My sweet sixteenth birthday was celebrated on the 16th of December. Years ago, a large group of friends and ate at P.F. Changs. Afterward, we all caravanned to see the comedy show at Esther’s Follies on East 6th St. at 8 P.M. before heading back to Lake Travis for cake at my parent’s house in The Hills of Lakeway. Given how young we were, it was a special downtown treat for all of us on 6th street! I still remember my birthday cake with two masquerade masks on it in honor of my choice to pursue the arts over athletics. (Until that age, athletics governed my life, and art came second.) Many birthdays have come and gone since then, some very memorable and others lost in the blur of time. A few sad birthdays sprinkled in here and there, most of which I’m glad I hardly recall. Overall, I can say that my birthdays have been blessed. Recently, that day of year in December rolled around again, like it always does, and yet another trip around the sun later: it’s my happy birthday once more! With great joy and gratitude, I do declare that it was indeed a birthday I will always remember. My heart is so grateful and full of all the food, gifts, love, and memories.
My morning began with a lovely lunch at 1886 Cafe & Bakery with my mummy. She and I had High Tea at The Driskill last year, but this year we chose lunch. My family and I have enjoyed going to The Driskill Hotel for birthdays and the holidays for years. Its design is Romanesque. The Driskill is the second oldest hotel in Texas. I once wrote a publication about the hotel for Examiner.com. Since I was a kid, I’ve loved all the lights, flowers and decorations in December! The stained glass and the stairwells and everything about its historic appearance. One year, my father and brother and I ate lunch there, and I got cowboy boots as a birthday gift. This year, I opened my gifts at home and while I was at the cafe: I ordered the salmon with veggies. And the tiny, miraculous 1886 chocolate cake they serve with edible gold. Très délicieux!
Later that evening, Steven Mark and I went out to dinner at the Cedar Tavern for a pizza party and a few celebratory libations. The pizza was excellent, and I was relieved my boyfriend enjoyed the atmosphere too. I tend to be a little more boujee than he is, so I wasn’t sure he’d like the scene. Since he loves art, woodwork, good food and NYC, it all worked out. Cedar Tavern bar is so intricate, colored and detailed that it must’ve taken endless hours dismantling that bar and its glasswork to bring it to Texas. After spending over a century on the east coast, Cedar Tavern was relocated to Austin from NYC. Cedar Tavern is located inside a restaurant named Eberly, which is named after Angelina Eberly. A week after this pizza party with Steven—I had a 2.5-hour dinner with my father and brother in the main dining room of Eberly. My brother and I shared the wild boar ragu and the sea scallops. This time, my father ate salmon and veggies. Two decadent desserts were also consumed too. Eberly is befitting for us to eat because for 12 years, off and on, my dad lived in NYC, particularly Hell’s Kitchen on 53rd and 8th Avenue. My older brother also attended Columbia University. New York City is my second home in line with Texas, followed by Savannah and Ireland.
“Within Eberly you’ll discover a beautiful dining room offering contemporary American cuisine, a welcoming study, a rooftop event space overlooking downtown, and our crown jewel, the historic Cedar Tavern bar of Greenwich Village in New York City. Built in 1866 out of pure mahogany from South America, the Cedar Tavern held court for more than 140 years in three different locations in New York City. A living piece of history, it was the watering hole of choice for many notable artists, abstract expressionists, beat writers and folk musicians. On any given night you might have seen Jackson Pollock drinking and fighting with Willem DeKooning or Jack Kerouac. Or overhear Bob Dylan, Jimi Hendrix or Allen Ginsberg marinate on their next project. In 2006, the Cedar Tavern Bar in New York City closed for good to make way for the onslaught of commercial growth.”
My birthday felt like it lasted for weeks, and I was showered with gifts: perfumes, shoes, booties, red roses, a blue and white bouquet of flowers, an evergreen tree, bedazzled earrings from Neiman Marcus and so on… Last but not least, my birthday also included Las Vegas! The boyfriend and I returned to Las Vegas, Nevada, in January 2020 for a belated birthday trip. Our second time to go to Vegas together, but it was our third time, each, to see the desert and its city of Vegas lights. Twice now, we’ve visited Vegas in the wintertime. Perhaps next time we can alter the season.
“Though still in bed, my thoughts go out to you, my Immortal Beloved, now and then joyfully, then sadly, waiting to learn whether or not fate will hear us.”– Ludwig Van Beethoven
(a letter he wrote on July 7, 1812)
Lastly, December 16th is known as “The Day of Soaring Imagination,” and I share this birthday with many, including Jane Austen and Ludwig Van Beethoven. Artists, like me, although, I highly doubt I will ever reach their level of notoriety in this life. However, I can play a little bit of Moonlight Sonata, and I love to read Jane Austen. And I do possess a soaring imagination that enhances my life. Cheers to 2020, and may it be a year of art, dance, singing, music, writing, good health and wealth!
“What do you know of my heart? What do you know of anything but your own suffering. For weeks, Marianne, I’ve had this pressing on me without being at liberty to speak of it to a single creature… Believe me, Marianne, had I not been bound to silence I could have provided proof enough of a broken heart, even for you.”– Jane Austen
(a quote from ”Sense & Sensibility”)