Surprise parties are always very tricky to plan and require some clever maneuvers to carry them out. One of my cousins had celebrated her actual sixtieth birthday in November, but with Thanksgiving and a wedding, the milestone had been eclipsed by those other events. Her husband had other plans. He arranged that we should all meet at a restaurant called Matter of Taste, one of her favorite restaurants, and I am surprised that I haven’t wrote about it before, as we had dinner one night with the very same couple. We were all to be at the restaurant in their banquet room, on the second floor by six; while he had suggested to his wife that they go have dinner there and that they would pick up her Mother, my Aunt, and take her for dinner as well. He told her that they had reservations, but on the way to pick up my Aunt, they got delayed and my cousin is very punctual and she was concerned that they would lose their reservation. I think the delay was both to get her a little riled and also to accommodate some of the attendees that always run on “Armenian time.” As they were driving to the restaurant, he mentioned that his boss, was talking about having a party there and would the husband check out the facility, so he insisted on doing that before they had dinner. This also got her a little riled, and the room was dark, when they arrived and yes, she was surprised; and I am sure that she will forgive her husband and her Mother in time.
Not only was the surprise perfect, so was the restaurant. Matter of Taste is a charming restaurant situated on a lake, and in the summer time, they have huge commercial garage doors on the water side that are drawn up, so that there is great ambience to the dining room. The menu was selected beforehand and I am sure that it is one of the guest of honor’s favorite dishes there. We started off with their House Salad that was a mixture of assorted lettuces with sliced apples, toasted Hazelnuts, dried cranberries, shaved carrots and New York White Cheddar cheese drizzled with a raspberry vinaigrette. While I don’t often get excited over a salad this was wonderful and very tasty. The entrée was breast of chicken, and all of the chickens, must have been first cousins to a turkey, because they were extra-large, and cooked perfectly and so moist. The chicken was accompanied with huge egg noodles wrapped around asparagus spears. During dinner, the room was almost quiet, as everyone was just totally immersed and impressed with the dinner. Afterwards there was a sweet table set up on the side with about eighteen different mini-desserts and coffee for all to enjoy, if they still had room after the dinner.
There was a full-service bar arranged in one corner for all to enjoy with some very fine liquors and most were having craft cocktails which are all the rage these days. I true to myself went and explored the wines being offered. The bartender told me that these were the normal banquet wines that the restaurant offered, as compared to the wine carte that is offered downstairs in the restaurant proper and I was still interested in having some wine and so was my Bride, when she wasn’t busy photographing the event. Most of the wines were from Vista Point Vineyards and they were all non-vintage California wines and a popular winery for large parties and caterers. The wines offered were Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Pinot Grigio/Colombard and White Zinfandel. There was also Canyon Oaks Chardonnay 2014 also from California and that is what we both had for the evening, as it went well with the entrée and it was enjoyable, not a lot of nuance, but it filled the bill adequately for the moment. My Bride had photographed the moment and all the guests that were there, she has already had all the pictures developed and created an album that we will give the honoree when we see her. My Bride selected about eighty photos to be inserted and there were additional leaves in the album to add more photos that I am sure other people had taken as well. All of the planning and stealth totally accomplished the trick and there was a wonderful evening for all, and I am sure a great memory for my cousin.