Friday, November 26, 2010

The mature adult I married

...once again requested a train cake for his birthday.


I know I owe you photos of our wedding party, but since none of those are on my camera, they'll have to wait a bit. In the meantime, here's how we celebrated A's birthday.

On Sunday, we had brunch with our lovely and amazing friends at the No. 1 Ladies Opera House Cafe (a difficult-to-understand spin-off of the No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency franchise). It has a theater where there are sometimes shows, as well as a restaurant and outdoor cafe.

(Doesn't it look awesome?)

We had a delicious brunch under the trees, which included a sideboard of various cheeses, great scones with raspberry and apricot jam, soft pretzels (?!), carrot and banana cakes, rolls, and unlimited mimosas, followed by eggs to order with toast, plus decent coffee.

It's unabashedly an expat/tourist spot, and the prices reflect that. But for all that, the sun was shining, a breeze was blowing, the food was great.

We were in heaven for a few hours.

Then came chocolate cake with sprinkles, a birthday surprise from a friend. It was delicious even though we were all stuffed by then.


In the afternoon, A and I tried to swim in our apartment pool but it was green and murky and we got scared.


If you can believe it, that night we went to another friend's birthday dinner, where there were two more cakes!


And Monday was train cake, Botswana-style. Since we don't have loaf pans, I made smaller train cars in a jumbo muffin pan using this chocolate cake recipe and then buttercream frosting from scratch (in the food processor--yet another use for this awesome wedding gift!). I bought some gum drops, dinosaur gummies, oreo wafers, rolos and more to decorate. There was a car for coal (oreos), one for milk bottles (gummies shaped like milk bottles), and one for dinosaurs. (You laugh, but how else would you recommend transporting dinosaurs, hmm?)


Last night was Thanksgiving and we had a UPenn expat potluck with about 15 people. Our apartment provided mashed potatoes with caramelized onions, stuffing (I was amazed by how good this was considering I completely made up the recipe), Martha Stewart's macaroni and cheese, and pumpkin pie. There was also a Turkey, with regular and vegetarian gravy, homemade rolls, broccoli casserole, two types of spinach, twice-baked potatoes, chakalaka, apple crisp, and ice cream, and probably more. It was quite a feast.

I did start to feel kind of homesick though, since Thanksgiving is such a big holiday in our family. So I missed hanging out in my pajamas all day, various relatives coming in and out, football on the television in the background (though we did manage to stream the Patriots-Lions game on A's computer), running to the grocery store for last minute butter or eggs, and slowly assembling a table full of food, only to get full in about two minutes and then spend the rest of the night moaning about it and playing board games by the fire.

Also when it's hot it's not as fun to be cozy.

So I will say that when I heard our entire family Thanksgiving this year was vegan--even the pumpkin pie!--I was a little gratified. I mean, who cares about missing vegan Thanksgiving?

I'll wait until next year, when everyone is back to eating normally.


  1. well, they did have kosher turkey. what is chakalaka? should i know this from a previous post? happy birthday to A! i'm impressed by all of your cooking and baking.

  2. I was going to say the same two things: we did in fact have turkey, and what is chakalaka? And no one had on a football game (false memory), although some basketball games were viewed over the weekend.

    That's a beautiful spot where you had the brunch. Looks like Texas of California or something. I found the "No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency, Vol. 1" on our shelf so I'm planning to read it.

    A. sure had a LOT of cakes! I just keep throwing out cake and frosting and things that have piled up over the weekend. We had a potluck and most of the people brought desserts. I am eager to stop feasting and eating leftovers and return to our normal diet where your dad and I split a salmon patty and salad for lunch. First we have to run an 8 day gauntlet of potato latkes.