Saturday, July 22

N.Y.'s oldest bartender tells drinking stories continued

Still working at age 90

Wong's birthday is Wednesday but the Algonquin is getting a jump on the festivities by holding a party for some 350 of his friends and admirers on Tuesday in the hotel's Oak Room.

"I didn't expect it," Wong said during an interview Monday at the hotel, surrounded by Al Hirschfeld drawings of some of the same celebrities he used to mix drinks for.

Wong is not old enough to have been at the Algonquin during its Jazz Age heyday, when Dorothy Parker, Harold Ross and the rest of the Round Table gang traded quips over a liquid lunch.

But he is a link to New York's past, when a martini cost a dollar and a shot of Scotch was 75 cents.

Wong is slight of build and looks much younger than 90. His eyes twinkled as he reminisced about a life that took him from his birthplace of Hong Kong to San Francisco in 1940 and New York in 1942.

He served in the U.S. Army Air Forces from 1943 to 1946 and was stationed in India and China. Among his cherished mementos is a menu from Thanksgiving Day 1945, when he was a mess sergeant in Canton. The bill of fare included roast capon, candied yams and "Corn O'Brien."

Wong himself has not had a drink since he had a heart attack in 1982 and does not miss it.

Duke liked his drink, ordered a second one

His daily routine would tax the energy of a man half his age.

Up at 5:30 a.m., he goes for a walk around the block, then goes back to sleep until 12:30 p.m. After lunch and another nap it is off to work at 3:15 p.m.

He spends his shift on his feet, sometimes manning the bar solo.

"He goes nonstop regardless of the business flow," Liles said. "He never gets behind."

He likes to mix classic drinks but if a customer orders a cocktail he is not familiar with, he asks what is in it and does his best to make one.

And if a customer does not like his drink? "Change it for them. They're spending their money," he said.

Wong credits his longevity to healthy living and a relaxed attitude.

"It doesn't matter what happens," he said. "Turn around, I can forget it."

Not that his life has been without pain. His 56-year-old daughter, the oldest of his four children, was injured and has been comatose for two years. "Six months later, my wife cannot stand it," he said. "She passed away."

But happy memories outweigh sorrows.

"I feel very lucky," Wong said. "I met a lot of nice people, even in the service. All of my commanding officers, they were very nice to me."

His proudest moment came in 1961 when he mixed a drink for the Duke of Windsor. "He said he wanted a House of Lords martini in and out on toast."

The wait captain was prepared to send Wong into the kitchen for a piece of toast, but Wong knew the duke wanted a martini with a lemon twist ignited with a match.

"After he drink, he liked it," he said. "And he had a second one."


Friday, July 21

Tired of Celebrity Gossip?

Have you ever wished you could see the world from a celebrity's point of view? Now you can! Celebhead literally puts you in the head of your favorite pop culture icons so you can see how the world looks to them...or how we think it looks!...

Have a great weekend! And remember, there is no shame in loving gossip! It's mindless and entertaining.

I Knew It Was You Jack!

I insisted I saw Jack himself in the flesh while I was in St. Tropez, but my friends said it was not him. A few days later pictures surfaced of him in St. Tropez. I truly believe it was him and he was standing right next to me! I even said hello but then I was hastily pulled away to dance in the champagne spray (thanks guys!). It was the same day as the photo below with all the bottles of champagne, so I did think it was just an illusion. If you ever see this Jack, I didn't mean to walk away mid sentence! I'm a huge fan!

Back to Tip or Tat home click HERE.

Thursday, July 20

Oh Ashlee! At Least There Was P.I.N.K

I attended the Ashlee Simpson Pink for Victoria's Secret party last evening. Yes, but it is only because I heard there was a bar. Anyways, I have to admit that I was rather looking forward to hearing Ms. Simpson sing even though all of my friends were opposed. I should have not been so optimistic. She sang three songs that were quite frankly, not so good. Always trying to make the best out of a bad situation, I must comment on the other aspects of the party. Everything was so pink, and I loved it! The carpet, lighting and even the vodka! Well, the vodka wasn't pink in color, but it was my new favorite liquor called p.i.n.k vodka! That definitely made the night a lot smoother! I got some fun swag and even got to lay eyes on Jesse Metcalfe. There were also a lot of male models there as well (if you into that type of thing). The bartenders were dressed in all white and aviator glasses which reverted me back to my days in St. Tropez. Final word is that a bar is key in all situations.

