Although we broke the tradition of visiting McCormick & Schmick’s for
Karen’s Bobby’s birthday this year, we still managed to have an amazing celebration. Easy for me to say since Mama Bender and I are the ones who planned it, but Bobby also agreed.
When Bobby requested that we stay in to watch the Packers
beat the vs. Bears game last night, I gave an enormous cheer. And then I went about deciding what surprise dinner I would make for him. It didn’t take me long to choose risotto-a-go-go.
We haven’t made this recipe in quite a while, but it is as delicious as ever. I used the usual chicken sausage and portabella mushrooms, but switched up the shrimp by adding clam meat into the mix instead (thanks for the idea, Mama B).
My brother didn’t want the clams, so I threw just the chicken sausage and mushrooms into the pot of risotto at the end of the cooking process and set the clams aside for the rest of us.
The result was fantastic! The clams added a new flavor element to spice things up.
Mama Bender also made a delicious Caprese salad with heirloom and beefsteak tomatoes, fresh mozzarella cheese, balsamic vinegar and olive oil. The yellow heirlooms were sweeter and very tasty.
After dinner, we settled in to watch a fantastic Packers game. Never mind what happened against the 49ers last week. The Pack is BACK! Between the defensive plays and the touchdowns from Masthay (the punter) and Driver, it was an exciting night for cheeseheads everywhere.
While we were watching the game, Mama Bender also had the excellent idea of doing a fall beer tasting. She picked up a selection of six different seasonal brews at the store yesterday and brought out small cups for each of us to try them out.
Starting at the top and working down the rows left to right, here were my reviews:
- Pretty good considering I’m usually not a fan of darker beers. I wouldn’t choose it over others.
- A very subtle pumpkin taste – excellent! I would definitely drink it more often.
- One word: spicy! Not “hot” spicy – more like “holiday pie” spicy. It went well with our dessert.
- Definite pumpkin taste and somewhere between light and dark beer. It was just OK.
- Delicious! I could tell it was seasonal but it also seemed to taste the most like a “normal” beer.
- Good for people who like dessert beers. I’m not a big stout person but it was interesting to try.
In the end, Bobby chose number five as his favorite, while I was on the fence between five and two. Mama Bender really liked three. She brought out the bottles for the big reveal…
That last one has quite the bottle, huh?
I had heard of Punk’n before and now I know I’m a fan! Thanks for the great tasting, MB. It’s always more fun to be able to try a variety of beers without drinking the whole bottle.
My mom also had the delicious idea of stopping by Dunkin’ Donuts to pick up a special treat for the birthday boy who, as you might recall, is quite the donut fan. Add a scoop of vanilla ice cream to a chocolate glazed donut and who needs cake?
I opted for a seasonal pumpkin donut – I’m sensing a trend here – topped with a smaller scoop. The pumpkin donut was dangerously good. Fall is almost here and there’s no way I’m turning back!
It was a great night for celebrating. The Packers went on to win 23-10 and Bobby marked 26 years. The past 12 months have been full of adventure and I can only imagine that the next 12 will hold even more excitement. I can’t wait to go on the journey with this guy. Who could resist?
Happy Friday! Any big plans for the weekend?
We’ll be starting the house search process. Wish us luck!