When I visited Sona early in our relationship, I got my first lesson in semantics. Her family used the phrase, “just a few people,” and later, “a little get together,” to describe a birthday party we were going to. As soon as we got to an innocuous looking house, chaos ensued inside, and the night quickly devolved into bhangra in tight places, fried Indian food, patiala pegs of black label, a huge, iced up cake, followed immediately by the religious and cultural tradition of every single person feeding you cake with their grubby fingers. When my family says there’s going to be a little get together, we mean seven people, including Moti, our dog.
For Kavya’s first birthday, we knew plans were underway for a big “little” gathering and we were okay with that. But we also wanted to have something for her that was just the three of us, especially since this could very well be the last time we get to control anything birthday related (or otherwise!). So, we decided to have an incredibly messy birthday at Blue Smoke, a barbecue joint in the Flatiron area of New York City. This would also be Kavya’s first time eating barbecue, with her two front teeth.
As soon as we walked inside, we saw a sign that said, “Jazz Brunch,” that and seeing a live Jazz band playing near the entrance, we got a bit worried that this was a bit too grown up of a place, and Sona being Sona said to the hostess, “Is it okay we brought our baby? It’s her birthday,” to which the hostess laughed as she walked us to our table.
Moments later, our waiter comes over and thoughtfully recommends a flight of bourbon upon seeing my manly facial hair and brings out a raw cookie for Kavya in the shape of a little piggy, which she decorated with sprinkles. That was the first sign that this was a kid friendly place. I decided against the bourbon flight this time because I thought perhaps it would be better to wait until Kavya’s a little older to fall down in Manhattan on her birthday. So I ordered a water and a side of lemons. Some odd duck pate, and a plate of RIBS. Sona got a plate of ribs as well and they were delicious.
I wouldn’t say they were the greatest ribs I’ve ever eaten, but they were nice – moist, succulent, slathered in sauce. And most importantly, Kavya enjoyed it and since I was sitting next to her, her face got nice and messy because I was busy devouring my ribs to watch my child or wipe her face. She really liked the music as well, and one day I’d like to take her back here for the special kids jazz band they have at 2pm (we went at 11am), with a band comprised of kids! It sounds awesome.
The loveliest part of our little outing was that despite the clean floors, fancy tablecloths, incredibly grown up Jazz band, and delicious barbecue, this turned out to be a super kid-friendly place. When we let our waiter know it was her birthday, he even brought out a DIY birthday cake with one of their desserts topped with a bit of ice-cream and a candle placed in it, as he and a few other of the waitstaff sang her happy birthday.
Here are some photos of her day: