My 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.
At 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.
The 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!)
David ordered a beer.
I had a strawberry basil mojito.
For 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.
David 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!