Hello from the 25th year!
The idea of celebrating the “year” rather than the “age” comes from a longstanding joke in my family. When my mom turned 49, Papa Bender gave my brother and me the idea to congratulate her on celebrating her 50th year.
I am sure you can imagine how well that one went over.
Fortunately, she recognized immediately that the humor could only be that of one infamous fatherly blog chef. 😉 The rest is history, but yesterday my parents dished it my way as I celebrated turning 24!
Thank you all for the birthday wishes. The notes I got on the blog, through Facebook and email were all so wonderful and made the day that much more special. It truly was a knockout celebration!
My morning was kick started into action when Jill brought homemade blueberry muffins to our meeting with the DreamTeam, a group of students from DePaul we are working with on some DreamChamps initiatives. They came up with the team name – clever, right?
As we were walking out of our meeting, Jill announced that after we made our daily video for the DreamChamps blog, we would be taking the rest of the day off. Her plans were yet to be revealed.
Twist my arm.
I also indulged in a new flavor of IZZE soda: sparkling lime. It was very refreshing!
After lunch, Jill led us to our next mystery destination, which turned out to be the movie theater! We were basically the only two people there in the middle of the afternoon, ready and waiting to see the new chick flick Something Borrowed.
Mara and I have been raving about this movie for weeks (and Mara, I can’t wait to see it with you!) so I was a giggling school girl when it finally started. Having just read every book written by Emily Giffin, I knew I was in for a treat.
The movie reviews did not do this one justice (it got panned pretty badly). I thought it was really good! Yes, it was definitely different from the book (especially John Krasinski’s character). Yes, it’s meant to be a feel good movie. But I thought it was adapted perfectly for the screen. Jill and I both agreed that it was one of the best romantic comedies we’ve seen in a long time. I really hope they make the sequel!
Once the movie ended, we made our way to Hackney’s for a quick pick me up.
I tried my first Oberon Ale and LOVED it. Perfectly light and fresh for the warmer weather! We also split an order of chips and guacamole to feed our hungry bellies.
We chatted away a few more hours before saying goodbye. It was truly an amazingly well planned adventure and I am so grateful to you, Jill! You completely caught me by surprise in the best way possible. Thank you!
Eventually I made my way back home and met up with my lovely husband for dinner at one of our favorite places to celebrate special occasions. Many of you know the story of Karen. Or the story of the boy no longer named Karen.
On May 9, it was the birthday girl named Jennifer.
We started out by ordering a bottle of Don Miguel Gascon, an Argentinian Malbec, to share.
I still have yet to meet a Malbec that I don’t like. I really hope the streak continues!
Our waiter informed us that we would receive a complimentary appetizer and dessert for my birthday (yay)! We decided to start out with an order of crab cakes. They were just the right amount of flavor without being too mushy or fried tasting.
While we waited for the entrees, we munched on sourdough bread.
Then came time for the main event. We were ridiculously excited. I decided to order the Wild Seafood Trio, which came with grilled Alaskan salmon, swordfish and shrimp in a mushroom risotto.
The shrimp and the swordfish were by far the best out of the three. But topping them all was that risotto. Seriously. I need to learn how to make risotto at home. It is out of this world.
Bobby chose the Lobster & Shrimp Ravioli. Another creamy, delectable winner.
We stuffed ourselves silly, but of course, still saved room for creme brulee.
The entire dining experience was amazing. McCormick & Schmick’s continues to impress us.
Definitely an incredible way to spend my first day as a 24 year old! Thanks to all the family and friends who helped make this one of my favorite birthdays yet.
Speaking of family…
Papa Bender is having some not-so-fun surgery tomorrow. It’s nothing to be worried about – if anything, it will make us all (well, especially me, his overly anxious daughter) worry a little less. But if you wouldn’t mind keeping him in your thoughts over these next few days, I would be eternally grateful.
Love you, Papa B.