Having already chatted about the lunch celebration my Mum and I hosted for my Grandpa on his 90th birthday, it seems only fitting that I tell you about his birthday dinner at The Boathouse By The Lake, one of Canberra’s fancier restaurants.
I must admit that I found the food this year a little less spectacular in innovation and execution than it has been in the past. Still, it was tasty, and more importantly the night itself was buckets of fun. I haven’t laughed so hard in yonks, and throughout the night I kept thinking how lucky I was/am to have such a fantastic family.
I’m here sharing not only some of the night’s dishes, but a few of its moments of giggling too. My hope is at least something in here makes you smile.
Conversational Tidbit #1 (en route to restaurant):
Me: What’s a Chef de Commis? Am I pronouncing it right? [i.e. “commie”]
The Brother/E.TeacherLord: The communist chef.
Me: Ah, so I guess they make all the red sauces.
The Brother/E.TeacherLord: [spreading his arms wide] And then hand them out to everyone!
Me: And then eat all your babies.
Conversational Tidbit # 2 [en route to restaurant]:
Me: I think I should have worn my contacts. Everything’s really blurry.
Mum: Why on earth didn’t you?
Me: Well, I got excited because, as I wasn’t driving, I didn’t need to wear my glasses. I didn’t think to put on the contacts.
The Brother/E.TeacherLord: But you just said everything’s blurry.
Me: Exactly! I was excited by not wearing glasses and I forgot that I can’t see.
(Yeah. It took a second for what I’d said to sink in, and then there was much laughter. I’d like to think that the four people in the car were laughing with me rather than at me. Seeing as (ooh, pun!) I heard my brother retelling this conversation to my uncle later in the night, though, I think it was more at.)
To showcase how absolutely awesome my grandpa is, I’d like to share with you some of the 20 quotes he handpicked for us to read aloud throughout the night. You might be inclined to think that a 90-year-old choosing quotes for his relatives to read out on his birthday would opt for emotional, Hallmark-esque platitudes.
In that case, you don’t know my family.
Words of Wisdom Chosen by my 90-year-old Grandpa
Whatever women do, they must do twice as well as men to be thought half as good. Luckily, this is not difficult. (Charlotte Whitton, 1896-1978)
Never try to keep up with the Joneses … drag them down to your level. (Quentin Crisp, 1908-99)
I spent a lot of my money on booze, birds and fast cars – the rest I just squandered. (Geo Best 1946/2005, Irish soccer player, who died of liver failure aged 59)
Logic will take you from A to B. Imagination will take you everywhere. (Einstein)
Conversational Tidbit #3 [returning from restaurant]:
Me: I actually wanted to order the venison entree, but my conscience wouldn’t let me because of the foie gras that came with it.
Mum: Me too. I felt too guilty to order it, so I got the kingfish ceviche instead. Foie gras’ production is horrible.
Me: I know. I couldn’t order it, even though I wanted the chocolate sauce and sesame puree it was served with.
Mum: Oh… I wanted the foie gras.
Camille, remember how I thanked you for showing me that chocolate-based treats can be fantastic? I am tempted to take that back. Because of your influence, I went against my anti-chocolate-dessert instincts and ordered the chocolate souffle.
Never again. This was not at all good, as the souffle tasted of nothing but egginess and sugar. Funnily enough, it was the only dessert to make the rounds of the table and be tasted by almost everyone, the majority of whom confirmed my opinion. Boathouse By The Lake? I know what Valhrona should taste like. Not only have I blogged about it, but I’ve eaten most of its range and have several favourites in my stash at the moment. Valrhona is rich, and deeply chocolatey, and this souffle wasn’t. At least the ice-cream was serviceable, and the cookie crumbs the ice-cream was served on were nicely buttery. Still, next time I’ll go with my gut and order the cheese plate. That, my friends, was tasty (I stole some from my dad). Apparently the passionfruit tart was pretty good too…
The Blue Cheese Ravioli truly was stunning, though, and nothing could dampen what was a joyous night.
I think I’ll end this rather long post by co-opting the language of Generation Whatever-Is-Below-Mine…
I heart you all, my family.