Saturday, September 15, 2018

The Mellow Yellow Age

Because why wouldn't you celebrate your birthday with brunch?

Queen B was celebrating her 80th at Max's on Broad and I was invited. Strangely enough, although I've celebrated my birthday in myriad ways - including years requesting a birthday dinner of cheeseburgers, which is exactly what B had asked for on her actual birthday dinner yesterday - not once have I made brunch a part of it. Some people clearly think otherwise.

So after a morning walk along Grace Street in the Fan - mind you, in 85% humidity (so beach-like I loved it) under a stormy sky - I got cleaned up and strolled over to Max's to return to the scene of last night's tequila for the big event.

Tucked in an alcove near the front window. we had enough privacy to feel like we could talk about anything without ears around. Not that any of our conversation was particularly personal unless a woman copping to her OCD tendencies counts.  Or another admitting standing naked in front of her refrigerator to cool off. Or a man confessing he lost his faith because of weather predictions.

Weaving its way through all this was a discussion of red wax lips and their edibility. As it happens, a pair resides on  a stack of old books on my mantle. Also mentioned: those little wax bottles of colored sugar water.

The hostess who led us to the table jumped in on the conversation when I said something about how cold the restaurant was and Pru said she found the temperature ideal. That was the hostess' daily dilemma: she's either freezing or overheated in the restaurant every shift, sometimes resorting to drinking a glass of cold water in the walk-in. TMI? Then she handed us dinner menus and sailed off.

A minute or so later, she was back, saying, "JK! I meant to give you brunch menus!" So cute. JK.

When it came time to order, it was obvious I was the only one who'd eaten breakfast already. They all went for some sort of eggs - over hard, over medium, quiche Florentine - while I went straight for a combination that epitomizes the marriage of breakfast and lunch that is brunch.

Half a dozen Little Saint oysters on the halfshell and the pancake platter, please. With jam and syrup.

My fellow celebrants laughed out loud at my selection, but not when our server inquired which I wanted first. Then everyone got pensive and offered suggestions on timing. To me, it made the most sense to begin with pancakes and move on to bivalves. And not just any bivalves, but ones cultivated in a secluded tributary of the James by none other than the Rappahannock Oyster Company guys solely for this restaurant group.

And while they weren't nearly as briny as is my preference, I can appreciate a restaurant serving their own locally grown oysters. Next thing you know, they'll be bartering them for plumbing services.

A discussion of the '60s took the conversation into go-go boot territory and as we're all sharing stories, Queen B casually leans over to Pru and asks, "Still got yours?" Without missing a beat, Pru says out of the side of her mouth, "Of course!" Once a smart girl finds a pair of good-fitting white go-go boots, she doesn't let them go.

Since I don't wear white, it's not an issue for me.

My card for the birthday girl was opened and commented on ("The Struggle is real. Acting your age vs. giving a damn" - though we both knew that's no struggle at all), as was my gift of several pendants of Murano glass for B to transform with her brilliant jewelry-making talent.

Our affable server came and went unobtrusively as the hours passed, dropping off a small pot of coffee here, a birthday Gran Marnier creme brulee complete with lit candle there. He delivered additional OJ for Beau's Mimosa (though how does one ever have extra bubbly?) and brought me bonus mixed berry jam for my pancakes. Like our own personal Jeeves, he kept glasses filled and himself out of the way.

All the better to celebrate the first eight decades of Queen B's colorful life...and clothing...and hair. Pru, never the romantic but always the realist, summed it up best. "Don't complain about 80 because think how good it'll seem on your next birthday!"

If I didn't know better, I'd think she was competing for my role of Suzy Silver Linings. Everyone seems to be mellowing with age lately. JK.

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