When we decided on a wedding date, Alex told me it was fine if we got married the day after his birthday as long as he got two presents every year. I try to be sure to make that happen! I took a week off from blogging to celebrate but I'm back now. It was so nice to be in the moment and not glued to the computer screen!
The night before Alex's birthday I ran to the Party n Dollar to grab giant 25 balloons to surprise him with in the morning. The dogs barked like crazy at me when I carried them in the house, but I managed to hide them in the office closet (somewhere I was pretty sure he wouldn't check) without any issues. I woke up a little early in the morning to tie them in the kitchen where he'd see them first thing when he woke up. I also stocked the fridge with cinnamon rolls (something I don't eat) for a special birthday breakfast and left his gifts on the counter in case he wanted to enjoy them on his day off. I ordered the newest Radiohead album since we saw them earlier this year in Atlanta and the book Four Fish: The Future of the Last Wild Food by Paul Greenberg that he's had his eye on for a while now. After work, we headed to my in-law's house for my husband's favorite homecooked meal (a chicken and bow tie pasta) and beers. It was a pretty low-key birthday celebration topped off by two types of cake thanks to my brother-in-law's planning!
After work, we hung out with the puppies for a little while. Earlier in the day, I picked up a package from our front porch and it was Bleacher's new album Gone Now so we gave it a listen. It was supposed to be part of Alex's birthday gift but it was back ordered twice. Actually, it wasn't even supposed to ship until the day it was actually delivered! It ended up being a little bit of a surprise anniversary gift. Alex bought flowers for me from a local florist to go along with the foraged flowers from his mom's garden.
We decided a few weeks back that we wanted to go to Manuel's Bread Cafe for our anniversary dinner. It's been years since I've had Manuel's for dinner and it seemed like the perfect occasion to indulge ourselves with an expensive meal. My mother-in-law was sweet enough to gift us with some money to go out to eat and celebrate our third year of marriage which made it an even better deal! Tucked away in a new urbanist development called Hammond's Ferry, Manuel's Bread Cafe is an authentic French farm-to-table restaurant concept from Chef Manuel Verney-Carron. The seasonal French dishes feature produce grown down the road in Hammond's Ferry at the Blue Clay Farm. You may recognize the Blue Clay Farm from some previous blog posts. It's one of our favorite spots to take a walk with the dogs. They love to visit the goats!
We sat outside for the full French dining experience and ordered drinks and arancini as an appetizer. Alex really wanted to order one of the specials for dinner but it was going to be close to an hour before the meat was finished braising. We decided to just take our time by ordering in phases and slowly munching on some fresh bread and butter. I ordered the chicken piccata with rice and farm fresh veggies. Alex had the beef cheek with veggies and mashed potatoes. I'm not a huge meat eater but boy was it delicious! The meat was so tender and buttery. It was a very rich dish so we ended up with leftovers. To finish things off we ordered a slice of peanut butter chocolate cake because it was the same cake we served on our wedding day as Alex's groom's cake!
I think we may have found a new anniversary tradition.