Friday, December 10, 2010

A Toast

Dori celebrated her 43rd birthday in grand style yesterday.

Our friends Mariesa and Pat, Mary Belle and Tony, and Marian and Michael met us at our favorite restaurant, Margot Cafe. Put simply, we've never been to a better, friendlier place where food and wine are pared so brilliantly.

Neither Dori nor I will ever forget last night. Before our friends arrived, Dori and I had a mini-date, noshing on fresh bread with herb-infused olive oil, balsamic vinaigrette and parmagiano-reggiano. Dori had a glass of 2008 Jean Marc Brocard Saint Bris, which was crisp and delightful, while I dabbled with a 2007 Feraud Brunel Cote du Rhones Village, a dusty, cedar-filled Old World wine. We approved so much, we ordered for our satisfied guests with the Housemade Potato Chips with Aioli.

After a first course of remarkable fried brussel sprouts with crisp prosciutto and aioli, Dori enjoyed a grilled eggplant with oven-roasted tomatoes and chick peas and fresh basil. I had a strip steak with polenta, mushroom sauce and radicchio, which was ridiculously good.

Our friends Betsy and Skip surprised us with a bottle of Botter Prosecco, an excellent extra dry sparkling wine that we shared with our friends. It did nothing but tango with some chocolate creme brulee.

Most of the night was spent laughing, talking about our children, families, and recent interests, and toasting. I started by honoring the three women - Dori, Mariesa and Mary Belle - who vowed last July on our living room couch to celebrate Dori's birthday at Margot Cafe. In fact, Mariesa said she made the reservations that same evening. I knew Dori had her doubts that day. I can tell you her e-mail today to all three women was as grateful as anything I've ever read.

When we sang happy birthday to Dori, people around us sensed the joy, and chimed in with gusto. Dori opened gifts, all of them wonderful. We're still baffled at one, a two-night stay at the luxurious Blackberry Farm in the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains. We are not worthy, no matter what anyone says.

But we're going together, and that's the best gift of all.


Paula said...

Enjoy this great vacation.

You both deserve it!

PJ said...

I think I've said this before. You would be a great food writer. When I read your descriptions of food and wine, I can taste it.

Happy Birthday to Dori!

Jim said...

PJ, we love great food like you do. It soothes the soul, as does writing about it.

Gathering around good food, which Americans don't do enough, is great for family cohesion, too.

Thanks for the kind comment!

Ann said...

I have to second PJ, you do have a way with words. So happy you all got to keep your birthday date.

Happy Birthday Dori!