Another year, another year older, and may be this year I'll be a little bit wiser. ;)
Our original plan for my birthday was to go out of town but a week prior we realized that was not going to happen so we threw together a celebration that involved public transportation (hooray for the Blue Line Extension!) and an appetite for lots of great food and cocktails.
Brandon had asked his parents to watch Charlotte all weekend so we were the epitome of "parents on the loose."
The first stop of the day was at Undercurrent Coffee, a new coffee shop in Plaza Midwood. The line was out the door but totally worth the wait. And, of course, the wait to see Diana in her element was also totally worth it.
My order was unusual for me but oh so delicious! A Matcha Latte with non-dairy milk. It's slowly becoming my favorite substitute for coffee. Brandon ordered his usual: a chai latte. It was one of the best chai latte's I've had in a very long time.
We also ordered some food. An avocado toast with dukkah (spiced seeds and nuts) and micro amaranth for him and a Goat Lady Dairy chevre and strawberry chamomile jam toast for me.
My next stop was a baby shower for our dear friends at Amelie's. We enjoyed a selection of sandwiches and desserts followed by baby shower games and awwing over all the gifts. Lest I forget to mention, I was also put on bubbly duty which I proudly took on like the pro that I am. Cheers!
The first stop of my birthday light rail crawl was at NoDa Company Store, which is located a few blocks away from Amelie's. Instead of ordering an Uber, or walking, I decided to take the bus. This was my first time riding the bus in Charlotte and brought me back to my childhood riding the bus almost everyday in St. Petersburg.
The Dumpling Lady was the number one reason why the NoDa Company Store was our first stop. I'm obsessed with her Sichuan style sauces and her dumplings are amazing. This is the only food truck in Charlotte that I still chase around town.
Also, how gorgeous are these roses that my mom gave me?!
(Oh, and by the way, that's a mocktail. Turning 34 also means knowing when to slow down on the alcohol consumption. It's a marathon, not a sprint.)
And of course, these ladies were the best party guests!
I'm bummed I didn't get pictures with all the other kiddos and friends who came along. In true fashion, I was busy taking pictures of food. :|
But I did manage to take this photo with my lovely mama!
No birthday celebration in NoDa is complete without a stop at Haberdish for cocktails. My first choice was the Apothecary Cocktail.
It's made up of bitter truth pink gin, prickly pear liqueur, cocchi americano, ginseng, bitter melon & ginger reduction, lime & CBD concentrate. It was very herbal and refreshing.
Cocktail number two was the Smoke Point which is made up of private single barrel Knob Creek, root liqueur, cocchi di torino, vanilla bitters, and served in a ceylon cinnamon smoked glass. So good!
Our final stop was Superica, a brand new Tex-Mex restaurant in South End.
It was super packed but we weren't super hungry so the 45-60 minute wait for a table wasn't so bad, especially with a bar team that was pumping out margaritas at record speeds. We enjoyed our first round of drinks in the courtyard patio of the Design Center and I reminisced about that time I had my senior year internship there and watched the light rail get built right outside my office window.
On the left: Red Headed Stranger (Deep Eddy Ruby Red Vodka, Campari, fresh grapefruit). On the right: The O.G. (El Jimador Reposado, Stirrings triple sec, fresh lime, short and strong, served up or on the rocks).
When our table was ready another guest raised a stink at the hostess station over the long wait (because for some it's hard to understand a highly hyped restaurant in a popular neighborhood on their first weekend was going to be nothing short of busy) so my husband said his party can have our table and we can wait a little bit longer.
We started our dinner with the steak fajita nachos, compliments of the management team.
Grilled steak on bean and cheese nachos, jalapeños, guacamole, sour cream.
For our main course, Brandon and I split the skirt steak fajitas. I love their presentation and the flavors were on point.
Served with refried beans, Spanish rice, Mexican butter, lettuce, tomato, cheese and house made tortillas.
No birthday is complete without tres leches cake and laughing till you cry.
Thank you to everyone who came out to celebrate and help me eat my way through Charlotte.
The next morning Brandon surprised me with a massage and spa day at the Ritz Carlton. It was an absolute treat and a much needed moment alone to relax and reflect.
It was the perfect weekend to kick off my 35th year on earth.