...where I'm from, it's better known as Thatmom's birthday! And so we spent the past week celebrating the woman who is 50% responsible for the most adorable blogger on the planet. The original plan was to go away for the weekend, someplace exotic like "Portland" or "Denver" but when push came to shove, Thatmom decided she'd prefer a nice weekend at home, surrounded by her favorite children, and Thatbrother.
We began Saturday with a leisurely 3 mile run - because Thatmom has to get on her game for the race this weekend! And I'm always one to help out. And it gives us some time to discuss family gossip and make big plans for her birthday cake. More on that later.
Wow, is it later already? We cleaned up after the walk and headed to Susie Cakes because that's where Thatmom wanted her cake from. Why? Well, in her exact words "all their cupcakes are so delicious." Who am I to argue with the birthday girl. Especially since Susie Cakes is located smack dab next to Kean's....which might be my favorite place in all of Orange County. Honestly, I've thought about living there, curled up an oversized chair. But we'll get back to the cake soon enough.
Our next stop was Fashion Island so we could tool around and shop. Well, shop and try on as many hats as we could. We were going to pick some up to wear to the birthday dinner, but Thatboy thought we might be going a bit overboard.
By dinnertime we were starving. I might have literally started taking bites out of people's arms. Thatmom's favorite food might be Italian, and she wanted to try a new place instead of our old standbys, so we journeyed down the road to Modo Mio.
As a sidenote, that Crystal Cove shopping center is a regular magician's hat. There is always something new to discover. We must go there at least once a month and I've never seen this restaurant which has been there for years. "'Curiouser and Curiouser,' thought Alice."
Because we were so hungry, we started off with an Antipasta plate. Because someone says that "Charcuterie is the new black."
Personally, this one wasn't the new black. Maybe the new grey, but we're pretty sure they threw some Oscar Mayer Bologna on there...
It's funny. Both Thatbrother and I associate Thatmom with a Fruite de Mare type dish. But she apparently doesn't like that. She claims that was Thatdad's favorite. I love when siblings have collective false memories. It's almost Jungian, no? In any case, Thatbrother carries on the family tradition.
Y'all probably could have guessed this was Thatbrother's plate anyway, right? What a ham. Remind me to post some unflattering photos of him again soon. I have a whole stockpile.
Thatmom picked out her meal long before we even entered the restaurant. She loves pasta with eggplant. So the rigatoni with tomatoes, eggplant, and ricotta was right up her alley.
UDubb went with the whole grain fusilli with kalamata olives, capers, asparagus, and basil. But without the olives and capers because neither she nor Thatbrother have good taste when it comes to salty sour foods. And speaking of UDubb...she just started reading the blog recently, so everyone should give her a little wave and tell her how pretty her purple shirt is.
Thatboy ordered the mushroom risotto. I know, we were all shocked that he ordered it and Thatbrother didn't.
He didn't think the risotto was cooked all the way through. It had a little too much bite on the inside. I can empathize since a lot of my risotto turns out that way. Then again, I'm not serving my risotto in a restaurant.
Surprise surprise surprise (gosh are we predictable) I went with the gnocchi.
These were amazingly good gnocchi. Really light - which is how all gnocchi should be. And I liked the light pesto mixed in, which wasn't overpowering the way pesto can be when served with a heavy hand.
After dinner our waitress brought out Thatmom a tiramisu that was lit on fire! Or maybe it just had a candle in it. Either way, there were flames.
Here Thatmom is thinking about how grateful she is to have such wonderful, sweet, caring children. And Thatbrother.
We came home to enjoy the cake!
I was originally thinking of sending this one in to Cakewrecks, but the wrecks there are way funnier than this little...error. It was supposed to say "Happy Birthday Mom" - but if you know anything about cursive, you know that the line comes off the TOP of the o...not the bottom. Which makes this cake read "Happy Birthday Mam." (I know, jokes aren't as funny when you have to explain them.) Or as we like to read it "Happy Birthday Man." which is funnier because Thatbrother always calls Thatmom "Sir."
Thatmom picked out the 6 layer chocolate cake. And Thatboy counted each layer. And took half the cake home with him. And ate it in 2 nights. Goodness gracious! The rest of us had smaller pieces of this decadently rich cake.
On March 17th itself, Thatboy and I celebrated by getting our coworkers drunk drunk drunk.
I decided to make cupcakes based on the drink "Dublin Dream" which contains Irish Mist liquor, vodka, chambord, baileys, and cream. So I made the cake with Irish Mist, filled the inside with a vodka chambord filling, and topped them with baileys frosting.
Honestly, the cake had the most alcohol in it, but that bakes off. The frostings contained about 2 shots, spread between 36 cupcakes, so I'm willing to bet the actual alcohol per cupcake is scant. Which didn't stop my coworker from devouring 4 and swearing he couldn't drive for the rest of the day. People are silly.
After work, we headed to meet Thatfamily for Thatmom's birthday dinner. Yeah. She gets two. When you lose your husband we'll throw in an extra birthday dinner for you too.
Thatfamily came down to San Diego for dinner because it is home to one of Thatmom's all time favorite restaurants. A local chain, Sammy's Woodfired Pizza. Same concept as CPK, but a local version. The food isn't that great, but Thatmom wasn't interested in the food. She wanted her favorite dessert. We made her eat dinner first anyway. Birthday or no, you have to eat your dinner before dessert. I don't make the rules, I just enforce them.
Thatboy is always the oddman out on these dinners. Because he likes really spicy pasta, and no one wants to share that with him. It's okay, he's always happy with his choice.
The rest of us split pizzas and salads. To be fair, before his spicy pasta dish was on the menu, Thatboy and I used to split pizza and a salad. UDubb and Thatbrother had a really spicy sausage and mushroom with red peppers. UDubb mentioned that Thatbrother tried to add mushrooms on to this too, before she pointed out it already had mushrooms. I can't wait for his birthday this year. You'll never guess what I'm getting him.
They also had the Chinese chicken salad. I've had a lot of salads at Sammy's, but never this one. I didn't get to hear how it was however, because we were too busy laughing when Thatmom's riesling kicked in and she attempted to show us how her hands didn't work the way everyone else's do.
Somehow I lost the picture of the roasted beet and arugula salad with pomegranate dressing Thatmom and I split. I'll just tell you it was GOOD. I can show you the Sicilian pizza we had with ricotta, basil, and sausage.
It was also good, but I don't know that I'm completely sold on the idea of ricotta on a pizza.
And after we'd made sure Thatmom wasn't hiding any of her veggies under a napkin, we allowed the waitress to bring out dessert.
Thatmom ADORES this ooey gooey messy sundae. And she ADORES the fact that she and Thatboy go bite for bite on it, both scraping the sides to get all the topping. Hot chocolate, caramel, whipped cream, ice cream. She's in heaven. Thatmom swears it's the best sundae she's ever had. And since she's the best Thatmom, we're more than happy to give it to her. Especially on her birthday.