Thursday, August 18, 2011

Birthday Dinner at Manresa

Los Gatos, CA.

I must say I was a bit disappointed with this surprisingly 2 Michelin star restaurant.  Half of the many tasting menu dishes were good and the other half just so-so.  I can’t really remember any of the dishes to be memorable or I would mention them.  The service was ok but seemed to be lacking passion and attentiveness.  To be fair however, we had just dined at Per Se in NYC about a month prior and had an incredible meal. The food was outstanding and the service spot on.  So poor Manresa – it just couldn’t hope to compete.  (But with such a hefty price tag we were hoping it would try!)

But it turned out to be a great evening  – mainly because I had brought a topic!  Those of you who know me well know that I do like to have prepared ahead of time a topic or topics to bring up to discuss at dinner.  This particular evening’s dinner was special because our son is getting ready to leave for college and I have wanted to make sure to continue to have these last days filled with good memories and good times.

I was quite busy all day and so didn’t have much time to think about a possible topic for the evening but soon before we left I thought about the idea of talking about Philadelphia - where my son will be going to school this fall.  But of course it had to be the right angle.  So right before rushing out the door I googled “facts about Philadelphia” and up came a list of “Philadelphia Firsts” from   So I quickly printed it out before heading out to dinner.

During dinner I read off some of these “firsts” and this started a great two hours of conversation about stock exchanges, currency in the U.S. and coin collecting, world's fairs and computers (I learned about how the first computers' vacuum bulbs is where “ a computer bug” got this name - bugs landing on the vacuum bulbs and burning out the system).

Some Philly Firsts:
--The first stock exchange
--The first mint in the U.S.
–-The first world's fair
--The first computer -  ENIAC -  built at the University of Pennsylvania in 1946

This was a great topic that I will use again for different places.

1 comment:

  1. I really like the idea of "fun facts" when we are out with the kids. They are always off to new places, and I think they enjoy travel more when they know about the area. The "fun facts" is easier and more fun than a report on the place or destination, and inspires some great conversations in other directions. Thanks!