Sunday, February 1, 2009

A Belated Birthday Celebration

Last night, I enjoyed a belated birthday dinner at trendy East Village bistro Il Cantinori.

Fortunately for me, I fared much better than Carrie Bradshaw when she dined here alone on her 35th, as some of my best gal pals and my Delaware-based cousin Chris joined me for the festivities.

Celebrating With My Nearest and Dearest: Me with (clockwise from left) Caroline, Amanda, Chris, Sara and Leila

After raising our glasses and enjoying a complimentary antipasto of grilled vegetables, we talked about everything from current events and recession-related job uncertainty to adventure travel and what destinations each of us would visit if we get laid off. Eastern Europe, Ireland, South America and, of course, Australia (for me) topped our-post pink slip wish lists.

As I enjoyed a Caprese salad appetizer and some heavenly osso buco, the conversation turned to affairs of the heart -- specifically how the dating scene varies according to where you reside, and how much easier it would be to meet someone special if attached friends would pay it forward and play matchmaker.

Enjoying a candlelit slice of Tirami Su and an operatic birthday serenade at Il Cantinori

To my great delight, I was treated to a birthday serenade by Il Cantinori’s talented wait staff that surpassed any of the ones we heard for other celebrants over the course of our three-hour meal. There’s something about the way “Happy Birthday” is sung at an Italian restaurant that gives me goose bumps -- especially when the adorable waiters call me “Bella.”

A plate of Tirami Su ended the evening on a delicious high note. I was reminded once again that dessert, much like milestone birthdays, is always sweeter when it’s shared with family and friends.

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