I’m 29

Despite feigning concern about aging, I really don’t care about sharing how old I am.  Kyle is younger (and he enjoys reminding me of it), but I am healthy and happy and have enjoyed my 20’s so there’s no reason for me to pretend that adding another candle to my cake is some big stressful occasion.  It’s a happy one!

How did I celebrate my birthday?


First of all, I slept in.  Way in.  And even though I felt a bit guilty about it, I told myself I was allowed to do whatever I wanted on my birthday (within the legal system of course 🙂 ). 

Breakfast was nothing crazy.  I turned 29, not 21. 


Adding carob chips to my breakfast oats was exciting enough to delight my taste buds – decadent and delicious, but not ridiculous.  I have no clue what I had for breakfast on the morning of my 21st birthday, but I promise it was something with a side of hangover.  And it was probably eaten after noon.  Oh college…

After my banana, oatmeal, peanut butter, cinnamon, carob chip bowl was done, I went on a run.  The weather was nice so I took advantage, which was a relief since soon after I returned home the beach fog rolled in.  Santa Monica remained misty for the rest of the day.


Humid, misty, overcast fog is hideous hair weather, but great tennis weather.  And perfect hot tub weather.

Ethel and I channeled our French Open skills, but it’s safe to say we will not be invited to Roland Garros any time soon. 


I’m blaming it on the pre-game “fuel.”  I suspect the Williams sisters don’t train on vegan cupcakes…but that’s just a guess.

The sugar rush from the faux whipped cream made me feel like I had super human strength…but I got a reality check pretty immediately after.


For the record, Ethel lives with a boy man (sorry Nick!) – in case you were wondering why she has a pull-up bar in her casa. 

I have to be honest, I was pretty disappointed in my inability to do more than two pull-ups.  I had the school record in junior high for the most chin ups!!!  What happened!?!  Do they still have those Presidential Physical Fitness tests?


Oh!  I almost forgot!  Another thing that may have affected my “game” was my ghetto equipment.  In case you can’t tell from the above photo (taken via Ethel’s iPhone), that’s a dead spider family on my tennis racket.  And a chipped rim.  Hahahaha.  When was the last time I used this thing?!?  I don’t even know.  In the 90’s I’m guessing.

Somewhere in this post my lunch got omitted.  No biggie.  I went to the store especially for a cantaloupe because I had a very specific craving for my mom’s butter lettuce, cantaloupe, avocado, & poppy seed dressing salad.  It was as good as the memory of it was. 

For dinner, though, Ethel and I went to The Misfit.  Ever since reading my review post, Ethel has been wanting to go.  So that’s what we did!


We started with cava – cheers!

IMG_0594 IMG_0597 

Then moved on to a series of small plates to share.  First up was the misfit dip plate.  It is supposed to include a cucumber yogurt dip and Turkish muhammara with Santa Monica farmers market raw vegetables.  But neither of us do dairy, so we opted for two servings of the muhammara.  I actually dream of this dish semi-frequently.


It is soooo good.  Spicy and savory – just downright awesome. 

As far as dipping agents go, the raw crudités were bright and colorful, which even made the watermelon radishes fun enough to enjoy (ordinarily I’m not a big fan of raw radishes).


We also got the seasonal menu item (SM farmer’s market special) of grilled kabocha squash with roasted walnuts, sage, and brown butter (which they happily made vegan using oil instead of butter).


The presentation!  The beautiful blackened sear!  The soft as butter flesh!  Yes.  Yes.  Yes.  Everything about this was great. 


After these two courses, the chef brought out sweet balsamic glazed figs with a hint of salt and rosemary as a birthday treat.  I’m still not sure how he knew it was my birthday, but I was really happy to get such a delicious sweet treat.  I would never in a million years have thought the combination of flavors would work as well as it did.


And the plates kept coming!  It was like a puzzle trying to fit them all on the table.  The addition you see above is the crudo.  It’s one of their most phenomenal plates with hamachi, pink grapefruit, avocado, serrano peppers, and ponzu sauce.  Again, the union of flavors just works so harmoniously. 


