The social highlight of any trip to Welly World is usually a Sunday night visit to The Player’s Club, where a melting pot of polo, dressage, jumper and hunter folk mingle with horny non-horsey fellas from the neighbourhood and pretend it’s Saturday night. In keeping with the slightly askew nature of Welly World, Monday really is Sunday to just about everyone except the poor souls who open up shop on Mondays at Starbucks and Panera in order to serve coffee to multitudes of hung over grooms.
It’s never the same zoo twice at Player’s, and this time my visit got off to a lousy start, thanks to the restaurant staff. Because we were a bit late for our 8 pm reservation – there is just no eating there without a rez on a Sunday unless you are sufficiently famous or agressive – my friend and social planner Jenn Ward called to let them know we were still coming to occupy the table of 5 she had booked. A friendly ‘no worries’ reply did nothing to prepare us for the reception we got from the emerald-clad ice queen who greeted us on arrival. A manager of some sorts, the woman chastised us, told us we would have to wait for a free table, and sent us packing to the bar. I’ve never been dressed down by someone whose job is to separate me from a sizeable sum of money for a meal. If we weren’t so keen on the after-dinner entertainment, I would have turned around and driven straight to Kontiki, a charming little eatery that has become the place to be seen eating Asian fusion food in Welly World (where the service is almost cloyingly attentive, and a certain gold medal show jumper can be seen dining with friends nearly every night). We persevered, hung out in the bar for, oh, long enough for someone to have come in after us and finished their meal. I think we finally received dinner at 10:30 – two hours after arriving. In fact, we ate so late that we were the last table to push back our chairs and waddle out to the patio.
My story about the resto at Player’s would end there if it weren’t for the awful service and at-best indifferent offerings on both wine list and menu. The wine list was strange, small, and as I discovered – not exactly up-to-date. The waitress looked like the type of gal who preferred body shots to a fine glass of Cabernet, and I had to point out the bottle I wanted because saying it drew a blank stare. She returned quickly to say ‘we don’t have that one any more’ so we settled for something else that is now on my ‘only if there is nothing else in the house and I’ve had a really bad day’ wine list. The food – well, suffice it to say I hope I never spend that much to eat food of that calibre again. Our friends Angela and Mike were both punished for their hankerings, including a charge of $19 to put the prawns on Mike’s dish that Angela asked not to be placed on hers. As a final insult to our sufferings, the waitress sought me out in a mild panic after we had already moved out to the party because she had made an error when splitting our bill and undercharged us. I handed over my credit card, and when the waitress returned with my receipt she informed me she had added a second tip in the amount that I had left on the first bill I paid. By then I was so sick of the whole affair I couldn’t be bothered insisting she remove it.
Lesson to self and anyone else thinking of a visit to Player’s: eat somewhere else before you go to party there.
The party was a bit subdued, though there was a flock of extremely delicious looking Argentinian polo players to stare at, which helped us get over our dining tribulations. We talked to one young man who fit into the category of ‘horny non horsey fella’. I wish I had taken a photo of him because his hair was extraordinary. We nicknamed him ‘bird’s nest’. We departed at the respectable hour of 1 am, since my friend Anicka from Boston had to be at the airport for 5 am. I spent Monday feeling as though I had enjoyed Sunday night a lot more than I in fact did.
Everyone thinks I’m certifiably insane for not staying in FL for the Master’s this weekend, but I had a previous commitment here in Seattle that prevented me from watching the latest battle of the dressage titans. I’m saving myself for WEG.
On a more northerly note, a fundraiser was held for one of our Canuck WEG dressage hopefuls, Sharon Merkel-Beattie in the deep freeze of January – but in a heated indoor of course. I put together a little music program for Sharon’s student Kenton and his 7 hand mini, Choklit. The performance was a great success, with most of the audience reportedly laughing until they cried. Kenton and Choklit have now been asked to perform at a children’s cancer benefit. Move over Cavalia. Have a look at this youtube video if you need to put a smile on your face: