Did you think it was possible to close out the year without mention of my birthday festivities? At this point, birthday blogging is as much of a tradition as blowing out the candles. And, as bdays go, I will say that this was a blowout year.
*Plump Shrimp Dumplings and Sticky Rice in Lotus Leaf at Chinatown's flashy dim summery Red Egg
*A miracle of a Slow-Braised Lamb Shank at Astoria's upscale Greek hot spot MP Taverna
*Oatmeal Cookie Ice Cream, happily downed in the middle of a snowstorm at Oddfellow's in Williamsburg
*A plate of Zizi Limona's perfectly-fried Falafel Balls, balanced atop Pickled Cabbage and Charred Onion, then drizzled with Curried Yogurt
*Bowls of al dente pasta followed by dense Lemon Olive Oil Cake at the East Village's Porsena
Sounds terrific, right? But the coupe de grace was a road trip to Staten Island with my pals Jim and Max.
Yes. You read correctly. Staten Island. Why are you surprised? I've written about this much-maligned outerborough before.
This trip was different though. Food wasn't set in our Staten Island sites. We were after pleasures of another sort. The kind that came in carved out coconuts or Hawaiian surfer girl glasses, with large spears of brightly colored fruit, dangling orchid flowers and paper umbrellas.
We ventured to Staten Island for the Polynesian cocktails, preferably accompanied by plenty of 1970's kitsch and old men remembering the good old days when disco ruled and leisure suits were the height of fashion.
Arriving at the strip mall classic Jade Island, we knew we'd come to the right place. Scorpions, Navy Grog and Zombies were on the menu, the lighting was decidedly day-glo, Tiki gods lined the walls and AARP members were lined up at the bar. Yowsa!
Several potent Polynesian favorites were had as we kibbitzed with the regulars, but the libation of the night arrived in a hollowed pineapple with two kinds of rum and three straws...
Oh. Heck. Yeah! Happy freakin' Tiki birthday to me! Who needs the Big Island when you have the Isle of Staten?
Now the question is: How do we top that field trip when it comes to next year's birthday? Luckily, Jim and Max have some time to think about it...