Mickey Berenberg is my kind of person. She’s an F-bomb waiting to happen.
Dear Readers: The F-word in question could be FUN, even though that’s not the one that comes out of her mouth frequently.
For example, Sunday at the Loring Social, where Berenberg’s 75 friggin’ years of fabulousness were celebrated with 130 friends, I complimented the shirt she was wearing. Berenberg grabbed me by the arm and turned me away from the people who were standing nearby so she could whisper, If you knew how much this [expletive] outfit cost …
The white shirt with the unusual collar was very nice — and I could tell the only part of the ensemble I could afford.
I asked her daughter Wendi Rosenstein how old she was the first time she remembers her mom’s way with words.
Rosenstein only recalled, “She would never let me [say] it. Back in the day you had to watch out, because if you said that word … Oh my God. She’s not a shy person. Everybody remembers her no matter what.”
That should mean huge turnouts when Rosenstein and Berenberg have book signings for their collection of Lincoln Del recipes. The first restaurant was opened in 1957 by Berenberg’s parents Moishe and Tess Berenberg; all three locations were closed by 2000. After years of talk, Rosenstein believes the Lincoln Del cookbook will be released next year.
This was my kind of birthday party, because no time was devoted to tributes or saying how wonderful the honoree is. She is absolutely delightful. Event planner Susan Gray said Berenberg didn’t want toasts. Gray said Berenberg would probably have put the kibosh on the arrival of a little cake and the singing of “Happy Birthday” if she had known those occurrences would happen.
I wish I had known about the cake so I could have been in better position for my video. The video will give viewers a look at the elegant venue and partygoers, including a Queen Elizabeth look-alike who told me, “I did ask [Mickey] how her f-ing party was.”
Berenberg owned the now-defunct card shop Mickey’s Penne in the Minneapolis’ skyway, so I opened this Q&A by asking a question from that phase of her business career.
Q: What’s something that you still have not seen on a greeting card that needs to be said?
A: Nothing. I’ve seen it all. Happy Birthday to your dog from our dog. It’s just unbelievable.
Q: Howard on CBS’ “Big Bang Theory”says you can only have one bubala, but how many do you actually have?
A: Four. My grandchildren.
Q: What’s a Lincoln Del menu item you prepare perfectly?
A: [Four-second pause.] Water. [Laughter.]
Q: So you don’t know how to make those fluffy omelets?
A: Oh, no. I can’t be bothered with that. If it doesn’t go in the microwave, I don’t have it.
Q: Did your dad ever catch someone doing the horizontal mambo at Lincoln Del?
A: Yes. Many gangsters.
Q: What’s the most unusual activity you caught somebody doing at Mickey’s Penne, besides shoplifting?
A: Yeah, I was going to say — meeting a woman who’s going to be writing in the newspaper?
Q: Oh, stop it.
A: [She smiled.]
Q: I was recently in St. Louis at Sweetie Pie’s restaurant and saw a sign on the wall that sounds like something you would say: Anybody who’s looking for a husband has never had one.
A: That’s true. I only married once. I got smart real fast, and everyone [who’s] still married wishes they were like me.
Q: Do you remember what you told me Gene Gittelson would do if I wrote the tip you gave me about a celebrity sighting at Gittelson Jewelry? You’re the only source to ever say those words to me.
A: I can’t remember what I said. You know.
Q: You said, “If you write this he will kiss your ass …”
A: Oh. “… in Dayton’s window on Easter morning.” [Laughter]
Q: What’s something you did as a parent that you now regret?
A: Not having more girls, but I don’t regret the [boys].
Q: I asked my aunt if she would put “Gossip Amongst Yourselves” on my headstone if they bury me in Minnesota, and she said, “Absolutely not.” What cheeky words should go on your monument?
A: I’ll be back. [Laughter, and then in Arnold’s voice] I’ll be bock.
Interviews are edited. To contact C.J. try firstname.lastname@example.org and to see her watch FOX 9’s “Jason Show.”