Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Happy 30th Elmer!

Saturday, November 12, 2005

Prior to Dinner:
Brian and I drove to NYC to surprise Elmer at his surprise birthday dinner. Before getting to the restaurant, we walk around Chelsea and hit two of the MANY galleries in the area, the Hasted Hunt Gallery and the Gagosian Gallery. The Hasted Hunt gallery's current exhibit shows work by the VII Photo Agency, of which I attended their inspiring seminar a month earlier. I had seen many of the photos on display, but never in a large-print format. You could literally just look at some of these photographs for hours, even those that are very raw and disturbing. I thought that the most expensive print there would be a 30x40 print of "Rwanda" by James Nachtwey at $6,000, highly visible as you first enter the gallery, but it is Lauren Greenfield's "Chantell, Former Model" at $7,000. The gallery's opening night was actually on the first day of the seminar on Saturday, October 15th, but I chose not to go since it would be very crowded (and it was...I heard you couldn't even see the images), and went to dinner with Brian, Elmer, Hoong-San and David. To see more about the show, visit http://www.hastedhunt.com

At the Gagosian Gallery, the current exhibit is "Day is Done" by Mike Kelley, http://www.gagosian.com/current/exhibitions/?gid=2 I really enjoy art installations, and this one was quite multi-media. I may have been persuaded to stay longer, but Brian and I were getting tired and had to change for dinner, which we did quite comfortably in our car hidden in the darkness of 10th Avenue.


The birthday dinner was at Matsuri

(reviews: http://newyorkmetro.com/nymetro/food/reviews/restaurant/n_9575/
http://newyork.citysearch.com/profile/38584280/new_york_ny/matsuri.html )

where we had a yummy prix fixe family-style dinner organized by Hoong-San:

- AVOCADO & ARUGULA SALAD with sesame dressing
- YELLOWTAIL sashimi with yuzu, pepper-vinegar sauce
- SEA EEL TEMPURA served with green sea salt
- SEARED TUNA served with garlic-onion vinaigrette
- TOFU - EGGPLANT deep fried, served with soy-dashi sauce
- SEA SCALLOP seared, served cool with white miso sauce

- BLACK COD grilled with sake rice paste
- SIRLOIN STEAK grilled with ponzu-brown butter sauce
- SHRIMP TEMPURA and vegetables with dashi dipping sauce


Dinner guests included Betsy and Mike, Joanne and Gene, Sam and Cathy, Darice, Sunny, Amelia, David, Brian and I. Because it wasn't a private room, most of us just held the menus up to hide, before yelling "surprise!" As always, the video's a bit dark.

Sea scallop, avocado & arugula salad and seared tuna...

Sake Bottle #1 (aka the blue one), the first of many glasses of sake. Elmer also had a "sakenade ginger" made with sake, ginger and lemon juice.

The sea eel tempura and yellowtail sashimi...yummy

That's the sirloin steak in the foreground.

With one piece remaining on three of the dishes, Joanne, Gene, Betsy, Mike, Sunny and Darice determine who gets what by playing "21".

...finishing the second bottle of sake called Kira was much smoother than the first, which tasted quite like rubbing alcohol.

Removing his sweater, David displays his very mod shirt.

Yummy and plentiful creme brulee with tarty pomegranates, which several folks couldn't finish and not surpirsingly offered their leftovers to the guest of honor, who gladly helped himself to the extra servings, although Darice did add a little catch with hers...Elmer had to do a shot of sake...turns out though...

everyone did a shot as well, since the third bottle was, although I thought better than the first, was quite yucky. It becoming a shot alleviated the pain of drinking it slowly.

That's Elmer's expression after throwing back his shot...

and another shot...

Most of the attendees pitched in for a group present which was a...

Canon SD-550, a very cool digital camera with a HUGE 2.5 inch screen, that...

coincidentaly Sam also has and was using during dinner. Elmer gives it a whirl...

David gives Elmer a large box wrapped in paper he designed and printed himself...

as well as the gift inside, Elmerphant, also made by David. Sooo talented!!

...and another shot...

Before departing to our next location, actually maybe a good 45 minutes or so, Sam discovered that there was a celebrity in the house. Once the news quickly traveled down the table, we looked like those moles in that "Hit-a-mole" game, popping up and down to see. Everyone, except for Brian, eventually had to go to the "bathroom" which was conveniently en route to passing this famous actor. Remember there were fourteen of us.

Looks just as good in person as on screen, and has quite a commanding presence at the table.

Brian took this video on his way out of the restaurant, hoping to catch the actor on "film". I tried my best to lighten it...

Just before leaving, I took this cropped photo of the restaurant, and with some zooming, you can kinda make out who it was.

Well, if you couldn't tell who it was, it was Keira Knightley (Bend It Like Beckham, Pirates of the Caribbean, Love Actually, Domino...) who was in town for the NY premiere of Pride and Prejudice which I've been looking forward to see, and now especially so since it's gotten rave reviews.

Actress Keira Knightley arrives for the November 10, 2005 New York premiere of her new film "Pride & Prejudice" (UPI Photo/Ezio Petersen)

Since we just mostly sat at the table, and getting there relatively early (6:30-6:45pm), we couldn't appreciate the swankiness of the place unless you got up. And having gotten up to walk to the "bathroom", I finally noticed how "hot" the spot really was.

We kept joking that Elmer should have asked her for a kiss since it was his birthday. We also came up with the idea that we should have sent her a bottle of sake, the Kira one we had, and not so discretely add the missing "e" to the name.

We're so corny.

Sometime around 10pm...

We headed over to Highline which was only a short walk away, although my feet certainly didn't think it was with my unusual wearing of high heels, where the night continued on and more guests arrived.

Very interesting decor and design...

(that's my ad shot on the right)

After attracting some attention, Elmer and David explain our (Elmer and mine) weird mannerisms.

Ever since we saw the Buck Rogers episode with a space vampire when we were younger, we would imitate the vampire as a means to tickle. After finding the photo below, I've discovered that we've been imitating him incorrectly...

(palm should face in)

bouncy ball seats...

thanking Hoong-San, the organizer

Happy 30th Birthday, Elmer! Hidy hidy hidy hidy ho!

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