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Birthday dinner

Last night I marked my 29th birthday by meeting up with some people in Duke's, going on for dinner at Scalini's and then returning to Duke's for further drinking and chatting at the end of the evening. I had a fabulous time - the food was delicious, the company delightful and lots of lovely people kept giving me presents and cards! Thanks so much to everyone who came and helped me to celebrate.

Scalini's is an Italian restaurant, which I picked as a venue because it has a good range of food and was pretty central and convenient for most people who would be coming. I didn't expect it to be as busy as it was last night - on a Tuesday night, I'd pretty much assumed our party of 11 would account for a good quarter of the clientele. But far from it - in fact the place was heaving, and although it was hard to tell how many people were there because it is so big and has so many different levels and nooks and crannies to it, I'd say our lot probably constituted more like about 5% of the people in there.

The food showed that this was clearly with good reason, though. I got the impression everyone there enjoyed their meals, and I certainly did. To start, I had a fairly simple dish - grilled goat's cheese on a slice of toasted French bread, with a dressing of pesto and pine nuts and various bits of cherry tomatoes and green leaves scattered around the place. That description doesn't begin to do justice to how it tasted, though. I knew I was in for something special when a rich, Mediterranean smell hit my nostrils as it was placed in front of me, and it in fact proved to be one of the tastiest starters I have ever eaten. The cheese itself hit a perfect balance of rich taste and light texture, which went beautifully with the pesto dressing. I was worried that the bread would be rock hard, which is often the case with this kind of dish, but in fact it was soft in the centre, with just a hint of crunch around the edges, and the flavours of the cheese and the pesto had soaked into it, making it a genuinely enjoyable element of the dish, rather than just something to bulk out the cheese. Half way through eating it, I found myself wishing that it wasn't only a starter,and hence going to run out soon: but I couldn't stop eating anyway!

My main course was Barbary duck, done in a delicious rich port and olive sauce. I ordered this cooked medium, and that proved to be a good choice - it was delicate, tender and flavoursome, and the sauce really set it off well. It actually looked not unlike the duck in this usericon, in fact, although it was cut into more, smaller slices. Finally, dessert was a plate filled with three enormous profiteroles, each about the size of a large fist, accompanied by an espresso. Inspired by rentaghost31, I took a picture of the profiteroles on my phone to record their gigantitude for posterity, but I don't have any way to get the picture off the phone and into this entry. If there's anyone out there who could get it off their own phone and email it to me if I texted it to them, I would be most grateful!

Finally, the evening was rounded off with Baileys back in Duke's, after a slight change of personnel as some people headed home and others joined us after an evening's role-playing. We enjoyed listening to Alan's tales of near-death experiences, watching thebiomechanoid bite people and generally bantering and laughing until gone midnight. Sorry I couldn't then come on and play games with those people who went off to do so - I was tempted, but restraint proved to be a good thing in the end, as I'm at least relatively compos mentis today for doing more work on my book.


( 9 comments — Leave a comment )
Aug. 3rd, 2005 02:00 pm (UTC)
You're just a baby!
Aug. 3rd, 2005 02:06 pm (UTC)
Hee - thanks, that's a cheering thing to hear. I have been feeling the weight of my new age a little bit today. It's like I can suddenly see that thirty is a reality, not just something that happens to characters on Sex and the City.
Aug. 3rd, 2005 02:01 pm (UTC)
re profiteroles
I will download my photo when i get home - i forgot to do it last night
Aug. 3rd, 2005 02:06 pm (UTC)
Re: re profiteroles
Ooh, thanks - that would be lovely.
Aug. 3rd, 2005 02:07 pm (UTC)
Re: re profiteroles
i do hope you're wearing your badge :P
Aug. 3rd, 2005 02:08 pm (UTC)
Re: re profiteroles
Oh no! I forgot! *grovels* Tomorrow, I swear!
Aug. 3rd, 2005 02:25 pm (UTC)
Re: re profiteroles
Aug. 3rd, 2005 02:13 pm (UTC)
Happy belated Birthday sweetie :)
Aug. 3rd, 2005 02:21 pm (UTC)
Thank you! :)
( 9 comments — Leave a comment )

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