We ended the meal with the “garden state” spicy chickpea wraps in organic lettuce topped with almonds and honeydew.  Honestly, these were WAY too spicy, which was unfortunate because you don’t want the last taste in your mouth to be fire.  I couldn’t even detect any other flavors due to the heat the chickpeas were packing.  My lips were tingling and I was gulping down water by the jug.  Oh well.  The rest of the meal was great and my company was fantastic.


As you can see, I don’t use my phone calendar for anything. 

It’s odd because in all other aspects of my life I’m very Type A, but I just haven’t gotten on board with the whole iPhone/Google calendar/outlook stuff.  I never seem to know when I’m working until the week beforehand.  Sometimes I have to call Kyle to ask him what my hospital schedule is when I’m trying to make appointments, dinner plans, etc.  He’s much more organized in the nerdy scheduling kind of way. 

Anyway.  Post meal, Ethel and I popped the cork on some white wine back at my place and eventually made our way to bars.  I suppose it’s best to keep with tradition and get carded at some point on your birthday.  Right?


The next morning Ethel headed home did the walk of shame and I enjoyed a morning of football in my PJs…while opening my presents and cards…while on the phone with my parents and sister.

That card is from my grandpa.  He calls me chocolate because my name is Elise Claire (as in E-Claire, as in eclair, as in chocolate eclair). 


Believe it or not, I had a vegan fro yo concoction for breakfast.  This was my first time ever trying Menchie’s (Kyle is a big fan).  I decided to go since they give you $5 to spend on your birthday (when you register a card).  I like free things.  🙂

They have fro yo and sorbets that are dairy-free and vegan (I emailed the company a while back and their rep responded to me personally), and the toppings bar has vegan options too, from carob chips and fresh fruit, to nuts, granola, and cereal (in addition to the usual [non-vegan] suspects – brownie bits, crushed candy bars, m&m’s, hot fudge, etc.).


I went with the seasonal flavor (pumpkin!!) combined with chocolate and vanilla swirl topped with bananas, peanuts, almonds, & carob chips.

Yes, I had this for breakfast.  And if you’re thinking that sugary start to the day left me carb-ed out, you’d be wrong. 


I don’t have photos from the rest of the day but eventually Kyle returned from Vegas and we enjoyed a cozy night together. 

30 is just around the corner!  I better make the most of the next 365 days…  😉

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Comments (31)

  1. Rachel

    happy birthday!! my 21st is in november and everyone has high hopes for me to get plastered since I’m a typical goody-goody. i plan on doing something crazy…like playing scrabble and staying up past 10:00 pm

    and that vegan fro yo… i waaaannnttt!!

  2. Natalcho @ Tomatoes Rock

    Happy birthday! I loved the spider in the tennis racket:) Just when I was thinking – look at Elise playing tennis, I should play more often as well. Phew!

  3. Lee

    Happy Birthday Elise! I’m older than my husband too. (By 2.5 years!)

  4. Averie @ Love Veggies and Yoga

    Happy Bday!!! I’m sure you’ve been told this every year that you’ve been blogging, but I just realized that Kath turned 29 yesterday, too. You guys share the same day AND year I’m thinking.

    And my sister’s name is Claire 🙂 I like your middle name!

  5. sarah@spinach and spice

    Happy birthday! Another year older, another year wiser 😉
    That restaurant looks fantastic (other than the completely spicy chickpeas) but those are some serious looking plates!

  6. Caity @ Moi Contre La Vie

    That all looks yummy and fun. Happy birthday!

