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How To Celebrate Your Big (Birth)Day


As most of you know, I have a birthday coming up in the next few days. As we measure these things in temporal terms I will be 51. That is a full third of the way through my expected lifespan by my count and while I do not want to draw attention to myself I want everyone to know that it is my birthday.

In years past I have celebrated the anniversary of my birth at restaurants – most recently it’s been Ancora, because it’s not far from my home and I love it very much. I have also had birthday meals at Boucherie and a number of other restaurants that escape my memory because I am old and after a certain number of years the birthdays tend to flow together into an amorphous mass of well-wishes and “I’ll do better next year!” thoughts.

So, this year is not a milestone apart from the fact that I am still alive after the ill use I’ve suffered upon my body. I’m not turning 18 or 21 or 30. I’m not even turning 50. I’m turning 51 and I suppose that’s an accomplishment but it doesn’t really feel like something that needs to be celebrated.

And this year I am not in a position to go out to eat on my birthday, but there are a few new places that, were I in the position, I would consider for that meal.

Nagomi looks interesting. It’s an omakase restaurant; there’s no a la carte menu – you eat what the chef cooks that night. That’s really the way you should experience sushi anyway, but it’s awesome that there’s a restaurant in New Orleans that is focused on the concept. Twelve seats around a bar – two seatings per night. Prices start around $65, before drinks. Hopefully the concept will last long enough that I can check it out.

I want to check out Blue Giant, too, but I’m not going to go on my birthday. I understand the place is consistently packed and I’m glad for them but while I know it’s good, I don’t see waiting an hour for ironic Chinese food on my birthday.

I haven’t been to Thalia, either, and I feel bad about that because I love the kids behind it and I love the fact that it’s a legitimate neighborhood restaurant… but with really good food. I mean, I loved the joints my parents brought us to when I was a kid but I still have a taste memory of a rancid vinaigrette at one of them and to be honest most of those places were not really about the quality of the food so much as the quantity.

But just because that’s the way things were doesn’t mean that’s they way they have to be, and I want to confirm that Thalia is, in fact, my idealized New Orleans neighborhood restaurant. God willing and the creek don’t rise, I will dine there soon.

Those are the places that have opened recently that I haven’t been to, but which I would consider for dining on my birthday. I am almost certainly leaving a few out, for which I apologize but I have to leave something to write for my next several birthdays, don’t I?



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