Monday, November 20, 2006

Another year older

So, the birthday has come and gone. I received many exciting things and participated in several exciting activities. So, I will sit here on my lunch break and explain a few things to you while I eat my fried chicken and squash casserole.
Some reviews:
Poco Piatti, Levis Commons, a Mediterranean tapas restaurant. I have never been to a tapas restaurant before, but my love of Mediterranean cuisine is well documented, particularly of the Greek and Italian persuasion. Poco Piatti does both of these but throws Lebanese into the mix for good measure. The restaurant is brand new, at least it is a new location, as there is also one in Toledo. Our group on Friday night was quite large, and ordered things throughout the night, and frankly I was impressed with the staff's ability to adapt to the confusion and make sure we all got our dinners.
If you have never been to a tapas restaurant, it works like this: Basically, you order a bunch of appetizer-sized items to eat. I suppose you could just eat what you ordered, but our group sent the items around the table so we got the widest sampling possible. For instance, I had: saganaki kasseri (OOPA!), hommous, Greek salad, half a cabbage roll, several small pieces of thin pizza (one of which was hazelnut, potato, and pesto pizza--almost obscenely delicious), pumpkin gnocchi, calamari, chicken wraps, goat cheese agnolotti, artichoke hearts, and Lord knows what else, and turned down servings of several other dishes that didn't seem to quite go with what I was eating. The menu items are numerous, naturally, and this location also has a few full-sized dinners if you prefer. Best of both worlds, what?
I had to laugh because this young little couple were sitting at a nearby table and they kept looking at ours with wide eyes, possibly wondering how nine people could put away so much dinner. And we really did. There were some leftovers boxes, but we did a lot of damage. As a party, it was wildly successful. But you could also go there with just two people and get your own things or share a few and come in fairly cheaply. In fact, my friend Michelle and I did something similar at Biaggi's for lunch once. We just shared, and were both super full. The nature of our ordering system was also fun...we ordered some things, decided we'd also like to try others, and by the end of the meal were hoping that we hadn't ordered anything else. What a great way to get full.
This was all followed by some delicious German chocolate cake made by Carrie, which was sweet enough but not too sweet, perfectly ending the evening's gourmet adventures.

Now, about Pop 5.
I've never played Cranium before, and I usually say no to Trivial Pursuit. In fact, I'm really not an adventurous game player--always refused to play Pin the Tail on the whatever at birthday parties, preferring to watch or roam around for a few minutes to myself. I'm too competitive, and the stress always gets to me to perform perfectly; I have what could be called a winner's complex. But I let my energies be seduced by my friends (who were kind enough to see through my laziness and maneuver me into playing Pop 5).
It's a version of Cranium in which it's not the word or phrase, it's the manner of its delivery. You have five choices, naturally, including drawing, sculpting, humming, acting out, or tossing letter cubes and coming up with words to guide your team. You have a certain amount of time (before the pop light goes out) to make your team say whatever is on your card.
We played boys vs. girls, which was 3 vs. 4, though I can point out here that one extra person really does not make much difference at that point. We played five rounds, and the girls ultimately came out with the best 3 of 5. Of my great and tragic moments, consider the following:
1. My utter failure to get across Genie in the Bottle through sculpture. I sculpted a bottle with smoke, but the bottle was of poor design. My failure was offset, however, by Paul's equally unfortunate (though well sculpted) Charlie's Angels clue.
2. My massive success in sculpting Hill Street Blues. Maggie proved instrumental to this, helping me earn the respect of my fellow players in the sculpting department.
3. If you heard the words "packet" and "decade" what would you guess? If it was Pop Rocks, in the food and drinks category, you'd be right. Well done, ladies. The gents were particularly confused by our telepathic ability here.
4. How in the name of all that is right in the world do you get across "Please don't squeeze the Charmin?" Even if you could successfully get across toilet paper, or even Charmin, and then squeeze, I can guarantee that no one in my group would have gotten the whole thing. This was perhaps offset by Jane Fonda Workout for the boys.
5. My personal favorite, because it represented a judgment error by the men (the opposing team has to rank the different ways to present clues according to points value), who ranked humming to be worth top number of points for "Star Trek." That was a total gimme for me. Carrie, my fellow sci-fi fan, got that one immediately.
This game strikes me as very instinctive and crafty. I truly enjoyed it, almost as much as I enjoyed rocking the boys' faces off. Girls Rule!
Other particularly satisfying moments were Maggie doing Flashdance, Carrie sculpting Dallas, and Melissa's enthusiastic portrayal of Just Do It. On the boys' side, Paul telepathically guessing leg warmers, Steve's portrayal of Ozzy Osborne, and Nathan's outstanding skill with letters at all times were most impressive.
A good time was had by all, and I was exhausted when we finally finished. This is a game I would most definitely play again.


Carrie said...


I'm so glad you liked the cake! I generally had a blast with you during your whole birthday extravaganza. Here's to kicking the boy's asses in Pop 5 again soon!

Steve said...

I do a flawless impression of the Kool-Aid man. Let's never ever forget.

MAW said...

Don't forget about the time when I almost punched with in the face during a misguided but very enthusiastic victory fist-pump!

Girls rule!

MAW said...

Oops. Make that read "Punched YOU in the face", not "Punched WITH in the face."

Damn my lazy typing/editing skills...