Twenty-Six

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I turned 26 last Friday.  Nick met me after work and we walked from my new job in the Ukrainian Village to the May Street Market in the west loop.

Neither of us had been to the May Street Market before and I was really pleased with his choice.  The host explained to us that their menu changes frequently because they buy their ingredients from local and sustainable resources (he mentioned the Green City Market by name).

Sadly, my photographs of the meal turned out pretty lousy, but I hope you will trust me when I tell you that each one looked stunning. We ordered a 2003 Dona Paula Shiraz-Malbec to go with the following:

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On the top left is the "Maytag blue cheesecake  with roasted candied beets, arugula, spiced pecans, and elderflower sorbet." Nick ordered the "roasted venison medallions in a pistachio crust with carrot purée, chive spaetzle, and lingonberry sauce."  I ordered the pumpkin risotto with quinoa and dried cherries. It was fabulous with a very fitting presentation.  For dessert we shared "chocolate-banana bread pudding, caramel ice cream, chocolate sauce, and caramelized banana."  Everything was delicious and I highly recommend a visit.

Nick also bought us tickets to Bruce Springsteen!  The show is in late October and I am very excited to see him for the first time. 

We finished up the night at the Logan Square Small Bar where we enjoyed a variety of beers and our friend Parker's company. (Well, we actually finished the night on the porch with a bit of the Basil Hayden's that Nick bought.)

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On Saturday afternoon Nick and I met my parents, my brother and my grandmother at my Uncle Jack and my Uncle Dave’s house in Old Town. We spent the beautiful, sunny day celebrating three birthdays: mine, Jack’s and my grandmother Arlene’s.

Dave is one of the best cooks I know.  He made us a delicious lunch of vegetarian Portobello lasagna, meat lasagna (sauces from scratch of course), Caesar salad, and garlic bread. My mom brought a pretty fruit and yogurt salad as well.

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For my birthday my parents gave me a hefty sum to aid in my new computer purchase, which is very exciting!  They also gave me a pair of beautiful earrings from one of my favorite jewelers, Studio 2015 in my hometown of Woodstock. Also, my brother bought me gemmapetrie.com!  That was sweet and thoughtful.  I will do something interesting with it soon.

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Jack led us on a walking tour of Old Town where we were charmed by quaint old store fronts and left aghast by $40 million dollar concrete homes. When we returned for dessert we saw the stunning carrot cake that Jack and Dave ordered from Bittersweet. It was giant and delicious.

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Nick and I returned home where I found these beautiful flowers from Eileen.  Note the kale, so beautiful.  This may have been the prettiest bouquet I have ever seen.  It was perfect for a late summer/early fall birthday.

We had a quick dinner at Small Bar before my friends arrived.  It was great to see so many people that I love all in one place, many of whom I do not see very often.  Harold arrived with a kitchen torch and butane for me.  We will plan some exciting gastronomic adventure soon to show it off. 

All in all this was one of my most memorable birthdays yet.  Outstanding food, family, friends, good beverages and long walks in Chicago - I don't need much else.

Ruinart Champagne and Avec

Holland, Michigan