I just wanted to share a few more of my food-related birthday gifts! You might remember I have already included a post on my Eating Well In Season Farmer’s Market Cookbook. My good friend from Connecticut certainly pays attention to the fact that I am trying to eat locally and seasonally here in Philadelphia.

I have another friend however, who pays attention to the fact that I love beer just as much (if not more.. just kidding) than food! I scored another awesome cookbook called Cooking With Beer that compiles favorite recipes from other cooks, national cooking organizations, etc. It is chock-full of company pleasing meals such as burgers, wings, appetizers, chili’s and stews, and even has an Oktoberfest section! Guess I have a good excuse to throw a fall party!

My Favorite Things

My Favorite Things

I also received a Cocktail Shaker, a Mortar/Muddler, and a Lemon Juicer from Stu’s mom and a neat wine rack from my sister, to basically complete my kitchen collection! Stu and I also scored tickets to

Sippin’ By The River, a food, beer, and wine festival in Philadelphia that benefits Crohn’s Disease. Awesome!

And who could forget (or should I say, woo could forget?) the awesome cupcakes that I woke up to on birthday morning, from my roommate Lisa:

Owl Cupcakes! <3

Owl Cupcakes! ❤

Owls are my favorite and Lisa knows best. She concoted these chocolate cupcakes and decked them out in Oreo cookies, Junior Mints, and Peanut M&M’s.  Check out the full recipe at Annie’s Eats blog.

I also cannot fail to mention the fantastic dinner that Stu took me out to birthday weekend. After mulling over a few choices, we picked Zahav, which is one of the most renowned restaurants in the city right now, under the close care of chef Michael Solomonov. The restaurant serves Israeli tapas, which was at first a little daunting. But after reading enough about it, I decided that I would put my anxiety over tapas aside and give it a try.  Oh. my. goodness. I can’t begin to describe how excellent every single bite of food was. Highlights include sheeps milk cheese cubes with a date reduction sauce and pine nuts, charcoal grilled eggplant infused with pomegranate juice, and ground beef and lamb meatballs over rice and beans. The hummus was the creamiest I’ve ever had and I couldn’t get enough of the spicy chickpeas! If you like Middle Eastern food this is the place for you! Not to mention that tapas were totally approachable, and actually quite fun! Got to sample a little bit of everything on the menu, and it was relatively affordable, considering the reputation of the restaurant and the chef. If you’re looking for something completely different and out of the ordinary- and aren’t afraid to challenge your tastebuds- I highly, highly, HIGHLY recommend! Mmm, I can still taste it!

In conclusion, as I said before this is a little late. But thank-you to my dear friends who made this birthday quite a special one! You are loved!