02/01/2013 05:34 pm ET

The Sultan Of Olive Oil

“Do you remember how to do this? It’s going to be loud, but that’s okay,” warns Nick Coleman. We’re sitting at Del Posto, the celebrity chef Mario Batali’s Italian restaurant in the Meatpacking District, as he guides me through a tasting of two olive oils, one Tuscan and one Sicilian. A piano plays in the background and my handbag sits between us, perched on a footstool the waiter has brought. The footstool’s sole purpose appears to be protecting handbags from Del Posto’s immaculately clean floor, and I can’t shake the nagging feeling that the footstool is far more expensive than my handbag and that if things were in their natural order, my handbag would be supporting the footstool.

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