It’s that time of year… that time when my birthday rolls around and I add one to my [ever increasing] age. This year, I was lucky enough to have two fabulous birthday dinners with people I love. And a birthday cake at work.
Night one (birthday eve): My momma, Matt, Kelly, Lu and myself had dinner at a charming French restaurant, Mon Ami Gabi, which is situated in the historic Beldon-Stratford Hotel in Lincoln Park. Both Vinces were stuck at work. To start, I had a four mushroom soup that was creamy and heavenly. I ordered seared Atlantic salmon for my entree… I have a serious salmon addiction these days. I simply can’t get enough. Dessert was a warm chocolate pudding cake.
Night two (birthday!): Unfortunately, I had to work. But I started the shift with my co-workers singing happy birthday to me. That was sweet. But what’s sweeter? They brought me cake! It was a chocolate cake with chocolate icing, and it was the most moist cake I’ve ever eaten. What’s the secret to the moistness? It’s kind of nasty. It’s mayonnaise. Seriously. The cake was from Portillo’s and sources have confirmed that they do, in fact, use mayo in the batter. I totally judged this ingredient and assumed it would be gross. But now I’ll admit that it was some of the best cake I’ve ever eaten in my whole twenty-six years. I dare you to try it.
Night three (post birthday): My hub planned an absolutely amazing dinner at MK. I highly recommend this place! The food, the service, the ambiance… it was nothing short of wonderful. And being with equally wonderful company (the big frijol) made the evening unforgettable. The modern interior is remarkably cozy and intimate. We were seated in a corner of the lofted second level so we had a nice view of the whole restaurant. Our starters were diver sea scallops and butternut squash ravioli with cinnamon scented root vegetables, sage and parmigiano-reggiano. My entree was peppercorn crusted yellowfin tuna seared rare, spinach, shiitake mushrooms, and garlic mashed potato with a red wine syrup. Lu had sturgeon. The desserts were divine. But something crazy happened at MK. One of our servers, Mariel, turned out to be a long lost friend of mine from elementary school! We were good buds back at Horn Elementary in Iowa City but when she moved to Miami in 4th or 5th grade we eventually lost touch. What an unexpected twist to the evening. She is a lovely lady. We plan on grabbing lunch together sometime soon.
After dinner, we met some friends for drinks at a beanstalk favorite, Hub 51. It was a blustery, snowy evening so thank you to all the friends who came out to celebrate with me!