It is not often that a surprise party is successfully pulled off, considering all the Byzantine maneuvers that must be achieved. My dear friend The Wine Raconteur Jr. along with his family pulled such a stunt on his Mother and we had the privilege to be in attendance. I have had the pleasure of knowing the family for over twenty years and while I was not one of the planners, it was a true gift to see it come to fruition.
The venue that was chosen for the event and I might add that it was Standing Room only for all of the guests that evening was at Roman Village restaurant, in my old neighborhood where I grew up. While the restaurant is in Dearborn and I grew up in Southwest Detroit, the restaurant was considered part of our neighborhood, because it was across the street from the main park for our area. I have written about this restaurant and one of their other locations, and they now have four restaurants, but they all grew from the original. While the guest of honor was at the restaurant for supposedly a party, all the guests were in the hall on the back side of the restaurant waiting for the moment. I must add that though the restaurant is in an older section, it is still packing them in, to the point that one can barely find a parking spot in all of the lots. While the guests were waiting they availed themselves to a large table that was filled with Antipasto trays of cold cuts, cheeses, peppers and bread, and the trays kept magically refilling themselves. After the Guest of Honor was truly surprised by her sons and she regained her composure, she reveled in the acclaim and even chided her family, thinking that they had forgotten to treat her properly for her milestone birthday. The moment was magnificent and so was the rest of the evening. Then the food arrived. Chaffing dishes filled with Squash Ravioli, Meatballs and Sausage, roasted vegetables, an assortment of different pizzas (which the restaurant was famous for when I was a kid) and even chicken wings. It was fun and I am sure that no one left hungry that night. There was also a sweet table with piles of homemade and decorated goodies for the event, and then cake and Spumoni for everyone as well.
Prior to the party, I had made an inquiry regarding beverages, because I was concerned about the large expenditure that this party was costing the conspirators, and I did not want to add to the cost, any more than I had to. While soft beverages were included for the evening, other beverages went through a “cash bar” and it made perfect sense to me. Since it is Lent and my Bride is very observant and this was a Friday night, I looked at the wine list in search of a white wine, as I knew that she would not be eating any meat that evening. I settled on a bottle of Zenato Pinot Grigio delle Venezie IGT 2013. The Delle Venezie IGT is one of the largest IGT designations in Italy and it does not refer to the Venice that one thinks of with the canals, this designation actually refers to the Three Venice’s; Venezie Euganea, Venezia Giulia and Venezia Tridententina. Another curious fact about the Della Venezie IGT is that about seventy percent of the production of this area is Pinot Grigio, and the balance is other white wines and even some red wines. The Zenato family began production in 1960, and while this wine only spends twenty days in Stainless Steel tanks, it was very enjoyable and did not taste like some other mass produced wines, even though the family produces over two million bottles of wine per year. This was, I thought, a perfect wine to accompany the food at the party and it added to the festive note. We were both so happy to have been a part of the festivities and had a chance to catch up with the Guest of Honor, her family and her friends.