If you can guess what song this blog title is from without googling, you’re a true champion.
Happy Sunday to all, and a happy birthday to me. Is 9 my lucky number, or what? I have spent the weekend in Manhattan doing fun things with my family and my man. Of course, I’ve had my first legal drink, as many do. I actually have a funny story before I tell you all about my birthday shenanigans.
When my dad was actively dying (I know-not how funny stories start, but relax. Stick with me), without completely getting into the backstory because I want to talk about this day/week in detail at another time, basically, he wasn’t very awake or making sense a lot of the time. The Friday before he died, he woke up. Like REALLY woke up. There are a lot of scientific explanations for why my dad was suddenly back, but whether science can explain it or not, it was a miracle and the greatest gift I’ve ever had. He was fully conscious and aware for hours. We had such a great time, he answered all my questions, he called my boyfriend and my sisters, and he was being hi-lar-i-ous. Shorty before he started getting confused, tired and scared again, I thought of one last question.
“Hey, Dad,” I said. “I decided I’m definitely going to go to the Tim Burton bar (Beetle House NYC) for my birthday. What should my first drink be?” Talking about normal things in time of crisis helps to melt the pain away a little. Plus, my dad used to be a barback. I valued his expert opinion.
He replied, like a true superstar, “Water.”
While what he answered was hilarious in the moment, like everything else he would say, there was also some sincerity in it, I'm sure. My dad definitely felt alcohol wasn't worth the time or money. It was unnecessary and a distraction from your path. Stay focused. All of that roots from him having stories in his back pocket not unlike the ones John Mulaney would tell in past comedy specials about why he quit drinking, so I get it. He took every opportunity to try and make us better than him, but I'm just as much different from my dad as I am the same. We were two creative, overly-empathic peas in a pod, but one of us (surprisingly me) had healthier methods of processing.
So, I don't know why he didn't completely trust me when it came to drinking. Being 21 certainly hasn't suddenly made me a rager, as the kids say. I have had a grand total of one slip up when it comes to making mistakes with alcohol and overestimating my tolerance. Turns out when you're 5' tall and haven't eaten in over 6 hours, you shouldn't be drinking as much as your friends. Weird. I never (ever) drink as much as my friends and I had picked a really bad time to start. I most definitely wouldn't do it again or give it a good Yelp rating. Overall, though, they don't make 'em much more sober than me. I am the homiest of homebodies. I have always been very aware I could die from a young age, and I generally don't get away with things when it comes to the laws of the universe, so I don't experiment. Therefore, if I want to have ONE fancy drink on my 21st birthday (that I would probably nurse for almost an hour to avoid complications), I'm going to have it. I don't think my dad was so uptight that he wouldn't have let me drink at all on my birthday, and I think he would have even became nostalgic about his LBI barback days, but there would be some life lessons squeezed in on how time at the bar is better spent writing your next album and why you shouldn't get so drunk that you almost punch a police officer. I kind of wish he knew I knew that though.
*Just a quick PSA: If you're turning 21 and don't have interest in completely melting your brain, or at all doing any of the things you can now do just because the law says you can, you do you, boo. Have some water in the name of my dad. (And your dad too, why the hell not.) Then, you can fill up on chocolate cake instead. If you're anything like me, drinking anything besides water takes up valuable space that is always better suited for cake.
On to the good times of the weekend.
It wasn’t supposed to, but my birthday weekend started at my friend’s art show that I posted about last week because my mom decided to give me my present early. It is a well known fact that Halloween is my favorite of all the holidays. I go nuts over it. I love it so much. My mom is a crazy person and is sending me to DISNEY WORLD for Halloween this year, including Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party. That is ABSURD. I don’t deserve Disney. Or my mom. I’m so over the moon grateful and at a loss for words, especially after getting to see Rome this year. I don’t know how to possibly repay my mom for everything she does. This past year she’s done so much for everyone else, and she’s the one who deserves Disney World... or more like the entire world. I love you, mom.
Yesterday, we made our way into NYC to get my sister at NYU and check into our Airbnb. Unfortunately, the weather wasn’t the best yesterday, so our plans for a walking tour of the High Line were cut short, but if I had to choose between sweltering and sunny and cold and rainy, I choose rain. The win of the day was definitely the oat milk chai latte from Irving Farm Coffee Roasters. Beautiful chai flavor, super creamy non dairy milk, not too sweet or at all syrupy, and a perfect tea to milk ratio. Bonus, it’s served at the perfect temperature to enjoy almost immediately.
