Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Buoyant and Deep

Geminis just want to have fun.

My birthday may be officially over, but my friend's doesn't arrive until tomorrow, meaning today was celebration day for both of us.

When I picked her up at noon, I asked her husband when I needed to have her back. The last time I'd asked, he'd replied "sunrise." Much had happened since then, but I figured we had, at the very least, the shank of the afternoon to fete ourselves.

First stop: Amuse where we found seats at the bar in a dining room crowded with tables of people digging in and chatting. If you ever want to take the pulse of RVA's lunch scene, this is the place to do it.

Because it was a mutual birthday celebration, we began with Montand sparkling brut rose and a toast to our annual celebration, an afternoon of debauchery and discourse.

Our server, in the cutest black fringed skirt (which I may need to track down at H & M), assessed the situation and backed off since it was obvious we had lots to discuss before we could even look at the menu.

The stories! The pictures! The drunken videos! There was so much I needed to see and hear about.

First up was exchanging cards and gifts and while her gift to me blew me away (kicking and screaming into the 21st century), it is always words that mean the most to me.

You are still hands down the best conversationalist in the whole damn city.

So, yes, I would still marry her if she were a guy.

Eventually we got salads of local greens, candied pecans, radishes and fig vinaigrette, savoring how delicious and distinct the variety of lettuces were, tasting like Spring in every bite.

Why do some chefs drown their beautiful greens in dressing when the taste is so delightful on its own? Why do birds suddenly appear every time you are near?

Over white bean and sausage soup, mussels and sausage in white wine and garlic broth and fries (always fries), not to mention more pink bubbles, we covered it all. The Italian chef recently returned. People who don't respond to babies. Lazy people who claim to be ambitious. The new Shockoe Bottom. Why New Orleans is calling to us both. The third place.

I may not be the best damn conversationalist but I can talk ad infinitum and at some point we looked up and realized multiple hours had flown by without us even noticing.

It was time for dessert and more pink, but we needed a change of scenery.

While I may get to the museum with alarming regularity, my friend doesn't, so we walked the Art Nouveau and Art Deco galleries after lunch, she taking in the sculpture of a snake attacking a swan and both of us marveling at the fluidly designed furniture that would take up our entire bedrooms.

But at least there was some culture between the debauching.

From there we went to Can Can, easily sliding into a street parking space close to the nearly full patio. Don't these people have jobs?

I was pleasantly surprised to find the front windows wide open despite the 90+ degree heat as we installed ourselves at the bar.

Multiple bearded servers pounced on us, eager to slake our thirsts and try to tickle our fancy with dessert menus.

Gemini birthday celebrations almost demand pink, so we chose Guilhem Rose, a pale salmon color and tasting fresh as a summer day.

We narrowed our dessert choice to three ice creams - orange caramel, chocolate and vanilla- over shortbread crumbs for textural contrast, a fine choice on a sticky, hot day.

To commemorate the occasion, Friend took a photograph of us, immediately proclaiming that she looked drunk in the picture.

I didn't see it, honestly, but as soon as she posted it to Instagram, her husband commented, "Getting drunk?" so perhaps my wine goggles were already on.

But why shouldn't they be? This is the friend who essentially taught me to drink, with whom I have spent many an evening sipping and discussing our lives and loves.

She is convinced that we are responsible for keeping Broadbent Vinho Verde in business and based on many past summers, she's probably not far off.

Geminis may be many things - open minded, enthusiastic, witty - but you've got no chance getting close to one of us unless you love to talk.

Together, we happily plumb everything that comes into our heads. Sometimes there are pictures to prove it.

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