SUPER EGO "Please pass the grilled Moroccan spice-rubbed lamb loin," I dewily asked the cute investment banker from Philadelphia on my left.
Me and Hunky Beau were seated under the Saturday stars at Escondida, a "hidden kitchen" — a.k.a. renegade restaurant in someone's home or backyard — deep in the Outer Mission, at a table that also included four hip lady lawyers and a postgrad neurobiologist from UCSF who makes headphones for birds. (Don't ask. Well, OK — first you implant screws in the skulls of small finches, and then you jury-rig a sort of "fly-pod" out of two Q-tips and an old transistor in order to test their hearing skills. Someday, I swear, those poor, deaf birds will have revenge on us all.)
Hidden kitchens are big these days, especially since the permit processes for restaurants and clubs seem to be getting more complex by the minute, and most of the time the underground menus are cheaper than the real thing: you get multicourse gourmet eats plus drinks in a lively underground setting for the price of appetizers at Andalu. And there's a naughty inspectors-be-damned thrill to boot. (It's all very hush-hush, but you can usually find hints about upcoming covert cucina events on chowhound.com or Craigslist — just don't sue me if you get botulism. I got nothin' for ya.)
The food and company were delish. But me? I was more interested in shoving as much entrée as I could into my faux-leopard baguette handbag — the Hunkster and I were due on a plane to Honolulu in a few hours to attend the biggest gay wedding of the year in Waikiki. And a girl can't survive a five-hour ride on $4 minicans of Pringles alone. It was bad enough I had to pack my in-flight Stoli in three-ounce saline solution bottles just to get past the damn check-in.
Waikiki? Why not, I say. But first, a real drink to get the whole aloha ball rolling. So we hit up Jet, the new Greg Bronstein joint in the Castro where the Detour used to be, and ordered us up some primo alco-Dramamine. Although I partially miss the hurricane-fence decor and tragic queen atmosphere of the Detour, Jet's awfully cute, with black padded leather walls, Broadway marquee lighting, and a fuzzy pink double bed in an alcove in the back. There's also a small dance floor, rare these days in the Castro without a giant video screen playing Kylie Minogue. The club, in all its luxuriant gay sleaziness, is either a pint-size Studio 54 or Liza Minnelli's future mausoleum. Probably both. Right now, the music is all hip-hop lite — pretensions to be the next Pendulum? — and there's a velvet rope on weekends — as if! — but something could definitely be done with the place.
Lemme tell you though, Honolulu in October is fabu. The mangoes are huge, the agua is aqua, the gay scene is horrid — new club coming in November: Circuit Hawaii! — and the 14-year-old tranny hookers in six-inch clear plastic heels are gorgeous. Plus there's, like, five military bases nearby, for those into raping drunk Marines. And who isn't? Me and Hunky were hopping around like we had humuhumunukunukuapuaas in our Volcoms.
My dearest amigos from the old EndUp days, ChrisP and Armando, got betrothed right on the water in a tear-jerking all-hula celebration bursting with orchids and sunlight. There weren't any conch shell blasts or caged white doves (or earthquakes), but the grooms were rowed into the friends-and-family ceremony on an outrigger by four hot muscle dykes in sports bras — an ancient tradition, I'm told. It was the second amazing gay wedding I'd been to this year, and although I used to rail against such things politically — why be normal? — I cried like Tonya Harding at the 1994 Winter Olympics. Love is real. And so was the open bar, which me and my sadly, gloriously bare ring finger quickly sidled up to for a post–gay marriage mai tai, studiously avoiding the moony-eyed intimations Hunky Beau was sending my way. I'm not quite done playing hard to get yet. Or am I? Aloha!