Friday, 11 October 2013

Breaking the Birthday Law: Grass, Amphoras, The Nic and The Moon

I broke the fourth commandment of Bri's Birthday Law by coming to work. However, in a busy week with my boss away and a whole lot of organisation to be done, the luxury of a day at home just wasn't on the cards this year. 

Still, I was determined that despite a lot of general crapness that has been going on of late, I was going to have as good a birthday as possible. I was going to be kind to myself and treat me to some quality me-time if possible.

Breakfast for one seemed a good place to start. Grass Espresso is my latest West Perth discovery and perhaps my choice to go there today had a lot to do with the fact that I could have a glass of Pommery N.V. along with my mocha and eggs Benedict. If you ever feel like toasting me with champagne (you know, if the whim strikes you...) then Pommery in all its wheaty gold goodness is my declared favourite.

Like a putting green but sideways.

I like it at Grass and not just because of their astroturf walls. They are all so smiley there and sometimes, though not this time, they do latte art teddy bears on the top of your coffee. Even without a friendly bear, my mocha was excellent, good coffee with some chocolate in it and not the other way around.
The eggs Benedict, sorry, Grass Benedict, was just right too. I’m not much of a breakfast person, but eggs Benedict is the dish most likely to sway me into matutinal eating. It’s the Hollandaise that does it for me – nothing quite like a creamy, tangy sauce over the top of warm poached eggs with just enough liquidity in the yolk. Add a generous ripple of smoked salmon, and alfalfa sprouts on top of a white doorstep of bread – this is a breakfast worth having.
I had a moment’s nostalgia when the eggs were served up on an apple-green plate. When I was a kiddie, I had a favourite poem (which I cannot find online anywhere) which put forward the idea that food tasted better ‘off apple-green plates’ and to this day, on the rare occasion when an apple-green plate is placed before me, I think of that poem and smile. Apple-green plates and the shimmer of Pommery, opened and poured in front of me, and I was off to a very good start.

Arriving at work, I thought my luck had changed when I discovered two police cars parked out the front. I almost turned around and went home. The thought of having to deal with the thin blue line (and, yes, it has happened to me in the past) made me not a little anxious. It turned out, however, that it was nothing to do with my building, so huge sigh of relief and on with business as usual.

Somebody else's problem.
Lunch was more sociable than breakfast and I was lucky enough to have the company of wonderful work and blogger friends (thank you for joining me Nic, Mel, Liv, and Sarah-Jane!) for tapas and prosecco in the sunshine. Amphoras never lets me down and it was really, really kind of the wait-staff to organise an extra serve on each tapas plate where possible, so there were 5 portions where there would normally be 4.
We started with the glazed chorizo which is an Amphoras must-have – don’t let them take it away before you have mopped up all the glaze with bread – then there were marinated mushrooms, arancini, anchovy toasts, crumbed goat cheese, and warm bread with butter and black salt

Anchovies are one of those love it or hate it foods – I love them but I get that other people don’t. Still, these were superb – not the super-salty, tiny crumbly morsels that you get in tins – these were large, fresh and marinated in vinegar, served with tomato salsa and bread. They matched really well with the prosecco – tart, appley bubbles to chase the sharpness.

 Fresh anchovy fillets.
I was grateful to have to chance to sit in the sunshine – yes, sunshine! I was lucky with the weather – and have a laugh with some smart, talented and funny ladies. As I said to Mel afterwards, I couldn’t have wished for better but longer would have been nice.
I did drag my feet a bit when it was time to go back to the office, but the afternoon was busy, and the last part of the day disappeared in a flurry of paperwork. I walked to the bus-stop via Gangemi’s. The guys there know their stuff and can always be guaranteed to point me straight at the wine I want. This time I was steered towards a De Bortoli Este 2006 “ultra sauvage, hand riddled, hand disgorged” which was deeply amber and tasted of honey toast - an appropriate book-end to a day which had begun with Pommery. 

Later that evening, I matched the Este with cheap pizza and The Sound of Music on DVD.
Hey, the birthday law, the sixth commandment in fact, says that thou shalt do whatever the hell you want, and if that’s alternating mouthfuls of deep-pan Super Supreme with karaoke renditions of “Edelweiss” and "The Lonely Goatherd", then so be it. 

Before I reached home, I stopped off at The Nic in Subiaco for a quiet glass of red (Yelland and Papps Shiraz) to toast myself and the fact that I have survived to celebrate another birthday.

It's not a birthday without some Shiraz.
I rarely go to bars by myself, so it was a different experience to sit and sip my wine and watch other people socialise. The Nic (formerly The Suite) has recently changed management and expanded its premises - what you get is a big airy bar in a quiet part of the suburb. Worth a return visit when I am back that way, next time with friends.

It was also a time for contemplation and for planning how I am going to continue to be kind to myself in the year ahead. I have gifted myself with some travel before the end of the year, some good food and drink experiences, and a couple of adventures. You'll get the blog posts on those as they happen.

Commandment Eight also says it is permissible to stretch out your birthday over multiple days, especially if your actual birthday is on a week day.
And that's my excuse for yesterday's dinner at The Moon Cafe in Northbridge. (No food photos - mood lighting issues) In actual fact, I wasn't there to celebrate my birthday at all, I was there to have a reunion with some former colleagues, one of whom was visiting from Switzerland, but when I got there, there was present for me, and another friend just happened to have a musical birthday cake candle with him (it was Barbie Pink and played a tinny version of "Happy Birthday" if you pressed a button) so they sang the song and I got to blow out the candle.

Berry cheesecake with cream AND icecream and a musical candle.
Funnily enough, I quite forgot to make a wish. At the moment I blew that candle out, I was in such a happy place it didn't even cross my mind..

I've checked The Birthday Law - candles and wishes are not mentioned, perhaps they are sub judice as their place in the law is considered? Perhaps it's not necessary to mention them; if your birthday brings you wine and song and friends and cake and apple-green plates and, if liked, anchovies, then really, what more is there to wish for?

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