Sarah's Birth Month5/11/2015 09:42:00 PM
Hey y'all! So, my birthday was totally nuts this year. Last year, as it was my thirtieth birthday, I decided to be a little bit fabulous and spread the celebrations out over a few weeks. I enjoyed it so much that I decided to do something similar this year, and Sarah's birthday turned into #sarahsbirthmonth. Boom. Such fun, but phew, am I exhausted!!!
The first celebration was dinner at Hare and Grace (525 Collins Street, Melbourne VIC 3000) with some of my oldest friends. (The term "oldest" refers to the length of friendship, not the age of the friends!) I'm glad we snuck in a visit before the restaurant closed down! The highlights of what we tried were the wagyu burger, the potato skins, and the super creamy mashed potatoes with meat juice. I'm looking forward to seeing what Chef Raymond Capaldi's next venture will be.
|Top left: "Chasing Grace" & a "Passionfruit Mojito"|
Top right: Spicy potato skins
Bottom left: Creamy mashed potatoes with meat juice; green beans
Bottom right: Wagyu burger, pickle, chips
I also did a little slumber party with a few close girlfriends - it was a no makeup, no judgement zone! Comfy clothes, lots of snacks and gossip. I baked a batch of peanut butter bacon and dark chocolate cookies (ahem), and a pavlova. We also ate heaps of cheese. Amaze.
|Peanut Butter Bacon and Dark Chocolate Cookies|
My friend Alaina gifted me (in addition to a Nando's Gift Card - yes, they exist, and yes, I was beyond thrilled to receive one!) some cakes from my favourite cafe, Beatrix. So the morning after the slumber party was spent eating (the best ever) cake for breakfast. Heck yes! Funnily enough, I'd been thinking that I needed to visit Beatrix at some stage during the birth month, but I couldn't find the time. Instead, Beatrix came to me! Yay!
|Beatrix Cakes! Back: Apple hand pie|
Front left: Quince brown butter tart
Front Right: Spice layer cake with peanut butter caramel and milk chocolate ganache
PS: the apple hand pies look plain, but are incredible! Such flaky pastry! And needless to say, the spice layer cake with peanut butter caramel, milk chocolate ganache and peanut crumbs is just beyond. (I'd actually been dreaming about the spice layer cake since I saw it on the Beatrix Facebook page, and I totally squealed when I opened Alaina's box and saw it inside!)
The Friday night before my birthday, I went out with some colleagues to Le Bon Ton (51 Gipps Street, Collingwood VIC 3066), for drinks and barbecue! The food was decent, and the cocktails were excellent. I'm actually going again in a couple of weeks for another friend's birthday - so I'll blog both visits together!
|All Of The Food at Le Bon Ton|
|But first.... cocktails!!!|
One Sunday morning, I did a boozy bloggers' brunch, at Fitzrovia (2/155 Fitzroy Street, St Kilda 3182) with some of my fave food blogger peeps. (I say "boozy", but I just had one Aperol spritz. I'm still fabulous, dammit!) They take bookings, and the waitstaff were friendly and pleasant. The food was very good, and the company was even better! Blogpost to come.
|Crème Brûlée French with banana, whipped mascarpone, toasted pecans and grilled Istra bacon with vanilla verjus syrup|
So, my actual birthday was a normal work day, but I did manage to squeeze in lots of fabulosity. (Thanks Wince for teaching me that word!) For breakfast, I did a deluxe coffee break at Short Stop (12 Sutherland Street, Melbourne VIC 3000) with my buddy Jimbo (he of the gigantic legs and appetite-for-donuts). We ordered three different donuts, but apparently the cinnamon, cardamom and sugar donuts were a little smaller than usual, so they gave us two of those. It was a birthday miracle! (P.S. the peanut butter caramel and chocolate donut is RIDONCULOUS).
|Short Stop: Filter coffee; white coffee; Hazelnut, banana and chocolate cake; Peanut butter caramel and chocolate cake; 2 x cinnamon, cardamom & sugar|
For lunch, I redeemed my free Nando's birthday meal. (You need a loyalty card, you need to have registered it online, you need to have used it within the last six months, and you need to bring photo-ID with you).
|Nando's: Quarter chicken, extra-hot basting, peri-peri chips.|
In the afternoon, I was super lucky to be surprised with three separate cupcake deliveries! All from Cupcake Central, my favourite cupcake shop. My manager got me a salted caramel cupcake, my friend Jenni organised a stealth delivery of a dozen cupcakes to my desk, and the lovely Kimba ambushed me in a team meeting with 20 assorted babycakes! WOW! So lucky!
That night, I had dinner with my family at Spice Temple (8 Whiteman Street, Southbank VIC 3006). I hadn't been in ages, and it's still one of our favourites. Delicious regional Chinese food using higher-welfare ingredients, in a slick environment, at reasonable prices. Not to mention the awesome cocktails! My (Chinese) parents love it too! (I've blogged Spice Temple three times previously: Spice Temple, Melbourne; Spice Temple II; Spice Temple, Again.)
|Spice fried chicken wings with heaven facing chilli - $25.00|
This isn't food-related but I wanted to share this with you anyway - I'm a bit of a beauty-product junkie, and I'm sure some of y'all out there must be too! I got heaps of cool free stuff from Mecca Maxima for my birthday - my reward for spending an obscene amount on skincare and cosmetics every year and having a Mecca Beauty Loop loyalty card. I got a free birthday gift (it was a full-sized hand wash, which normally retails for $42!), and a complimentary birthday makeover. They also happened to release a new Beauty Loop sample box (they come out four times a year), so I picked that up at the same time. Awwww yeah.
|Mecca Maxima goodness|
Finally, I snuck in a bonus birthday meal - the birthday degustation at The Grand (333 Burnley Street, Richmond 3121). (It was a week after my birthday, but I say it still counts as part of #sarahsbirthmonth!) If you sign up to be a Grand VIP (i.e. if you sign up to their email list), you can get a free six-course meal for your birthday, which is normally $85! The only catch is you need to bring at least one paying customer with you, and there's only one free meal per table. So that was $85 for two six-course meals for myself and Sandra. Sweet deal! I'll blog it soon. My favourite course was the burnt butter gnocchi with sage. So good!
|Gnocchi with brown butter and sage|
Just to finish up this post, I'd like to share a pic of some of the gifts I received over the course of #sarahsbirthmonth - most were food related, and all were totally delightful! I was already happy to be receiving gifts at all, but each time I opened one, I'd be floored by how thoughtful and perfect each gift was. How many times did I exclaim: "Oh my God! How did you know this was exactly what I wanted?!" (Gina Liano's biography! My favourite champagne! An avocado slicer! Spa voucher! Cookbooks by my new fave chefs!) My friends and family know me way too well.
That was my birthday! I feel extremely fortunate to have such a wonderful group of kind, generous, thoughtful and fun people in my life. And on a separate note, I'll be hibernating, eating salads and living at the gym for the foreseeable future.