This weekend, was a very special occasion for my family. My Dad turned 65! I planned a very special dinner and my parents and brother, Will, came into town to celebrate.
Everyone got in on Friday afternoon, and by the time I got home from work, we were all starving, so we thought of something quick and delicious and ordered in Mexican food from our favorite local restaurant. That way we were able to stay in and enjoy each others company.
Uncle Willy could not wait to get his hands on little Rylee!
The next day we spent the morning at the Farmer’s Market. It was quite busy and everyone was out getting their fresh produce and lemonade and listening to the live music.
It was so hot out though, and although Rylee was being exceptionally good, it started getting a little bit too much for her, so we ended up heading to Sweet Traditions French Bakery for brunch. It worked out perfectly because that is where we ordered Dad’s birthday dessert, so we picked it up while we were there.
After the farmers market, the family relaxed at home – in the air conditioning – and gathered around for some more catching up before getting ready for dinner.
I made sure to get a bunch of family photos before we left, since everyone was dressing up for the occasion.
(I think Rylee might have my eyes… that evil red-eye!)
Dinner was at Al Fresco, a Mediterranean inspired restaurant that prides itself in using only the freshest locally grown ingredients. They even have a garden with fresh herbs and vegetables on its roof that they use in their menu items.
I pre-ordered a bottle of champagne and some appetizers to arrive at the table once we were situated. The servers were so amazing, and everything turned out better than I imagined.
We started off with a charcuterie and cheese platter with chipotle hummus, warm pita bread and fried calamari.
Everything was perfect for sharing and went very well with the champagne. It was fun to pair all of the cheeses with the different meats and condiments. Very interesting and delicious first course.
My Dad loved it and said he would come back to the restaurant just for the charcuterie and cheese platter appetizer by itself.
After finishing off as much as we could of the apps, we ordered a bottle of wine and chattered away until our entree’s came.
Dad, Will and I shared Paella for 3, a chef specialty on the menu. The chorizo was so delicious and flavorful. It was by far my favorite part of the dish.
Brett ordered the special of the night, sea scallops with an eggplant puree and said it was delicious.
And my mom ordered the most interesting dish of the night. Veal porterhouse with fingerling potatoes and asparagus.
Everything was so fresh and very delicious.
We were so full after the main course, so to digest a bit before coffee and dessert, Dad opened his cards.
Mom’s gift pretty much stole the show. She presented him with a 7-Night Caribbean Cruise on the Norwegian Epic next April! That is going to be such a blast for them!
In addition to dinner, I wanted to give him something special that he could open, so I created a special, personalized card for him.
I even inserted my favorite pictures of Rylee!
I know it wasn’t much, but to see his reaction to the card was exactly the response I wanted. He was smiling from ear to ear and loved the pictures of Rylee, one of which even says “Grandpa Adores Me.”
Then it was time for the special dessert we had ordered.
Make a wish!
We enjoyed cappuccino and espresso with our dessert, and it went oh so well.
Everyone loved the Chocolate Cream Tart from Sweet Traditions, and I am glad they did, because I have been raving about the dessert since we moved to Winter Garden. It was the first pastry I tried there, and I haven’t ordered anything else yet!
After a very delicious, and very filling, birthday dinner, the family went back to our house to digest and watch a little pre-season football.
One of my favorite parts about being home with the whole family is the conversation. It’s always so fun and interesting to see where our conversations will go, and the time passes so fast!
The next morning everyone lingered around the breakfast table enjoying coffee and bagels. The rain helped to keep my parents with us just a little bit longer, but eventually they had to go. Will was able to stay for dinner, but we had to say our goodbyes to him as well.
That wasn’t so bad because we are seeing him again this weekend for our Fantasy Football Draft.
And I’ll be taking a vacation to my parent’s timeshare at the end of September, so I will be seeing them soon as well.
I hope you all had a great weekend, too!