Happy 25th birthday to me! HA! Okay, so 25 is long gone BUT this weekend was still one of the best weekends on record and I'm not sure anything could've made it better, except maybe a visit from a monkey. I love monkeys and I've always been slightly obsessed with them, but you should stop thinking about my monkey obsession and instead read the rundown from my super fun, although monkey-less weekend.
FRIDAY: CELEBRATION ONE
I wasn't looking for a huge birthday bash but some of our close friends had asked me the weekend before what my plans were, so we figured a tiny gathering at our place for a cheese plate, selection of spirits and of course, cake wouldn't hurt. The cake (above) Paul picked up from Fatto in casa (inside of the East End Market), a simple white cake with a delicate custard layer and a beautiful exterior. This is my idea of a perfect birthday cake, they did a fantastic job!
SATURDAY: CELEBRATION TWO
For the second year in a row, we bought tickets for Outstanding in the Field at Lake Meadows. It was a chilly day (much colder than last year) that turned into a bitterly cold Florida night but that didn't make the event any less fun, especially since we had friends with us this time around. The event kicked off with two great cocktails from Barry and Amy Noll. Barry mixed up a drink with Old Scout bourbon, Amarena cherries and Bittermens Xocolatl Mole Bitters, while Amy made the 'Bees Knees' using Half Moon gin, honey, thyme, some other kind of bitters and I believe kumquats. Both were terrific but it so chilly I had to choose bourbon.
Paul's favorite pose is always to look away. I stopped asking why years ago, but I suppose I shouldn't comment because I have posing quirks too. I haven't showed my teeth in years because I think a full smile makes my cheeks puff up too much making me look swollen. It's sad though because I do have nice teeth and take pride in them with great care and overly punctual dental appointments.
Of all the food, the charred octopus appetizer, the lamb wedding soup and the crêpes filled with juicy dark meat chicken were the highlight this year.
SUNDAY: CELEBRATION 3 (ACTUAL BIRTHDAY)
I woke up to blood orange mimosas and toasted fig and anise bread with this insanely perfect goat cheese. I've Instagrammed this combo before and it should be noted that it comes from Old Hearth Bread and La Femme du Fromage both inside East End Market. This is a wildly addictive pairing and one can easily wind up eating the entire loaf. You've been warned.
After breakfast we went on long bike ride through Winter Park and made sure were good and hungry for dinner. Dinner was a surprise until the last moment and we ended up at Bull & Bear inside the Waldorf Astoria. A first time visit for us both and we really loved it. It felt the way a steakhouse should, dark, cozy with lots of leather and wood. The service was spot on and the food did not disappoint. I missed a photo opp because we ate it too quickly but the corn soup starter was phenomenal. Seen below: heirloom tomato salad with burrata, lamb ribs ras el hanout over beluga lentils and a vanilla crême brulee with a sneaky layer of creamy chocolate on the bottom.
The meal was the perfect close to a tremendous weekend and I'm thankful for all the calls, texts, emails & Instagram messages from the lovely friends I have. I'm also thankful for a pretty rad husband who is one of the best men I've ever known.