Monday, June 17, 2013

A Picture Perfect Birthday Weekend

Over the weekend, I rang in my 25th birthday and celebrated the occasion the best way I know how: surrounded by delicious food and great friends.

My official birthday and party weren't until Sunday, but my boyfriend wanted to make my big 2-5 an extra special one and planned a surprise "Birthday Adventure" for us on Saturday. The day kicked off with a map showing the location of and activity at each of our stops, but I was left to fill in the blanks. While I was embarrassed to correctly guess only one stop, I was also tickled by the idea of a whole day full of surprises.

Birthday Surprise Itinerary

For our first surprise stop, we headed downtown to Bread Lounge to fuel up. The new-ish bakery specializes European-style pastries such as croissants and focaccias and, of course, bread. Bread Lounge's industrial-inspired décor may be sparse, but its menu offerings were anything but. Between the chockfull menu boards and the bountiful display case, we first time visitors needed a few moments to take everything in before narrowing down our options.

Bread Lounge

Bread Lounge

Eventually, I zeroed in on the Gringo, a pizza-like focaccia topped with two eggs, bacon, crumbled feta and cherry tomatoes, which was heated to order. Funnily enough, this focaccia was the very reason that Justin decided on Bread Lounge as our first stop. He knows me so well! Boasting a crispy yet pliable crust that rivals some of the best pizzas in the city and generous, hearty toppings, the Gringo was pretty much flawless. With bacon n' eggs and a latte in our bellies (and a fruit pastry to-go), we set off for our next surprise stop.

Breakfast at Bread Lounge

Filling our apartment with fresh flowers is one of my absolute favorite indulgences and, for our second stop, we visited the Flower District to stock up.

How funny is this sign?

Photo Jun 15, 10 47 08 AM

There's no flower I love more than the soft, delicate and feminine pink peony and looking out on this sea of them made my heart flutter and nearly caused me to dance through the market Sound of Music-style.

A sea of peonies!

Justin treated me to two bunches of peonies and some hydrangeas, and now they fill every room in our apartment. *Swoon*

My flowers from the Flower District-- peonies and hydrangeas.

My Birthday Adventure itinerary advised me to save room for our third stop, and, when we pulled up to Langer's Deli, I was glad I listened. Opened in 1947, Langer's has earned kudos for its pastrami from even the most die-hard New Yorkers and is a spot that I've always meant to try but, somehow, never have.



To start, I ordered a Vanilla Egg Cream, soda fountain throwback made with seltzer, milk and vanilla syrup, which was delightfully frothy and sweet.

Egg Cream at Langer's

Langer's has served more than 4 million pounds of pastrami in its 65 years, and it's safe to say that much of that was served as a #19, its most popular sandwich. In the #19, a mountain of hand-cut hot pastrami, coleslaw, Russian dressing and Swiss cheese are served on double baked rye bread. Justin and I both loved the tender pastrami and agreed that the crisp, double baked bread was Langer's secret weapon in the battle for pastrami sandwich domination.

Langer's #19

After spending all morning with the human love of my life, I turned my attention to my four-legged one. When Justin and I adopted our dog Mona about two and a half years ago, we noticed that the intake date on her shelter paperwork was coincidentally the same date as my birthday. I took this as a sign that she and I were always meant to be and decided to celebrate her "birthday" on the same day as mine. To celebrate Mona's special day, we took her to Three Dog Bakery for a doggie sundae and some "pupcakes." Mona enjoyed herself so much that she got downright stubborn when it came time to leave.

Mona's Birthday

Later, armed only with a suggested dress code and our reservation time, I hopped in the car and we set off for dinner, stopping finally at chef Michael Voltaggio's ink...but more on that here.


Perhaps my favorite surprise of the entire lovely day was my birthday cake, which was carefully selected by Justin and drew an audible gasp from me when we picked it up from Valerie Confections. Appropriately pink and girly, the Rose Petal Cake was made with vanilla bean cake, rose petal passion fruit ganache, covered in white chocolate glaze and finished with candied rose petals. If you've read this blog for any amount of time, you know my obsession with both rose and passion fruit, and I'm hard-pressed to come up with any cake more perfect for the occasion.

Birthday Cake from Valerie Confections

Birthday Cake from Valerie Confections

On Sunday, I practically had to roll myself out of bed for my party at Sunny Spot...

Sunny Spot

...but of course found room for a Bottomless Rum Punch and a Two-Fisted Burger...with a fried egg (previously written about here).

Rum Punch at Sunny Spot

Two-Fisted Burger at Sunny Spot

As the weekend drew to a close and I headed into the office, I thought my days of birthday gluttony were behind me, but my amazing co-workers had other ideas and ordered a special delivery from Donut Snob (previously written about here).

Donut Snob
Where to begin?!

Donut Snob

Donut Snob

Thank you to my friends and family for celebrating with me and for making my 25th birthday truly the most wonderful one yet. Thank you especially to Justin for planning one of the best days I've ever had and to Mona for being your adorable, wiggle-butt self.

Mona's Birthday Pupcake

Now, if you'll excuse me, I have some research on juice cleanses to do.

Bread Lounge
700 S. Santa Fe Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90021
(213) 327-0782
Bread Lounge on Urbanspoon

704 S. Alvarado St.
Los Angeles, CA 90057
(213) 483-8050
Langer's Deli on Urbanspoon

Valerie Confections
3360 W. 1st St.
Los Angeles, CA 90004

(213) 739-8149
Valerie Confections on Urbanspoon

8360 Melrose Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90069
(323) 655-7225

Sunny Spot
822 Washington Blvd.
Venice, CA 90292
(310) 448-8884

Donut Snob

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  1. Best. Birthday. Ever. Pretty much!

    1. 'Twas pretty spectacular. The only thing that would have made it better was if you were in town for my shindig!