Thursday, February 25, 2010

shari's birthday (lyn)

Tonight eight of us are going out to celebrate Shari’s birthday.  It’s been raining and then snowing all day.  The snow is supposed to continue through tomorrow.  After school programs are cancelled.  The school announces that it’ll be closed tomorrow.  In view of the weather, Shari sends an email around saying she’ll understand if we want to cancel.  As a testimony to how loved she is, not one person wants to cancel, and eight of us later show up, at 7:30, at Accademia di Vino.

I had requested a circular table and what the restaurant provides is even better.  The table we get is in an alcove. We are separated from the noise of the other diners, but not isolated. We are going to have our own private party.  Which, as it turns out, is good for the restaurant, as we are not a demure group of women.

Our little party includes a doctor, a lawyer, a college professor, an ex head of economy for a major country, and four other equally smart and articulate women.  It’s a dynamic group.

Shari orders for the table, and we share.  Three different kinds of salad.  Charred brussel sprouts.  Tartares of salmon and tuna.  Thin crusted pizzas of:  prosciutto and arugula; mixed mushrooms and sheep cheese; and everyone’s favorite, an amazing black truffle pate.  We order another truffle pizza and eat the whole thing.  Each piece of pizza is small, but still, I have four pieces, plus a small salad, a little of each tartare, a small piece of bread,  two brussel sprouts, and who knows how much red wine, as my glass is always being filled.  We later order two entrées of pasta: spaghetti alla carbonara and another one with just olive oil and cheese.  I only have a forkful of the carbonara.

The dinner begins with benign chit-chat:  Have you been watching the Olympics?  How’s your son liking college?  Do you plan to visit any schools during spring break?  Where can you take bridge lessons in the city?   But by the time the pasta is ordered, we’ve escalated to more controversial subjects.  Is Obama doing a good job?  Where does life begin?  If a child cheats at school and another student knows, should they report it?  Does the school really care?  How naive are our sons (we all have at least one)?  Who is to blame if a girl willingly poses nude on an ichat, a boy records it, and then a third boy distributes it virally?   No one is afraid to speak up.  Some are more vocal than others.   Most are liberal.  Two are not.  It gets heated.  We get louder. 

The waiter comes for dessert orders.  We order a cheesecake, a honey panna cotta with dried apricots (so good; I had about 3 spoonfuls), and some gelati (I have another 3 spoonfuls or so).  

Around eleven we decide to leave.  By then, we are all laughing again.  Everyone is happy.  Hugs all around.

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