I’ll be in Paris the end of this week, and for those who know me, my usual winter hiatus to France almost always calls for at least a week in the culinary and wine mecca that is only Paris. Besides, how can I go almost a year without the opportunity to see my friends in Paris, including Tim Johnston of Juveniles, Juan Sanchez of Fish and of course, Monsieur Mark, as in Mark Williamson of Willi’s Wine Bar fame. It was Mark who led the attendees of the famous Andy and Helene French Wedding escapades, organizing two fantastic tastings at Domaine l’Hortus and St. Martin de la Garrigue in the Languedoc, before serving as one of my very special groomsmen and the official “wine judge” for the wedding version Francais back in 2007.
My friendship with Mr. Willi’s goes back now some ten years…eeks..when Sylvain Fadat of Domaine d’Aupilhac introduced us during my first Vinisud. The rest as they say is history. I started to contact Mark when friends would visit Paris, and Mark would book them into Willi’s or into his upscale eatery, Maceo. Just after 9-11 Mark asked if I would help promote his special edition poster that was to have its proceeds benefit the families of workers from Windows on the World. I did of course and our friendship blossomed.
One day as I was about to depart Paris, I had in my bag a Linksys WiFi 802.11b router with a French power adapter (travel routers didn’t exist then) and I “donated” it to Mark for installation in his office, with the self serving reason being that whenever I visited again, there would be “WiFi.” Since then I’ve taken gentle ribbing about my obsession about the Internet, blogging and all things web in a lighthearted manner from Mark, who began embracing things in the middle part of the last decade, updating his Willi’s web site to have what he called “a boutique” to sell the famed Willi’s posters. But to hi credit Mark was using a Mac back when I had departed for a short while to the dark side and was using Windows PCs….
Sometime along the way Mark started to blog, so just as he’s gotten the knack of not only sourcing and pouring the most amazing wines, he’s taken to making it too, he’s also become quite the prolific blogger, Facebooker and I suspect, Twitterer. Mark even made a few calls on Gizmo in the past, and out of sheer joy, I grabbed the Skype ID, WillsWineBar for him some years back…
While I’ll miss the grand reopening of Willi’s on March 8th, I will catch up with pal Mark, and have to make a donation to the renovation effort. I’m sure I’ll find a router for the new Willi’s. I mean, a boys gotta blog where he drinks!