Monday, December 12, 2005

Barbie's 60th aka Going Welsh at the Hotel Bel-Air

Hotel Bel-Air
Los Angeles, California

Birthday Celebration in Honor of

Saturday, December 10, 2005


Seared Diver Scallops Risotto
with Balsamic Jus

Green and White Asparagus
Sauteed Seasonal Wild Mushrooms
Shaved Reggiano and Balsamico

Grilled Wisconsin Veal Chop
with Truffle Whipped Potatoes
Chanterelle Mushrooms and Asparagus
Zinfandel Jus

Pistachio Tulip
with a Medley of Sorbets

Birthday Cake

Menu Prepared by
Executive Chef Douglas Dodd
(with, I guarantee, plenty of input from Barbie)

What a fabulous evening it was...the food was phenomenal. Not listed in the menu are the appetizers passed around by the charming waiters before the meal. Delicious lamb cutlets with a minted yoghurt sauce for dipping and grilled to perfection shrimp and now I can't remember the other delicious bites we enjoyed before the meal. Suffice it to say that not one waiter was able to saunter past me without my arm shooting out for a goodie. These fellows were so attentive that I never once had a used napkin or shrimp or cutlet remains in my hand for longer than a nanu-second before they proffered a silver tray with linen napkin to cover the offending inedible bit.

And the flowers...oh the flowers. Barbie had gone down to the Flower Market in the wee hours of the morning and created these exquisite...hang on, I took a pic. She sent me home with one of the arrangements and I posed it in the asparagus fern on the back slope. Beautiful, aren't they?

Barbie is emotional (as am I) and her tears come easily (as do mine). Himself refers to this easy tearfulness as being 'Welsh,' i.e., "Don't you go all Welsh on me." Himself and I are inclined to Welsh tears and it doesn't take much more than our granddaughter being particular charming for us to tear up. P.A.T.H.E.T.I.C. I know, but if you have that Welsh gene, you just can't help it. So Barbie's 60th found us openly crying, oh, approximately, every five minutes. Honestly, I kept looking at my man and saying, "Do I have mascara on my chin/cheek/ear?" He's so literal that unless I actually say the body part he'll reply with something like, "No, you look fine." So when I went to the Ladies Room and saw mascara on my nose I couldn't help but think, "GoddamnitRogerdoI havetospellitoutevery flippin'time?" The answer is obviously yes. That mascara was DRY, too, indicating it had been there for some time. Fortunately, when one reaches a certain age you almost count on your friends' blindness. Of course, the wee starlette Julia was there, and one of her self-appointed tasks was running around the table with tissues to blot up all our Welshness. With her perfect three-year old eyes, she pointed out the black blob on my nose.

Barbie's friends toasted her...told wonderfully humorous and touching stories of their years of friendship, remembered when their children were young together and basically made Barbie (and thus US cry). Her husband spoke eloquently, quietly and tenderly of his love for her and her two daughters AND their husbands spoke of how lucky they are to have this wonderful woman in their lives. Beautiful little tales of love and challenges and of Barbie's optimism and courage were woven into her beautiful girls' and her friends' toasts. Let's say there were perhaps 10 toasts to Barbie and that I cried openly during nine of them. The tenth, mine, didn't move me to tears, but it made my husband well up. Welsh, Welsh, Welsh.

And then Barbie's eldest grandchild, 3 1/2-year old Julia, showed the assembled room how she could channel her grandma. This child has a personality as big as Barbie's and was clinking her glass and toasting her grandma at every available opportunity. She performed a duet with Barbie, "Oh, a Spoonful of Sugar Helps the Medicine go Down" until the spirit moved her to dance. It being the Bel-Air Hotel, they immediately opened a cabinet in the room and lo and behold there was music. Julia performed an impromptu ballet...a long ballet. That child has SO MUCH JOY! Baby Sarah was just a happy, beautiful little chick who was happy to let her big sister rule the room. Every now and then, though, I saw a look cross her face that said, "Give me another year, folks, and I'll be giving Julia some competition."

I wish many, many more years of joy and of living for my friend. Many, many more years of finding fabulous places for sushi and good wine and the perfect place to lunch with a friend. I wish her many, many more years of travel and exploration and many, many more years of sharing with the world her most special Barbieness.

Happy Birthday Girlfriend. xoxoxoxoxo

Cookies that Barbie made and decorated as favors at her party. I only had a couple of small bites...bottom of the '6' and top left of the '0'. Delish.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear dear friend,

You captured it all---and yes, made me cry yet again! How thankful I am for you and your ability to "recap" in such an eloquent way. It's time to debrief in person. I'll e you! Thank you a zillion times for this beautiful post.


9:57 PM  
Blogger Meghan said...

That sounds like a wonderful tribute to a dear friend. Sigh. I hope to have a bash like that when I turn 60. Lovely.

7:35 AM  
Blogger GraceD said...

Holy cowmoly! Now THAT'S a birthday party!

I suppose there were no male strippers. Or mylar balloons. Just my guess here.

8:46 AM  
Blogger Crystal said...

Oh how I love flowers, those were beautiful! The menu sounded sumptuous.

8:16 PM  
Blogger junebee said...

Sounds like a lovely party. The menu is positively mouth-watering, and what a great event for a great friend. Obviously a good time was had by all.

Sorry I haven't read your blog for so long. It is in "Blog Favorites" in the laptop which has been out of comission for some time. Hopefully it will be repaired soonly.

1:45 PM  

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