Birthdays only come once a year, so I like to really extend the celebration period out at least to connect with a weekend. This year mine was on Wednesday, May 8 so the party started that morning and went all the way to Sunday evening. The start was a wonderful birthday breakfast in the office with my coworkers. It’s such a fun tradition, and since we all get to eat it, we all love everyone’s birthday! They even went meatless for the breakfast in my honor.

I then took myself out for an early lunch at Immac and treated myself to Mediterranean vegetable soup with a half serving of their pasta salad, with a Free Times on the side. Even though it was a little too warm outside for hot soup, the subterranean level of Immac was a little chilly so I tucked right into the tomato based, veggie filled liquid easily. A little too easily, despite the fact that the soup was piping hot, but nothing an ice cube couldn’t fix. It was the perfect light lunch, and the perfect distance from the office to enjoy a sunny walk back before having to return and actually do some work. Working was a good distraction from the fact that I was trying to fast the rest of the afternoon in preparation for dinner.

Immaculate Consumption on Urbanspoon

I went out to dinner with some of the family for a cozy dinner at Rosso, somewhere I’d been wanting to try for the longest time. Patrick and I were the first ones there so I decided to start the evening right with a cosmopolitano with honeysuckle vodka and blood orange syrup or alcohol. It was excellent, and I would drink again. The honeysuckle vodka is what drew me in and made me want to order it.

For the entree I chose one of the few meatless dishes on the menu, the maltagliati, which is hand torn pasta in a tomato broth, with chunks of complementary vegetables swimming in the rich sauce, and a scoop of lemon marscapone cheese within. This dish was excellent. The only thing I’d change is making the pieces of pasta a bit smaller because I had a few weird moments where I couldn’t quite get it on the fork without using my fingers, which is totally okay with family and friends, but would have been awkward if I was eating with people I might want to impress with my suave eating skills (which I actually do not possess at all). I also chose to get a side of sweet pea risotto, which was fantastic. I’d order that as an entree next time.

Patrick ordered the bone marrow appetizer special, partly because everyone else was interested in seeing what it was like (but not in actually eating it. It arrived looking like this:

Besides him, my aunt Terri was the only one brave enough to try some. She said she didn’t know what to even compare it to, but it looked a lot like meat jelly to me. And then he wouldn’t let me photograph his short ribs mac and cheese. He said that every time someone Instagrams their food a chef dies. I don’t even care. I love seeing what people are eating. Then I received a special complimentary mandarincello because it was my birthday, so who cares what he says about Instagram, I got booze!

Rosso Trattoria Italia on Urbanspoon

Thursday I went out to Sandhills to wander and shop after a quick stop at Ally & Eloise for some sugary treats that ended up being breakfast… and lunch. Oops.

Friday was a bit more laborious. I went to Lowe’s and got a truckload of mulch, dirt, and bricks to work on some front yard landscaping. And of course I did it in the heat of high noon, but it got done. Loading and unloading yard materials has got to be the worst part of the whole process because we have a pretty steep driveway, and an incredibly uneven yard. After that I rode with the windows all the way down out to Lexington and ended up eating fro yo from Menchie’s for lunch and running a lot of gift gathering errands. I whizzed back home and showered up before gathering with friends at the Blue Cactus for my birthday dinner. I swear, I always want to try something new at the Cactus but always end up getting the tofu sticks for an appetizer and the be bim bob with tofu and the egg.

Though this time I added the spicy red bean paste and woah. Woah, it was warm. Multiple glasses of water warm (sorry Julie, thanks for all of the refills!) And of course I couldn’t resist ending the meal with their amazing green tea ice cream, another thing that I’d like to try another flavor of but just can’t seem to because what I like is something I like so much, nothing else could possibly be any better.

Blue Cactus Cafe on Urbanspoon

We then went to the Publick House because I’ve been over 21 in Columbia for seven years now and had NEVER BEEN THERE. We had a drink, played some pool, and took a free shot which got us these adorable baby beer steins. We of course rinsed them out and brought them home. I’m going to use mine when I want to feel like a giant.

Sunday morning I got a special delivery: my birthday present from my mom and aunt. Remember how just the other week I posted about wanting one?! Well, I got my wish!! If you follow me on Instagram you’ve probably already seen it, but hello, this thing is AWESOME. It’s under our carport now, but the next time we have a party I might recruit some strong man friends to help heft it to the backyard. I am sitting in it now typing this post, and it’s pretty sweet. I wish I could stay home and see the mailman’s reaction to it.

And lastly, Sunday evening I had an early dinner with my dad at the Old Mill Brewpub in Lexington. I hadn’t been to the Old Mill in YEARS but they seem to be reviving it pretty well here lately. One fun addition is this bar/restaurant overlooking the placid little lake behind the mill. We sat on the screened in porch and I enjoyed a Westbrook White Thai and a Farmer’s Vegetable Wrap which had a strawberry lambic vinagrette, which sounded incredible. The sandwich was alright, a little soggy but otherwise very tasty. The fries were great too, but the best thing I tasted that afternoon was my dad’s fried green tomatoes that he wouldn’t eat. The sauce to dip them in? Incredible. Don’t miss these when you come out to the Old Mill.

I won’t let one soggy sandwich keep me from returning and and trying other food there. But even still, the real reason I’ll keep going back is the brews and the views. It’s a very relaxing place where you could chat with a friend all afternoon watching the water. They are supposed to start brewing their own suds this summer, or at least that’s the word on the streets Twitter.

Old Mill Brew Pub on Urbanspoon

Can you tell that food is my favorite new present to receive? Other than giant concrete hands, of course!