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It’s sadly been exactly three weeks since my birthday. For me, birthdays are the BEST. Like, “super-duper, look forward to it ALL YEAR LONG” the best.  Like, “I’m already starting to think about what I want to do for my 30th next year” the best. I love them so much because it’s one of the few times during the year when you can get a bunch of people, who are pivotal in your life and who contribute to your happiness, together at the same time and celebrate life.  How could that NOT be good?!

Just before devouring my birthday churros! YUM

This year, I did a low-key, girls night out in my hood. At one of my favorite places. BARRIO. It’s one of my favorites because they just do the food and service so well. They are not pretentious, the food is by and large fantastic, and they welcome everyone in to try what it is they’re doing.  They even take constructive criticism well, and USE IT, to be better.  That is why I like them.  (*And they’re not paying me to blog about them either. I have been a fan since DAY ONE.)

Because foodies love to share their favorite spots with others, and talk about food until everyone tunes them out, and because everyone loves a little gratuitous food porn, I am sharing a little montage of my birthday dinner with you all.

First of all, get your mind right on this – I want you to really put yourself at my party, okay? We were sitting at this beautiful, long, wood plank table, right at the window line. The windows are these huge, glass, bi-fold windows that they have open during the summer. They take up the entire wall, so really it’s just open to the outside. Love it.

See, amazing open air "windows" right next to us.

And there you see a few of my special ladies: (left to right) Jessica, Rachel and Danae!

So, once we all arrived, about 14 of us, we started ordering a few celebratory cocktails when it became VERY apparent that the drink de jour was The Hotness. Yes, of course that’s it’s name. What’s in it? Glad you asked: cachaça, lime, lemon, st. germain, and soda. It’s got a fresh cucumber slice in it that somehow makes you feel like you’re sitting pool side at a fancy resort. And they go down super smooth, so of course, we each had about 3 of them. 🙂

The Hotness

How could you NOT want that?!

So anyway, we decided to order a few small plates to share around since only a few of us were hungry enough for dinner. And I know you want to see what we had, right?!

Civeche plate? Sure, why not!

So what you’re looking at here is the Grilled Prawn & Rock Fish Ceviche with tobiko, mango, cucumber,
habanero, fresno chiles, red onion and cilantro, alongside the ahi tuna crudo in the back there with some fried plantains to scoop up all the goodness. There are no words to describe how fresh and delicate the rockfish was. The avocado was a perfect pairing, and then in the front the grilled prawns were firm and slightly salty, which was great with the pop of tobiko (the orange fish roe you see on top).  Need a closer look?!

Ahi crudo


Prawns with tobiko

Then it was on to some hotter dishes, the grilled corn (I’m not a corn person, but the girls said it was pretty dang tasty) and the SUPER FREAKING SPICY chicken – little drumsticks:

Grilled corn


These were so spicy, I had to order another drink. 🙂

Luckily there was a creamy little Ranch like sauce we had on the side, which saved my mouth!

By now, as you can imagine, the girls are getting a little annoyed with my inability to eat ANY dish before taking 20,000 pictures of it. But we were having a great time, and since it was my birthday after all, they complied. 🙂

Here are a few pictures of all the great conversations happening around the table – I love that all these special ladies were having really interesting conversations and many of them were meeting for the first or second time…

Ziglets and I.

And then we had ONE handsome man who was special enough to join ladies night, my precious little honorary nephew, Roman…

I die. all the cuteness.

He was born in May to my dear friends, Akash and Marissa, and he’s the toast of the town.

So you know we ended the evening with churros and chit-chat on the sidewalk, and then a few of us (who hadn’t had their fill of fun yet) traipsed through Cap Hill, did a little birthday shoppy shop and finished the night off with drinks at a local hole called Moe Bar.

All in all, an amazing night, amazing birthday and amazing dinner. What more could a girl want?!  Thank you to all my beautiful and intelligent girlfriends and thanks to the staff at BARRIO for the excellent service and attention to detail – as always you made everything perfection, and I do believe some of my friends that hadn’t been in before really had a great time.

I hope whoever is reading this finds a way to celebrate with their friends and loved ones on their next birthday that makes them and everyone around them smile with happiness in their hearts. I’m so lucky to be surrounded by these gals!

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