To me, decadence is about enjoying the greatest things life has to offer. It's about the softness of expensive sheets on a down bed; savoring rich chocolate; staring at natural wonders. I was surprised to find out that the Webster Dictionary doesn't agree with my definition. Decadence is the act or process of falling into an inferior condition or state; deterioration; decay. It is unrestrained or excessive self-indulgence. Well the heck with the actual definition I'm sticking with mine. Decadence is the indulgence of all the best that life has to offer. When I began this journey and created my list of 101 Dreams Come True I decided that I wanted to experience decadence to its fullest - to taste life. This past weekend, I realized my dream has come true.
I've written before that one dream coming true has led to others being realized. Meeting an incredible group of friends who love to get the most out of life led me to experiencing decadence. My friends took me to San Francisco for my birthday. As one of my presents I was given a hotel room at the Donatello. Recently renovated, the room was beautiful and even had a flat screen television built into the mirror of the bathroom.
My friend Alex Sotello, who is an incredible rising star wine maker in the Napa Valley, made a reservation at Pasion restaurant and myself and five friends celebrated my birthday. Before I made my list I was more about eating for health and I constantly dieted. Now, I indulge, taste, and savor wonderful food realizing that humans have been given five senses for a reason - to experience all that life has to offer. But still I wasn't prepared for how good food could really taste.
We started off dinner with three different ceviche dishes: halibut, lobster, and ahi tuna. Thank goodness the restaurant was noisy because the sounds coming from our mouths might have created shocked looks from other customers. We moaned with pleasure as we shared the food. The next round of dishes came: kobe beef and conchitas (seared diver scallops, sweet plantain tostone, cilantro mojo, black quinoa sofrito). When I took the first bite of the conchitas I experienced something akin to a first kiss when your whole body awakens. The dish hit every taste bud at once and the whole table sighed with satisfaction.
The meal went on for another hour. We feasted on duck, tri tip, salmon, empanadas, and pork chops. We cleansed our palates with raspberry sorbet. We drank wine, laughed and said more than once, "God, do we know how to live."
Dessert was cinnamon cake, creme brulee, chocolate bread pudding, and mango cheesecake that ensued more moaning and sighs of pleasure.
As I looked at my friends, the smiles on all of our faces, the love we share, and the life that we live so well, I realized that I have come to know true decadence. This journey of going after every dream I've ever wanted has led me to know the beauty of life: tasting incredible food, sleeping in posh hotels, finding friendship that fills my heart with love, travel, and experiencing the world deeper.
I think we're all meant to live this way. We weren't given bodies to treat as machines: Substance in, energy out; Work for money, pay bills; Have friendships and relationships that we love but take for granted. Our biology was created for pleasure; the five senses designed to make us hear, taste, see, and feel all that life can bring. And if we seek out happiness, pleasure, beauty, decadence - life will show us how amazing this world (our playground) really can be.