Best of 2009 Blog Challenge: Dec 2

Day 2 of Gwen Bell's Best of 2009 Blog Challenge. The prompt: "Share the best restaurant experience you had this year. Who was there? What made it amazing? What taste stands out in your mind?" Hands down, my birthday party this past October. I told Jon not to bother doing anything, which was truly fine with me. I don't really need more material goods and I was actually feeling a bit badly (re: household spending) that I had to (unexpectedly) buy a new pair of glasses in October. (My glasses are always stupidly expensive because they need to be shaved down from freakishly thick lenses to somewhat less freakishly thick lenses.)

Instead, Jon totally surprised me with a party at our favorite local Mexican restaurant, Emiliano'Z, with some of my favorite people on the planet. In attendance were my dear girlfriends Paige, Nicola, Heidi, Nooshi, and Evadne and their lovely husbands and kids. I've always talked about getting these families together in some way but had never gotten around to it.

And while I typically get the same (awesome) burrito every week at Emiliano'Z, instead we all dined on a really fantastic special menu (a couple of different options per course for people to choose from), which for me included a spectacular chicken tortilla soup and an equally spectacular tilapia entree. And the restaurant made the cutest sampler plates for the kids (think cute mini burritos, flautas, etc.). Finally, in addition to the fresh berries in pretty stemmed glasses that Emiliano'Z served, for dessert Jon got an ice cream cake from a local indie ice cream store; the cake included my favorite flavor: chocolate peanut butter yogurt.

Not only was it wonderful to be amidst friends, but in my opinion, there's something so beautiful and communal and generous about feeding your friends -- and it doesn't matter whether it's in a restaurant or at home or how large or small the spread. In this case, I was touched by Jon's thoughtfulness in assembling the event and his generosity in deciding to host 21 people at a restaurant, at a time where we're both freelancing and not exactly in the most luxurious financial situation. However, we have what we need and are so fortunate compared to so many. So why not share what we have and enjoy wonderful food and time with friends?

And did I mention that the party was on a Sunday? And that the restaurant normally is closed on Sunday? Yep, Emiliano'Z opened the restaurant specifically to accommodate our party. I was feeling a lot of love and gratitude that day.