Happy National Drink Wine Day to one and all! I just happen to be off from work for President's Day, so I am sipping a little Albariño as I write a somewhat short tale of my recent birthday.
Can we take a moment to appreciate the adorable polka dots on the bottle of wine in the photo below? The outside is super cute, but it's what is on the inside that truly counts, right? And guess what?! The Albariño provides a welcome acidity on my palate that physically induces a smile.
Will that description garner me an entrance into a sommelier program? Yeah…I didn't think so, either. Apparently, you are legit if you get the essence of a freshly popped can of tennis balls when you sniff certain vinos. I haven't opened a bottle and thought, “YES!!!! This reminds me of a dog toy!” Ever.
I'll stop. My jealousy of people with actual wine talent is showing.
Let's get to the birthday stuff, shall we?
Forty and some change years ago, I joined this planet called Earth because my parents – Mary and Bill – really, really like each other. Like more than like each other in a love-y, dove-y that lasts for more than fifty years kind of way. The day of my birth had an added bonus – if you can call it that – as it also happens to be Valentine's Day.
Did you know that there are approximately five to ten Happy Birthday/Valentine's Day mash-up cards? I've seen and despite my cheeky tone have appreciated every single one. And in 2018, my nephew sent me a game-changing card…
He wrote – “Happy Birthentine's Day, Aunt Laurie!!!”
My birthday has never been and will never be the same. Birthentine's just sounds like me on so many different levels. Bud-Bud, you are so very, very bright. Your Aunt Laurie loves you more than Chardonnay. For reals.
Even though we couldn't spend February 14th together, I was able to go to dinner with my parents, my sister, brother-in-law, nephew, and Jared to celebrate the occasion a couple of days early. The Gannon/Berryman/Rushton clan made their way to dinner at La Boucherie for laughs, charcuterie, and steaks.
The time with my family went way too quickly (as always.) Before I knew it, the big day was here. And for the first time in a very long time, I decided that I wanted to take a personal day to relax, enjoy, and do whatever the heck felt right to me. You know what felt right? A trip to Disney Springs. It's a place that feels right for my birthday or any given Sunday. It's kind of my thing…
Lunch at the Restaurant of a Culinary Icon
The Wolfgang Puck Bar & Grill is relatively new to the Springs. I'd been (somewhat) patiently waiting for it to open. Going out in the evening of Valentine's Day is akin to going out on New Year's Eve. There are just too many people out and about, so I made OpenTable reservations for lunch.
Even though we had reservations, upon arrival, we opted to sit at the bar. Not ordering a glass of Chardonnay for my birthday just sounds wrong on so many levels.
Jared and I decided to share an appetizer and a pizza. Actually, he very kindly allowed me to take the culinary lead with our choices. Here's what I can tell you…
- The meatballs had a hidden surprise mixed in within the red sauce – green olives. The subtle brine of the olives complemented the meatballs. I hope the meatballs got the olives a box of chocolates for Valentine's Day.
- I've wanted to try the Wolfgang Puck's salmon pizza for a loooooonnnnnggg time. And it was worth the wait!! If you like smoked salmon and bagels, this might be the pizza for you. The crust was crunchy which was the perfect textural foil for the soft fish. Add some dill cream, chives, and salmon “pearls,” and you have a winner, winner, salmon pizza dinner!
- The service we had was stellar. Chad, our bartender, was personable, attentive, and knowledgable. As Jared would say, “he kept it tight.”
Visiting a Cupcake ATM might lighten your wallet, but it will also tighten your waistline. Wait…that doesn't sound positive.
Crafty, Oh So Cool, and Thoughtful
I'm blessed to have so many talented people in my life! Below are a couple of handmade birthday items. I wish I had an ounce of the talent and patience that it takes to put such pieces of art together.
Receiving a handmade card from Momica is always a highlight! This was the best “Play and Chardonnay” birthday EVER!
And with that…another Birthentine's Day has come and gone. I can't wait to take the day off next year to try a new restaurant, drink some great wine, and celebrate with the ones that I love. This was one for the books!
Actually, what I wrote above isn't 100% accurate. I would like time to slow down just a wee bit.
What do you think of Valentine's Day? Do you love it or wish that Hallmark would take the day and put it out to pasture? Let me know in the comments below!
Work Hard. Play Hard. Drink Chard.