Tuesday, September 18, 2012

21 Foodie

Yesterday was my 21st birthday, so I was understandably excited for this week to begin. After all, here in America, there are only a few milestones in your life that you can be truly excited about. Turning 16 is eventful, because you get to drive a car, symbolizing your freedom. Turning 18 is eventful, because you're considered a legal adult, symbolizing your independence. Turning 21 means you get to drink, symbolizing the hangover that will last for the next 70+ years of your life.
Unfortunately, since my birthday fell on a Monday (which happens to be my busiest day of classes), I didn't get to celebrate my 21st with hours and hours of binge drinking like most of my friends plan to do.
But, in order to make the most of my day, I decided to do a spree of birthday deals leading up to my birthday and on the special day itself.

For those of you fortunate enough to own a Starbucks card, be sure to register your card online and sign up for their rewards program. Just signing up makes you eligible for a free drink on your birthday - any drink, any size.

I started out my birthday morning joyously with a venti Salted Caramel Mocha - yum!!

Unfortunately, the fun was halted shortly after when class, studying, a work training meeting, and more studying interrupted my otherwise delightful birthday.

Fortunately, when the evening rolled around, the fun was finally able to begin. I spruced up quickly and opened up a round of presents. One of my favorites was this tiny whisk necklace from my sister.

 After presents, my family, Maria and I went off to dinner.

The Jolly Pumpkin is one of Ann Arbor's best gastropubs. With its own line of home brewed beers and a selection of quality food, it's the perfect place to go when you want excellent food and excellent drink without snobby waiters raising their eyes when you don't order a wine or cocktail.

These kitchen utensil chandeliers were my favorite part of the decor - I'd love to have one at my place!

Maria and I overlooking the huge menu. This place has a separate book just for beers, cocktails, and seasonal menu items.

Since I just couldn't bear to pick only one drink for my 21st celebration, I got five of them!

The beer list from right to left is listed on the coaster below. The Bam is their classic and a very smooth light beer, but the chocolate stout was the most surprising. With an after bite similar to dark roasted coffee, it was definitely a memorable taste.

We selected an appetizer of truffle fries - thin shoestrings topped with truffle salt and rosemary. At only $5, these were absolutely to die for.

Next up came our entrees. Maria selected a delicious looking brie and chicken sandwich with a side salad...

I got shrimp and grits with succotash... 

Mom got whole-wheat gnocchi and veggies...

And Dad got an amazing carnivore pizza that came with slab bacon on top...

For dessert, I selected the vegan chocolate cake and coconut milk chocolate ice cream. Absolutely sinful.

Maria grabbed herself these adorable little pumpkin whoopie pies with a cream cheese filling.

Clearly I was very excited about something Maria said.... but I composed myself for a dignified portrait.

After I said goodbye to my parents and Maria, I headed over to Lisa's house for some champagne on the porch to celebrate my 21st and Eammon's 25th.

And eventually, I crawled back into my bed and recognized my newfound adulthood.

For those of you who liked the pics of the Jolly Pumpkin, be sure to stop in sometime. Most of their pizzas and sandwiches are around $10-$15, which is incredibly cheap given their quality, but their seasonal menu gives you a classier dish for a slightly higher price.

Also, if you'd like to get some extra freebies on your birthday, be sure to sign up for Brueggers, Coldstone, and Noodles and Co. rewards that send you e-gift coupons for free stuff (usually lasts up to one week before and after your birthday).

Also, if you're an Ann Arbor local, sign up for an Ashley's bar Friends-of-the-Owner card and get a free pizza loaded onto your account for use during the month of your birthday!

I'm off to go be an adult!

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