Venue: Lisa's Birthday

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Last night a group of friends went to Venue, on 5th and Washington to celebrate Lisa's 27th birthday.

My first impressions about the restaurant is that I like what they did with the place. It's large, spacious and uses minimalist modernism in the decor and tablewear.

They gave us the upstairs floor to ourselves, which comfortably sat the 16 guests. Lisa invited myself and my two roommates, Jon and Kristen to the event, and we were happy to oblige.

The night began with animated and casual conversation amongst the guests, and the wine flowed freely at the BYOB restaurant. Once everyone was seated I started my surprise for Lisa.

I figured that it was a birthday and every guy can go out and buy a Hallmark card for someone they like. Since I was an English major (that was LITERATURE not GRAMMAR!), I decided to pen her a toast.

Lisa gave me a book for Christmas 2003 a book called The Complete Book of Toasts: [over 1,500 of the best toasts for every occasion]. I used it on many an occasion, I wrote congratulatory cards using toasts from that book over the last 2 years and its a great present for someone in your life.

So, I sat down about 2 hours before we were scheduled to meet and decided to write a toast to honor her birthday - it would be original and unique. Sometimes i'm able to write very fast and the words can flow out of me, and I was very lucky that tonight I was inspired to write these words...

To joyous events that come once a year,
To our friends and family we hold dear,
We raise our glasses in a toast
A heartfelt wish for the most
Bright and wonderful future to appear.

Lisa on today's date, we honor you,
Your 26th March bids the sweet world adieu,
May the next be as fruitful as the last
Now my toasting friends, say "Cheers" and finish your glass!

If you count the syllables for each rhyming line, they all match. I was proud of that. Oh, my OTHER present for her are two tickets to The Producers in April. I wanted to get Spamalot, but they are so incredibly booked! Argh. If anyone can hook a brother up - please let me know.

Anyhow, the toast went over quite well, and Lisa enjoyed it as much as I enjoyed making it for her. My roommates did pull me aside later and chided me in jest for not taking the time to STUDY the toast and recite it verbatim.

Screw you guys!

The appetizer I ordered was the "Lobster pithivier. micro green salad & 15 year aged balsamic $15" - it was delicious with a light and soft breaded pastry filled with lobster meat topped with a light green salad and the dressing consisted of the balasmic vinegar. Yes, very delicious and they scored high marks here.

Sadly, I was underwhelmed with the entree.

I asked the waiter what he thought was the signature dish, and this is something I normally do when I go out. I can eat most things on a menu and i'm not terribly choosy - so I figure the best experts as to what is good at an establishment are the employees that work there. The waiter recommended that I try, "Roasted garlic crusted pork chop. caramelized maui onion risotto, braised prunes, cherry verjus & port wine reduction $25"

Breaking out my trusty scale of 1-10, i'd give it a solid 7. It was good. Other people at the table had ordered it and they were describing it as "Orgasmic". I, myself, didn't have the same reaction I just found it above average but certainly not great. The pork was tender and moist, while the garlic crust didn't demand the attention of your palate with an overbearing seasoning. The port reduction sauce was of a dark cherry flavor with hints of pepper.

I don't know if I would be going back to Venue anytime soon. There are other places that i'd rather try over Venue. I feel like Venue will suffer the fate of Les Bisous - it will get a nice, small following of people who enjoy the eclectic menu but not enough people to keep it in business.

The funny story of the night goes to Nicole, who was telling me about her adventures at the Malibu Diner last Saturday night.

She was in a booth, dining with Lisa and her cousin from Jamacia, Ben - who, from what I understand is somehow Jamacian royalty; you got me if that was told to me in jest or not, but somehow it is much more laughable when I was told this story. It was 4:30 in the morning when Nicole, a very cute African American (can I say "black" here or do I get the politcal correct beatdown?) woman who isn't afraid to speak her mind.

She was approached by a fellow, who began to hit on her, while she was sitting in the booth. The two made casual conversation, and it quickly became apparent that Nicole wasn't enjoying the attention of the drunken man. His friend, a guy about 5'2 and chewing on a toothpick sauntered over and joined in the conversation. He decided to make fun of Ben's choice from the menu - He ordered a steak.

Nicole didn't like that much and countered back to banter with the short man. The short man looks at her necklace and says,

"What is that necklace a faux-Tiffany's knock off?"

Nicole replied, "No, its Tommy Hilfinger."

The short man said, "Oh more like Tommy Hil-N....."

Yes, he used the "N-word".

Now, Ben, who during this time was quietly eating his meal and not paying much attention to the events quickly countered with:

"Nicole, what's with the peasants?"

Peasants. Yes, that will be my new favorite put down.

The two guys say, "What did you say? What did you call us?!"

Ben calmly looks at them and says, "PEASANTS! I could buy your father. I could buy your mother. And I could STILL have change left over for ice cream."

Wow, welcome to America, Ben.

The table, after hearing that story was roaring with laughter. I'm not sure what happened after that event but from what i'm told Lisa was ready to throw a few haymakers in defense of her friends. I'm just happy that I wasn't there, because that little guy may have thrown a uppercut and hit my knee.

That is how the night went, with many mirthful stories and even a challenge from my roommates to play Lisa and myself versus them in basketball (2 on 2 and also in HORSE). I'll be sure to get pictures of that event.

We finished around 11:30 and I wasn't feeling all that great - my throat was still smarting me, and I wanted to rest it a bit. So the rest of the group headed over to Madison's for its infamous Tuesday night Martini specials - and I headed home for some much needed rest.

Thurday night is the SECOND birthday event for Lisa - which we are going to 66 in the city to celebrate with her "city friends". I'll bring the camera.

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This page contains a single entry by Furey published on March 23, 2005 11:17 AM.

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