Sunday, February 6, 2011

High Society

Here's a multiple-choice quiz for you.

Would you rather?
a) Get a root canal
b) Prepare your income taxes
c) Sit through a spring baseball game in the Panhandle, where on any given day, the temperature can be between 25 and 95, but the wind is sure to blow 40 mph.
d) Rub shoulders with the upper crust at the Symphony Ball

OK, that probably wasn't fair, but I can't say that I was really looking forward to the event where Amarillo's favorite sons and daughters are "presented" as Symphony Belles and Beaux.

Hart's mom, Vicki, presents him at the Symphony Ball.
But my son, Hart, was a beaux, and my mom paid for the outrageous tickets, and she was sick and couldn't make it, and I really needed to be there to support my son, even if he said he didn't care one way or another, and ... so I went.

Now, I knew that all the beaux would be in tuxes, but I thought it would be a little pretentious for me to wear mine, so I left it hanging in the closet, opting instead for a navy blue suit, only to find that I wasn't thinking pretentiously enough. I was one of the few men there not wearing a tux; although, with today's styles, it's sometimes hard to tell a tux from a suit.

It's kind of weird to feel underdressed when you're wearing a suit and tie, but c'est la vie. Since I figure I won't have to attend another Symphony Ball until perhaps my grandson or granddaughter participates, I have a long time to live down that faux pas.As is often the case when you're dreading something, it turns out to be not as bad as you feared. In fact, I actually had a pretty good time. Saw some friends I hadn't seen in awhile, spent time talking with my son's stepfather, Rohn, who's a great guy, and sat next to a delightful young woman who works part-time as a Jager girl — OK, she's not actually a Jager girl, she's a promo girl. She works for a company that sends attractive women out to clubs and bars to pass out samples of whatever liquor they are promoting. Turns out we know some of the same people - go figure.

Anyway, the organizers went all out for Amarillo's high society. The theme for the evening was Enchanted Evening in the South Pacific, and the tables were adorned with LED-lit bird of paradise arrangements that were pretty impressive. There were "native" (meaning West Texas) island girls to greet you when you entered, and you could even get lei'd if you wanted to accentuate your tux or formal gown with a flowery arrangement.

The Ambassador Hotel catered the event and put together an unusually creative menu (for an Amarillo event anyway). I didn't sample any of the appetizers, but the Spring Greens Topped with Papaya, Asian Pears and a Ginger Sesame Vinaigrette coupled with a Chilled Lobster Salad started the meal off with promise.

The entree fell a little short of that promise.

The Fire-Grilled Tenderloin topped with Lemon-Grass Plum Sauce was overcooked for my tastes, and the sauce was pretty bland. The Roasted Miso Sweet Potatoes were good, but the Lemon and Sea Salt Asparagus was undercooked slightly. The two Coconut Macadamia Shrimp were quite tasty. I could have eaten about 15 more of those babies, but then I would have looked like that guy in the Tony Sinclair Tanqueray commercial who didn't understand the concept of moderation when it comes to eating shrimp at a party.

Note to the Ambassador: Next year, get Rohn to cook the tenderloin.

We capped off the meal with a suitably tropical dessert of Toasted Sesame Seed and Coconut Banana Fritters with Coconut Créme Anglais, Tropical Mango Mousse, Mango Coulis and Almond Pizzelle. It presented nicely, especially with the orchid adornment.

I bowed out after dinner, leaving Amarillo's fortunate ones to dance the night away and bid on the live auction grand prize of a trip to Tahiti, including airfare, transfers, and a 5-night stay in an overwater bungalow at The InterContinental Tahiti Resort!

That would actually be a dream-come-true vacation for Jami and me and something to blog about for years to come, but I was pretty sure that since my family didn't arrive in Amarillo via covered wagon, nor did I have "Dr." in front my name, I didn't have a snowball's chance in Tahiti of getting on top of that auction.

So, faced with the same options again, I'd definitely take the Symphony Ball over a root canal and preparing my income tax, and I hate to say it, Jordie, but spring baseball in the Panhandle sucks, so I'm going to have to go with the Symphony Ball.

The pomp and circumstance may be a little over the top, but it's nice to get dressed up every once in awhile and act like a civilized society. Next time, though, I'll wear the tux.

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