I had a fabulous birthday weekend – feels like each year gets better! Since the real day fell on a Saturday, Matt planned the day. I told him I wanted to relax and eat cake!
First, I took Matt to my favorite gym class at Equinox, and then we showered and headed out on foot for cupcakes. We stopped at two different bakeries and acquired 5 cupcakes for the evening. We also ducked into a fun salad place for lunch and did a little shopping at boutiques.
After lunch, we got a couples massage! The experience was fantastic because we got a cold stone facial, foot scrub, and hot stone massage too! It was heavenly, and one of the best birthday gifts I’ve ever received. Then we headed down to Bishop Arts for dinner at the very famous Lucia. We got in off the waiting list only hours before dinner. It was fate!
We grabbed cocktails at Stock and Barrel before dinner – this was a lovely twist on a bourbon sour made with passion fruit.
We kicked off dinner with a bottle of Argentinian wine – Lucia is Italian, but I couldn’t resist this recommendation by our waitress (and I believe it was a collaboration between two winemakers). Side note: the service was phenomenal! And, oh my goodness, the olives!!
We ordered two of the foie gras stuffed prunes – who can resist a $1 menu item? I thought I had gotten adventure-some enough for foie gras, but no! I hated it and washed the bite down with wine:)
Our first plate was pork belly with pear and gorgonzola – this was divine, and a generous portion!
Next up, some sort of Italian pork with sautéed mushrooms – also delish.
We ordered two small pastas: the squash risotto with rabbit meatballs and brussels (above) and an interestingly shaped pasta with squab ragu (below). Both were perfect and rivaled the meals we had in Italy!
The real star of the night was the braised lamb with red pepper, cilantro, and an olive tapenade. The meat melted together with the sauces and it was seriously a top ten entree.
Despite the cupcakes waiting at home, we had to try the Italian donuts with squash and caramel!
Clearly, the meal was superb! And the restaurant is so romantic:) I’m already dying to go back!
We ended the weekend festivities with Sunday brunch with some friends at Vagabond. We had [more] donuts – these were basically apple-stuffed fried dough!
I had a grilled cheese benedict, but I also shared Matt’s burger and it was great! I hear Vagabond is quickly becoming famous for it.
Thanks to Matt and my lovely friends and family for a wonderful birthday!Read More
Current obsession edition:
1. I go through a chip and hummus combo every few weeks – right now it’s these pumpkin crisps with jalapeño and cilantro Hope Hummus.
2. I got a new iPod after my nano from college stopped keeping a charge. It was a tiny one that couldn’t hold all of my songs at once. I put a bunch of old country music on the new one and I’m enjoying driving around with the windows, down pretending I’m in high school.
3. Kath introduced me to this foundation a few months again and I just love it. It took a while for me to get used to it because I think my skin was addicted to Clinique, but now I’m really happy with the color and moisture.
4. This weather. I know some people like to get right to boots and coats, but 70’s are just fine with me. Plus, when temps have been in the 100’s forever and ever, 70 feels pretty darn cold.
5. The stuffed squash at Origin Kitchen – this may been the best vegetarian dish I’ve ever had. Matt and I were both in love with it when we had it last Saturday night. Acorn squash, crispy kale, wheatberries, pomegranate, and a walnut syrup….
6. Entering my 30th year. My 29th is this weekend, and I’m in a good place at this age. There have been so many transitions in my 20’s – grad school, moving for Matt to go to grad school, getting married, moving for Matt’s career opportunity, and a long, frustrating job search. But for the first time in a while, I’m just living my life, going to work every day, and not gearing up for any major change (knock on wood:))
Happy weekend!Read More
Hello and happy Monday! We had a big weekend over here because we celebrated Matt’s 30th with all of our Dallas friends.
I made a big spread of food including both new and old recipes. I made salami chips which were a hit – dipped in spicy hummus, they were amazing!
Of course, after our trip to Turkey, I had to have feta and olives – the best combo ever.
I also tried a new recipe for caribbean shrimp – the marinade was delicious and it would have been even better with fresh shrimp (i used frozen).
And a kale, quinoa, and apricot salad. I think I’m done making healthy salads for parties because no one eats them. This was a good recipe and I’ve been enjoying the leftovers, but next to party foods, kale just can’t compete!
