Madame Fifi (aka: my mother) and I ventured today to the opulent world of Palm Beach. We lunched at Renato’s, a charming place off Worth Avenue where ladies in large hats drank martinis and picked at their salads.
The interior was quite lovely…
…though I felt out of place in my gray sweater. Next time I’ll know to wear my white pants and turquoise blue Ralph Lauren shirt with white sweater tied around my neck.
Mother and I split a Caesar salad to start.
Then I had the Sea Bass on a bed of saffron rissoto:
Mother had the seared tuna with a sesame-seed crust:
Ladies continued to pour in with their hats and sunglasses. The Stephen Sondheim song “The Ladies Who Lunch” came to mind:
Here’s to the ladies who lunch
Lounging in their caftans and planning a brunch
on their own behalf.
Off to the gym
then to a fitting
claiming their fat.
And looking grim
’cause they’ve been sitting
choosing a hat.
Does anyone still wear a hat?
Apparently, yes. These hats were outrageous. Large turquoise bonnets with tiny birds around the brim. Our plates were taken away and the maitre’d came over and inquired as to why my mother was hatless.
“Madame Fifi,” he chided, “it is inappropriate to dine in Palm Beach without wearing a hat. We must ask you to leave.”
“Very well,” said mother, “but first we’d like some Tiramasu!”
The Tiramasu was brought, and we quickly chomped down.
“Come,” said mother, “let’s blow this joint.”
Outside, we resolved to Palm Beach ourselves. First, mother went hat-shopping:
Then jewellery shopping:
And I found a winning outfit to wear, our next time out:
We loaded into our car and drove away in shame. We took comfort in the conclusion of Sondheim’s song:
Here’s to the girls on the go,
Look into their eyes
and you’ll see what they know,
A toast to that invincible bunch
The dinosaurs surviving the crunch
Let’s hear it for the ladies who lunch
[Standing ovation, please.]