Sunday, May 21, 2017

It Shoulda Been You

It's a Saturday night tradition to progressively celebrate my birthday.

The past three years, I've been accompanied by two favorite couples, but this year, I wanted a third dynamic duo added to the mix. The funny part was her comment, "Wow, we finally made the cut! I guess we were just being auditioned up 'till now."

Not true, but their presence was a lovely addition to the party.

Things kicked off at Metzger because Mr. Fine Wine's music never gets old and just after opening is the very best time to enjoy Metzger before it's noisy and overcrowded. I arrived at the bar to find four of my six friends awaiting my arrival with bubbles in front of them in my honor.

I'm not entirely convinced that they wouldn't have been drinking bubbles anyway, but still, it was a lovely greeting. The late arrivals merited ordering another bottle.

With the early evening sun beating down on Metzger's shaded windows, my friends ate through multiple cheese and charcuterie plates, a couple of specials of pork meatballs, Morattico oysters (home to my parents), a salad of English breakfast and watermelon radishes and, most impressively, roasted asparagus over the pinkest of shrimp mousse.

It was here that we learned about the seafood/kiss rule already well-established by the newlyweds. You see, she doesn't care for seafood, so he refrains from eating it until after she's had enough wine not to mind. Such was his rationale for turning down Morattico oysters before he scored an early kiss.

I'd be the first to admit I love to kiss, but I can't see turning down a perfectly delicious oyster, either.

Mowing through food like we didn't still have two more stops to make, I gently reminded my posse not to overly front-load. Not everyone took the gentle reminder well, but part of that is due to the siren song of Metzger.

Our next stop was Nota Bene, where we went from a bright, sunlit space to the dimness of multiple candles and a wood-burning oven. Holmes regaled us with tales from the accounting world, there was talk of men in yoga pants, and, in an extraordinary moment, the entire table voted for Germany over Provence when it came to drinking Rose.

In fact, the Villa Wolf Rose carried us though multiple plates of sugar toads, braised fennel with tomato sauce and breadcrumbs, the grilled cauliflower with fresno peppers that made Holmes a believer, squid ink pasta with scallops and pizzas of at least three varieties.

Anyone watching our feeding frenzy might have been inclined to judge...and justifiably so.

Once we had hit every possible savory note, we moved on to L'Opossum for dessert at the sole dining room that's actually dimmer than Nota Bene. The next step would've been complete darkness.

Instead we indulged in apperitifs and cocktails - the Laura Palmer, the Violet Femme - and every chocolate dessert on the menu, plus apple tartine and creme brulee. When I blew out my candle, it was with a very specific wish.

Gifts beyond the company of good friends were opened and I was the happy recipient of a very groovy beach towel, loads of vinyl and a bottle of South African Pinotage brought from the source that I hope to enjoy with abandon once I find another Pinotage lover beyond the gift-giver.

He's gotta be out there somewhere. That's what birthday wishes are for, right?

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