Monday, December 19, 2005

The Season of Lights (and Holiday Parties)

Or not. I love this time of year--holiday parties almost every night, which means free food and booze, sometimes music, and good schmoozing to be had by all. But a nasty cold early last week put me out of the running for many of the cool holiday parties that were buzzing around town. Sniff. But I'm still determined to have my fair share of holiday party fun, especially since December and January are officially the Months of the Year When Most of My Friends and Family Members Celebrate Their Birthdays (including me!). No less than a dozen (and I'm probably forgetting a few) folks in my world will be ringing in their next year on earth in the recent and upcoming weeks.

Last night, holiday celebration took the form of gastronomic nirvana as part of our joint birthday celebration(s). H. and I had the pleasure of being accompanied by N. and Vkdir to Paul K, a fantastic Hayes Valley restaurant on Gough that is now one of my new favorites. Fusion Mediterranean, I guess you could call it: subtle but memorable flavors of sumac (a Persian spice, I believe), pomegranate, chili harissa and medjool dates infused our dishes. They served thin circles of pita bread with baba ghannoush and hummus for the table. I was feeling like I needed some comfort food, so I got the grilled prime ribeye with chili harissa, which was scrumptious. We all sipped pinot noir, which was a little spicy and quite bright, a nice complement to each of our entrees. And to top it off, the prices aren't bad.

Then we went over to Sweet Inspiration in the Castro for dessert. I had my favorite, the coconut cake, which is super-decadent (especially since I'd already eaten a big slab of beef for dinner), but hey, you only celebrate birthdays once a year. (Well, for one month per year, at least--I figure having birthdays so close to Christmas and New Year's gives me and H. the right to party for as long as possible).

We had also gone to the McKay Foundation & FACT holiday party a couple weeks ago, which is always fun, partially because it's the only place I get to hear and dance to Surco Nuevo, one of my favorite salsa bands. They don't play much in the big salsa nightclubs in the Bay Area, because those gigs don't actually pay much, so once a year I get to groove to their music after sipping the best wine and food to be had at a holiday party. Not sure who caters that event, but they rock, lemme tell ya.

Tonite there's another little holiday party to attend, this time for the Agape Foundation, whose web site H. designed. They're a cool, progressive foundation, and Karen, their Executive Director, is a great person who I'm sure will throw a good shindig.

So even though I'm getting a little bit of a late start on the holiday-party circuit, I'm making up for lost time. I gots to--it's my obligation as a winter-baby Capricorn. I hope your winter's turning out as bright and full of festivity too.


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