Robert Mondavi

Robert Mondavi. I’ve had the pleasure of waiting on him and his wife and they were frequent visitors to the restaurant where I worked. By the time I waited on them he was in a wheelchair, and I never heard him speak. He was still an impressive man.

His wife, Margrit, was adorable! So friendly and charming and gracious! She reminded me a lot of Carol Channing with her wide smile and silver bob.

When the Mondavi’s came in for dinner Robert was wheeled in by a younger man and woman, who left after he was comfortable. Margrit took care of ordering and would attentively feed Robert and give him sips of champagne and wine.

A funny thing was they would usually bring their little white dog in it’s carrier. Dog’s aren’t allowed in restaurants unless they are seeing eye dogs, but what could we say? They are the Mondavi’s. Our Napa Valley royalty! Generally the darling little dog was good and quiet, but occasionally it would bark! All of the staff’s eyes would get big as we hoped that none of the guests complained. Sometimes Margrit would let the dog out and feed it under the table. One night as they were leaving and the younger couple had come to take them home, the man was pushing the wheelchair and the woman was holding the door and the little dog started running around through the center of the restaurant! Finally we shooed it out the door and the Mondavi’s were wisked away in their limosine.

We had a large event where the Mondavi’s were guests. I had to talk with the organizer and let him know that Robert was in a wheelchair as they had made no provisions for that and were unaware. They were under the impression that he was going to be giving a speech as well. I had to let them know that was doubtful unless his condition had changed since last I saw him. Margrit Mondavi had sat at Bouchon Bakery hand painting touches on all the menus as souvenirs for all the guests. They were such a lovely elegant touch. I am pleased to say I snagged one of the leftover menus at the end of the night!

Robert Mondavi died peacefully Friday morning, May 16, 2008 at his family home in Yountville, California at the age of 94. We were getting ready to celebrate his 95 birthday in June at Copia with a big event that included many of the world’s top chefs. The hope was that this event would continue in his memory. And what a memory he left.

Cheers to your memory, Robert Mondavi!

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Laura Enjoys the 2008 MTV Movie Awards

The RED Carpet![What a view!waving at the fans!arriving at awards night

Laura arrived for the night in the chic new Honda Civic mini limosine! As she exited the car the paparazzi bulbs flashed and fans cheered! Entertainment Tonight hosts begged for an interview as she strutted down the RED (ish) carpet (looked a bit like a kitchen rug)! Laura signed a few autographs for her fans and gave a quick interview to ET, saying, “I’m so excited to be here, it’s going to be a fabulous night! Has anyone seen Jane Porricelli yet?” and then was wisked inside by her entourage to watch the show. During the show she enjoyed some expensive French bubbly champagne (or was it Ocean Spray White Cran Peach?) as she sat and chatted with the other celebrities (or maybe she was home alone).

Laura was thrilled to see little tiny Ellen Page win for best actress for her perfomance in Juno and was shocked to see Iron Man win best summer movie? “What were they thinking? I’ve never even heard of Iron Man? Naturally it should have been Sex in the City!” she exclaimed. Laura thought SJP and Jennifer Hudson were smashing as they announced Will Smith as the Best Actor for I Am Legend. Their outfits, their shoes! Oh YES! And Sarah Jessica Parker and Ellen Page must be about the same height, little tiny!!!

For best comedic performance Anne Hathaway announced the winner, “YEEEAH! JOHNNY DEPP!”, as he walked out from behind the stage casually chewing gum, the crowd was almost in shock! Laura wondered if he had been backstage and people didn’t realize he was in the theater? He wore jeans with a striped cap tucked in the back pocket and a brown leather belt buckled on the side, a black short sleeved button up shirt with rolled up sleeves, Charlie Chaplin type hair, looking very clean cut and handsome and hot! He looked so young, just like he did back in his 21 Jump Street days. The crowd erupted! Laura Iriarte and Lindsey Lohan were the only two celebrities to give him a standing ovation! Diablo Cody seemed ready to swoon as she touched her heart! Chris Brown and Rhianna oddly seemed unimpressed? Jonah Hill from Superbad, another nominee, gave him a joking two thumbs down. Johnny won once again in the Best Villian category for his performance in Sweeney Todd. Tila Tequila was thrilled! Johnny said, “wow, this is nutty, two times in one night!” and proceeded to thank one and all. He ended by pointing at Laura and saying, “Hey Laura, I must say you look amazing darling!” (or maybe he SHOULD have dammit!).

Tom Cruise, in a very preppy look, black slacks, white button down shirt with a black v-neck sweater over it and very shiny black shoes, presented the MTV Generation Award, an award presented to someone who has given us significant cinematic achievement. The award this year was presented to Adam Sandler! Tom Cruise calls him The Sandman and reminds us of all the films Adam has been in, then a montage of clips follows, including some Saturday Night Live clips. Finally as Adam is announced he slowly rises up through the floor of the stage and sings, “Nobody Does It Better”, his own version, as women in gold bikinis pose (a tribute to James Bond’s Goldfinger). After Adam acknowledges that his song was the most arrogant thing he’s ever done, he then gives a heartfelt acceptance speech.

Best Breakthrough Performance went to Zach Efron for Hairspray. Best Kiss went to Brianna Evigan and Robert Hoffman from Step Up to the Streets. Laura didn’t see the movie, but after their steamy re-creation on stage Laura could see why they won! The evening concluded with Transformers winning best picture. Laura saw Transformers and agreed it was a very good movie, much better than expected. But having seen both, Laura would have picked Juno. She thought it was much more original.

The standout performances throughout the night were Coldplay, The Pussycat Dolls, and Wayne’s World. Coldplay and their new song were amazing, but there were just too many rose petals or big confetti thingys fluttering around and getting on the lead singer and even on Laura in the audience. The Pussycat Dolls did a sexy, energetic, choreographed performance, and host Mike Meyers and Dana Carvey recreated their Waynes World skit! Party On Dudes! Excellent!

Laura’s posse snuck(?) her out of the auditorium through a secret back door, dodging the paparazzi, then the Honda Civic Mini-Limo took her off into a night of celebrity parties (or maybe she went to bed). What a life!

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