Tuesday, March 25, 2008

More birthdays

I think I said March was the month of birthdays - my older son John turned 21 last Tuesday. I drove to Milwaukee to take him and his girlfriend Megan out for dinner. We were thinking about going for Thai - but we had had a pre-birthday Thai dinner in Madison, the week before, during John's spring break, with John's friend Jake, also a March 18 birthday. John has a new favorite Thai place in Milwaukee that I have not been to yet. I talked them into going to this French bistro, Lake Park Bistro, and it turned out to be just the right choice.

It's in a park in Milwaukee, designed by Frederick Law Olmstead, right by the lake. It's a huge old barn-like building, the original park pavilion, built in 1903 - high ceilings, post and beam, big windows looking out to the lake.

I lured John to the place with promise of steak frites, so that's what he had. Megan had a pasta that I think she found OK, but was not thrilled. I got a charcuterie plate for us all to split - duck liver mousse, country pate, salami, prosciutto, with condiments: really delicious grainy mustard, cranberry sauce and apricots for the duck, cornichons - and despite a little "eeeew-ing" about the sweet & savory combos that both Megan & I liked, everything on the plate was pretty much "mmm" to John. I got a salad, and a bowl of soup after. The salad was not as good as the one I had at the bistro part of Le Bec Fin (the fanciest restaurant in Philadelphia) in January, but it was different, not frisee and bacon and egg, real bistro fare like the Le Bec Fin version; it was softer lettuces and nuts and a sweeter vinaigrette.

The plat du jour was calves liver - it made us miss Oma, that's what she would have ordered.

Mark says I always get weird around John's birthday - I told John that, and he replied, "yeah Dad does too, he says, 'oh just yesterday you were a little kid'". But I don't think I get weird like that; I get weird that John has to have the best birthday, and I am somehow responsible to make it happen. But not this year, not so much - 21 is different - John's grown up and his birthday's out of my hands.

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