Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Paella and salsa, life is good

I swung by the French restaurant Patou Bistro in Dilworth for a Latin party. I know that sounds weird, but it was the best stop I made Friday night.

When I walked in the door, men and women dipped and twirled to tango music. A DJ, set up in a corner, spun salsa, tango and Middle Eastern music. That’s what a call a mix. Do you know how refreshing it was to not hear one song that’s playing on the radio?

That wasn’t it, though. Before I could start snapping pictures of dancers who make me look like I have two right feet, I spied a gigantic wok thing.

My stomach pulled me to the left side of the restaurant in front of the bar, where a guy gently stirred the biggest skillet of paella (well, the only skillet of paella) that I’ve ever seen. He pushed around the layers of Spanish rice, peas, prawns and mussels. I wanted to stick my face in the skillet and bob for prawns, but I have home-training, so I didn’t.

I couldn’t wait for him to finish cooking. I migrated from the paella to the dance floor as couples and groups of women switched from salsa to tango to belly dancing and back to salsa. Other folks sat in booths talking.

The party drew was the coolest mix of Latin, Hispanic, black and white people (and those were Observer co-workers!) that I’ve seen in Charlotte in a few months. The Charlotte Tango Society and Charlotte Salsa hosted the debut event, which they called the World Mix Party. I can’t wait to attend the next one.

You know I’ll let you know when it happens, but if you want to get down with the group: