If you build it, they will come. On Saturday I attended my first 40th birthday party since launching this blog...and...it was fabulous.
As we headed out the door on Saturday night, I warned our babysitter (again) that this could be a late night. "Are you going to boogie?" she teased us. Clearly she had taken a peek at the beautiful, yet simple, letterpress invitation that asked guests to join the birthday girl for dinner and a chance to "boogie down."
The birthday girl was our friend, Julia, who looked just lovely. You know when you're just really happy, you have that glow about you? That's how she looked. Not one to seek the limelight, she gracefully accepted a little extra attention, although she drew the line on gifts -- "no presents" it said on the invitation. (It's a classy touch, but for the record, I think it would be just fine to accept presents.)
The party was held at Momofuku Ssam Bar - a small downtown hot spot that was closed for the evening just for Julia's bash. (I just learned from Momofuku's website that ssam means anything encircled or wrapped.) We had a blast - guests were squeezed in tight at a handful of tables, as well as at the long narrow two-sided bar, where my husband and I sat about four seats away from one another. We were all seated with place cards, which is always kind of fun. It forces you out of your comfort zone to meet a new friend or two.
Julia's husband kicked off the evening by toasting the woman of the hour, who he declared "hot." Isn't that what we all want to hear from our husbands at 40 and forever? Julia stood and thanked everyone for coming as well. As I mentioned, she's not a limelight seeker, and characteristically, she took the opportunity to share the attention with shout-outs to others turning 40, and 40 year-olds doing fabulous things like running their first marathons or half-marathons. It's nice to include everyone in the kudos.
Remember when Diddy's party planner said his party was going to be "more experiential than spectacle...but still spectacular?" (See Friday's post). I think I finally know what that means!! The experience of this evening was an 8 course menu - cured hamachi, scallops, country ham, pork belly, seasonal pickles, and the piece de resistance -- the whole butt (translation - an entire pork rump that pulls apart and you wrap into bib lettuce with a variety of sauces...and oysters, if you like!) Everything was shared and passed family style, which I think always brings guests together in a more intimate way. The meal was an experience, but it was nothing short of spectacular.
Keeping it humming all night long was DJ Mr. Blue - an awesome deejay who had played at Julia's wedding (I didn't know her back then; we met when the kids were in nursery school together) and he really got the crowd going. By course #7, most people were on their feet...boogying, as promised. Some were smart enough to bring their dancing shoes!
As it hit 1:30, even though I'd warned our babysitter it would be a late night, I thought it best to hit the road. We got our coats and said goodbye, but not without one last dance with the birthday girl. I can't remember what the song was - maybe "It Takes Two to Make a Thing Go Right," but the dance, like the party, like Julia, was fabulous!!