Jerry and I dressed up and went to Elise’s Tea Room this afternoon for lavender Earl Grey and vanilla almond tea, scones, and finger sandwiches.
The pastry chef came out to present our dessert options and since it was surprisingly slow today (Valentine’s Day), he lingered to discuss (in answer to my questions), his training at Le Cordon Bleu in New York and his previous lives in theology, football, medicine (neurology), chemistry, choreography, and ballet. I asked if he had written a book about these adventures and he quoted us a lon-o-o-ong scientific title that had “pulmonary” in it. I said, “That’s not neurology. That’s internal medicine. What’s the connection between nerves and lungs?” He explained it enough so I was convinced there is one and he wasn’t shining us on.
He teaches ballroom and line dancing on the side.
(That’s him, Marc Marcos, behind me, elevating his more-famous cousin Evelyn Cisneros, first Hispanic prima ballerina in the United States for a quarter century, in one of their many performances with the San Francisco Ballet.)
Marcos offered to let Jerry try out the tearoom’s grand piano, an 1896 Steinway. According to a card on the piano itself, it was built by hand in Hamburg, Germany, gilded and painted in Paris with Wagnerian operatic scenes (like, on the underside of the lid there is a lady reclining beneath trees). The note says it was an anniversary gift from Mexican (ex-) President Mateo Lopez (Aldolfo Lopez Mateos, according to the internet) to his wife, Angelina Gutierrez Sadurni Roberts. Although Mr. Marcos is Mexican, we didn’t find out how the piano got from the drawing room of the First Lady of Mexico to Elise’s Tea Room in Long Beach. Anyway, there it is–and the Mexican mafia will get you if, as a result of reading this post, you try to steal it.
There was another sign on the piano reading “Please don’t play piano/ Maestro Only.” Since Jerry uses a piano only to find the notes for his part in any given choir piece, he declined.