Friday, March 9, 2012

A Birthday to Remember

My birthday was February 24th. It is now almost mid-March. I'm well aware.

You see, friends, it's been a little busy. But don't worry, I've still been eating, learning about cooking, and cooking all of this time.  My last two birthdays were good--and Matt was so sweet in planning the days--but I still had to work and school and do all of that. Last year, I remember standing at work at 10:45pm just willing the clock to get to 11pm so I could go home and celebrate my birthday with my hubby. School and work for 15 hours straight all to come home tired and not in the most celebratory mood. Not this year.

Matt and I intentionally cleared our schedules and spent the day together. And it was on a Friday...bonus. There is so much to do here in Dallas, we had a hard time narrowing things down. But, true to Laurel form, the day involved a scattering of desserts. It was lovely.

Thursday night: Mini pastries from Whole Foods~lemon-filled and iced cakes, key lime cheesecake, and an eclair. So cute and tasty!

Friday morning: Silly Lorax bfast from IHOP (free for my bday). Green eggs (spinach-filled) and ham...I didn't partake of the ham, but it was really cute. IHOP is special on birthdays because my group of 4 church girlfriends growing up started a tradition. We used to "kidnap" the birthday girl from her house and take her to IHOP--messy hair, PJs and all. We started it in jr. high and continued it until we all started moving to different states. Maybe again sometime soon...

And a pancake in a cone, filled with blueberries...can you find even one negative with this? I think not.

Dinner at Fadi's: I loved this place growing up in Houston. However, I never tried the "Veggie Plate." Fadi's gives you a sampling of 14 (fourteen!) salads and sides for $11. Insanity! The plate looks messy and colorful, but it was truly delish. And, of course, I had to have some pistachio baklava for fun.

Not pictured: Paciugo Gelato
Paciugo was started by Ugo Ginatta, his wife Cristiana, and his son, Vincenzo. After moving from Torino, Italy to Dallas, Texas the Ginatta family opened the first Paciugo gelateria on West Lovers Lane in Dallas, Texas on September 9, 2000. It was an instant hit within the community and by the end of 2001 the Ginatta family had opened two more Paciugo stores in Dallas.
So, apparently, Matt & I visited the original Paciugo without realizing it. It was delicious! Def a place we'll go again...and take friends and family to. For this day, we tried...

Chocolate Orange Saffron
Rich chocolate gelato with candied orange zests and Italian saffron, eggs, milk and sugar. Saffron is a very fine, dark red aromatic from flower stigmas. Saffron is the most expensive spice in the world.


Pistachio Almond
A combination of pistachio and almond, this pairing results in a slightly sweeter tasting pistachio gelato.

It was funny because we went by Paciugo after a bit at an Irish Pub (I had the Priest's Collar...mostly cider with a 1-inch ring of Guinness at the top. Loved it!). Matt vehemently said he did not feel like another sweet. Once I ordered, his tastebuds changed their mind, and we shared a small gelato with smiles and wide eyes. It was so delicious and much lower fat/calories than its American ice cream counterpart. If you aren't familiar with gelato or haven't had it in a while, grab some fresh at your nearest shop. Mmm, mmm. I know fro yo is the latest trend in suburbs across the nation, but there's just something so lovely about gelato. It's tradition, Italian, and made with a lot of pride. You really can't go wrong, you just cannot.
Thanks to Matt for the loveliest of days!
Thanks to mom and dad for sending goodies (including $$ for my caps and gowns for graduation, woo hoo), Pat (best MIL ever), Meliss (who called a few days before my bday to let me know she was "really glad I was born."), and to others who made this day and every day so special. If you think it's strange or selfish to celebrate your own birthday, get over it. :) This is a time for people to show you that they care about you, and it is your duty to do the same for them when their birthdays roll around. And, really, aren't you glad you were born? I am.

Happy weekend and most happy eating, friends. Do watch for a brunch special coming soon.


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