Wednesday, July 19

How a NYC Waitress Knows it's Summer PART 4

1) Guest: "Excuse moi, Excuse moi (within a second of sitting down and sometimes followed by a snap or wave)...uh, drinks?"
2) Campari soda
3) Guest: "Are those numbers next to the drinks the ounces?" Waitress: "No, sir, they are the prices." Guest: "Thanks..just give us a few minutes." (The guests secretly sneak out the back door).
4) Setting: cool summer night, raining (pouring actually) at an outdoor bar. Waitress: "Um, we are actually closing due to weather." Guest: "What do you mean?...It's beautiful and where else can we have campari and soda and smoke?"
5) Setting: Busy Saturday night club. Two guests push their way to the bar. Guest: "Espresso?"
6) Campari and orange juice
7) This is what your check looks like:

4 Campari
2 Gin Tonic
Bottle of Champagne

Amount: Yes, it is expensive, but you are in New York
Tip: blank....
Total: same as amount..thanks

8) Waitress: "Sir, you must put your shirt back on." Guest: "But it is so darn hot here, and I ain't got anymore clothes left at my hotel."
9) Guest: "Could you also bring us 12 tap waters with lemon with our drinks too?...Actually just cancel the cocktails...the water will be great!"
10) Guest: "You're so come to Paris to see me, yes?" Waitress: "No" Guest: "You're so funny! You come to Paris. It will be good. Yes?" Waitress: "No" Guest: "I send you plane ticket. You come to Paris."
11) Guest: "Miss, do you have a cigarette?" Waitress: "No, I don't" Guest: "Will you go bum one for me?" Waitress: "Well, I guess...let me go check." Waitress returns with a cigarette that she painfully had to bum off of another guest...she hands to the guest. Guest: "We actually need a few more....could you go run out and buy us a pack...I'll give you a dollar."
12) Guest: "Do you have any nuts, nibbles or anything?" Waitress: "No, nothing. Just cocktails." Guest: "No bread, pretzels..nothing???" Waitress: "No, so sorry." Guest: "That is ridiculous, just so awful...(blah blah mean rants and server insults, blah blah)."

Can I Take Your Order?

So I was sitting around with a few friends last night discussing some stereotypes of drinks, food and what makes a bad date. Here are some tidbits from the conversation:

If someone orders a Long Island Ice Tea what do you think? Waitresses agree that this screams underage. The men in the group think that if a woman orders this, she may be easy.

Sour Apple Martini? We ALL agree that this has many stereotypes. The Europeans in the group are more excepting of this order (figures).

What if a date orders a glass of champagne at an Irish pub? All in agreement, we think think is annoying. The guys insist it is SO much hotter to see a girl drink beer out of a bottle (figures again).

If a man orders a well done steak on a date, it might be grounds for the girl to get up and leave. Period.

Guys aren't sure what they think about dating a vegan. On one hand, it complicates the relationship. On the other, she is a cheaper dinner date and hopefully instead consumes more alcohol.

Tuesday, July 18

Waitress Follies

Some funny ways costumers have pronounced drinks:

Customer pronunciation: clickie veuvy (real pronunciation: Veuve Cliquot)
Customer pronunciation: mogito (real pronunciation: Mojito)
Customer pronunciation: gimmet (real pronunciation: Gimlet)

So That is Why Pam and Kid Were Celebrating!

Pam Anderson and Kid Rock to wed! As I said in a previous post, I heard Pam was in St. Tropez when I was there. I'm so sad I couldn't personally congratulate her! Still waiting to hear if my friends hung out with her the evening that I went to bed. I do know that Victoria Silvstedt was sure to congratulate them!

Only Celebrity Sighting in St. Tropez

The only sighting I had while in St. Tropez was of model/actress Victoria Silvstedt. She looked great and was going to head out to meet Pam Anderson and Kid Rock at club Les Caves later in the evening. I unfortunately did not make it out Saturday night to see them, but I hope to have word from my friends that did soon.

Monday, July 17

Back to Reality

So I just arrived back home from my European Vacation. As you can see from this photos, it was probably necessary. The last day I witnessed more consumption of champagne than I thought was possible. Don't worry I didn't drink all of it. You see, in St. Tropez not many do, it is mostly used for spraying. I know, I know. It is wasteful. But as one friend on the trip described it, it was the best day ever! What I really wish was that I was bartender on this day. I'm sure it was a great payday.