By Kristen Thompson, Associate Coordinator, Bluegrass Writers Studio
In the tradition of Dorothy Parker at the Algonquin Hotel and Hemingway at Le Falstaff, Bluegrass Writers Studio has The Village Idiot. During the ten days of winter residency in Lexington, Kentucky, you'll find us there for dinner more often than not. It started innocently enough, when Anne Panning’s (Butter) and Kevin Wilson’s (The Family Fang) visits overlapped. More than a few Bluegrass Writers Studio participants wanted to join them for dinner, so we needed to walk to a place that could feed a crowd.
We took over the second floor of the standalone gastro-pub, jockeyed for seats near our incredibly friendly and down-to-earth guests, and started in on the menu. Maybe I was high from laughter or easily wooed by the poetry of the descriptions, but I immediately wanted one of everything. How could I choose between “The Idiot: Our burger topped with Tillamook Cheddar and an oversized onion ring filled with braised short rib meat,” and “Truffle & Crab Mac & Cheese: Maryland lump crab and Lexington Pasta Co. conchiglie with black truffle peelings in a three cheese and truffle mornay”? Let alone the Duck & Waffles.
A few of my compatriots tried their best to make a dent in the drink menu, but they were outnumbered by the 90-plus bottled beers, let alone the draughts. Our tables filled with lamb sliders, charcuterie, pints of Three Floyds Dreadnaught Ale, and bottles of a beer invitingly christened Delirium Tremens. Panning and Wilson kept us entertained with talk of writing, lake accents, and Ian Curtis. It was the kind of night you imagine, as a kid, your whole adult life will be like: a hootenanny whose scope and volume rises above the clamor of silverware that someone else has to wash.
The next night Bluegrass Writers Studio members convened in the hotel lobby around dinnertime, considering where to eat. We regarded each other carefully, our bonds still fresh, and slowly volunteered: “You know … I wouldn't mind going back to that place where we ate last night.” Then, and many nights after, we found ourselves stepping into the glow of that familiar doorway with our own kind of clamor, finding our places and feasting.
Published on November 14, 2013