I've had some birthdays that majorly sucked. Well, I should write that they sucked in that some bad but not terrible things happened. None were spent in bed with a life threatening disease, at the end of a gun, in jail or fleeing an attack of giant man-eating clams. But there was the one that I remember as a kid during a thunderstorm, where lightning struck the tree outside the kitchen window at the exact moment that I blew out the candles, shattering said maple, sending shrapnel into the kitchen and ruining the cake. As I remember it ruined a fair bit of the kitchen as well but I am unto this day a boy more inclined to mourn cake than crockery I've gotten bad gifts, heck I've gotten dumped on my birthday (well close enough for Jazz).
So it was very nice to stay in bed very late and then spend some time with one of my dearest friends having a very nice dinner. We went to Gordon Ramsey's place at the London in West Hollywood (formerly the Bel Age) and had a great time- wonderful food (a mushroom and sweetbreads pitivier that I'm going to steal), great service, LA a carpet at our feet and the warmth of a friendship that has lasted more than a quarter century (we met when we were 3). The irony that I was with yet again one of my tight circle of lovely, clever, desirable women who are slashingly witty as they are chic wasn't lost upon me. But heck, if Hugh Jackman was at the other end of the table I wouldn't have dared ordered the panna cotta.
Thank you dear friend for giving me a delightful birthday dinner.
Image: Ken Hvely for the Los Angeles Times. accompanying S. Irene Virbilia's review of the restaurant.