Wednesday, May 23, 2012


Tonight Marti and I commemorated the 31st anniversary of our nuptials. We enjoyed a jazzy Champagne toast with friends, went out for a fabulous dinner at a new restaurant and ended the evening with digestifs at The Ritz.

Here's where we tied the knot and cut the cake back on May 23, 1981. Saint Margaret's Episcopal Church (on Connecticut Ave. in Washington DC across from the Ronald Reagan Memorial Assassination Attempt Hilton) and the Textile Museum, around the corner at 2320 S Street NW. Guests walked from the church to the reception. The woman who rented us the lobby rooms and formal garden at the museum kept recommending a string quartet for the music. Uh huh. Honeyboy Martin & The Unconquered People, a nine-piece DC reggae band, rocked our wedding.

Tonight’s festivities began at Le Cavalier Bleu, a terrasse opposite the Pompidou Center. Our dear friend Christian Brenner was playing an apéro gig. Perfect timing.

Soon after Marti and I arrived we fêted our anniversary with Christian’s girlfriend Glaucia (second from right) and her friend Christine.

Christian with Glaucia and Marti at setbreak.

Then Christine’s husband Luc joined us. He and I had a lively conversation about our experiences producing industrial films and videos. Interesting guy.

The ladies who clink.

What a bonus to have a jazz-and-friends kickoff to our special evening. Chanteuse Deborah Tanguy and bassman Jean-Pierre Rebillard rounded out Christian’s trio.

We hung out at Le Cavalier Bleu for an hour or so, then Marti and I departed for two-star Michelin chef Sergi Arola’s swanky new restaurant Arola, in the W Hotel - Opéra. Here’s Sergi describing his new venue:

While we studied the menu, Marti and I ordered a 2009 Chablis Premier Cru from our favorite source: La Chablisienne, the cooperative in Chablis, Upper Burgundy, which represents some 300 independent area vineyards. We’ve visited La Chablisienne’s caveau de degustation a few times over the years.

Amuse-bouche: “Cappucino” of liquefied baked potatoes and onions, with sea scallop foam.

Grissini with Romesco dipping sauce.

A Catalan classic: Pa amb tomàquet. Toast rubbed with garlic and tomato, seasoned with olive oil and salt.

Arola features small plates of what could be described as gourmet tapas. Everything was imaginative and delicious. This is the white asparagus. Cooked at low temperature in mineral water, served with a light mayonnaise, in black olive and almond “soil.”

Green Asparagus. Deep fried in crispy tempura batter, with a Romesco sauce.

Sea Urchins. With orange.

Sardines. Marinated filets, served with sun-dried tomato oil.

Iberian Pork “Presa.” Finely sliced, with hot Basque peppers in vinegar and Idiazabal cheese.

Cannelonis. “A la Barcelonina,” stuffed with braised chicken, veal and pork, with a gratin of Béchamel and parmesan.

Marti’s dessert: Sweet Moments. Vanilla yogurt with rhubarb compote. White chocolate with fennel seeds and green apple granite. Dark chocolate with spiced mango and fried corn kernels.

My choice: Lime. “Mojito” sphere with mint granite.

It was a delightful meal in a beautifully-designed space. Of course my favorite Eiffel Tower aficionada loved this kitschy display.

After dinner we strolled past the Opéra Garnier and window-shopped in the rue de la Paix.

At the Place Vendome we popped into The Ritz for a nightcap.

At the Café Vendome in The Ritz. Bottoms up.

What a great anniversary celebration! To top it all off I gave Marti a Tower from Merci Gustave and a Claude Monet water lilies wristwatch.

Marti gifted me from head to toe with a summer hat by Stetson and a pair of summer slip-ons from Steve Madden, my favorite footwear designer.

I’m ready for the next 31.

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