Last weekend, we had an epic four day (possibly ongoing…) birthday celebration for G. And y’all I’m ONE STEP CLOSER to getting G to celebrate his birthday WEEK which is basically TWO steps away from BIRTHDAY MONTH. (Or is it four steps? I’m only on my first green tea of the day so the caffeine has not hit).
But seriously. I love birthdays, especially the birthday of my favorite human. I need to take ONE minute to gush about my super special man friend. He’s awesome, he’s beardy, he introduces me to unusual things like Overcooked (a Nintendo Switch game) that I end up LOVING, he’s super thoughtful, smart, handsome…hmmm I’m starting to cross the line of gushing and heading straight into mushing. I think you get the gist that I kinda sorta like this guy, and I was SUPER excited/nervous to plan an epic birthday.
Now G’s birthdays have always been a big deal. For his first birthday (with me, not his actual first birthday which I imagine would have involved more cake and diapers) , I found a cool speakeasy Japanese restaurant in Andy Warhol’s/ Jean-Michel Basquiat’s old studio (because New York). For his second birthday, we took our first international trip together to Cartagena and dined in glory at Carmen. For his third birthday, we went to Napa Valley with his two friends from college, exploring the various vineyards in a self-driving Tesla. For his fourth birthday, we hit the Berkshire slopes. If you can’t tell the theme is always food or travel.
Now this year, I knew we couldn’t travel outside NYC. Gabriel just got back from Mexico City, and our vacation days for the year are pretty stretched. It was our FIFTH birthday celebration together so I knew it had to be EPIC.
With out further ado, here is the recap of G’s SUPER SECRET SURPRISE BIRTHDAY WEEK(
We go to work. G comes home with kati rolls and samosas. He is already violating Birthday Rule #2 – Always make other people feed you. We finish watching Attack on Titans, a show that I can’t believe I like and am now UPSET when I find out the second half of season 3 does not come out until April. Honestly, the night ended like many work nights— me falling asleep on the couch and Gabriel waking me up to brush my teeth. (Couple goals, I know).
We wake up, laze in bed, until I decide to make us a beet, mango and blueberry smoothie. I have now violated Birthday rule #8 that you should always have cake for breakfast. Gabriel is unfazed (duh), and we debate whether to go play darts or play Mario Kart. Mario Kart wins because why leave our comfy apartment.
I crush G in Mario Kart (because there is no being nice in Mario Kart). Gabriel researches some more Nintendo games that I might like. He is far too nice, and violates Birthday Rule # 99- Do things that you like to do. He finds five games, and let’s me pick the one I like the best. We then spend the next THREE HOURS playing “Overcooked“- a game where you work together in a kitchen to get orders out. It sounds simple but is incredibly addicting.
It’s finally time for the first (of three) birthday surprises. When I realized that Gabriel and I would be spending his birthday in New York, I started researching and polling our foodie friends for their “best restaurant” recommendations. It didn’t have to be fancy, but it did have to have a feeling of “wow— that was one of the best meals I’ve ever had.” Shockingly, four out of seven friends had the exact same recommendation: Atera. This 12 seat chef’s table is located in a remote part of Tribeca and they only serve a tasting menu. I called, and I called, and I called, when finally I got an opening for that Saturday. I’m going to go ahead and let the pictures do the talking…however, I can honestly say this was the best meal that I’ve ever had.
My Glad Wear- A Self Portrait Dress
After dinner, we dragged ourselves back to our indoor roof to enjoy the sights and ended up with a two hour dance party in our own apartment.
Obviously on Sunday we woke up with a food coma. No food could compare to last night’s so we repeated our Saturday morning ritual of smoothie and left over kati rolls, and embarked on an epic Overcooked Session. It is safe to safe that we are obsessed with this game. In the afternoon, we headed up to Midtown for G’s SECOND birthday surprise. If you haven’t gotten the hint- Gabriel LOVES games- board games, video games, card games, any game. Since moving in together, my board game collection (Cards against Humanity and UNO) has expanded to a whole shelf. This is a big deal given the average size of a New York apartment. It was only fitting that I tried to find a cool “Game-focused” activity. Enter: VR World NYC. This is a two story Virtual Reality center, where you can play single or multi-player VR games. They have different types of VR sets and a diverse selection of games– racing, zombie killing, boxing, 3-D art, and more. Here we met up with G’s three friends and worked our way through all the VR Games.
After VR World, we headed over to Jong Rho for a Korean BBQ Feast. Jong Rho is one of our FAVORITE K-town spots. It’s located on the second floor of a nondescript building. It’s built to look like a little village, with wide booths and a great variety of different meats that get BBQ-ed right in front of you. If you can, I highly recommend getting the Beef Plate, a Korean Lunchbox (rice mixed with egg, fish and spices), and some seafood pancakes.
The best part of Jong Rho is if you take the elevator up to the Seventh floor you can hit up an AWESOME Karaoke place ($8 per person for a private room, and $20 per hour all you can drink). We ended our night belting out the best of Queen and a surprising number of angsty 90s songs.
Monday, unfortunately, was a work day. So our morning routine was a little less fun. Smoothie and out the door for work. However, Monday night was the third and last official Birthday Surprise- Scott Silvan’s the Illusionist Table at the McKittrick Hotel in Chelsea. This was perhaps the COOLEST find of my birthday weekend research. The McKittrick Hotel is best known for it’s immersive theatre “Sleep No More” where you wander around a set of MacBeth. We arrived around 7:30PM, dropped off our coats and headed into a train car where we had a delicious glass of Merlot and some yummy (free) charcuterie. At 8PM, we were brought into the Heath, where we sat in our assigned seats around a large, rectangular, candle-lit table set for 28 people. Almost immediately, Scott (a young Scotsman) started the show with mental games while we enjoyed a 3 course meal and whiskey tasting. To say that I was FLOORED by Scott’s magic illusions is an understatement. The only disappointment is I didn’t personally did get to enjoy the three course – seafood risotto and beef tenderloin meal- because apparently being allergic to carrots means that you can only eat vegan food (?? of arugula, tofu and black rice?). None the less, it was an incredible experience and one I wouldn’t trade for the world.
After an epic yoga session with Jooin, we came back the apartment and decided…. why not continue the celebrations at a wonderful pizza place called Speedy Romeo‘s. It was impromptu and delicious and a happy ending to our epic 5th birthday celebration together.