Leading up to my Birthday

Rewind! Let me bring you up to speed. I must admit it’s been a while since I’ve cooked a solid meal. This one, from last Wednesday, would probably be it. I followed a recipe from the January 2011 issue of Cooking Light for “Sweet and Sour Chicken” (recipe found here), and I really liked it! It was super fast to prepare and the tangy Apricot preserves-based sweet and sour sauce was bangin’. I served the skillet sauteed chicken breast halves atop Steamfresh Brown Rice and served with creamed spinach that threw together on the fly with a package of frozen chopped  and Neufchâtel cheese, among other things. What a tasty meal!

Sweet and Sour Chicken Rating: 8.5/10


Thursday I started redeeming some of my birthday coupons. If you’re going to read my blog, you must know that I am an aficionada of Birthday Deals. Like, to the extreme. I am on all the email lists, know all the spots to hit up. Though my birthday isn’t for a few days, last week I began to receive some of my coupons in my inbox. The first I redeemed was at one of my favorite places – Palm Palace.

Started out with salad. I just love their huge, super fresh salads with delicious house dressing.


Next up my entrée – which was free with my birthday coupon! I ordered Shrimp Ghallaba, “sautéed with vegetables, herbs & spices.” The menu says it can be ordered in “classic” or “zesty,” and I wasn’t asked which I would prefer and forgot to indicate which so I presume I received classic, because it wasn’t particularly zesty. It was good though. Shrimp were mixed into a mixture of sauteed green pepper strips, carrots, mushrooms, in a mildly spicy tomato-y sauce. On the side I had rice – I’m addicted to this rice. All in all a tasty entree , but not my favorite ever (I rarely stray from their Lamb Shawarma, which is my fave!).


The hub ordered Paella; “Shrimp, Fish Fillet, calamari, mussels, scallops cooked with green, yellow & red peppers, tomato with rice pilaf & Moroccan herbs & spices.” He was pleased.


And for dessert, I got this adorable (and complimentary) birthday cake! Open-mouthed smile


Friday we were kind of himming and hawing about where to go, and didn’t feel like going anywhere we would have to wait to be seated for a long time. Eventually we settled on Bagger Dave’s, another place for which I had a birthday coupon to redeem. I started out with a bowl of their Black Bean Turkey Chili (yum!) with onions (sans the jalapenos that they forgot Sad smile) and a local brew, Motor City Brewing’s Nut Brown Ale. Nutty and rich; I liked it.


This picture really does not do justice to my (FREE) burger – because it was really good! Honestly I think it was the best burger I’ve gotten there before. Usually I do the “create your own burger” deal, but tonight I tried out one of the “Legends,” called the Santa Fe Chipotle Burger. I did not even realized when I ordered that this burger was actually turkey burger – and not beef! But, I have to say that the turkey burger was delicious! In fact, I think I preferred the turkey burger over their beef burgers. The burger was, “all-natural, lean Michigan ground turkey and topped with Bagger Dave’s Santa Fe Chipotle Sauce, guacamole, romaine lettuce, pepper jack cheese and tomato, on a toasted honey wheat bun.” So good. I ate every last bite and my mouth was burning at the end. That’s how you know it was good.020411_3

I took of picture of Tom’s fries. So obnoxious. I had a few..



Café Zola  Cafe Zola on Urbanspoon

Saturday morning I went to brunch with my parents, who drove down to celebrate my birthday a couple days early, with my sis and the huz. We hit up a place I have been wanting to try for a long time – Café Zola. The place was bumpin’ when we got there, around 12:15 PM. There was awkward standing-room only in the entrance (chilly!), and a wait to be seated even with our reservation (luckily not terribly long though).

I had read that the French Press Coffee was the way to go, so we ordered a full pot of French Roast coffee in a French Press. Oh me, oh my. This is how coffee is meant to taste. I don’t know if I can go back to regular drip pot coffee after this. It was so incredibly rich and strong and complex. Loved it. Crack coffee.


For my main dish, I ordered a splurge item which I had been eyeballing on their online menu all week!: “Smoked Salmon Omelette
Durham’s Tracklements smoked salmon, fresh tarragon, scallions and a creamy mustard sauce make this elegant omelette a gourmet favorite.” I’ve been wanting to try this local business (Durham’s Tracklements)’s smoked salmon quite some time, so this was a double-win! And OH MY, this was nothing short of amazing.


Then I got some presents. Smile


Finally got this picture hung in our house. It was a wedding gift, and it used to hang in our last apartment, but I had never gotten around to finding a suitable place to hang it in our new house. So happy to have this hung now! Found the perfect spot.


You like?


Saturday night the hub and I had some night-out plans which were squashed by the snow. We were going to redeem some free birthday tickets to a show – you know how I roll. But we called and reserved tickets for another evening later this month instead, and stayed home and opened a bottle of BUBBLAY that we had purchased on our trip to the Old Mission Peninsula Wineries this past summer (read about our Winery Tour HERE). This pink sparkling wine was from the Brys Estate Winery in the Old Mission Peninsula of Michigan, and I loved it. Sweet and crisp like an apple.

With our bubbly, we enjoyed some of this delicious brownie cheesecake my parents brought my for my birthday. It was basically incredible. Cheesecake and champagne. I can handle that.


Earlier in the evening we had set up our new birthday present , a Blue Ray Disc player (thanks mom + dad!), and got our Netflix account all set up, so now we can watch unlimited streaming movies on our TV. So cool!! Last night we watched Rain Man, a favorite of mine.


Alright, I must get on with my day. The poor hub is outside digging us out from the snow!

7 thoughts on “Leading up to my Birthday

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