20 October 2014

Celebrating Melissa


Over the years, we've shared many milestones and memories with our friends. The mastermind behind most of these special times is our friend Melissa. Finally, it was her turn to celebrate -- a 40th birthday. Melissa is not one to turn down a good time, but she does come with some stipulations. She hates surprises, so wanted to know when the celebration would be happening. She wanted to keep it small. And she didn't want anyone to feel burdened. Now, the big question was, what in the world could we do? Leif recruited Amy and Penny to help, and together, they ended up with an absolutely brilliant plan.

The day started at Amy & Graham's, with appetizers and a signature cocktail -- which I was responsible for. I have to say, the Rosemary Old Fashioned's turned out delicious. Melissa still had no idea what was going on, and just as she was getting comfortable, Leif blindfolded her and lead her outside (they only tripped twice) where we all met up with her by our ride for the night -- a ridiculous and awesome (ridiculously awesome?) Hummer Limo. I can only imagine what was going on her mind at that point....

 We loaded our Hummer, and off we went -- lights flashing and music pumping. Our first stop -- Kai Zan. They even opened a little early for us, which was behind incredible. Chris & Penny chose this restaurant and set the bar high with incredible eats and an extremely touching toast to our guest of honor. The course we had there was an Oyster Shooter with Quail Egg, Bride of the Fox Sake, and Shaved Ice with Yuzu. After 30 minutes, it was time to load back up in the limo and go to our next destination -- Irazu. Brian and I picked this restaurant. (Are you getting the theme of the evening here?). While nothing fancy, it is one of our favorites. We were definitely regulars there during our Chicago years. The dishes selected were Patacones, Costa Rican Sandwiches, Pepito Sandwiches. The next stop of the evening -- Joong Boo Market. Melissa is a huge fan of the humble dumping, and this corner shop was completely fitting. At only $2 a piece (and so, so filling), we each had a choice of Spicy Kimchee, Pork or Red Bean. Our forth stop was The Pork Shoppe, where we had Pork Belly Pastrami Sandwich, Fries, and Pickles. And PBRs... Delicious! Next on our journey, was Cafe Versailles. Amy & Graham picked this destination, where they let Melissa make some authentic French crepes. We enjoyed some espresso and an assortment of savory and sweet crepes: Banana & Nutella; Kiwi, Honey & Pistachio; Chicken & Caramelized Onion; Tomato, Olive, Egg & Cheese. Ooo la la! I've got to be honest -- we can all hold our own when it comes to eating, but at this point, we were all feeling a bit glutinous. We swung by Herma's Kitchen and picked up some samosas (which we were able to enjoy the next morning), then headed down Lake Shore Drive in our limo while listening to Chicago before ending back at Amy & Graham's. There, we got to enjoy some dessert and continue celebrating.

Seriously, it was one of these nights that you have to ask yourself over and over again if it really even happened! It was absolutely perfect. Happy 40th Birthday, Melissa!

P.S. Melissa has a way with words, and has great documentation of the evening over on her blog. Check it!

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