CELEBRATIONS come in all shapes and sizes. There was Susie’s 25th birthday-combination-send off party at The Frying Pan (complete with river-side view and a bustling breeze, carrying the scent of beer and merry laughter), which is kind of ironic since we were on a ship. There was also the phone call to Lisa and the plans made for next weekend, as she just returned from a summer of leisure in South America to a New England life that requires work. Then there was the series of back-and-forth phone messages with Emily (do we ever not play phone-tag?), celebrating the start of her med school career and the fact that she has a new apartment with a queen-sized bed! Seriously, the simplest pleasures in life are often the best.
And then, of course, there was a celebration of a more private nature that need not be documented in detail; but suffice it to say it’s the sort of thing that has other women hugging you and patting you in relief on the back and offering–no, insisting–to buy you “at least one shot” before the night’s up. So hat’s off to me. And to Win, for promising that drink and delivering it. En route, we got introduced to the St. Germain Mojito–which is about as scrumptious and refreshing a drink I’ve ever had–whilst wandering around Manhattan, deciding what to do with our night and already looking forward to brunch. (We also met a bartender at Centro Vinoteca who makes a mean Cucumber and Mint G&T, just with a better name, and was told by the American Idol judges that he sounds too “trained.” And then he proceeded to harmonize with Win on Amy Winehouse’s “Rehab.”)
And so our evening went. It’s just that way with Win and me. We’re reading buddies, but we’re food buddies, too. Sit us down at a table in any restaurant, and we’ll pick the menu clean. And then, replenished and slightly muddied in the head, we’ll wander to the nearest bookstore and let the afternoon pass by us as we read our way through book after book. In ways to spend a Sunday, there are few better.
Plus, we were productive. We chose new eyewear for Win, decided that Win does indeed need to see Knocked Up, and then read at Barnes & Noble (they have good seating & plenty of windows) until I decided to head back to Philly. And we bumped into Mel, completely by random, who still needs to get on facebook. This is why I love cities.
At Lobo, where we finally decided to brunch, we found ourselves in a corner table that nonetheless afforded us an unhindered view of the restaurant’s interesting decor. There’s the painted cut-out cowgirl with amazingly perky breasts (she rivals Dolly Parton in this, in the “Me jumpin’ up and down? I’d black both my eyes!” sense of things). The cowboy staring down at you from the wall, just daring you to spook. The buffalo skull positioned just above Win’s head, judging our meal choices. And the TV, which kept drawing Win’s attention, which was faithfully–if a bit fitfully–professing its love for both Star Trek and Seth Rogen.
Our food choices reflect our culinary spirit. Not content to be loyal to one thing only, we make sure to get a sampling, and then pick off each other’s plates. I ordered the french toast (of course), and Win the migas with chorizo and mushrooms, and we rounded it all off with a side order of home fries. To my delight, the home fries had a bite to them, which perfectly complemented the migas and balanced the french toast against the Tex-Mex fare. And, since I was still in celebration mode, I went for a blood-orange margarita. Yum!
The best part, for me, about celebrating is planning for the next one. By the end of any given shindig, I’m ready to find a new place and uproot everyone to there. Planning for another event is the next best thing and, as I function within a reward-based world (hey, it’s my philosophy and it’s worked for me so far), having a light at the end of the tunnel is not so much a mental crutch as a way of life.
So here it is, my offer to you: let us convene on September 6th in New York City, between W. Broadway and Grand. Let us, too, be wearing costumes ripped from the 80s–white sneakers, stonewashed jeans, T-shirts screaming in block letters. And let us, when the float bearing German beer maidens rides by, break into dance to the tune of “Twist and Shout.” And let us then, once our five minutes of fun are up, plan for Sunday brunch.