My birthday is coming up on Saturday; I will be turning 26.
25 has been… well, delicious. Before I overwhelm your eyes and stomachs with food porn, I must say, birthdays are always a weird time of year for me. I can tell you exactly what I was doing on April 4th in 2014, in 2013, in 2012, 2011, etc. A lot of reflection goes down, which for me means over-thinking (of course).
Pathetically, I always get a little sad on my birthday. Sometimes it’s a big, tearful thing, and sometimes its just a watery eye. My mind wanders from all the things I did and all the things I didn’t do. Not gonna lie, this week has been full of ups and downs. My mind was focused on all the things I hadn’t done yet, hadn’t experienced yet, and hadn’t accomplished yet.
I am reading Cameron Diaz’s book and came across the “embrace growing older” section– it’s amazing how timely things happen sometimes. I really liked this part.
“It breaks my heart and frustrates me that our society values youth over experience. How silly is that when it is physically impossible to stay young? And when experience gives us wisdom we could not possibly have had as kids? […] How old your body feels is not a question of years, but a tally of habits and choices and chance. Who wants to be young forever? I’d rather get to live long and thrive. I want to live in a body that I love and respect because it is the body that gives me the ability to lead that life.”
As I continued to read this chapter (the whole book actually), I realize how incredible our bodies are. I strive and also struggle for the best nutrition to fuel my body. I’ve changed up my workouts and can do things I never could do. I feel strong and I feel amazing.
This body I have is the same body that was born 25 years ago (weird, right?!) and it will hopefully take me to live many more years. This body has enabled me to accomplish many feats in my life.
If you asked me ten years ago to make a list of things I would do and what kind of person I would be at 25, there would be some things checked off, and some not checked. However, there are PLENTY of amazing things that I have done that never would have made it to the list. I am so thankful for my body and all the adventures it allows me to go on. I can’t wait to live longer, thrive, and accumulate more knowledge along the way.
Anyway, enough of my blabber. I know y’all clicked on this because you wanted to see pictures of food, so here you go… I kicked off 25 with my family and then to the wineries of California with some of my best friends. It was quite the way to bring in 25.
From there, I traveled to 8 different states, starting teaching yoga, stopped teaching yoga, started wearing lipstick, and ate a lot a lot of great food.
Here are the top 25 dishes/meals/drinks I consumed while 25. Most are delicious dishes, and some are just unforgettable memories.
1. Mezze Medley (labneh, tzatziki, muhammara, matbucha)- Laffa; Tulsa, OK.
2. Vegan Chorizo Hash (with scrambled tofu, sweet potato waffle fries, green chile sour ‘cream’, and avocado creme) – Watercourse Foods; Denver, CO.
3. Whole Wheat Everything Bagel- Olde Brooklyn Bagel Shop; New York City, NY.
4. Happy Hour at Salty Sow– Austin, TX.
I probably went to Salty Sow over 15 times in the past year. And it’s rare that I even repeat restaurants. But I always get the same things: Blood Orange Marg & Curly Tail Marg, Brussels Sprouts, Honey Fried Chicken and Sweet Potato Biscuit, Eggplant Fries, Duck Fat Fries and Truffled Deviled Eggs. And a Mr. Shaw to close. And maybe another marg…
5. Truffle Mac n Cheese- Apothecary Cafe and Wine Bar; Austin, TX.
6. Pumpkin Curry– homemade by me!
7. Fire Salmon and Sashimi- Soto; Cedar Park, TX.
8. Cocoa Chia Energy Bites– homemade by me!
9. Bacon steakie pork belly bowl- Uchiko; Austin, TX.
10. Sticky Rice- my mother. Can’t forget this! It’s my favorite dish of ALL TIME. Yes, ALL TIME. I only get it at the holidays.
11. Sweet Potato Hash– homemade. I started eating eggs again and discovered how delicious this meal is. I think I eat it every weekend! No, it doesn’t always look this cute.
12. Middle Eastern Feast. This entire meal was made by one of my close friends. She is from Syria and made authentic dishes that she grew up with. I have no words…
13. La Bandita w/ chicken patty- Hop Doddy; Austin, TX.
14. Homemade Sweet Potato Chips– made with my new mandolin from my brother. Homemade is SO much better than store bought. This was a great discovery.
15. Black Bean Salad w/ vegan pesto and Tartines- Blue Dahlia Bistro; Austin, TX. BD is always fan-freaking-tastic.
16. La Fin du Monde- Hopfields; Austin, TX. Discovered my favorite beer!
17. Cochinita Pibil- made in my Spanish Cooking Class with Cooking up Cultures. Dios mio, muy muy bien! (like my fit?)
18. Fresh Maui Coconut- Maui, HI. handpicked and cut open (by a very handsome man, I must add)
19. Seder dinner- the first one I ever cooked for. A very memorable meal with my roommates. And we even read along with the story and raised the matzoh!
20. Friendsgiving– another incredible memory with beautiful people and great chefs
21. Scallops and Crab Cakes- Finn & Porter; Austin, TX
22. Chakra Cocktail; The Clay Pit; Austin, TX. Very spice-y and incredible!
23. Sangria- Homemade for Fourth of July
24. Fried Rice- Gazebo; Maui, HI. So not healthy, but so oily and so good. (for the record… this was split with my entire family haha)
25. Blistered Catfish Bowl- The Peached Tortilla; Austin, TX
And there ya have it kids! It really has been quite the year, and I have a feeling that 26 will be filled with even more delicious food– hopefully from around the world!
JessApril 3, 2015 at 9:23 am
Love you!! I am always reminded of Isaiah 46:4 as we grow older:
“Even to your old age and gray hairs I am he, I am he who will sustain you. I have made you and I will carry you; I will sustain you and I will rescue you.”
You are so loved and cherished and I’m so excited to celebrate you this weekend!!! <3
email@example.comMay 23, 2015 at 10:46 am
I totally missed all these comments, I’m so sorry!! Jess thank you!! :) I love you so much!
LucasApril 3, 2015 at 10:05 am
These pictures are making me so hungry!
whatjewwannaeatApril 3, 2015 at 11:35 am
So fun! Have the best birthday ever, It only gets better :)
emilyApril 3, 2015 at 12:21 pm
I am similarly weird about my birthday(s). I turned 29 this year and I’m having a hard time with the whole “embracing age” thing, ha. But I love the idea behind chronicling your best meals of the year!! Very cool and you just made me want a Salty Sow HH real bad. La Fin Du Monde is one of my fave beers too!
emilyApril 3, 2015 at 12:22 pm
Oh duh and HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!!!!!!!!!! xoxo
firstname.lastname@example.orgMay 23, 2015 at 10:47 am
Thanks for your comment Em! Sorry, I am just seeing it now! But thank you! We are WAY overdue for some catch up.