We managed to get a table resevered nice and late at Beetle House so that we would still be around for my actual birthday at midnight. The good thing about the weather was that we all had time for naps before hand, so we were ready to go. Most of the characters were all outside and kept us great company while we waited for our reservation to be ready. Beetle House has Tim Burton characters regularly on staff. We spent some of our night with Jack Skellington, Sally, Lydia Deetz, and of course, Beetlejuice. I was sad not to see Edward Scissorhands, but everyone we saw was so much fun and they do such a good job of staying in character. It really adds to the atmosphere. The bar itself is pretty small with very limited seating if you want a table, but it is well worth the visit, especially for a Tim Burton fan. The decor is incredible. There is original artwork all over in tribute to the films of Tim Burton and anything else that matches that world. The menu is themed as well, from cocktails to dessert.
The food works in an interesting way there. You order an appetizer and dinner in a pair and that determines the price you pay. If your dinner is a level 1, your dinner/app cost is $35, and if your dinner is a level 2 the cost is $45, if I’m remembering correctly. I was scared of what I would be able to eat. Gluten allergies can be tricky, and they mention online not being able to offer gluten free options. Here’s the deal: they basically mean, anything made with gluten, they aren’t going to offer a substitute. There are plenty of things that are made without gluten. They offer a full vegan menu alongside their regular menu, and if you are vegan I would highly recommend. I was excited because the entreé I had my eye on was glutenless. I ordered the Sweeney Shroom with Brains and Chips (plantain and black tortilla chips with A+ guac) as my appetizer. The Sweeney Shroom was a “large marinated and grilled Portobello cap steak, served with garlic mash, covered in Sweeney mushroom sauce, roasted peppers, scallions”- aka the vegan alternative to Sweeney Beef. It was SO good, but we were unfortunately still too full to eat because everyone insisted on having cake a day early before we went out. I love me a good mushroom steak, though... or mushroom anything. Obviously, if you don’t like mushrooms, this is not the dish for you.
And now, the moment you’ve all been waiting for. WHAT did I have to drink?
Well, that first drink was for you dad, but the next one was for me. I decided on Edward’s Lemonade, which was like their take on an old-fashioned. Old-fashions always sounded fun, and I’ve never had whiskey, so I wanted to try something new and different. I know next to nothin about alcohol, so how I’m about to describe it is what it felt like to me, and if I accidentally use a technical term, I’m warning you in advance that I don’t know anything, and if I use a word wrong, I am sorry. So, my first sip was a big surprise. I knew, despite the name, that there was no lemon in it, but there was still citrus, so I was expecting a crisp bite/refreshing flavor, you know what I mean? I was very confused as to how a drink could be cold and warm at the same time. It almost made it taste thick, which I gues I was somewhat expecting considering what I did know about hard liquor. It also tasted like someone smushed up sugar cubes in water and served it as a drink, but that’s apparently what whiskey tastes like. Once I got over the shock of the difference in flavor I was expecting, I really enjoyed it. I got to a point where I fully processed all the flavors, and it was some good stuff. I tried a sip of my boyfriend’s drink, Alice’s Cup O’ Tea (somewhat like a Long Island Iced Tea), and that was dangerously delicious, and kind of had what I was expecting out of Edward’s Lemonade. Besides that extra sip, I stuck to having just my one drink. It was pretty strong. I wasn’t drunk by any means, but I had no interest in getting drunk and was definitely feeling it after one.
I can see the appeal of making a fuss over finally being legal at 21, especially if you’re me and drinking isn’t really a big part of your life, or you’re not already used to ordering drinks because you don’t have a fake ID (I can’t get away with anything, remember). It’s empowering to be able to order a drink confidently for the first time and to finally be able to go wherever you want. I’ve been kicked out of my own gig for being underage before, which is kind of embarrassing, even though why should anyone be embarrassed about being young?
We took our time checking out this morning and I got to see me grandma on the way home. I had a really great time and would love to go back to Beetle House again. Now, I’m just hanging out with my man until he has to go back to Boston to work. He is gigging it up.
I am not owed any days I get to spend on this earth, and I have certainly re-evaluated what I considered a full life. It’s not necessarily a long one, so for 21, I hope that I learn more about what it means to make each day count and put those things into practice. I also hope I find work I love doing that makes me happy to get out of bed in the morning and starts pointing me more in the direction of my purpose.
If you have or will leave me any kind of message today, I love and appreciate you, truly. Thanks for making me what I am.
Until next week,
Freshly 21 Alli xx