Top Twentieth

I have just had my twentieth birthday. But I don’t have to worry too much, because I am twenteen. I am still a teenager! Phewsies!!!!

Despite dreading arriving at this age and being another year older, I was excited because my Warwick friends were coming down to visit and my close friends were celebrating with me. However, I was utterly overwhelmed by how all those closest to me made my birthday weekend so exceptionally snazzy. I received a huge array of presents and great cards (with rather questionable photos all over them) and we had a super fun night out sipping cocktails and getting down on the floor of Revs. So, whilst getting older is a drag, the birthday celebrations seem to be getting better and better.

Around the time of birthdays, food is nearly always on great form. This birthday was no exception. The Birthday Cake is a primary concern. My mum often makes a five star chocolate cake, but this year, in a desperate bid to recreate my childhood (and so hang on to my disappearing youth) I requested a cake which we have not had in yonks. The Costco Chocolate fudge cake. Think Matilda‘s Boris Bogtrotter cake but without the sweat and blood that ‘Cooky’ snivelled into it. It is a dark moist sponge with the most chocolatey rich icing that has ever come to pass on this world. Tucking into this and sharing it with my friends was a true highlight, and because it is from Costco it is big enough to last quite a few days. Go there. Buy it. Do the necessary exercise. It’s worth it.

A tradition on Becky and I’s birthday is to go out to the theatre. There is a magic about theatre – the beautifully ornate buildings, the atmosphere from the songs and the main characters that, male or female, you inevitably fall in love with and hope for your own spin-off story to happen just like it does on stage. Hairspray, Wicked, The Lion King, love them all. This year we went to see Top Hat. It was a catchy show full of tapping feet, smiling faces, hilarious one-liners and a simple but strong plot which I enjoyed a lot. Walking back through Covent Garden at night was also a glittery experience.

Before the theatre, we met my brother and his girlfriend at Café des Amis in Covent Garden. After missing our chosen train we were a bit tight for time, but the restaurant was extremely efficient and we were fed in plenty of time. I had the pan-fried seabass with bohemian vegetables and gnocchi. Gnocchi is a new obsession of mine and I love fish, so I had high hopes, although ‘bohemian vegetables’, for me, is a useless description of vegetables and sounds more like vegetables grown next to a teepee tent with incense burning next to it than any specific selection. It arrived looking very bright and appealing, with mini gems of vegetables and the seabass nestling on a bed of soft potato pasta eggs. Unfortunately, it was also surrounded by a moat of yellow-green oil, which was a bit off-putting especially since it was already bathed in a creamy sauce. The gnocchi was absolutely divine, pillowy and a bit sticky so the sauce seeped in. Nobody wants a well made sauce left to cool on the plate because it has nothing to combine with, so I was contented. The seabass was beautifully cooked, falling off the skin, and the textures of the gnocchi and seabass were well-suited. The bohemian vegetables added a pleasant freshness and crunch, but because they were so small their flavour was somewhat lost. I loved the wine served as well: Merlot d’Oc Domaine des Pourthié. Apparently it has notes of tobacco and chocolate in it, but as a wine amateur I cannot confirm. All I know is that it was smooth and had a great flavour.

Somebody told me that twenty is the decade where most of life happens. I am not ready to think about that in too much depth, so I am going to try and continue as before, enjoying time with my friendies, seeing musicals and eating food. It sounds doable to me!

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One thought on “Top Twentieth

  1. Pingback: My love affair with gnocchi | …or failing that, food

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