We love birthdays!!! So many of our family and friends are no longer here to celebrate their birthday it seems really ungrateful not to be thankful and celebrate the joys of the anniversary of birth. Mine is always a bit of an emotional challenge as I recall the fact that Fay and Quindel, my loving parents, the ones that brought me in to this world and loved me as long as they were here are indeed no longer here. However, this year I was showered with an abundance of love that made for a really special…not day but week.
You can see from the Supper Club post that the celebration began four days early and indeed a good time was had by all. Then I was invited to birthday lunch on Tuesday by legendary Chef Robert Hayes where we planned a Bollywood event that you’ll get to hear all about in November. Thursday, the real date of my birth came about and I had a glorious evening with my Sweet One at internationally recognized Kelly English Restaurant Iris.
Amuse Bouche (ä-ˌmüz-ˈbüsh)
The perfect bite from the chef saying thank you. Sometimes you don’t know what it is…you just savor the flavor and know that dinner is going to be lovely.
This was a Foie Gras like I’ve never had before…absolutely decadent…really like the best butter you’ve ever tasted and the bread had the taste of a Popover but was dense and delicious.
We asked for their popular Lobster Knuckle sandwich to be made in to a salad. They were happy to oblige and it was delicious. Whoever peels all the grape tomatoes should get a huge raise!!!
We did two entrees…the halibut and the Ribeye…neither were standard setting but I would go back and order both of them again. That’s where I am now. I’m not looking for food that reinvents the wheel but taste and quality that doesn’t break the bank and that you remember enough that you want to have it again. Interestingly, it’s the sides that elevate the composition of both dishes. The Baba Ganouj (chunky baba ganoush) and the Truffled Mashed Potatoes were perfectly cooked and meritable accompaniments to the proteins.
The desserts all sounded too heavy but the server mentioned a Brandy Alexander and the word milkshake so we had coffee and a BA…divine.
I will tell you that we’ve been to Iris several times prior and have never really loved it. It’s an old house trying to be a high-end restaurant, albeit it beautifully designed. I guess it’s a sign of the economy when the best restaurants are in old houses, warehouses or strip malls.
However, something has changed. The server and the menu were very customer driven. Nothing is fussy. No one is in your face. And, the food was absolutely memorable. The room across the hall was very noisy so we were glad we were in our quite, little parlor…Brandt called it the bedroom. Overall, we were extremely pleased and will look forward to going again. The experience made for a very happy birthday dinner.
Then Friday night our chosen family invited us to a standard setting birthday celebration.
Sharon and Lawrence hosted in their beautiful home that I was honored to help them design. It’s not an old house, warehouse or strip mall…far from it.
They created a stunning alfresco dining environment on their loggia…
..that became more magical as day turned into night.
These personal touches were incredibly special. Sharon found photos that she knew would touch my heart and created napkin rings with them. When someone takes the time for these kinds of details it serves to amplify the love and appreciation we already share. She included holiday photos of us with Toby, scenes of me cooking in Italy and of course me with the sweetest man in the world. It’s the little things…
And, dinner was divine!!!
Clearly, I had a “little” of everything…mixed greens, marinated shrimp and artichokes, grilled vegetables and orzo and LOBSTER mac and cheese…Kind and Gracious Heavenly Father what sweet friends we are blessed with. They truly are the only reason we continue to live in Memphis!!!
Jim and Linda brought the best cheesecake I’ve ever had. Frost is relatively new in East Memphis and I don’t know that any of us will ever bake again. It may look like an average cheesecake but let me tell you it was everything but average.
…and a good time was had by all.
Then came Saturday when our dear friend Kirk invited us to the home of our new friends Munnie and Henry.
We had a little work to do as we are doing a business dinner next week. But then, took a “cocktail cruise”. We got out on the lake and could just barely see the sun as it set inside the trees. Then, like someone turned on a switch, the sky came to life in a glorious exposition of color and light. We were all in awe at the majesty and glory of this natural display of nature.
Then we went inside for one more birthday dinner…
I don’t want to hurt feelings so I can’t say this was my favorite birthday meal. So, I’ll just say I wish I had this plate again, right now. When I was growing up this was the kind of meal we had almost every Saturday night. Catfish, hushpuppies, slaw, fresh tomatoes and onions. We had french fries but this time the greens and rice elevated this meal way beyond a typical Saturday supper. I am so sorry you don’t get to see the black bottom pie Kirk made for dessert. We all inhaled it as soon as it hit the table. Kirk said it’s not as good as what he’s had before. Thus, we highly encouraged him to keep trying!!! I’ll try to photograph the next one.
There you have it. Now, I’m moving on to 56. I am so blessed!!! Good friends, good health, a partner that loves me without condition…I try to celebrate every day.
Life is so short.
Live it to the fullest.
When your birthday comes I hope you’ll find a lovely house and plan a party so a good time can be had by all!!!