My birthday weekend: The food edition

Salad with edible flowers, coconut bacon & roasted chickpeasMy birthday was last weekend, and it was pitch perfect. Usually we go out of town for my birthday, but this year we stayed closer to home. (More details on the whys of that later!) However, there were still many highlights.

On the day before my birthday, a package arrived from Los Angeles from my friend, Kristy. She shipped me some vegan treats – coconut bacon, Cocomels, and best of all, injera from my all-time favorite restaurant, Rahel.

Farmers market haulSalad with roasted chickpeas, coconut bacon & edible flowersAt the farmers market the next day, I couldn’t resist these edible flowers, and I had a big salad with roasted chickpeas, cashew dressing, and handfuls of coconut bacon. (FYI: The flowers don’t have much of a flavor, but they sure are pretty!) I’d been out of coconut bacon for months, and I was happy for it to reunite with my tongue once again. We broke into the injera a day or two later for a homemade Ethiopian feast. Rahel’s injera is noticeably tangier and more pronounced in flavor than other injera I’ve tried. David and I were mmm-ing a little extra with every bite. It was so terrifically sweet of Kristy and Chris to think of me on my birthday.

Our friends, Ashley and Adam, came over for a bit, and I was talking about how before I went vegan, I’d always get pink champagne cake on my birthday. In Des Moines, Barbara’s Bake Shop specialized in it, and it was something I looked forward to having every year. The champagne flavor adds a really lovely background to the lightly sweet cake. But since I went vegan 7 years ago, I hadn’t had it.

Pink Champagne CupcakeThe next day (on my actual birthday) we had a surprise visitor – Ashley with homemade pink champagne cupcakes! She looked up this recipe on Vegan Fling.   The cupcakes were frosted with a delicious strawberry buttercream frosting and had those wonderful undertones of champagne that I have missed all these years. Plus, the next morning I got to have coffee & champagne cake for breakfast! It doesn’t get much better than that.

For my birthday dinner, we ventured to Davenport to eat at Exotic Thai. I’ve written about Exotic Thai before in my post on my favorite Vegan Options in the Quad Cities. The weather was pleasant, and the patio was open. So we sat outside next to their miniature herb garden, which they use for their dishes. (It doesn’t get much more local than that!)

Tsing Tao BeerDavid ordered a beer.

Strawberry Basil MojitoI had a strawberry basil mojito.

Spicy Basil Noodles - Exotic Thai - Davenport, IowaFor dinner, I almost always get the exact same thing – Spicy Basil Noodles with veggie chicken. (You have to ask them to omit the egg to make it vegan.) The portions are really generous, and so this was 2 ½ meals. It was particularly spicy this night, and so I wasn’t able to use the hot sauce tray. I really should start asking them to make it mild, just so that I can pile on lots of crunchy, house-made jalapeno slices once it arrives.

Curry - Exotic Thai - Davenport, IowaDavid had their curry special with coconut milk, summer squash, zucchini, and eggplant made with tofu instead of chicken.

After dinner, we walked along the Mississippi River and relaxed on a bench while the sun went down. A lovely end to the day!


  1. says

    That does sound like a lovely birthday weekend- Friends, family and farmers’ market! (Happy belated birthday!)
    I’d love to be able to buy fresh authentic injera. So so good!

  2. Shell says

    Hearing about your birthday weekend made me smile. So many special touches that made your birthday extra special. Hope you have a great year!

    • says

      Thanks, Shell! Yes, there were many delightful surprises this year. Thank you for continuing the fun this past weekend. It was so wonderful seeing all of you! xoxo

  3. says

    What great friends you have. I adore Ethiopian food, but I don’t get to eat it very often. I make it at home sometimes, but it’s never quite the same. Happy belated birthday :)

  4. says

    Happy happy birthday, Ms. Cadry! So excited for you! You have most excellent friends. Pink champagne cupcakes? I’m intrigued. I had pink champagne once, and my face literally turned pink. (That had never happened to me before.) Ryan kept pointing at me and laughing good naturedly (and in amazement), “Oh my God! Look at you! Seriously, go look in the mirror!!”

    So naturally, I want this cupcakes NOW.

    So glad your day was so wonderful! I love how you live up your birthdays!


    • says

      That’s so strange that pink champagne made your face turn pink. Hopefully this batch of cupcakes wouldn’t turn you into a lovely shade of bubblegum! Thank you for the birthday wishes! xoxo

  5. says

    Happy birthday!!! Looks like a great day filled with amazing food! Love your personalized Vegan Dish cake stand! And I just had strawberry champagne cake for the first time last week! Stephanie baked some cupcakes for Imagine, and I had to order one. Loved how the champagne added a light springiness.

    • says

      I love that Vegan Dish cupcake stand too. David surprised me with it for Christmas several years ago. I think it’s adorable, but I rarely have cupcakes at home. So I often only get to enjoy it from my cupboard! It was nice to have an excuse to pull it out.

      It was seeing your post about Stephanie’s champagne cupcakes that reminded me of my old favorite! The champagne adds a delicious extra dimension.

  6. says

    Happy birthday, Cadry! What a lovely way to spend it. And those cupcakes – I’ve never had pink champagne cake before but it sounds dreamy! xo

  7. says

    Happy Belated Birthday to you, Cadry! Looks like you had a wonderful time :). I’m also a fan of edible flowers for their pretty factor. I can’t get enough pretty in my life!

    • says

      Thanks, Hannah! Yes, the flowers immediately take the pretty-factor up several notches. It makes me want to have a dinner party just so that I can offer guests salads with these lovely flowers.

  8. says

    Happy birthday! Among all those wonderful gifts (the injera especially and cupcakes especially – wow!) how especially lovely to have such kind people thinking of you on your birthday. What amazing friends.

  9. says

    Happy belated birthday! Everything looks amazing, especially that mojito. How sweet is it that Ashley made you those cupcakes?

    It is funny to see you write about coconut bacon because I decided to try making it myself a few weeks ago with some fresh coconut. I’ve yet to post about it, but it is surprisingly simple.

    • says

      Yes, it was such a delightful and total surprise that Ashley went to the trouble of finding a recipe and making homemade pink champagne cupcakes for me. It was also so thoughtful of her, because she’s not vegan. When non-vegans try something new and make a vegan meal or dessert for me, I’m especially touched.

      Which recipe did you use for the coconut bacon? I made it myself once, but it didn’t have quite the same addictive punch as Phoney Baloney’s. I plan on making my own again sometime, though. I was thinking about using the recipe in Salad Samurai.

  10. says

    How did I miss this post? I saw it was your birthday on Facebook, but didn’t see this fun recap of things. Anyway, hold on to that friend with the cupcakes. That was pretty much the most thoughtful thing ever. I’m glad you had such a wonderful day. You deserve it!

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