Friday, August 7, 2015

Paul's 2-Day Birthday Extravanganza

Another wonderful year in the books! After we got back from our cabin trip, we had a day or two to settle back in (and go pick blueberries, in my case) and then we were on to celebrating Paul's birthday.

We ate very well, as we love to do. I made the Baked Huevos Rancheros from the Smitten Kitchen cookbook and a batch of cornbread to start the day off. Paul fixed himself up a pretty plate topped with jalapeno dust.

After breakfast, we started a knife skills class through Craftsy. We haven't gotten to the hands on lessons yet but we have already learned a lot including that we haven't been going about sharpening our knives correctly.

As is tradition for Paul and I with birthdays, we know we are in for a day of fun but the details are kept secret. This year I put a little extra secret into the mix by surprising him with the arrival of a group of his friends for a mission at Escape MSP. Our clever group successfully completed Mission 1! We celebrated afterwards with drinks and brats at New Bohemia. It was a lot of fun to do the mission but even more fun to watch Paul's surprise and happiness with the arrival of each of his friends. Kudos to the crew for keeping the secret!

Since I know Paul loves blueberries, I went picking the day before we celebrated and made this tart for us in lieu of a birthday cake. I confess, the crust is not homemade, but he doesn't seem to mind.

For dinner on birthday celebration day 1, we went to a newer restaurant called La Ceiba Bistro. This restaurant is a reincarnation of El Meson, a restaurant that Paul used to frequent when we first started dating. He took me there on a date once and I enjoyed my dish enough that I still remember it this many years later. Thankfully, this incarnation of the restaurant uses some of the same recipes as the previous place so I got to eat that dish again. The food was great but the space is a bit small for the live music and dance performance that was happening that night. It was a bit overpowering so we ate and took our conversation needs elsewhere. Paul was excited to be able to revisit this cuisine again, but if we return, we would go on a quieter night.

On his actual birthday, I had to work but we spent the evening celebrating. To start out, we had a picnic dinner beside the river on the edge of downtown St. Paul.

From there we walked over the river to the Wabasha Street Caves.

Somehow it had escaped Paul's beer-loving radar that it was Tour de Fat week. I surprised him with tickets to the sold out Sour Symposium hosted by New Belgium Brewing.

Before the symposium started, we were given a tour of the historic caves. We learned about gangsters, speakeasies, mushrooms and hazardous waste.

The symposium included a lecture/slide show, a generous amount of New Belgium Brewing beer, a cheese and charcuterie platter, opportunities for Q & A as well as a hands on tasting/mixing experience.

The mixing portion of the evening was a bit lost on me as I could not pick out the differences in the beer that had been aged in different casks to bring out different flavors. The beers are all used as the base for La Folie so to my untrained palette, they all tasted like La Folie! Paul could tell the difference and mixed a variety of his own blends to find the flavor and tartness that suited him best. He rightly calls it La Paulie.

After we had consumed all of the sour beer one person can consume in an evening, we were just an Uber ride away from the conclusion of Paul's birthday festivities...until next year, that is!

1 comment:

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