Today my Mom turns 60. Already, her new decade is off to a good start. She recently reunited with an old love, her fourth grandchild arrived yesterday, and in a few weeks she's moving to a new apartment. I haven't seen it yet, but a kitchen with a view of the East River sounds nice to me.
Together we've taken many trips that revolve around restaurants—she joined me and Daniel at El Bulli, followed by another multi-course dinner at El Celler de Can Roca in Girona the next night. I've tagged along on some of her European adventures, including a weekend in Dublin where we ate mostly French food. In NY, we've asked for doggie bags at Per Se and other places where most wouldn't dare. At Jean Georges, we cut a 7-course tasting menu short because we were late to the opera. We returned a few hours later to pick up where we'd left off.
At her apartment and mine, we've shared many meals. Pasta or roasted hens that she's made on the spot, and others with many courses that she's planned and prepped for days. At 33, I still crave her grilled cheeses and carefully composed salads. Her lasagna and meatloaf have won awards, and her stuffed tomatoes and linguine with clam sauce easily could. Tonight, she's cooking her own birthday dinner for me and my boys and some family and friends. With many courses, it's sure to rival tastings at some of the city's best spots. Prepared in a small kitchen where most might get flustered, she'll make it seem simple, I'm sure.
As my present, I want to take her to dinner somewhere special. It's been awhile since we've had a few hours together, just the two of us, to eat and catch up. I miss those trips we used to take together before I had kids. I'm considering Corton, but I'll probably give her some choices and let her choose. For now, I want to wish her the happiest 60th birthday ever and thank her for filling my life with a lot of love and such incredible food.