Phew! That was a whirlwind.
I think I can literally and figuratively say this was the sweetest birthday I've ever had — and the nicest part was it lasted just about a full week. Since I'm about to run out the door to Thanksgiving in the state I like to mess with, this'll all be way too much information compressed into too short a space. But: Photos! That'll do instead of words, right?
So it all started out on the 8th with a lovely dinner from Julia and Sanjay. They said: Pick a restaurant, and swanky is not a problem. So I picked the revamped Russian Tea Room, which I had not been in since the re-opening. Still a little over the top, but service is impeccable and attentive, the booths are luxurious and the food — ah! My goodness, so rich and so lovely. You really feel cared for.
If I look like a lush in the photo, I can't explain it: I'm very shiny and reddish these days. Though I did have that one cherry-flavored vodka cocktail … that could explain things.
Anyway, the sweetness got underway with the dessert: A souffle we all shared. Delicious!
At which there were enormous chocolate tower cakes, a fashion "show" of chocolate dresses, and of course lots of delicious goodies, many of which were sample-able. It's supposed to be a trade show, but really what it is is a bunch of chocolate freaks checking out the samples.
If you weren't aware of it before you went into the Chocolate Show, you'd know by the time you came out (definitely overloaded on cocoa) — the next big wave of delicacies is in chocolate. Single origin, dark chocolate, often flavored oddly, and tasted the way a person checks out wine. Sure, Dove and M&Ms were on hand (dark chocolate peanut candies coming to a theater near you soon), but most of these were independent dealers with their own unique blends of chocolate from countries like Madagascar and Ecuador. Mike knows his chocolate, and ended up getting some amazing — if expensive — bars.
Me, I'm only there for one reason: Mary's Chocolate from Japan. Mobbed, as per usual, so I just got what I wanted and scooted. What I wanted were these amazing green-tea flavored ganache truffles, which I bought two years ago and which blew my mind; so savory and sweet and not too tea-y.
Also, impossible to get in the U.S., and ordering means you have to be able to read Japanese from their Web site, which means I'm screwed. So I got two boxes, one for Thanksgiving and one to save. (Anyone who knows Japanese and can help me order, do drop an email!
Then, the pièce de résistance: Mike came through for the big birthday surprise — dinner at One If By Land, Two If By Sea, one of the most romantic places in the city. Again, the food was amazing and rich and just enough — none of this "neverending pasta bowl" philosophy of dinner.
The dessert came with a special personalization for someone with a name close to my spelling, but not entirely right. Ah, who cares? The point was, it had a candle and was beautiful.
Score! Afterwards we hit the Upright Citizens' Brigade (best described by Mike here) and as if that wasn't enough, I also landed a copy of Absolute Sandman, Vol. 1. Yes indeed, a sweet ride all around.