Another year of life means I’ve made some mistakes, made some great friends, continued growing my business, tried new things, both good and bad and most of all have had another opportunity to get IT right.
Every morning, I strive at being a better person in all facets of my life. Not the easiest feat to accomplish, but it’s such a wonderful gift to have the opportunity.
It was pouring on my birthday just less than two weeks ago! Blah. I woke up and decided to cancel all of my serious partying plans. I mean come on, who wants to get dolled up and be sexy at one of Atlanta’s chicest hotels in all the precipitation?! It was not happening! Then I got to thinking? Why the hell not? I work hard, sleep little, share with others and darn it, I want a few glasses of bubbly!
After a full day’s worth of pampering, the real fun ensued.
Mind you, this was Tuesday the 2nd, but I had already started partying the Friday evening before with extremely delicious tastings and dinner dates, all of which I’ll reserve for the Restaurant Review section of this blog. Arriving at the St. Regis Buckhead (another treat coordinated by a new friend I met at Whole Foods) was all I needed to do.
This won’t turn into a review of the über swanky spot, located in Buckhead, but I will indulge you a bit with their attention to detail and extravagant interior design. Think a modern home owned by Coco Chanel. Or perhaps Ralph Lauren’s home. It was like that. Lovely, classy and stunning.
I made my way up the curved staircase to Paces 88 Restaurant. I had requested my party be in the lounge/bar area, so as to minimize the uppity aura the formal dining room offers. However, as soon as the host greeted me, she whisked me into a beautiful, wine bottle-lined room, where personalized wine and dinner menu’s were placed on the table.
(formal wine room)
Clearly, I was grinning from ear to ear, but I felt a bit too VIP, so we snapped a few pictures just to say we were there and I asked to be moved to the bar/lounge area. Much better. A relaxed and unpretentious ambiance was perfect for the group of friends that joined me.
As friends trickled in, the host came back and introduced me to their sommelier. He was going to saber a bottle of champagne they gifted me. It’s actually something the boutique hotel does every evening at 6, but I was late to my own party and missed the whole thing.
(Sommelier at West Paces 88 preparing to saber)
Which, ultimately, I was totally okay with because it meant we had a sweet little private corking. We all asked questions about the history of sabering and I pretended to know what I was doing!
(Perrier-Jouet Champagne, barrel)
I need to learn how to do that! How sexy would that be? Do any of you know how?
We all raised our flutes and went to town! I quickly downed 2 glasses of the bubbly. It was sweet but not over powering and had the perfect amount of sparkle. Two glasses was enough for me to have to order food.
Unfortunately, the heavy hors d’oeuvres [and small plates] were just okay. I opted for the local goat cheese tart with caramelized onions, wild mushrooms, arugula and truffle oil. It was divine, but not enough for the $22 it cost my clutch. And green tea at $6 a cup is robbery. But, I consider where we were, though not DC, LA or NY. It’s Atlanta people. I gently devoured my small plate.
My friend Derek had the hamburger below and was disappointed.
(standard burger; variety of wines for the night)
(goat cheese pastry tart with wild mushrooms and truffle oil)
(my friend Rohan & me, lobster spring rolls, Simone and me)
But, all was rectified when the cake came out.
This is where it was all at! Here is a perfect example of how expensive food, lavish decór and fancy plating can be completely overshadowed by a middle class, 2nd rate baker. My good friend brought me the most decadent chocolate ganache cake from Publix. Yes, Publix, the grocery store.
(Chocolate ganache cake from Publix)
Our lovely server lit my 3 candles, I made a wish and faster than the plates could be given out, I was slicing into that pure and sinful lusciousness. I’ve had a lot of cakes. I’ve had a lot of desserts and yet still I find that our most unassuming bakeries and home pastry makers are totally underrated and actually yield amazing delicacies. The cake was luscious, moist, not too rich and creamy.
Everything I look for in chocolate.
(Counter clockwise: A & me; my fab make up artist Jenny & her husband Terry; Simone & Bridget)
After 3 hours of chatter, side bar conversations, wine, singing happy birthday and devouring the cake, cocktails, an encounter with an elderly man who shared he’d just had Viagra and had a hot date for the evening, I was a happy gal.
I didn’t publish a picture we took to spare him some potential problems!
(the few that could hang all night. Others slowly peeled away. It was the Champagne)
(L-R:Donnie & me; Sean & me; fresh greenery; shot of A, Nyema, Jennifer & me)
The evening didn’t end without a random man named Donnie visiting from Tampa, crashing my party! I made him pay for that. Within 15 minutes, he discreetly entered the amber lit bar room and bought my entire party two rounds of 1800 tequila shots. I hesitated for what seemed to be an hour but finally swigged.
3 glasses of Champagne, 1 glass of Riesling, 1 shot of tequila and chocolate ganache.
That’s how I like to party! [At least on my birthday!]
Happy birthday to all my November friends! Party hard!
* special thanks to my intern Nicole for capturing all of the evening’s pictures, Jenny from J. Mont Studio for doing my make up, Spa Sydell for their generous services and lovely flowers, the St. Regis hotel and Paces 88 restaurant for their awesome service & champagne and for my lovely friends that gave me funny cards and gifts. Smooches!
Eat well, love unapologetically, pray with true intention, and take care of yourself.