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!

11 Ways to Know You’re a Food Blogger

Think you might be a food blogger?  Here is how you can know for sure...What’s that old joke?  How do you know if someone is a food blogger?  Don’t worry they’ll tell you.  Oh no, wait.  That’s not it, but there are a few telltale signs that you might be a food blogger…  Do you always ask for the window-seat at restaurants for the best sun exposure?  Do you have curious pre-dinner rituals?  Do you regularly tweet to Bluehost to find out why your site is down again?  And here are 11 more clues that might let you know…

Ways to know if you're a food blogger1.  If you’ve ever spent months looking for weathered old boards to use as a table in photographs, you just may be a food blogger.

Think you might be a food blogger?  Here's how you can know for sure.2.  If you would never serve company with the tattered, discolored spoons that look like you dug them out of the ground at the junkyard but are totally happy to display them lovingly on the internet for all to see, you just may be a food blogger.

11 Ways to Know if you are a food blogger3.  If you’ve ever recognized dinnerware on someone else’s blog because you also bought it at Pier One, Anthropologie, CB2, or Crate and Barrel, you just may be a food blogger.

11 ways that you can know if you are a food blogger4.  If the Olive Garden itself would envy your sheer volume of cloth napkins, you just may be a food blogger.

Ways to know if you're a food blogger5.  If spring means asparagus, summer means squash blossoms, and fall means pumpkin, you just may be a food blogger.

Think you might be a food blogger?  Here's how to know for sure6.  If you’ve ever convinced your husband to pose for a silly photo for your blog only to later notice that ridiculous picture is all over Pinterest, you just may be a food blogger.

Ways to know if you're a food blogger7.  If you’ve ever read the comments section like this, you just may be a food blogger.

11 Ways To Know If You're a Food Blogger8.  If you have more mason jars than a little old lady in the early 1900’s, you just may be a food blogger.

Find out if you're a food blogger with this easy rundown9.  If you’ve ever abandoned a recipe because in pictures the dish looked like it could be called “Rudolph’s Shame,” you just may be a food blogger.  (Those were savory cookies. Heaven help them.)

Wondering if you're a food blogger?  Find out for sure!10.  If you’ve ever had to re-shoot pictures of rice paper rolls because yours turned out too condom-y, you just may be a food blogger.

11 Ways that you can know if you're a food blogger11.  If you have to take photos fast, like some sort of war journalist waiting for the enemy to pounce, because you know those chips will be too much temptation for a certain cavernous-bellied kitty, you just may be a food blogger.