Do You Know Who This Is? We just rubbed elbows!

If you guessed Bono from U2 - you're correct, that's Bono. But no, I didn't see him.

If you guessed the fabulous Gweneth Paltrow, then you're correct again. But no, I didn't see her either.

See the heavy set red headed guy? Do you know who that is? It's MARIO BATALI! World renowned chef and host of his own TV on the Food Network in the US. Yes - I saw him, and it was a shock. Big apologies to my international friends that have no idea who I'm talking about. For your reading enjoyment, you can substitute 'Jamie Oliver' wherever you see the name 'Mario Batali'.

A couple of days ago Mr. C and I have a lunch at a place called SALUMI in downtown Seattle. I've always wanted to go, but the hours are so weird limited, that it has never worked out. This hole-in-the-wall restaurant is owned by Mario Batali's parents (err....sister, or some random family member).

I adored the napkin caddy in the front window. The vintage knob in the front makes it unique. Such a clever idea!

Once inside there was meat hanging in a cooler with a glass panel. The walls are lined with family photos, and of course photos of Mario are posted. Mr C. and I scoff that Mario probably never even sets foot inside this restaurant, and all of the photos were simply a marketing ploy.

When we finally get up to the counter to order, most of the entrees were sold out or had unfamiliar names. We settled on a meat/cheese/olive platter and were told there was a seat for us in the back (most people take theirs to-go since seating very limited).

The white stuff next to the olives is marinated onions. The meat was fantastic, but you can only eat so much of it and it got very greasy as it warmed to room temperature. 

So this is where the story gets good:
We're sitting alone in a closet back room (see photo above). The waiter comes in and tells us another party will be sitting in here in about 10 minutes (which is code for 'get the hell out'). The waiter then CLOSES the door on us (odd right?).

I finished my wine and started putting on my coat. Right then the door opens and MARIO BATALI walks in. He looked surprised to see us sitting there, and I'm sure we had our own dumb-founded looks going on. He gave us a quick nod and then walked through to the back office.

What the.....? OMG - that was Mario Batali?! No way.

We walk out and see camera crews coming through the front door. Of course I decided this was a good time to use the ladies room.

When I walk out of the ladies room, Mario Batali is filming in front of the main door. What do I do? I can't leave, and it doesn't feel right to go sit down. I'm kind of trapped....I instinctively grab my camera and take this crap-shot without being seen. Ok, now what?

I guess I'll just stand in the hallway and wait for him to finish. It's not as if I was going to ask him to move out of the way. But could you imagine that? Wouldn't that have been hysterical to walk up to the door and act irritated and say 'Excuuuussse me.......(with an irritated tone)'. Now that would be good tv!

So what happens next? 

Mario Batali backs up a bit, and now we're actually rubbing elbows. It doesn't even phase him - he just keeps talking. I'm not hearing a word he's saying, because now I'm in the film shot and I don't know what to do. Do I look at him? Do I pretend he's not there? Do I stay focused on the menu board? Do I walk away? OMG - what am I supposed to be doing right now?


I decided to go with the 'stare at the menu' on the wall option. My performance was SPECTACULAR emmy worthy, really. I ignored him so well, he didn't even acknowledge me at all. Wait. What? I think I should have received some sort of acknowledgment, right? We did rub elbows.


Overall MB looks exactly like he does on TV. Thank god he ditched the ugly orange crocs, but he did keep his signature vest/scarf combo on for authenticity. You'll never know who you'll run into and where.

Have you met any celebrities??? Do tell.


Angela said...

What a great story!! Such a random incident, I love it. I'd love to see whatever they were filming to look for you in the background staring at the menu haha

Sarah Pearson said...

I'm sorry I don't know this guy, but you made me laugh so much. The thought of you standing there pretending to read the menu whilst apparently not noticing some famous bloke at your elbow is just awesome :-)

Victoria said...

I would have love to have been there to see that.

My girlfriend and I were in the Bicycle Man Restaurant in LA. some 27 years ago, I was 8 months pregnant. And there was Carroll 'O Conner (All in the Family)and Jack Lemmon, then in walks Clarence William III (Mod Squad). My friend goes and talks to them, I don't because I don't know them. As Jack Lemmon was leaving he comes over and asks me what I was drinking, I tell him "coffee" (I think he wanted to be sure I was not drinking alcohol, being pregnant and all) He smiles, pats me on the shoulder and says, "well, you take care, kid" so sweet!"

Krista said...

No friggin way!!!! I would have wet myself!!!! That is so AMAZING!!!!!! I am super jealous!!!! WOW! I have wanted to try out Salumi too. The coolest famous person I ever met was Ice T and he wanted me to go to a tittie bar in TJ with him and I was like NO!!!!!
Glad to see you having so much fun!!!!

Miss K said...

that's a great story, how fun!

Bibi said...

Oh my what an awesome story! Haha, I wouldn't know what to do in your situation, I think you handled it spectacular!

Anonymous said...

OMG what an awesome story!

When we were in New Mexico in 2003, I saw Rachael Ray in the same store that I saw Ali McGraw. Turns out Ali OWNED the store.

It's funny b/c I always think that I'm gonna be "ballsy" and chat them up, but instead I just stare discreetly and then walk away. :p

Christianna said...

I love when stuff like this happens! What a great post! I love your story telling, it's just great. I don't watch that Chanel, so I actually don't know who that is.

I've had a ton of run ins. Always the coolest people too!

Lovely Light said...

So funny! I haven't run into any celebrities, but I was once an extra on Dawson's Creek and have a picture with James Van der Beek and Busy Phillips.

Heather, 29 Skirts said...

This story is hilarious! I would love to see Anthony Bourdain in a restaurant...his show is my foodie favorite. My friend and I once saw Angelina Jolie with her bodyguard and two of her kids at a Babies R Us/Toys R Us (of course!) I couldn't believe my eyes. She was dressed all in black with huge sunglasses and sooo thin.

Kelli Nørgaard said...

OK I must try this place out when I am in Seattle in two weeks!! :-) You never know!!!

Our claim to fame is Adrian Brody (Oscar-winning actor).
We saw him live on the Tonight Show with Leno in 2010...and then 2 days later as we were headed home, he was RIGHT IN FRONT OF ME at LAX in security! And I made conversation with him the WHOLE time! My husband was SHOCKED to say the least!