Daily Archives: May 13, 2012

A Nostalgic Birthday

Friday was my birthday!  I am somewhat in denial of my age.  Not because the number scares me or from a fear of getting old, but more because I just plain don’t feel my age……on most days.  I believe most readers of this blog know my age and so there is no need to divulge. 
Growing up I never much celebrated my birthday.  They just weren’t a big deal.  My mother would make a cake, a round of “Happy Birthdays” with a gift of whatever my parents could afford,  or once in a while I’d have a few friends over for a “party”, but seriously no big deal.  Nothing compared to the way they are celebrated today or even remotely close.  A part of the reason I suppose was that my birthday always fell on the same weekend as Mother’s Day and also one day before my parents’ anniversary.  A big part of it was that my parents were financially stuggling to survive for most of my childhood and birthdays were more of a nuisance than a celebration.  So anyone who is born in my generation on any other holiday understands that all three were celebrated together. 
My ex-husband believed even less in celebrating birthdays than I did, so most years I was lucky if I got a card. Oh yes, for my 30th I was taken to dinner at Windows on the World at the top of the World Trade Center. Guess who did the planning? Life experiences have pretty much taught me not to have too many expectations in terms of birthdays or anything else for that matter.  If I want to celebrate I plan it on my own and have a great time – Like two years ago when I dragged a couple of friends skiing with me at Mt Hood because I happened to be there and the trails were open.  I think they have forgiven me now.   Now don’t go feeling sorry for me….it’s just reality and I’m a big girl and perfectly ok with it.
This past Tuesday I got an email invitation for dinner from a friend which didn’t say much more than provide the date, pick up & drop off time and stated that the restaurant would not be disclosed.  On Thursday evening I was picked up promptly at 7pm. Turns out it was supposed to be 6pm as reservations were for 7pm but NEVER look a gift horse in the mouth!!  Especially when that gift horse spent hours in traffic to make it all happen.  We began our drive into New York City.  One hour later we walked into one of my favorite restaurants of all time – One if by Land, Two if by Sea on Barrow Street. 
It’s strange that I would call it one of my favorites as the last time I’d been there was 1988.  Prior to that I frequented it for special occasions etc., but for some reason I just hadn’t made it back there since.  I always intended to and I suppose it was never in the cards for me to go until now.  What makes this restaurant special is the ambiance as soon as you walk in and there’s something to the place that makes you feel at home.  It is set in an old carriage house and has great lighting with fireplaces throughout.  It is an extremely quiet and romantic setting yet not pretentious as so many other restaurants can be.   I had always had great memories of this place and they all came flooding back.  I couldn’t have chosen a more perfect place to celebrate my birthday if I had picked it myself.
Dinner was great!  I ordered the Crispy Pork Belly which came with Korean radish and a spicy chili sauce and the Beef Wellington.  My friend had the Foie Gras with toast and Rabbit a al Porchetta (Rabbit loin stuffed with pork).  Our amuse was pickled beets with crème fraiche & micro herbs.  The food was delicious and the service well executed.  We sat in their upstairs room which is a bit quieter and allowed for conversation.  Our wine of choice for the evening was a Silverado St George Vineyard Merlot 2007 and paired well with the food once it opened up a bit.  We rounded of our meal with a trio of sorbets & some fried cheesecake for dessert.  The sorbets were delicious, the fried cheesecake I would pass on as it just didn’t work for me.

The evening ended fairly late and we both had to work the next day.  I was thrilled that someone had not only planned something for my birthday, but had taken me to a restaurant that was calling to me for so many years.  I just wasn’t listening. 
Moral of the story is if you’re always expecting something you can’t possibly be surprised!!  I suppose surprises can be good or bad.  Sometimes the surprises are the good kind and possibly transport you to another time making you forget about the bad ones!
Happy Birthday to you all – whenever it may fall in the year to come!
Note:  If you comment on my posts please do not provide names of anyone other than yourself if you choose to do so.  Thank you!!!
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