Birthday Festivities (and Watermelon-ritas)

bday desserts

As some of you know, my birthday was this weekend, May 18.  While I am at an anti-climatic age, the past year to get to this point has been anything but calm.  From my sister’s wedding, to the Aurora shooting, to my divorce, to my move to Las Vegas, I feel way to old to only be turning 23.

work cake

Anyway, my birthday weekend started on Friday at work.  My boss surprised me with a card, target gift card, and a red velvet cake from Nothing Bundt Cakes.  And I have only even been with the company for a week and a half! So I spent the whole morning staring at the cake box on my desk, waiting for lunchtime.  If you haven’t had a cake from Nothing Bundt Cakes, I recommend that you do.  It was sweet and rich and moist and delicious.

hachi dinner

Then, it continued to Friday night, with a surprise from my boyfriend, Harrison (from here on out, I shall just call him H).  Not only did H clean the apartment while I was at work, but he planned a perfect birthday date night.  We got dressed up and headed over to Red Rock Casino for dinner.  We had been wanting to try the sushi restaurant, Hachi, but hadn’t found the time.  Well, this was the perfect time.  We started the meal with cocktails: I had a lychee martini and H had some sort of orange-passionfruit drink.  Yum.  We started with french bean tempura that was drizzled with spicy aioli and sweet eel sauce, and topped with toasted, sliced almonds.  The tempura was perfectly light and allowed for the fresh spring taste of the beans to shine through.  Next, we had soft shell crab sliders.  On each soft, toasted bun was an entire half crab that was perfectly crisp, spiced up with a chili mint sauce, and cooled down with bibb lettuce and cucumber.  Charred shishito peppers offered a refreshing palate cleanser after we polished off the sliders.  Then, after much deliberation, we decided on the Hachi roll and the S.A.M. roll.  The Hachi roll had a kick of ginger mayonnaise and spicy crab but was countered by the crunch of tempura flakes and the fresh flavors of shrimp and avocado.  The S.A.M. roll was a refreshing blend of salmon, avocado, and mango that was brightened by a spicy lemon dressing.  After finding out that we were celebrating my birthday, our server brought out a beautifully plated passion fruit sorbet that was wrapped in a pavlova shell and topped with sweetened passion fruit seeds.  Garnished with raspberries, a happy birthday patterned chocolate shape, and a single candle, this dessert was the perfect end to a perfect meal.  But the night was not over yet.  From the restaurant, we headed over to the other side of casino and played a couple games of late night cosmic bowling.  I had a blast but it has been confirmed that I am not an expert bowler.  We wrapped up the night at home on the couch with drinks, a movie, and a cuddle session with the pup.  Pure joy.

bday feast

Finally, on Saturday (the day of my birthday), the real celebration began. The first thing you have to understand is that this was the first birthday in a while that I’ve been able to spend with family.  So of course we did the whole family gathering-barbeque-drinks-stories thing.  And it was awesome.  There was laughing and fajitas and margaritas and a wonderful sunny afternoon on the patio.  My dad did the grilling (I will post the fajita recipe another time) while my mom prepared the guacamole and other garnishes.  We toasted with champagne and feasted.  After lunch, I blew out the candles on my tasty lemon glazed bundt cake and opened presents.  Along with a couple gift cards and some cookbooks, I was incredibly surprised by one of my gifts.  Drumroll please…I got a Kitchen Aid ice cream maker attachment!!!  And I am so excited to start making ice creams, sorbets and gelatos! Bring it on Las Vegas summer!

watermelon rita

Logically, I wouldn’t post anything on here without a recipe, so here you go.  Watermelon Margaritas. And these are tasty.  They’re refreshing and sweet and tart and tequila-ey without being boozy.  Yum.  Add a mildly sunny afternoon on the patio and hours of mother-daughter conversation and you have a very happy Sarah.  Enjoy.

Watermelon Margaritas

Approximately six servings; adapted from Cooking Light

2 Tbl sugar (to taste, depending on the sweetness of the melon)

3/4 cup tequila

3 1/2 cups cubed seedless watermelon

3 Tbl fresh lime juice

2 Tbl Triple Sec

extra sugar, lime wedges, and melon balls for garnish (optional)

1. Place extra sugar in a saucer. Rub the rims the glasses with 1 lime wedge; spin rim of each glass in sugar to coat. Set prepared glasses aside.

2. Combine ingredients in a blender; process until smooth. Fill glasses with ice and pour margarita over ice.  Garnish with lime wedges and/or melon balls, if desired.

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