Hey, it was the Twister’s birthday!

I think I’m  now officially ahead in the birthday gift sweepstakes.

If you recall, I wrote awhile back about “the home birthday advantage.” This is where, when embarking on a relationship, the person who has the birthday first has the advantage— he/she can see what their mate has selected, and then calibrate where the relationship is at, and what to buy him/her for their birthday.

Well, I felt I was doing pretty good already, considering the Texas Twister’s (I can call her that now because she’s out of town) birthday gift to me was a robe. Which she wears.

So I was already starting with credit in the bank when I bought her a bunch of art supplies. But then, thanks to the folks at Tourism Vancouver, I was able to go the extra distance.

Every year, the outfit helps promote Dine Out, a two-week event that sees various local restaurants offering a special fixed-price menu.  When I whined about not being invited to the opening night, Tourism Vancouver set me up with the Wedgewood Hotel, which is offering a Dine Out Package that includes dinner in the restaurant and a night in one of its junior suites. Needless to say, it behooved me to take advantage of this package, especially since it would help me score big points with the girlfriend.

The Wedgewood itself has always been known to me more for its bar, the Bacchus Lounge, an elegantly wainscotted room with windows looking out on a busy city street. It’s the kind of place where, if you breathe nothing but cigar smoke for nearly five minutes, you might forget you’re in Vancouver. Heck, once I was there, and not one person was wearing a Vancouver Canucks team jersey. And that was a game night!

Anyway, it’s old English style, I guess—as befits the name. Wedgewood is that flat-pastel-coloured earthenware (pottery? ceramics?). But I have to admit, I only know this because this morning in the lobby the Twister pointed out a display case and said something about how her Nana (English grandmother) has some Wedgewood. Of course, when she told me, I nodded like I knew what she was talking about, though my family’s idea of nice dishware is a new Slurpee cup.

king size birthday bed!

king size birthday bed!

It’s kind of neat staying at a hotel in your own city, as long as you’re not taking up residence because your house burned down or something. I kept thinking of a song, “Tourist in Your Town”, by local band the Pink Mountaintops. And when she saw our room (a junior suite with a bedroom curtained off for a living space), the Twister nearly twisted out of her skin. Pictures were taken, hugs were bestowed and accepted, and an ego—mine—was boosted.

me in the jr. suite, rockin' the remote

me in the jr. suite, rockin' the remote

Down in the restaurant, a piano man with a smoky voice and a jazzy style played standard lounge tunes like “As Time Goes By.” The Twister and I looked in each other’s eyes… hers were limpid, I think the poets say. The modern French cuisine began to arrive. I started simple with a salad of baby spinach, anjou pear and blue cheese with a lemon dressing. Nuanced. She, the roulade of smoked salmon, soused cucumber salad. The roulade (which, by its appearance, I take to mean a slice roled up around some cream cheese) was mouth–watering. Now, I’m not normally a duck guy, but her duck confit was enough to make me sell my collection of Howard the Duck comic books. I think my filet of spring slamon, with a ragout of white coco beans and salted cod, manila clam and soft herb cream, was excellent, too. I ate it so fast, though, I can’t remember.

Dessert came next, but I’m afraid of losing you with my bad foodie prose so I’ll stop there. Suffice it to say, I was getting a pretty positive reaction from the Twister. After dinner, we went up to our room and a couple of friends, Fanny and Clem, came by. The two recently married Quebecois shared with us a bottle of sparkling Sonoma Brut and kept the Twister company when she went out for a balcony smoke. The tres urban balcony view looked out on a swath of sky, the backs of office buildings, and a back lane.  After the Frenchies left, I put on a DVD documentary I knew she’d flip over, and she did.

But that was yesterday. Now her birthday is over, thank God, and I can go back to being my usual annoying, inconsiderate self.



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