Food & Wine

A Perfect Birthday Weekend

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Ever since my teens I’ve used my birthday as a glorious excuse to do something I’ve always wanted to do. The first celebration was for my 18th birthday when I took my sister skydiving with me. Over the years its taken on a little bit of a life of its own trying to up the ante each time.

The 2009 ~$400 Malaysian Airways business class mistake fare was a great excuse to celebrate my birthday in Kuala Lumpur.

Le Meridien Kuala Lumpur pool Keri

In 2011 I requalified for United 1K with a weekend birthday trip to Singapore. And as Facebook just reminded me, 2012 was Napa, 2013 was a quick trip to Israel and last year I had a blast in Sicily.

Keri Heels First Travel floating in Dead Sea

Floating in the Dead Sea

Having already been spoiled with a bunch of amazing trips to Alaska, Wyoming, Tuscany, Spain, and Brazil in August and September, I was debating options a little closer to home. Perhaps a mileage run to Los Angeles to take advantage of the Catalina Island’s free ferry on your birthday (Catalina has long been on my list) or maybe a Hot Air Balloon ride over the Shenandoah fall foliage (also on my list).

Fortunately — as it turned out– an unexpected and very expensive car repair put an end to those ideas and I wound up getting to do something I’d yet to do as an adult: spend my birthday with at least one of my beloved parents.

We met for lunch at One Block West, one of my favorite restaurants in the world, conveniently located an hour outside DC. The food was amazing. perfect melt-in-your-mouth crispy pork belly with apple-cranberry slaw and sweet potato puree.

one block west pork belly
Roasted red pepper bruschetta with local goat cheese.

one block west red pepper bruschetta

The best scallops I’ve ever had in my life – giant, sweet, tender, and with none of the generic seafood taste you often get.

one block west perfect scallops
And since I love their mushrooms so much, they made a special mushroom dish that wasn’t on the menu and was what “everyone in the kitchen wanted to eat for lunch and were hoping I’d send back.”

one block west mushroom

The chef came out for awhile and talked Oregon wine with us. And then a deconstructed apple cheesecake compliments of the house with a birthday candle finished off the perfect meal.

one block west deconstructed apple cheesecake

The afternoon was spent outside at my favorite Virginia winery, Glen Manor Vineyards. Picknicking, running into old friends and making new ones.

Glen Manor Vineyards fall scenery

Glen Manor Vineyards rick

Dad in full thought

A relaxing day made even better because I got to share my favorite things with my Dad. And it bodes well for this year if I’m finally learning that past traditions don’t have to be carried on when it doesn’t make sense. 🙂

Full Disclosure: I may receive affiliate credit from links in this post or on this site which will help fund my travels. Thank you for your support!

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Living for the little (and big things) that make life so fun, especially mistake deals and crazy last minute weekend mileage runs across the world.


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