Good Stuff: Birthdays come but once a year

In my family there is a clear history of boredom in the late winter months, which would explain the rash of birthdays occuring between August and November, then a lag until February.

What can I say? Those of us of European descent like to spend our winters skiing or wrapped in blankets… snuggling. Which explains why we tend to stay home for the holidays rather than fleeing to the tropics. But that’s another story.

The first of the season is my mother’s. This year, being a rather big number, and having forgotten to fully appreciate my parents’ anniversary (also a very big number) it was clear that I would be paying a very big number to keep the happy going.

My sister and I called several places, settling on the Comus Inn in Dickerson, MD where we had Thanksgiving dinner last year. The event planners, Mary and Kendall, were a huge help. I was able to book the Sugarloaf Room, looking out over Sugarloaf Mountain- significant because every school child in Maryland is forced to climb the thing before achieving puberty. And it’s a gorgeous view.

We set it up as a surprise birthday- Comus provided the room and arranged for a carrot cake with cream cheese icing (Mom’s favorite) for the piece de resistance. I picked up placecards and a calligraphy pen from Hallmark, then headed to Lindt for party favors.

We are ridiculously fortunate to have a Lindt shop in our local mall. They recently came out with a 60% Extra Dark truffle (black wrapper) that is decadent. They also do this cute little favor that consists of a small box wrapped in organza netting in gold, cream or silver that has a built in bow. The box holds up to 4 truffles of your choice and if you order 3 weeks or more in advance you can get personalized ribbon. The nice folks at Lindt put up with the fluctuating guest count and had everything ready on Saturday afternoon when I swung by.

A group of friends and family gathered to drink cocktails and watch the sunset while we waited for my parents to arrive. Mom was duly surprised- so basically my job was done until the check came (i.e. my surprise).

The owner came by to ask if we would mind being photographed by The Washington Post, which was doing a review of the inn. How cool is that?

Dinner was amazing. After an amuse bouche of shrimp and eggplant skewers, I went with miso glazed scallops per the suggestion of our server. There was also a foie gras with banana sauteed in butter and a rum raisin glaze which was likened to a dessert in sweetness. For the main I picked a duck roulade. My sister had the vegetarian “benito” box, which was either a misprint for “bento” or in fact named after the chef. Still not sure.

Between the sun setting over Sugarloaf, the food, the conversation and the gifts, the evening passed quickly. Aside from my cousin’s lobster bisque being a little cooler than she liked, the food was spectacular. One of Mom’s dearest friends, despondent over missing the event, bought Mom two bottles of wine to go with dinner. The birthday cake was perfection- plump raisins, freshly shredded carrot and silky cream cheese frosting that wasn’t too sweet.

Definitely did my daughterly duty.

Bottom line: If you are ever in DC for business rent a car, make a side trip out to the ‘burbs and treat yourself to a wonderful meal at The Comus Inn.

More pics later. Including one of the personalized M&Ms Mom’s sister gave her! Too funny!

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