“on the day of the wedding, [the maid of honour’s] principal duty is to provide practical and emotional support.” by some act of a benevolent god, i’ve managed to go 30 years with less than ten weddings attended, and without ever having to take on the responsibilities associated with a bridal party. however, lightning finally struck and it was go time as maid of honour, starting with a rehearsal dinner at il fornaio. i’ve hit up the seattle risotteria a few times for lunch, but sadly (as i’m no donald draper) have never had the opportunity to explore what the bar had to offer during the lunch hour. imagine my surprise when i walk past the bar and see a cartoonishly-oversized bottle of fernet at the service window! while all the other guests were sipping on the catered wine during dinner, i was busy rushing to the bar to feed my need for fernet. the following day, the wedding went off without a hitch, and while there was no fernet, there was happiness, tears, and more importantly, monkey dances set to the sounds of lady gaga.
to continue my bridesmaid weekend in the oc, i was delighted to receive an invite to my euro friend’s house for a designer shrimp party down in huntington beach. “designer shrimp” you ask? i first heard of these little buggers about five years ago, when my then manager was telling me about how he missed the shrimp he grew up eating in brussels and had finally found a distributor that could ship these north sea shrimp all the way from amsterdam to cali. when i get to his house with bottles of fernet and coke in hand, not only do i fall in love again with the ligne roset togo set, i also get scoffed at for bringing american coke (faux pas, for there is euro coke in the fridge). and the best part? he’s already got fernet stocked at the bar, though it’s a different brand than the branca im used to. luxardo is best known for their maraschino liqueur (distilled from the marasca, a sour cherry variety exclusively cultivated for luxardo), but evidently, they’ve also managed to dabble in the fernet market. i have to admit that knowing i was drinking something un-branca felt wrong, but in a pinch, it’ll do (with tomates crevettes, of course).
as mentioned in a previous post, an affinity to wedding-related rituals is not a genetic disposition with which i was born. you can imagine the day of reckoning back in september when i got the call informing me that i was going to be a bridesmaid. when november rolled around, i dusted off my big girl pants, tossed them in my suitcase and boarded the plane to the oc to fulfill my first official bridesmaid duty: dress shopping. luckily, marathon shopping is a skill that i have honed over the years, and the experience was more enjoyable than expected. after a productive day and a belly full of shabu-shabu, it was time for a well-deserved drink(s), so we headed down to mtv mecca, laguna beach. i was 0-1 when we stopped into a belgian bar that had no fernet (for shame, the euros should know better!), and was directed down the block. now, laguna has a reputation of surfers, tourists, and entitled trust fund babies, so imagine my surprise when i walked into this oak-y, dive bar-esque joint with nautical decor. however, a warm welcoming feeling came over me as i settled in for my first fernet; many hours, country songs, canadians, mullets, dances, and drinks later, i was ready to call the marine room my new home away from home. and to my dear bartender atticus, owner of the best name ever, im especially looking forward to an early christmas this year.