Wednesday, January 09, 2008

My first vendor meeting

I had a vendor meeting on Monday. It was a delayed holiday party, basically, to thank us for using them as a supplier, and just to chat and socialize and schmooze (not in a bad way). I was afraid I was going to feel left out, figuring there would be much business and work talk, and I don't know enough about the process yet to really be able to participate. Imagine my surprise when we spent over 2 hours at a table with my three teammates and two vendor representatives, and we didn't *not once* talk about work. We talked about pretty much everything else, but not work. It was really great for me because it gave me a chance to learn about my coworkers and to get to know our vendor counterparts on a more personal level. Only as we were leaving did my coworkers take just a few minutes to follow up on a couple of issues that had been raised on a call that morning. 15 minutes max, that was all of the work talk. It was great!

And the food was awesome. We ate at The Capital Grille, which I have heard of but had never eaten there before. Apparently, it is a chain (I didn't know that at the time), and it is rather swanky. One of those places where they swap out the white napkins for black based on the color of your pants so it doesn't leave lint. (I didn't even know places did that until speaking with a friend who ate there a few years ago!) The interior of the one here is designed to look like and old library or smoking lounge from the early 1900s. Lots of dark wood and leather, several mounted animal heads, and a stock ticker in the lounge. Very clean lines, no fancy carvings or anything. I felt like I was at "the old boys' club," being one of the few women involved, but I'm used to it and didn't feel out of place at all. I had to buy some new clothes for the event (all of my business wear is in pre-pregnancy sizes), but with some guidance from my boss (a woman I've known for nearly 10 years now), I fit right in.

Part of the reason I had never eaten there is because it is so expensive. They are known for their steaks and seafood, apparently, and it was way yummy, don't get me wrong. Definitely better than Longhorn (our current steak restaurant of choice). BUT, we could eat at Longhorn 3 times for what one visit to The Capital Grille would cost. And DH isn't really a steak guy (I am the red meat eater in the family), so the experience would probably be lost on him to a certain extent. We were able to select from a limited menu, but it was just fine. I was afraid I was going to be "odd man out" again, since wine selections were also available, but no one at my table had any (other tables did), so I didn't have to feel odd declining. That was nice for a change! The appetizer was calamari, which I don't care for to start with, and I still could not have eaten it even if I did because it was made with spicy peppers. I munched on a roll from the bread basket instead, but it was very very good. The salad was a nice mix of greens with a parmesean vinaigrette dressing. Some of the greens were a bit spicy for my taste, but it was a nice change from the usual iceberg or romaine lettuce. Five of us ordered the filet and one got the salmon. It did amuse me that all of the men had their steaks medium-well or well done. My boss and me? Medium-rare, thanks! My filet cut like butter, though, and required no seasoning of any kind, not even salt. (Salt is usually my only "steak sauce.") It really was fantastic. Still not sure I could bring myself to pay $35 for it on my own. If $35 bought me my meal (steak, salad, bread, sides), then maybe it would be worth it for a special occasion (like my 10th anniversary?), but that was just for the hunk of meat; salad, sides, etc. all extra. Thank goodness I didn't know what it cost when I was there! Sheesh. We got small serving dishes of sides to pass around and share family style. The green beans were pretty good, and the mashed potatoes were beyond exceptional. No idea what they did to them (I probably don't want to know how much butter was in them), but wow! Due to both personal preference and dietary restrictions (for kidney stones), I did not try the creamed spinach, but everyone else raved about it.

Dessert was a first for me. Our choices were Flourless Chocolate Espresso Cake, Key Lime Pie (which looked more like cheesecake to me, the daughter of a Key Lime Pie connoisseur), and Creme Brulee (yes I know I'm missing all those little accent thingies, sorry). Yes, ladies and gentlemen, I turned down the chocolate option for two reason: 1) I don't care for things flavored with coffee, not ice cream, not tiramisu, nothing. I just don't like it, flourless chocolate cake not withstanding. 2) I have never ever had Creme Brulee. I've heard lots of folks rave about it and all, but I've never actually tasted it before. I was concerned, since I know it is a custard (which I don't usually care for), but everyone goes on and on so about it, I just had to try it. And it did not disappoint. It was a little too noisy in the restaurant to hear the legendary crunch sound as you tap through the toasted sugar layer, but it was very smooth and creamy and light, not too firm or "eggy." Quite sweet, but not overly so, and lots and lots of vanilla. So much, in fact, that I was 5-6 bites into it before I figured out what all the little black specks in the bottom of the bowl were. It was covered in black specks! Yum yum yum. Another successful new food in my repertoire.

So, my first vendor meeting was quite a success. I didn't feel lost or left out, I got to know some new people, including my teammates (I'll try to forgive D for being such a huge Georgia fan), the food was excellent, I got to eat at a new ritzy restaurant and try a new food, all while getting paid and not spending a dime. All in all, quite the amazingly good day!

Currently feeling: yummy!


  1. Mmmm...creme brulee.... I even have the kitchen torch required to make it. ;)

  2. Hooray for creme's actually quite easy to make, even without the torch (use your broiler). Eric and I went to Capital Grille one time, I think for his birthday - it was the old boysiest place I've ever been. We thought we were about the only ones there NOT on a business expense account! It was very good - but if I was spending my own money, in Atlanta I'd rather go to Floataway Cafe or the Fish Market. MMMMMM....

  3. Erin, I can't believe you've never had creme brulee! It's one of my favorite desserts ever! :) Glad you were able to experience it finally.

  4. I love creme brulee. The best one I had was at a German restaurant in Gardiner, NY. They served Lavender Creme Brulee. The lavender was subtle but amazing. I'm glad you enjoyed yours. :)


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