This is my (Marcie) birthday month. Yes, I'm a Scorpio and proud of it, though obviously I had little to do with it. Unlike many people who shun birthdays, I love mine...not the aging part, just the celebrating part. In fact, I enjoy it so much, I celebrate for the entire month. David's a good sport about it and calls it Marcie's birthday season. Each time we head out in November to explore, we count it as part of my birthday celebration. A weekend in Parbo? Yup, part of my birthday. Walking tours, zoos, butterfly parks … definitely part of the birthday package. Gifts, birthday cakes and candles? Not so much. Well … maybe a few gifts.
It's a fine time for culinary exploration. We've been eating out at roti shacks and warungs (Javanese food stalls). We've had our fill of curries and nasi and bami for the time being. After all, at some point during this month, I felt entitled to a grand birthday dinner. A bit of research and we settled on The Garden of Eden, a highly rated Thai restaurant.
From the moment we walked in, I could tell it was going to be a fabulous evening. We were all “duded-up” or at least as finely dressed as possible considering our sketchy wardrobes. We were greeted at the door and seated outside at a table with an umbrella. Tiki torches burned. The ground was covered in white sand. Thatched cabanas offered private seating areas. Flowering trees, shrubs and plants bloomed. Bamboo and palm trees formed a pleasant, airy canopy overhead.
A hint of jasmine mingled with delicious food smells emanating from the open air kitchen. It really couldn't have been more lovely or romantic.
It was one of those evenings when everything meshed. Our server, Elliot, was attentive, but not obtrusive. Chilled water with an herb sprig came first. We ordered cocktails. I had a pina colada made with local coconut, pineapple and Borgoe rum. David tried a Hazelnut Absolut martini … served chilled with whole hazelnuts and described on the menu “like angels pissing on your tongue”. How could he pass up that description? It was so good, he ordered a second.
There were so many fine little details of the restaurant and the service that added to the overall ambiance. The menus, displayed in three languages, were inserted in rattan folders with a fan inside each one. Rattan napkin rings encircled red linen napkins. Fresh flowers adorned the cocktails and the meals.
We ordered different menu items to share. An appetizer of Thai Sate Gai (chicken in a spicy peanut sauce) and Tom Kha Gai soup (chicken and vegetables in a tangy, rich coconut milk broth). David tried Homak Pla (sea bass in red curry wrapped in banana leaves) and I tried Yam Sam Krob which they described in English as “inkfish” with mango and roasted peanuts. It was, of course, squid, i.e. calamari and it was fantastic. All served with jasmine rice. We ate and sampled each other's dishes until we could eat no more. Doggy bags, please … a Thai breakfast for tomorrow morning? We lingered and savored the evening.
A ginger flower was my parting gift.
The only negative? The lighting was so dim, David couldn't count out our taxi fare. He had to rely on a torch at the exit.
All in all, a wonderful birthday dinner. But, of course, there's more to come. It's only mid-November … another half month to celebrate … and then there's Christmas.
Dutch word for the day – verjaardag – birthday