Tuesday, July 19, 2016

My 37th Birthday Celebration(s)!

My month-long birthday celebration began at the Lakewood 4th of July parade. We were joined by Mom, Rich, Sean, Travis and families and the kids had a great time collecting candy.

With Alex's birthday falling on July 6th, my mom thought it would be nice to host everyone at her house for breakfast and mimosas! It was a great time and the bottomless mimosas were a big hit. I think it should be an annual tradition :) 

Christie and Laura are two of my work friends and they treated me to a day at the Indians game on Wednesday. We took off at noon and made our way to Progressive Field. It was a gorgeous day. Unfortunately, the Indians did not fare well and lost 12-2.

Progressive Field has some of the best food in baseball and we couldn't resist sharing these nachos from Momocho.

On my actual birthday Steve and I decided to venture East (by east I mean 5 minutes from work!) and visit some of the best restaurants Cleveland has to offer. I had a free night at the Marriott that was set to expire, so we decided we'd make it a staycation and made way for a culinary adventure. We even took a $15 Uber ride to offset the cost of hotel parking.
We first visited Crop Kitchen for a pre-dinner happy hour drink.

Next we visited L'Albatros, one of Cleveland's most renowned restaurants. I can honestly say I can't believe it has taken us so long to visit this gem!

We started with a selection of five cheeses and loved all of the recommendations. We’ve already committed to seven choices during our next visit! We also enjoyed two cocktails, including (my favorite) a Boulevardier. The cheese alone will have us coming back again and again.

Next, we moved to the whole roasted artichoke and two glasses of Rose wine. The artichoke was meaty and nicely accompanied by a lemon aioli.

For entrees, we enjoyed the pasta with Brussels sprouts and scallops in a cream sauce in addition to the walleye and lobster quenelle. We preferred the walleye to the pasta. It was delicate and delicious and highly recommended. I loved the time it took for us to enjoy our meal because we did just that, enjoyed the meal and company.

 Finally, for dessert we ordered the pistachio cake. As a lover of anything pistachio, I was a little disappointed as I thought this a little dense and dry. I plan to try the chocolate napoleon next time.
With the stellar combination of service, food, drinks and price, we’re already planning our next visit to L'Albatros. I initially thought this place should be reserved for special occasions, but we plan on visiting again for our regular date nights. The atmosphere is nice, but relaxing. The food is some of the best and the service is professional.
The most amazing part of the night is when we had a bottle of prosecco delivered to our table from our incredible friends in New Jersey. Jean and Ron made this night extra special. We'll be seeing them very soon for our annual trip to Mexico where we'll be enjoying Quattro champagne daily!! Cheers!

My birthday staycation continued on Saturday with more incredible culinary experiences. Rising Star coffee is considered some of the best and we stumbled upon their location in Little Italy. Steve ordered a  cappuccino while I ordered a Vietnamese iced coffee. Both were tasty and full of caffeine!

Next we headed across the street for an incredible brunch and bottomless mimosas at Trentina. Trentina is another spectacular restaurant from James Beard Award winning chef Jonathan Sawyer. Sawyer's Greenhouse Tavern is one of our favorite restaurants downtown, so we were certain Trentina would not disappoint.

The bottomless mimosas were delicious and we were excited to see they were offered with grapefruit juice.

We started with the pickles, cheese and charcuterie plate. Inspired by Italy's Alto Adige region, it's a delicious combination of a triple cream blue, ash goat, speck, llama sausage (!!) along with crispy polenta and pickled kale, broccoli stems and cabbage. Definitely one of the best charcuterie plates we've ever had...and we LOVE charcuterie plates!!

I ordered the brunch pizza with ash-roasted potatoes, lardo, provolone, pecorino, locally foraged ramps, and grated egg yolk bottarga.

Steve ordered the bacon egg and cheese Bolognese with semolina bucatini pasta, beast bolognese, Trenta Grana parmesan, bread crumbs and Trentina eggs.

On Saturday afternoon, we met Sean, Alex and the kids at Lakewood's Summer Meltdown. Steve had a little helper pushing the (empty) stroller :)

With our birthdays falling only two days apart, it's only natural that Alex and I celebrate together every year. This time, my mom and Rich watched the kids while we walked to nearby Buckeye Beer Engine to enjoy a few beers and burgers.

It was a great time and put another exclamation point on my spectacular birthday weekend!

My 37 years have been awesome and I have to say the last 15 with Steve have been incredible. Once again, my husband treated me like a total princess and I'm not sure I fit the princess profile. I had an incredible birthday at some of the best Cleveland has to offer. My birthday month continues in Vegas and then Mexico for two weeks!! Oh, and a very special 10-year wedding anniversary in between :)

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