Thursday I used a vacation day and took the day off work to enjoy my birthday. After lounging in bed for an extra hour, coffee was the first item on the day’s agenda. Since it was my day off, I had the luxury of preparing it at a leisurely pace using my press pot. I love the ritual of preparing coffee this way.
Next order of business: food. I used a a birthday coupon and got a free burrito at Moe’s. Plus I purchased a Freestyle Vanilla Coke Zero! I only drink soda, oh, maybe a couple times per month, but I do enjoy fountain pop, especially from the Freestyle machines.
With lunch, I watched Alton Brown on the Food Net (and the next day, I made his Beer Bread recipe that I saw on the show – post coming soon!).
In the afternoon, I indulged in some shopping at World Market (used a birthday coupon to get a big discount off of this necklace!), looked around Home Goods, and checked out Briarwood Mall.
When I arrived home, this giant rug was on my front porch.
About two weeks ago I ordered this rug online from RugsUSA. With this company, I had a somewhat frustrating experience redeeming my Groupon toward this rug. Most of the rugs I found and liked were either out of stock or the not eligible to be purchased with my Groupon. Finally though, I found this round rug that seemed to match my living room.
The idea was to tie some red into the room, since our adjacent dining room is painted red (see below). I wish there were more red in the rug I received, but all in all I’m really happy with the shape and scale of the rug in our living room. Our next goal is to purchase a coffee table for this room.
My second StitchFix package also arrived for my birthday! (I planned it that way). I have a post coming soon to tell you about the contents of Fix #2.
After a day packed with lots of “ME-time,” I was happy when the huz arrived home from work so we could spend the evening together.
Together, we headed over to Cake Nouveau for two free birthday cake truffles!
Next we visited my favorite watering hole as of late for a pair of libations – The Bar at 327 Braun.
They debuted a fresh menu just a few days ago, which I was excited to try.
I decided to order "Half A Yard Sale,” made with cava, bourbon, tequila, lime juice, and simple syrup, served in a tall glass with a giant rectangular ice spear. It was really good. Not as good as “The Royal Pain” which was like, well, da effin’ bomb, but a totally legitimate cocktail crafted with care. The huz had a glass of The Punch.
The Bar is so chill. One day I will try eating here when the pop-up carts visit throughout the week.
Since I had such a wonderful experience at Gratzi on my birthday last year, I decided to return again this year. I’m happy to report that we again had an excellent experience – the service at Gratzi is truly top notch and they really make one feel special on their birthday (plus, no singing!).
To start: really great bread with herb-infused olive oil, house-roasted olives, and Rodney Strong Merlot.
For my entrée I ordered one of the current specials, which was a pair of beef tender medallions in a wild mushroom and veal demi pan sauce, with garlic mashed potatoes, atop of bed of sautéed spinach. This dish was amazing. The thick beef medallions were incredibly tender and cooked perfectly medium as I requested. Elevating this dish was the spectacularly rich mushroom sauce. Perfection!
The bed of greens beneath the beef soaked up all of the extra saucy goodness. The scale of the spinach portion was generous and in-line with the rest of the plate. I also loved the mashed potatoes; really well done.
I demolished every morsel of that entrée! SOOO wonderful.
For dessert, I made a wish, blew out my candle, and shared my complimentary cannoli with the huz. I haven’t eaten many cannolis in my lifetime, but I thought this was better than any cannoli that I had during my time in Italy. The ricotta and pastry cream filling was very thick and luscious, while the cannoli shell was thick and crispy. Chopped pistachios and fresh berries garnished the dish.
Thank you Gratzi for another wonderful birthday meal! I believe dining at Gratzi will now have to be my annual birthday tradition. Our meal was well-paced – never rushed, nor ever felt like we were waiting. The food is great, which is very important, but the service really made the experience. I also enjoy the romantic ambiance.
Then we went in search of more dessert freebies around downtown.
Lemon cupcake at Cupcake Station (usually you get a free mini on your birthday, but since we arrived during the last 15 minutes of the day, we were hooked up with a full-size!).
I also got a free [unpictured] dark chocolate ganache truffle from Schakolad.
Pizza House offers a free dessert with any purchase on your birthday. We shared a White Russian and a plate of Tiramisu.
At this point I was beyond sugar-overload and could only manage a few little bites.
Laith Al-Saadi and the other two members of his trio put on an awesome live performance, and play at Mash every Thursday night (and apparently at other spots around town throughout the week.)
Also, today is MegGoesNomNom’s Third Blogiversary! I cannot believe I have been blogging for three years! Thanks for reading and for your comments! I love reading each and every piece of feedback you guys have.