Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Yesterday's Birthdays

"Yesterday's Birthday" would lend itself to a variety of follow-ups ... "The little girl's parents sobbed at her bedside.  She'd died the day after her sixth birthday" or "Maddie looked around at the detritus that was now her living room.  She was amazed that a group of 18-year-olds could wreak such havoc in only one afternoon.  "And their parents hadn't been much better," she thought indignantly.  Half-empty drinks and full ashtrays had been left right where they'd been placed.

Be those as they may ... yesterday, Al Pacino and I both turned 76 - both born April 25, 1940.  He doesn't know me, but best wishes anyhow, Mr. Pacino.

While all birthdays are a blessing, those that take place in your 70s are particularly refreshing since you have the pleasure of waking up and thinking, "Hah!  I'm not dead yet!"  Furthermore, birthdays are the absolutely only thing in our lives with which we had nothing to do with whatsoever.  Totally guilt free!  Our parents got friendly, and nine months later +/- here we are!

Good enough reason to kick out the jams and revel on a yearly basis.  Since I think 75 is a biggie, 76 is not such a much so no planned celebration other than Richie's expressed desire to take me out for lunch and dinner, a plan I was more than willing to endorse. 

Lunch -  Nelson's at Terrenea Resort, Rancho Palos Verdes
First we overshot it and had to turn around and come back.  Terrenea is before the Trump Nat'l Golf (going south) so if you see the Donald's giant American flag, you've come too far.

It was a sunny day, very promising looking, but the wind was icy enough to send a polar bear running for a warm spot; hugging himself as he sprinted.  Far too cold to eat outdoors, so we stayed inside.  As the whole point of Nelson's is the view from the clifftop and not a shadowy room, the wind disappointed us.  What cast me farther into sadness was the fact that when I ordered the pair of lobster tacos to share with Richie over drinks, the waiter told us they were "out of lobster."  What kind of poor planning was this? I wondered to myself.  Monday diners don't get lobster?  The Sunday big shots scarfed it all up? 

This unwelcome news also killed my plan for a lobster roll for lunch.  Thinking quickly and scanning the menu again (not difficult; management seems to have truncated it with gusto) I ordered the guacamole ($15) for drinks and the trio of crab cake sliders for lunch itself. ($19)  Richie succumbed to the Monday Blue Plate special of fried chicken, cole slaw and mashed potatoes and gravy. ($20)

I feel in lust with the idea of one of the desserts - the San Pedro Salted Caramel Bar with Caramel and Chocolate Ganache. ($10)  We split it and it was more dry, thin brownie with syrups drizzled across it than anything else. 

Lunch came to $102 with a $20 tip. 

Dinner - Tin Roof Bistro, Manhattan Beach Mall
This is an old favorite and I knew that I'd order the pig and fig pizza (Neuces slab bacon chunks with figs on a white pizza with a drizzle of balsamic reduction) and have a slice and polish it off for dinner the next night.  ($14)  We split an order of Bistro Fries ($3.75) from the sides menu to go with our drinks.  The Appetizers include a much bigger serving of fries  enough to serve a table of six. 
Richie loves his Simmzy's burgers - what looks like a pound of beef on a bun - $10.75.
No dessert. 

The tab came to $71 with a $14 tip.

Pros - everyone with whom we had contact at both restaurants was very friendly and obliging. 
Both rooms were equal in design (translation - noisier than hell) but Nelson gets the nod for the ocean view - on the days you can go out and see it and bask in the sun.

Cons - Nelson's menu is not nearly what it used to be.  Gone was the ahi tuna, the $3 Pabst Blue Ribbon beer ... the shrimp tacos ....

Bottom line on Nelson's vs. Tin Roof?  Lunch cost $30 more than dinner.    When dinner is a better bargain than lunch ... there is something ... wrong.

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