Monday, December 10, 2012

Birthday Week Treats

A week or two back I found myself suddenly and inexplicably turning 31 years old. Well, this actually didn't really come out of nowhere and wouldn't really count as a surprise at all; my birthday, like most, doesn't change. So really that first line was just a total fabrication. I wasn't caught off guard at all. My true birthday day fell on a Monday, and you'll soon see that I chose to better celebrate it with friends that following weekend. But I did feel that some little treat would be nice on the day-of. So I went to two different restaurants' happy hours to enjoy a few oysters (which were not good at all, thus my lack of photograph or expanded discussion of either venue) and other food deals during the 4-6 PM range. After a mixed experience as far as satisfaction was concerned, I went to good ol' McCrossens to meet up with LW for birthday darts and a few rounds of cocktails. This month I'm fat, but next month maybe will be better. We'll see.
I asked B. the bartender to make me something special. The result was some marvelous mix of gin and magic, which I enjoyed thoroughly. I thought better than to ask for another, as that magic was strong in booze as well as wonderment. T. came out from the kitchen and joined us for darts. We also tried a chicken liver small plate, which was delightful if undocumented. The night went a bit later than I might have initially intended, and it was definitely a bit boisterous, but in a good way. I was glad to have a relatively low key birthday day, but with the advantage of good company and dart practice.
I haven't gotten a haircut in months. Not since May, in fact. This was generally a purposeful decision. I wanted to grow my hair out so something fun and fancy could be done with it at LB's wedding. Mission accomplished on that front. So with the wedding behind me and my hair lacking in any real style or direction, I finally got myself together and made an evening appointment to see my stylist. I'm a terrible client, only getting my hair cut every six months, but I am loyal. I have followed this woman from one salon to another because I like her overall attitude and she always gives me a good cut that won't be too hard to maintain (I do not own a hair dryer or curling iron, so a cut that requires either in order to look consistently good is generally out of my reach). Unfortunately she was running a good 30 minutes late when I arrived, so the hostess suggested I go to a nearby watering hole for a bit and then return. I chose to try the former Fish spot, Rhino Bar. It was still not even 6 PM, so I was the first person in the establishment. Both men who served me were nice and informative. I ended up ordering a glass of wine and three of the happy hour $1 oysters of the day, which I could have sworn were called 'Top Chop' but when I search for that variety, they don't seem to exist.

The Monday oysters I tried were of two different varieties, and the thing that made me sad about them was that they weren't all that discernibly different. I love oysters. I may still qualify as a dilettante compared to some, but I truly can and do note differences between species, so saying that the two different varieties tasted the same means, for me, that their shared similarity was one of tasting just a wee bit fishy, literally and figuratively. In any case, these mystery oysters didn't have that veil of 'maybe this oyster is not quite as fresh or happy as it could have been' and better highlighted what a mild briney oyster can be. I was pleased.
Then I had my hair cut successfully (I now have bangs). I brought with me a Living Social coupon, which entitled me to a discount in cheese and small plates at Tria. I had planned on redeeming the deal with BC. Unfortunately she had to cancel at the last minute, but I decided to follow through with the rationalization that it was my birthday week. This didn't work out exactly as I planned because the coupon was only good at one of their locations, and it wasn't the one I entered. In the end that didn't stop me from trying a cheese, a small plate, and a glass of wine at the bar. I chose to try one of their "Stinky" cheeses, the Quadrello di Bufala from Lombardy, Italy, which is made up of Buffalo milk. I'd give it a 5 as far as actual stinkiness, and perhaps a 7 overall. The cheese was served with sliced bread and dried/preserved cherries. I hardly touched the bread, but the cherries were decimated. I also decided to try their beets with feta cheese, which were good but not terribly remarkable. I asked for a wine that the lady behind the counter thought would go well with the cheese, and she brought me an Australian Syrah made in an Italian style. The fact of the matter was that I didn't really love it, but didn't want to complain because what do I know really? Thankfully she asked if I liked it, and I was honest in my so-so appreciation. I felt that it wasn't doing much to open or play with the tastes of the cheese. It was dry and a bit herby, but not in a way I particularly enjoy. So she ended up bringing me a glass of an Argentinian Malbec, which I found to be a better pair with the cheese and an altogether more pleasant play on my lips and tongue. I was grateful for the switch and lack of attitude about my feeling about that Syrah.


Huck said...

Happy Birthday! May there be many wonderful meals and great darts games in your future. :)

nc catherine said...

I get the inexplicableness, not necessarily with the day of one's birth appearing (does with great regularity) but rather the surprise at "Oh holy cow I am now (fill in the blank) years old." That is the surprise part for sure. For me at least.

I concur with Huck!

Your adventures sound great but where is the pic of the hair cut??? I am always in search of a good hair cut but have resigned myself to hair cuts augmented by both a blow dryer and a flat iron if I am to ever leave the house frizz free. And not looking like Einstein's long lost cousin, hair-wise. Of course I could go all "retired in NC at the beach" (not that I am retired yet or living at the beach) and buzz cut it all off but I am kinda liking a french braid on occasion. Count your lucky stars you did not get the family horse tail hair.......coarse and unruly and inconsistent in its curls/straights and which gets worse with the increasing number of inexplicable birthdays. Truth.