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A Beautiful Birthday But… Brrr!

January 23, 2011

Thank you all so much for the birthday wishes yesterday. Facebook messages, emails, Tweets, texts — I appreciated it more than I can say. I will respond to every message individually but please give me a couple of days to get caught up and organized.

Turning 25 yesterday was great and while I have a lot of thoughts on hitting the quarter-century mark (eek!), those will be laid out in another blog post. This morning is all about yesterday’s activities.

When I was trying to think of something to do for my birthday, my mom suggested a day trip and we decided on Ellicott City, a historic town about an hour northeast of home.

This 18th century town still has a lot of cute original buildings and is packed end-to-end with antique shops. We checked out a couple but didn’t find anything worth taking home.

Ellicott City is also home to the oldest railroad station in the United States. We didn’t bother with the museum and tour but at least I can share that fun fact in case it ever comes up on ‘Jeopardy!’. πŸ˜€

Walking down Main Street, this sign immediately caught my eye. Wonder why?

Pumpkin pie fudge? Don’t say anything else, I’m sold! Yes, the only thing I bought yesterday was 1.25 pounds of fudge from the award-winning Silver Arrow Fudge Shop. I can’t wait to start sampling a mix of chocolate, peanut butter-chocolate, chocolate coconut and pumpkin pie fudge.

Yesterday was the coldest day of this entire winter so it wasn’t great weather to walk around, sadly. We ventured up and down Main Street before my fingers turned numb and needed warmth. Thankfully, Johnny’s Bistro on Main beckoned with a small fireplace and delicious soup of the day.

I went for a basic lunch soup-and-salad combo: a house salad (mix of romaine and mescaline greens, artichoke, marinated mushrooms, roma tomato, olives and feta cheese; finished with our house dressing, a Honey Dijon Basil Vinaigrette) and a flavorful bowl of carrot-ginger soup.

Delicious and just what I needed to head back out into the cold. We were too freezing to do any more exploring but just spending a couple of hours in Ellicott City made me realize how little of Maryland I’ve seen. One of my goals (for nicer weather) is to explore more of my own state and check out some of the small towns and historic points that are only an hour or two away. I’ve never even been to western Maryland or most of the Eastern Shore — DC is like a magnet that keeps me close! πŸ˜‰

On the way home, we stopped in New Market, another historic small town. Despite calling itself ‘the antiques capital of Maryland,’ almost every store and restaurant was closed. I guess January isn’t really tourist season!

Back home, it was time for cupcakes and presents. My mom used an old Better Homes and Gardens recipe that my grandmother relied on for spice cake with mocha icing. Heavenly!

I also opened a birthday present from my mom. Meet my new obsession:

To say I was excited is an understatement. I am beyond excited to be able to make bread quickly and easily — throw the ingredients in at 7am, set the timer and come home after work to fresh bread. Wow. Too bad my current kitchen is way too small for any appliance this big so for the next couple of months, Mr. Bread Maker will live in my mom’s basement. 😦

When it came time for dinner, you know there was only one restaurant at the top of my list. Usually I visit Lebanese Taverna Cafe but there are also several more upscale sitdown locations, like the one in Bethesda. It’s too bad that the service is actually better at the more casual cafe. The restaurant claimed to not take reservations until later in the night, yet asked us whether we had reservations when we arrived; we then had to wait nearly an hour for a table while other parties were seated ahead of us. Very disappointing, Leb Tav.

Luckily, the food made up for it. Fresh-baked pita and olive oil for all.

I always opt for a mezze platter and this 9 mezze plate was to die for. Among the tastes: m’saka, shashoukey, hummus, baba ghanoush, falafel, a grape leaf, spanakopita and tabbouleh.

With a belly full of cupcakes and mezze, I headed home and happily put on sweats. It was an absolutely perfect birthday — if only the weather had been more like the day I was born, when it was 60* and sunny — and I was happy to spend the day with my family.

There’s more good food coming up today at brunch with friends. Time to get ready and get going. Have a great Sunday!

When is your birthday?

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23 Comments leave one →
  1. January 23, 2011 9:26 am

    What a fun birthday celebration! It’s always special when you get to explore such a charming and quaint area … and with the addition of fudge and most importantly of family, well, what can be better?

    So glad you had a wonderful day!! πŸ™‚

    • January 23, 2011 6:14 pm

      It was a great day — like you said, fudge and family make any day better. πŸ˜€

  2. January 23, 2011 10:19 am

    Sounds like a great birthday. Enjoy your bread maker. I have the same one, and it is excellent. Once you’ve made your own pizza crust in there, you will never want anything else.

  3. January 23, 2011 10:32 am

    Happy Birthday!

    I like the cafe better too. Before my mom moved to DT Bethesda, we lived in Rockville, so we’d always go there.

    My birthday is 4/21.

    • January 23, 2011 6:15 pm

      Casual is totally better than formal. More relaxing but just as delish.

  4. January 23, 2011 12:01 pm

    Oh my goodness this looks like such an adorable town!

    • January 23, 2011 6:15 pm

      Super cute. Too bad it was too cold to spend much time walking around.

  5. January 23, 2011 3:05 pm

    That sounds like the most perfect b-day! For my 21st I wanted a philly cheesesteak and cheesecake.

    And for my 22nd in march the boy and I are going to Mt. Vernon!

    • January 23, 2011 6:15 pm

      Ooh enjoy Mt Vernon. It’s gorgeous on the river!

  6. Beth Cron permalink
    January 23, 2011 3:18 pm

    Happy belated birthday! Ellicott City looks like a great day trip!

  7. January 23, 2011 4:42 pm

    Looks like a lovely day!!
    My birthday is Nov 30th:)

    • January 23, 2011 6:16 pm

      It was great. Sounds like you’re almost a Thanksgiving baby. πŸ™‚

  8. January 23, 2011 7:11 pm

    I must be hungry because this post made me drool!

  9. January 23, 2011 7:58 pm

    Happy birthday! Fudge is an awesome birthday treat! And I LOVE antique stores. I have no place to put any of the stuff, but I can spend hours just rummaging through them. So much fun!

    • January 23, 2011 8:42 pm

      There’s so much stuff packed away that I don’t even know half of what I own.

  10. January 23, 2011 8:09 pm

    Happy birthday! I love the photos. What a great way to celebrate!

  11. January 24, 2011 10:55 pm

    Wooo so glad you had such a special Birthday!!! Elliot City looks so, so neat!

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