Not on Top: Learning to Lose

Chuck always says to us, “Ladies, you have to lose in order to really appreciate the good.” This was one of those losing times for the UG girls. Here’s a recap of lunch at The Jonathan Club Beach and our entry for this year’s Tabletop Shootout.

It is without fail that every time we visit the JC Beach, Chef Benjamin always prepares a memorable meal for the UG girls. To throw a little surprise twist to the story, I met Chuck there on time. Anyone that knows me knows that on time for Josie usually means 15 minutes late, but this time I was early. Chuck summoned me in to the facilities and I got a private tour of the kitchen, which Chef Ben uses to experiment on us with new flavor combinations that never fail.


As always the meal started off with the JC’s famous zucchini muffins, bread, madeleines and, of course, fresh butter. From there we moved on to the first course which consisted of baby beets on top of heirloom tomatoes and two neat formation packets of coagulated yogurt and cranberry goat cheese served with a beet vinaigrette. The first course was light and airy. If any heaviness, whatsoever, could be identified it came from inherent qualities of the goat cheese and yogurt which delicately teetered on masterful. For the second course heaviness exploded, but only in that good way that can only be fully appreciated when you only have a few bites to savour and the fullness doesn’t leave you over satiated but rather, longing for more. We had a small piece of  veal osso bucco over polenta which was paired with a single wagyu beef ravioli over braised carrots. Beyond that, I, Josie did not get to try any of the desserts because this is where the plot was foiled. Apparently, our competition at our next stop, The Girari Tabletop Shootout, was not what we expected and our partner there said we would need more time than we anticipated. We were nervous! I left lunch early to assure our victory (maybe not so much victory). I heard that the girls at lunch: Dawson aka Miss SauceLA and Carina helped themselves to chai creme brulee and an assorted berry Bavarian cream florentine. The Jonathan Club Beach and Chef Benjamin delivered just like they have on our previous visits.

The Verdict:

Food: Thumbs-up

Service: Thumbs-up

Character: Thumbs-up

Ambiance: Thumbs-up

Uncertain of how to pull all of it together, I arrived panicked only to find out our team mate had already left because she was too embarrassed and didn’t want us to embarrass ourselves. We thought defeat without trying was more embarrassing, so we forged on. We decided to go ad hoc decorating and put together what you above. Constructed with less than $40, we used paper, paint, Taco Bell sporks, and recycled paper cups to build our display.  We aptly positioned it as an Andy Warhol inspiration and which we topped with what else, Campbell’s Soup and the new coke bottles. Much like Warol changed the way people saw art, we wanted to change the way people perceived the dining table experience. We wanted the people sitting at the table to be challenged and stimulated. We also find it necessary to mix high brow and low brow food and bring it to the masses.

The evening was great. We got to munch on snacks, drink fancy lattes, and mingle with some very talented party planners. Were the other designs better? The other designs were more traditional and showy and it was definitely apparent that we were by far the most “avant garde” competitor, but we were proud of our design because it fully encapsulated us as a young, modern, and uncouth brand. To some people the other pieces might’ve been better, but we were by no means, embarrased with anything we produced. If anything, we would’ve been embarrassed to produce something that didn’t fully represent us. This was us!

So I suppose it was one of those losing nights for these girls. We left the Luxe Hotel with a mix of emotions. We were happy, sad, disappointed, and proud all at once. Our lawyer once told us that we were the most persistent and relentless girls he’d ever met. With that said, the UG journey continues. That is, one meal at a time.


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