The day after my birthday was a 180 in terms of the nature of the celebration. There was no reggae band or karaoke crowds, no random choking, no baskets of wings and piles of nachos, nor pitchers of beer with bags of ice in them…
No sirree. In fact, there was wine. Two bottles. And olive oil, Italian bread, cheese… you get the idea. It’s always such a process for me to choose where to dine with my family for my birthday. First of all, I want to go someplace where the food is top notch (or at least almost there), and has vegetarian options. Second, I want to go somewhere with an atmosphere that is either interesting, festive, or just too-cool-for-school. Then I have to consider my parents and their particular limitations; my mom is very wary of heavily spiced foods (so Mexican and any kind of spicy Asian are usually out of the question), and my dad is watching his diet so the menu has to have some health-conscious options (you all know I love and prefer healthy food, but damnit, on my birthday, anything goes!). Noise level is an issue too because my dad is completely deaf in one ear, and partially in the other. Finally, I have to make sure it’s not going to rape my pop’s wallet.
With all those factors in mind, I have to bypass A LOT of the places in South Florida that I would really like to try. Sca-rumph.
So I whittled it down to Villagio, an Italian place that I was already familiar and felt comfortable with. This was the place from which I stole the idea for Mushroom Carpaccio; they top their thin-sliced mushrooms with onion, balsamic reduction and Asiago cheese. It’s delicious. And don’t be silly, mine is better.
Here are some pictures…
My brother Steven and his fiancee, Tina. I like her because she initiates the pouring of wine. I believe she had the seafood risotto. Word around the table is that it was good. Steven ate seafood soup because, as my best friend Rachel says, he’s on a liquid diet. He also doesn’t drink wine. Pfft.
I call this one Dodging a Bullet, which pretty much describes my dad’s life. Except that time in Vietnam when he actually stepped on the landmine and got blown into the air. And STILL has all his limbs intact… He ate salmon. My dad is obsessed with salmon. I don’t know why.
If I had a Siamese twin, it would be Rachel. But she wouldn’t be like a real Siamese twin because we met in 6th grade. She would be a sewn-on Siamese twin, and we’d probably make a lot of money at circus freak shows. I told her to order the Risotto Dolce Vita because it had goat cheese, and she did. I would’ve stolen some if it didn’t have shrimp.
Henry had ravioli with spinach and ricotta, doused in a pink cream sauce. I was kinda jealous. But I was too full from bread, wine, and mushrooms anyway. I (barely) ate the Risotto Primavera. It was… nice. Not great, and not even particularly good one way or another. I am 95% sure the vegetables in it were frozen. Not just because of the blandish taste, but because nobody dices carrots that small, and fresh mushrooms do not look that tiny and pale. (Take THAT, Villagio…) Henry loved it though, so I gave the leftovers to him. Suckerrrr.
I was surprised about one thing. The tiramisu was actually pretty good. I didn’t even order it. After observing three tables get the Happy Birthday treatment, I was determined to avoid being sung to, so I a) did not go to the bathroom, which is a HUGE feat for me, and b) did not order dessert. Henry wanted to try the tiramisu though. I’m a bitch about tiramisu because it never has enough booze in it, the way it’s supposed to. I assumed Villagio’s would be the same. There wasn’t enough booze for my eyes to roll back or anything, but enough for it to pass my test…
And no one sang Happy Birthday to me ^_^