My husband and I both recently turned 40. Before the big milestones, we were in agreement: we would celebrate as a family, and neither one of us would throw the other a party or any other such fancy thing.
So I was just the slightest bit peeved when I came home last June 30 to a houseful of family and friends yelling, “Surprise!” This after I had just finished teaching three hours of . Needless to say, I did not look or smell my best.
I learned later what my husband had written in the invitation: “We agreed not to surprise each other, so this is NOT a surprise party. However, I’m not telling her about it.”
My husband, Will, has made it perfectly clear that he doesn’t feel comfortable having birthday parties anymore. “What am I going to do, have all the guys sit around me criss-cross applesauce, sipping coffee and discussing the PTA while I open presents? C’mon Judy, we’re men.”
I pointed out that that’s exactly what we did at my birthday party and that we had a great time! He sighed and reminded me that A) That’s what my girlfriends and I always do (and he’s right, I do love gabbing with my sista-friends); and B) like he said, he's a man.
That got me thinking about what would be a good, low-key, adult birthday party geared to the male half of the species (with no nudity) on the Island? The answer was surprisingly easy: A tour and tasting at .
Since I had about 10 guests, I had to call and make a reservation, but that gave them their own table and tasting area. I signed them up for the tour and the extended tasting, which included the four basic food groups: vodkas, liqueurs, whiskey and absinthe. (That's right, absinthe. Not just for murder mysteries anymore.)
The tour proved to be entertaining as well as informative and, since I was allowed to bring snacks for them, no one left too woozy. I supplied them with a picnic basket full of cheeses and dips and fruit and veggies. (I also included Pringles and beef jerky, because, after all, they're men.)
St. George is located in an old hangar on Alameda Point and it is a nice mix of old-school Navy and modern industrial, with Bay views to die for. My sister and I were the chauffeurs.
After the tasting, we ventured off-island, shuttling the group to dinner at La Estrellita in Oakland. Not only does it have more tequila behind the bar than all of Mexico (seriously, at least 100 kinds), but La Estrellita is home of, in my opinion, the best chicken mole in the Bay Area. True, the owner is our neighbor and friend (Hey Jose!), but regardless, I speak the truth.
All in all it was a great afternoon. My husband was sufficiently embarrassed when everyone yelled, “Surprise!” in the middle of the distillery (win for me). He got to visit with friends while being entertained with booze and food (win for him). No one had to worry about being the designated driver (win for everyone ) and we were all home before bedtime (another win for everyone)!