch.

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