There is a land… where celebrities mingle with ordinary folk… and that land is Santa Barbara County.
I should begin this story by stating that I love wine. I am a big fan, and not just for the health benefits*. I like the way it makes me feel: warm, happy, and occasionally inappropriate.
I also like pizza (this will be important later).
I also like Emilio Estevez (who doesn’t?). I mean, The Breakfast Club, Young Guns, Young Guns 2, The Mighty Ducks!
As I mentioned, this story takes place in Santa Barbara County. “Santa Babs” (as I like to call it) has some of the best wineries and dining establishments in the world**, which is why we went for a weekend trip with some friends of ours.
These friends of ours (let’s call them Melanie and David) have been to Santa Babs literally thousands of times (at least a dozen times), so they took the lead with planning the itinerary. We visited a few wineries, got our “buzz on,” and then David said he knew the perfect place for dinner…
It started to get very, very foggy, and very, very dark, and very, very cold as David drove down the long, winding, dirt road. After what seemed like an eternity***, David stopped in front of a timber shack.
I thought I was about to get murdered (it just seemed like a murderous scenario: fog, dark, cold, timber shack). David insisted we get out of the car, and said that we would not be disappointed (I pointed out that if we were to be murdered, there would obviously be no opportunity for disappointment).
I reluctantly exited the vehicle and quickly ran into the timber shack. As I stepped inside, I was warmed by the massive dome-shaped pizza oven, and reassured by the hundreds of people sitting at tables, appearing to be enjoying their dinners very much.
We ordered drinks (wine, obvs) and several pizzas to share, and then David said something I’ll never forget: “Last time we were here, Emilio Estevez was here.”
I was very impressed by the celebrity sighting. Obviously, I could have one-upped him (Ricky Gervais, Larry David, Beck, Martin Short, Pete Townsend, Judd Apatow, Wendi McLendon-Covey, Han Solo/Harrison Ford, etc.), but that’s not my style.
Anyway, we had a wonderful time: drinking wine, eating pizza (which was magnificent), and conversing casually, when who should appear at the end of our table…
He asked us if we’d like another drink. I nodded my answer, deep in a gluten frenzy.
We continued to drink the wine, eat the pizza, and converse casually, when who should appear at the end of our table…
Emilio stood at the end of our table (because it happened to be the closest table to the door), and surveyed the room.
Now, by then I had had several glasses of wine: a few tastings at the vineyards, and a few glasses at the restaurant. I was feeling very warm and happy.
I watched intently as Emilio turned, and walked into the men’s restroom.
I looked at my husband (who is literally the kindest, sweetest, most patient man), and I dared him to follow Emilio into the restroom.
His answer was swift. “No.”
My reply was swifter****: “Come on.”
He shook his head (but his eyes said, “maybe”)… “No.”
“Rhhhhhhyyyyyyssssss… come on!”
And just like that, my husband stood up from the table, and followed Emilio into the men’s restroom. David, Melanie and I waited with bated breath*****.
A few minutes later, Emilio exited the restroom, and walked over to the bar. My husband exited shortly after and returned to our table.
I was excited. “Did you see it?”
“It.” My eyebrows were arched in a way that I hoped suggested the answer.
“Oh.” I couldn’t hide my disappointment.
You see, destiny had brought us to Santa Babs, to that particular timber-framed pizza joint, and to that particular member of the “Brat Pack”… But that’s the thing with destiny… it can’t do all the work… sometimes it needs a dare.
** Just my opinion.
*** Probably about 15 minutes?
**** Not to be confused with the electromagnetic cleaning product.
***** It could have just been me, but my breath was bated!