40th Birthday Dinner #3: Emily + BONUS Surprise Birthday Lunch

Thursday, November 10th, 2005 | 40th Birthday, Food, Friends

You’ve all heard me talk about Emily. We first met a few years ago when we were invited to participate in the Knowing You, Knowing Me show. We were among four Bay Area artists and three European artists who spent time getting to know each other and each other’s art and then created an exhibition out of the interaction and influence we had on each other. Emily selected Firefly, a cozy neighborhood restaurant with elegant seasonal comfort food, for my third intimate 40th birthday dinner. We shared the shrimp and scallop potstickers, which were like the potstickers of my dreams, crispy outside and creamy inside, with a tangy ginger dipping sauce; and a salad of mache, pear, fuyu persimmon, and anise vinaigrette; then I moved on to the duck, again, but this time served with a chestnut bread pudding, winter vegetables, and madera reduction; and for dessert we split the amazing goat cheese (!) cheesecake with fig and port sauce, and a chocolate truffle cake that oozed into a vanilla ice cream when cut into. We were very abstemious about the wine, and each had a single glass of the Calera pinot noir. It was a brilliantly comforting meal.

Emily reminds me a lot of Jean Seberg, or some glamorous nouvelle vague starlet. She has a slight hearing problem in one ear, so she talks a little loudly in restaurants. It’s totally like being with a movie star whose fame eclipses the need for propriety. I could see the ears of our neighbors turning towards her trying to pick up clues to which movie they saw her in recently but couldn’t remember, and then turn away quickly as they caught words like “structuralist” and “blowjob” in the same sentence. We both agreed that I was lucky to be born in the fall, as we both love the long nights and foods of autumn.

Bob Flynt flew into town for Bill Jacobson’s book-signing at Camerwork, which I had to miss because of my prior arrangement with Emily, so we met for gallery-going yesterday afternoon. He surprised me by treating me to a birthday lunch at Cafe Claude. Anticipating the big dinner ahead, I had the salade niçoise, and when thinking about desert, the waiter walked up and said, “From one scorpio to another, you must get the liquid chocolate cake, mon ami.” So I did, and it was amazing; a simple dense chocolate cake with a warm liquid interior that was like sex on a dish.

I am having such a great time with all these restaurants. Perhaps tonight I’ll get something other than duck. Stay tuned for Dinner #4 with Dean #2…

Birthday Suit #3 Emily

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