Today, two years ago, was the day when my life as a food blogger truly began. Before that, I was just a boring food diarist. That afternoon, at the newly-minted Delicious @ Dua Residence, I was bestowed upon a new BFF, a future Ah Pa and a fellow monkey comrade all at once. I often look back at that very day as my own birthday. Funny, given that we were actually there to celebrate the 30th birthday of our dear Life For Beginners. But in the end, it was my life that has been given a new beginning and a reason to celebrate.
Today, two years later, and here we are again celebrating Kenny’s birthday with a familiar crowd. BFF’s here and so is Ah Pa. The Devil and McCutie too. My hairy monkey brother may be stuck on the little red dot down south, hopefully sans the cheese now (ask the Diva). But, we are definitely not short on monkeys as Sista Banana and her shiny new manicured fingernails are here to represent. I am very grateful for the people who are seated around the table tonight. No doubt this is a smaller do, in a darker ambiance. More chic, as some would say. And French too, notwithstanding.
I’m sorry for hijacking your tea-for-two with the Queen. I’m sorry to disappoint you with our presence when all you wanted was a quiet night out to sap, rant and whine. I know it wasn’t very easy for you to get a date with Her Royal Highness. I’m sorry for all those nights she has turned you down because she had to spend it with me. She is, after all, my BFF now. I’m even sorrier that you figured out our plans and had to give us your best surprised impression when you showed up. I’m sorry I was late, and I didn’t catch any of that fictitious gratitude. Hooplas aside, what I’m really sorry for is not enrolling the Devil nor that Lyrical Lemongrass to your Lying, Cheating, Deception & Deceit for Beginners class prior to the surprise party. Perhaps, you would have thought them NOT to mention about the camera. Imagine how perfect the plan would have worked out.
Actually, f**k that! Let me take all those ‘Sorry’s back. Because to be honest, I’m not sorry one tiny bit. It was a really good excuse to have everybody around the table celebrating another milestone for our friendship. McCutie and I also wanted to pass you last year’s Christmas present, which has now doubled up as your birthday present as well *sniggers*. You are just too impossible to get hold off. Lucky us, the Pope canceled on you (the nerves!) tonight and here we are dining in this casual-chic French restaurant. As if the cosmic stars were aligned, we are here in a restaurant founded and run by the same group of delicious people who cooked our food two years ago.
Despite our epic fail efforts, you put on the warmest of smiles much to our relief. As we break our breads together, you tell us how you realised that you were going to be ambushed. I’m glad you still have your sense of humour intact under that thick romantic skin of yours. Our conversations are as delectable as the Duck & Pistachio Terrine served with cornichon (that’s gherkins in French) and beautiful pear chutney that could have been easily mistaken as apples. I wish I could say the same about the visually enticing Puff Pastry Tart filled with huge escargots sautéed in garlic and parsley butter. Unfortunately, the filling left us cold. Then, tales of how our dear Queen Lemongrass has been recently been reduced to just A Whiff of Lemon had the whole table in stitches, as we pass around the T Forty Two salad - crisp salad leaves and seven seed mix tossed with a tarragon truffle dressing much to everyone’s delight.
The birthday boy made orgasmic faces with every mouthful of his hefty yet tender Veal Escalopes with creamy wild mushroom sauce, served with mashed potatoes; the Devil seems to be enjoying his Linguine with Clams and all its white wine-green chili-oregano-garlic juice at the other end of the table. Perhaps, they were both fantasizing about showering together. I dare not confirm this.
Her Majesty could never say “No” to pampered bovine cheeks whenever they are available. Gamey as this version is to me, our beloved royalty swallowed every bit of her luscious Daube of Wagyu Beef Cheeks with great poised and elegance. More beef came our way in the form of Classic Grilled Sirloin Steak served with French Fries, French Beans and a greenish T Forty Two sauce which I presume is just as French as the rest of the accompanying sides. My Shoulder Rack of Lamb is smokey and charred on the outside and juicily pinkish on the inside, served on a bed of ratatouille and preserved lemons. Overall a decent dinner, but nothing comes close to the evening’s stellar company.
In one final stunt to surprise our resident poet, Fatboybakes pulls out his most intricate and decadent cake to date, his homage to the la Cerise sur la Gâteaux – a new trick he picked up at the Academy of Pastry Arts (which is a French baking course too by the way). Kenny’s birthday cake is richly decorated, by Ah Pa’s standards this is the equivalent to a Renoir or Monet masterpiece, with layers upon layers of chocolate and bananas. Just no cherries. Not for a grown guy whose cherry has been popped a long time ago. Bananas seems rather apt for the occasion. After all, the birthday boy is surrounded by us monkeys. Queen Lemon included.
Yes, my life as a flogger (as we food bloggers are known to some) wouldn’t be constantly filled with colourful days like these if it wasn’t for Life For Beginners. And neither would would my meals be as memorable. So, I thank the day when he was born because I am now blessed with this wonderful gift of friendship. His birthday, my burp-day.
Happy Birthday, Bro!
T Forty Two
Bangsar Village II,
No. 2, Jalan Telawi Satu, Bangsar Baru,
Tel: +603-2287 6566