Dining With Bette: Her Low Key Factor That We Love…

Mister D: Bette Has friends here in Nashville, and just from her periodic visits here to search for new material for albums, I have heards that she goes relatively unrecognized. But then this community kind of lets people be anyway. Wy and Nicole Kidman have been spotted at Target, Faith Hill and Tim McGraw at Blockbuster, and Keith Urban at Starbucks, where people don’t even bother them at all. Kind of cool!

Bette at National Board Of Review Award (presenting award to “An Inconvenient Truth”

Between Meals
Michael Bauer

Dining With Celebrities

I must be moving rarefied circles these days. Until recently, my last major celebrity sightings was at Babbo in New York, where I sat across from Gwyneth Paltrow only days before she won her Academy award for “Shakespeare in Love.”

Even before I recognized her, I knew someone important was near by because of the buzz that seemed to float around her.

However, in the last couple months, I’ve been inundated with celebrity sightings, starting with my dinner at Per Se at the end of November, where I had a straight-on view of Rachel Weisz and her director, fiance Darren Aronofsky.

Rachel Weisz at the Golden Globes.
Then earlier this month, I sat next to Boz Skaggs at the counter at Bar Tartine. He joined us mid-meal, introduced himself, and we talked food and wine for a few minutes.

Then on Monday night, I was checking out Quince for my Top 100 Restaurants guide and I noticed that Bette Midler and her husband, Martin Von Haselberg, were dining a table away. She looked divine, but was dressed in Palo Alto garb — a conservative coral sweater set and pearl earrings.

Bette at National Board Of Review Award (presenting award to “An Inconvenient Truth”

I’m fascinated by her, but the most interesting dynamic was watching the staff react — or perhaps I should say not react. In both San Francisco, cases the waiters treated them like any other customer. Service was smooth and understated, and in no way solicitous or hovering.

While I secretly wanted to jump up and say hello (I’ve always been a huge fan of Bette Midler), no one in the dining room recognized her, or if they did, no one let on.

I think it says a lot for the Bay Area that celebrities can eat in peace here, although I’m sure it’s tough to realize people are constantly watching you, even if they pretend otherwise.

I hope she enjoyed her cauliflower sformato, an airy custard served with a bagna cauda sauce, as much as I did.

Bette at National Board Of Review Award (presenting award to “An Inconvenient Truth”

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