A Birthday Celebration

Last Thursday (the 20th) was my big brother’s 28th birthday!! Living in the same city as my brother is literally the best. I may be “away from home” but I’m never far from family. I am also lucky to have several close cousins living in DC too. Hence, when birthdays come around, my parents don’t hesitate to jump in the car and drive the 6.5 hours from North Carolina for a big birthday bash. My parents have taken to coming to DC to celebrate their own birthdays too. We’re really big food sharers in my family, which I love. So we always try and go to an interesting restaurant and get a great sample of the menu. This year Doug selected The Green Pig in Clarendon for his birthday dinner. His friend it the executive pastry chef there, and we had been meaning to go forever! Let’s get down to the good stuff 🙂

Beer! I had been volunteering all afternoon at Ragnar and the thought of drinking wine made my sleepy. But a cold crisp beer sounded awesome. I started with a Maui Brewing Company Bikini Blonde Lager.

Then the chef surprised us by delivering some fresh rolls and cornbread to the table. The cornbread was unbelievably moist (maybe that giant scoop of butter had something to do with it? We had a big group, so we all took half a piece of cornbread.The rolls were surprisingly good too. I normally prefer harder breads to soft rolls but the large granules of salt on the top really made these awesome.

In an effort to listen to my “hunger / satiety” cues, and learning from past experiences at huge group dinners like this, I elected not to order an appetizer. We are big sharers, so I got a bite of everyone else’s (there was PLENTY to go around). Doug got the buffalo ribs, which were delicious. We also had duck confit cavatelli, pulled pork and avocado tacos, and a delicious peanut and butternut squash soup. My favorite was the cavatelli, but the pork tacos were surprisingly good. They had some serious heat to them.

I ordered a Butternuts Moo Thunder Stout to enjoy with my dinner. Sometimes I’m just really in the mood for a dark beer 🙂

I was glad I didn’t order an appetizer because I was already starting to feel satisfied! Thankfully, I also went pretty conservative on my dinner. I ordered the heirloom tomato, watermelon, and goat cheese salad with a side of duck liver gravy poutine. Not exactly the “healthiest” dish available, but since I went light with the rest of my meal I decided I was completely fine with that! The salad was amazing. The tomatoes were slightly mushy but I still ate them all, don’t you worry. Tomatoes are pretty much out of season, so I’m not surprised they weren’t totally crisp. The watermelon / goat cheese combo was great. My cousin and I were remarking that you normally see watermelon with feta, but this was an awesome change. I ❤ goat cheese. The poutine wasn’t EXACTLY poutine (which is normally fries with gravy and cheese curd) but it was awesome no matter what you call it. The duck liver added an awesome flavor to the gravy, and I didn’t mind melted cheese over cheese curd.

In typical Zimmerman family style, I also had a bite of everyone else’s entree. Mike has the rabbit cake with mashed sweet potatoes, apple butter, and brussel sprouts. He loved it, and so did my cousin John. My favorite part was the brussel sprouts 🙂 A couple people got the bacon cheeseburger, because it actually has the bacon meat ground in with the ground beef. I’m not normally a huge burger eater, but the bite I had was DIVINE.

Doug and his friend Dan shared the Pork Shank for Two entree. It was served with collards and grits (the boys ate very little of the collards and grits though. There was so much pork there to focus on). One of my favorite items was the side of macaroni and cheese that was shared around the table. It was made with smoked Gouda cheese, and it tasted kind of like bacon in the best way possible. It was so rich though, I think we all only took a couple bites!

Now for some group shots! My cousin Karen, her husband John, my mom and my dad!! Very exciting news too… Karen and John are expecting their first child this March!! We spent the entire meal telling her to eat whatever she wanted 🙂

The birthday boy and his bff Dan took their seats of honor at the head of the table. And shared and entree 🙂

And finally my cousin Ryan, his girlfriend Amanda, Mike (rocking his glasses after Ragnar) and me!

Finally it was time for the best part of any birthday celebration… DESSERT. I knew these desserts were going to be amazing because Doug’s friend Rory is ridiculously talented. We ordered four different options to share around the table. Everyone else was feeling really full, but thanks to my conservative ordering I was ready to go! First up was the banana cake that came with chocolate sauce, peanut butter ice cream and peanut brittle. I loved this dessert. Some around the table though the peanut butter flavor came through above the banana but PB/banana is one of my favorite combos so I loved it. You can just call me Elvis. We also had the housemade doughnut with ice cream and chocolate sauce. This was surprisingly good. I’m not normally a huge doughnut eater but with the chocolate sauce and ice cream it was kind of like a profiterole, which I love.

We also had the butterscotch pudding, which had brownie at the bottom and pecans on the top. This was hands down my favorite, favorite, favorite dessert. I never order butterscotch stuff, because I don’t normally really like it. In fact, I wouldn’t have ordered this if my mom hadn’t wanted it! But it was so unbelieably good… there are no words. It was a great texture and flavor. I was only upset I had to share with everyone. We also ordered a pie of the day (apple) at the request of the birthday boy, so we got a Happy Birthday message on his plate 🙂 I’m not an apple pie lover, but I did have a bite just to be fair. My dad and brother LOVED this one.

Everyone left the dinner with a big smile, a full belly, and a desire to go immediately to sleep! All in all I was pretty pleased too with how I felt after dinner. Normally I leave gatherings like this absolutely sick to my stomach from being so full. I definitely felt full but not in a bad way. It was the perfect Saturday night with great family and friends 🙂

Happy Birthday Douggie!! Here’s to another year of you being perfectly you!

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