The rest of the food included caprese skewers with pretty summer tomatoes, and the un-pictured, never-fail party foods: Mexican bean dip and pigs-in-a-blanket (I used spicy chicken sausage for these this time and people loved them).
So many friends came to celebrate Matt!
We consumed beverages like 20-year-olds and then headed out to a fun bar for some dancing.
Oh my goodness, it was a blast. Happy birthday one last time, Matt!Read More
I’ll spare you the details of my low-key weekend at home and share the last of my Turkey pictures!
After our time in Istanbul, we traveled to the beach town of Bodrum along the Aegean coast. I was really, really excited about this part of the trip, but after the whirlwind of the city, I hadn’t thought much about it. I think Matt and I were both blown away when we arrived and saw how ridiculously beautiful it was. We didn’t stay right on the water to save some money, but our hotel had a breathtaking view from a hill overlooking the city and harbor, so it was fine with me!
I knew the town was old, but I didn’t realize how much history there was until we started walking around the city and learning more about it. On our first day we explored and visited the ruins of the Mausoleum at Halicarnassus, one of the seven wonders of the ancient world! We probably could have spent another whole day going to historical sites (the castle looked so neat), but we had a birthday to celebrate!
We walked down to the harbor on our first night and discovered tons of waterfront bars – reminded me of the cove we’d go to in Mykonos every night before dinner on our honeymoon!
One thing I forgot to mention in my previous posts are the cats in Turkey! They were everywhere and the locals and people working at restaurants kept them well-fed and gave them attention, so it wasn’t a sad situation (or at least didn’t appear to be) like some of the other places I’ve visited where the animals are thin and sickly.
This was the view from our dinner table down to the docks where the cats were waiting for scraps of seafood.
Anyway, back to the birthday. Matt turned 30 on the 3rd, so I wanted to do something extra special for him. It didn’t take much research to discover that renting a gulet, or a traditional wooden boat is a big thing in Bodrum. A friend of mine had also done this and highly recommended it, so I made arrangements with a wonderful lady to hire the Adorya gulet for the day.
Matt didn’t know a thing about it until the morning of, when I gave him a pair of sunglasses and a card that explained the surprise. He was one happy 30-year-old!
The boat was absolutely amazing and the day was right out of a fantasy….by far the best excursion I’ve ever done!
We sailed into quiet coves and swam in the brisk water,
we snorkeled (but didn’t see much),
we drank beers while floating on noodles,
and jumped off the top of the boat.
Our captain prepared an incredible fresh lunch of salad, fruit,
and fish caught that morning.
Of course, I arranged for a bit of cake:)
It was seriously one of the best days of my life.
After the boat trip, we rested and then strolled into town for dinner. We took a break from Turkish food and had dinner at a Spanish restaurant called La Pasion.
We sat in a beautiful courtyard and had tapas. I think we ordered 7 and all of them were phenomenal. I’m so glad we found this gem!!
We went to this one bakery every night in Bodrum to pick a dessert to take back to the hotel. I think Matt’s birthday is about the only day he’s willing to eat dessert with both lunch and dinner!
On our last day in Bodrum, we took a bus over to the beach side of the town and spent the day at a beach club.
The view was great! We had crazy winds, so we wrapped up in towels to stay warm and watched the huge beach pillows blow into the water. It was cozy.
We had one last dinner in the harbor, and then it was back to Istanbul for the long trek home.
Looking back at these pictures, it’s like the whole trip was a dream. I know I am very fortunate to be able to travel and I’m so thankful that Matt and I had the opportunity to visit such an amazing part of the world and celebrate a fun milestone on a gulet:)Read More
…not the bird, the country! We’re en route to Istanbul for some history, relaxation, and European culture. I can’t wait to see the architecture and hopefully step onto the continent of Asia for the first time!!!
We planned the trip back in January, and since we’ll be celebrating Matt’s 30th birthday, he got to pick the destination. We fell in love with Greece last year, and figured Turkey’s got to be the next best thing:)
In addition to Istanbul, we’re going to check out the town of Bodrum along the coast.
No blogging for me on this trip, but I’ll try to share some pictures on Instragram throughout the week. An early happy birthday to my husband and the United States!!Read More