"Pho" French Dip

Long Birthday Weekend 2023

posted in: Midlife, Personal Essay, Photography | 0

In my February 2023 Update, I mentioned a couple of things Holly and I did related (at least tangentially) to my birthday at the end of the month. We also took off the first Friday of March for a long weekend to celebrate.

Although this was a notable birthday (55!), we didn’t do anything particularly special. The biggest gift is being (I hope) now under 10 years until I retire.

As usual, most of our celebrating revolved around food and drink.

We had a mostly lazy day that Friday, only venturing out for lunch at the Tria at Rittenhouse Square. We each had a couple of beers, and shared some olives, olive oil and rosemary potato chips, and a mozzarella and prosciutto panino.

That night, we met my brother at another local favorite, L’Anima. Holly and I have been there many times, but it was a first for my brother. Usually, Holly and I share a bunch of small plates, but we took this opportunity to share some appetizers (roasted veggie special, tuna crudo, grilled octopus, and polpette). I got the cotoletta which was something I had been hankering for. As always, it was a delicious meal, one that my brother enjoyed as well.

When the weather is nice, they open their patio. With spring starting to take hold, we’re looking forward to getting back there for a lovely dinner outside.

Saturday, we went to the Rittenhouse Square Farmers Market in the morning. Speaking of spring, we can’t wait for a bigger variety of vendors and produce to start showing up.

On our birthdays (or closest weekend), we each cook for the other. Whoever’s birthday it is gets to select the menu.

For brunch, Holly made us “Pho” French Dip from the V Street Cookbook. V Street was a local vegan restaurant but, alas, they went out of business. Luckily, Holly got their cookbook so we can still have some of their recipes.

We’ve had the French Dip a couple times before during our last 2 winter breaks and loved it. Since we had plenty of plans for eating out, I wanted something that was both delicious and relatively healthy so this hit both spots.

"Pho" French Dip
“Pho” French Dip

For dinner, I asked for Chicken and Dumplings from The Chicken Bible.

Chicken and Dumplings
Chicken and Dumplings

Both meals were wonderful, and I was quite pleased with my choices. I really appreciate Holly’s efforts toward making my birthday weekend special.

After a lazy Sunday morning, we venture to On Point Bistro for brunch. We have a long list of places we really like that we don’t get to all that frequently. On Point is one of those places.

Holly ordered their vegan version of huevos rancheros. I got their fabulous farm omelet (3 eggs with sautéed mushrooms, spinach, corn, Manchego, truffle aioli, confit potatoes, and toast). I also couldn’t resist a side of their sweet potato waffle.

In the afternoon, we walked to Old City to shop at Penzys Spices and Omoi Zakka, our favorite stationery store. Despite it being my birthday weekend, I ended up not buying anything at Omoi Zakka. They’ve started carrying Lomography cameras and film so they have even more temptations now.

I brought along my Olympus XA loaded with Kodak Pro Image. I took about a dozen or so pictures but haven’t gotten that roll developed yet.

On the way back home, we stopped at the Washington West location of Tria.

Bitter Bae Spritz and French 76 at Tria Washington West
Bitter Bae Spritz and French 76 at Tria Washington West

It was a wonderful weekend and a much needed break from work.

Other than realizing the possibility of retiring in under 10 years, 55 hasn’t felt particularly momentous. It does have me pondering the future of this blog or, at least, the name of this blog. Can’t ride “midlife” forever.

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