Thursday, July 12, 2012

Happy Birthday, Meg!

 It's all about timing and this "medical leave" came at an opportune time for us to join Megan for her 40th birthday bash!  We all drove up to LA for a day to celebrate! Our first stop was the Farmers' Market where they have a lot of outdoor food stalls and shops where we enjoyed our lunch. Here, Russ smiles with Mike and sister Lisa.
 Shannon, Mom and I pose for a photo.
 After lunch, we walked to The Grove, a small outdoor shopping mall adjacent to the Farmers' Market.  The Quinn sisters stop and smile at the camera.
 We stopped by the Abercrombie & Fitch shop where they had twin models posing with women for photos. Megan, as the birthday girl, went first.
 Mom had to have her photo taken as well.
 And then, all of us joined. The guy behind Shannon said, "you're blocking my abs!"
 The Grove is a nice outdoor mall with movie theatres, restaurants and upscale shops. It's similar to the Irvine Spectrum, on a smaller scale.
 Uncle Russ with Mia, who has the biggest brown eyes!
 For the big dinner party, we dressed up!
 Mom & Dad are especially happy to spend time with their children and grandchildren and this birthday was a perfect occasion.
Rene, Meg's beau, booked dinner at one of his favorite restaurants in LA called "the little door". It's a quaint restaurant on West 3rd Street, just a half mile from the Farmer's Market. 
 Meg's college friend, Elissa, flew in that afternoon from the Bay Area, just to join the special party.
 The entrance to "the little door" is this door which looks hidden from the street. Inside, we walked in to an outdoor/indoor venue with nice elegant, romantic decor.
 We each brought a bottle of nice wine/champagne for dinner and drank it all!
The food was fantastic as well. Russ ordered the beet salad with goat cheese with mint and cilantro. I want to try this recipe as it was really flavorful.
Mike, Lisa & Shannon enjoying the evening.
Rene and Meg. We want to thank Rene for this wonderful evening filled with love and laughter. Happy Birthday, Megan! We love you!
Dad & me.
Meg invited three friends for the night: Maggie, Natalie and Elissa.
The dessert samplers were amazing. From bottom left: a flaky layered "cookie" with fresh cream in between the layers, a warm, rhubarb pie, a coconut cheesecake and creme brulee!
Shannon and I ran 6.6 miles on the trails of Aliso Creek that morning so that we could enjoy a nice, decadent dinner in the evening.
The Quinn siblings: Lisa, Megan, Russ and Shannon. Aren't they gorgeous?
The Quinn family with Dad & Mom with their 4 kids.
The evening didn't end with dinner. We ended up walking back to the hotel with Rene & Meg and stopped two doors down to Rene's favorite tequila bar called El Carmen.
The walls and ceiling were decorated with wrestling masks and paintings. As it was the heart of LA on a Saturday night, the place was packed.
While at the tequila bar, Meg got a text from Shannon, urging us to return to the hotel for the second party on the balcony outside Room 200 for pizza and wine. Mike had ordered 4 giant pizzas, with slices as big as our heads. I managed to eat a slice of the mushroom pizza, which was quite tasty.
We sat outdoors on the patio on these couches and chairs with music, candles and refreshments until 1am. The manager came up to warn us about the complaints we received from other guests. We thought, "This is LA and it's only a little past midnight!" We turned down the music a bit but continued to enjoy ourselves.
In the morning, we went to bld, a restaurant that Meg found from her food tasting days just around the block.  Meg said that she felt fine!
The rest of us had coffees and spicy bloody marys for brunch.
Russ had his huevos rancheros, which looked yummy!
 I had a mushroom and spinach scramble with chorizo home fries and sourdough toast.
Meg ordered the blueberry ricotta pancakes, the restaurant's signature dish, for all of us to try.
Shannon had an eggs benedict with steak and cabernet hollandaise sauce with chorizo home fries.
Yes, we ate and drank to our festive hearts delight!
What a party!

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