A few weeks ago, before my run of bad luck, I went to two birthday celebrations - one on a Monday and one on a Wednesday night.
The first birthday celebration was in honor of my friend Joey, who is a gentle, good-natured, easygoing guy. He also lacks any sense of time. Our friend Julie baked him a chocolate cake in the shape of a dinosaur and put Fruit Loops on top of it. Our friend Alex bought an assortment of chewy candy. Lots of people sat around on couches and we talked. We waited. Then, we waited some more, which was alright since I got to catch up with some people who I hadn't spoken with in a while. The party was supposed to start at 8:00 p.m. At about 8:45 p.m., Julie called Joey and he told her that he was waiting for some clothes to get out of the dryer and would be over as soon as they were done. O.K. At around 10:00 p.m., I sent Joey a text that I couldn't stay much longer. At around 10:15, Joey rushed in the door with his bicycle helmet on. Facing Julie and me, he said: "Your boy fell asleep." He added: "I got your text, Kim, while I was riding my bike over here and hoped that you wouldn't be gone." (Aside: A while back, Joey was playing in band at a house show. The band wanted to start playing, but Joey was missing. He was apparently in another part of DC. He didn't arrive at the show for another 40 minutes... The clincher: the house hosting the show was his house.)
Anyway, Joey doesn't like to be the center of attention, which may be part of the reason why he was late to the party. As the flames rose up on the candles on his cake, the color on his cheeks rose to a deep red. Not only did he seem appreciative, but he also noted that the cake was his first dinosaur cake. In talking with him, I always appreciate his curiosity and big heart.
A good transition to the next birthday party: Joey and I started talking about Cafe Green, which is a new, sit-down, swanky vegan restaurant that just opened up in DC.
My friend Greg celebrated his birthday on Wednesday. A group of about 14 of us gathered and went to Cafe Green. We sat at a giant, round table, which meant no one could talk to people on the opposite side of the table without shouting. The owner of the restaurant kept coming by our table and repeating with a smile that he'd envisioned such a group around that table - "friends, community." Expensive gathering place.
I ordered the sesame salad with mock chicken, which cost $12. I topped it off with a $2 order of cornbread, an order being a single, small slice of cornbread. My salad was larger than a typical side salad, but not what I'd categorize as a dinner portion. After eating the salad and the bread, I was still hungry. The salad contained a variety of greens, but the chicken lacked flavor. Despite the sesame dressing, the chicken pieces still tasted like bland lumps. Chris and I ordered cornbread, which was dry enough that neither one of us wanted to eat it until more water arrived at the table. I shared my piece with Pat who complained that it was cold.
Greg, Pat, Chris, Brian, and some other people ordered the $11 mock steak and cheese sandwich. We knew the waiter. As he deposited Greg's sandwich on the table, Greg asked: "Where is the whole sandwich? I didn't want a half order." We did get two free slices of cake, which was enough for everyone at our table to get a bite. The cake also served as a cue to sing "Happy Birthday."
We left Greg's house at 6:45 and got done with dinner at around 10:20. We returned to Greg's house and I made a quick batch of cookies, which got wolfed down since people were still hungry. After a three hour dinner, still hungry; go figure. I had wanted to try the restaurant, even if I may not return there again. The memory of the birthday celebration makes the evening special even if the food was - yes, I'll use the word - boring.