    I have 29 coming up in 2 weeks so I’m glad to hear someone else is taking it calmly, hopefully I can remember that in the heat of the moment. 🙂

  7. Yolie @ Practising Wellness

    HAPPY BIRTHDAY, Elise! <3 It looks like you had an absolutely wonderful day – what a great way to celebrate, speciding time with all the people you love, eating amazing food, and having days off work. LOVE! <3 I also love evert single thing you have eaten in this post…your meal out looks incredible (that kabocha and those figs – oh my!) as does that amazing breakfast. WOW. You really are the quenn of vegan out-of-this-world oatmeal bowls! 😀
    Man…Menchies looks yum! Free food is good food – especially when it is vegan and healthy! So glad you've had such an awesome time, and it's lovely to see you back here! <3 xyx

  8. Yolie @ Practising Wellness

    PS: I so want a pull up bar! My boyfriends friend has one, and whenever we go over I make it my aim to complete 10 before we leave…but I can absolutely only do one at a time, lol! 😛 They are TOUGH! 😀 xyx

  9. Claire @ Live and Love to Eat

    Looks like a great birthday – loved your “takeovers” too. Happy belated! 🙂

  10. Katie

    Glad you had a good birthday! Spending it with a bestie is definitely a good way to play it.

  11. hippierunner

    Free vegan fro-yo seems like a great idea for breakfast!

  12. Ada

    Happy birthday!!!! I’m glad you had such a nice dinner:)

  13. Katie @ Peace Love & Oats

    That looks like a great birthday!! And how nice of the chef to send out those extra plates! My birthday is Sunday and there will definitely be some froyo involved, unfortunately not for breakfast because I don’t know one that opens that early…

  14. Yin

    Happy belated! You’re the only person I know that has the same birthday as me 😀

  15. Kaitlyn@TheTieDyeFiles

    Happy birthday!! It looks like you had so much fun. I totally think you’re entitled to whatever you want on your birthday! I’m so jealous of the vegan fro yo. Clearly I’m in the wrong area of the country.

  16. Ethel

    e-claire, that pull up bar is actually mine. hehe. but it’s nice that we can blame it on nick since he is a boy and makes me look unlady-like. =)

    re misfit, everything I had expected and more! it has inspired me to have a squash-full week of meals at the mo’. the misfit is definitely on my favesies list right now. and it’s making it that much easier for me to lean more towards the veggier side of life since it was super easy on my stomach. fan!

  17. Katie

    HAPPY BIRTHDAY! I have loved your birthday takeover blog posts, and it looks like you had a perfect day! Since it snowed yesterday, I’m hugely jealous of your tennis playing.

  18. Abby @ Abz 'n' Oats

    Happy Birthday Elise! 🙂 I love the e-claire nickname! That is so cute!

  19. janetha

    happy happy birthday to my hungry hungry hippie! i love you to the mooooooooon. and don’t worry, i can only do one pull up.

  20. Lou

    Happy Birthday! Wow, looks like you are having a grand old time ringing in 29.. good eats, good company, what more could a girl want? Oh yeah, good wine 🙂

    I wouldn’t even be able to do half a pull up.

    Vegan fro yo sounds like the BEST breakfast idea. Ever.

    Hope Kyle spoiled you 🙂

  21. Allison

    Happy birthday!!!! Sounds like a wonderful time. That froyo breakfast is my kinda breakfast 😀

  22. TeenyLittleSuperChef

    Well happy birthday Nurse Elise! What a fun day of celebrating you seem to have had. That kabocha squash dish you had for dinner looks absolutely drool-worthy. Must eat now! And as far as cupcakes go, I think they are totally pre-workout fuel. In fact, some of the top athletes in the world I’m sure secretly down a few before a match or race. Fruit is for amateurs.
    Enjoy your last year being in your 20’s. (P.S. 30’s are even more awesome 🙂

  23. Prathiba

    You don’t look a day over 23. Your healthy diet has done the body good. 😀

    I love the reason why your grandpa calls you chocolate! Makes me smile.

    Happy Birthday!

  24. Emily

    It looks like you had a delicious birthday! I’m glad you enjoyed your special day.
    I had no idea that Menchie’s had vegan options! That made my day- I can’t wait to get my hands on some. (:

  25. Dad2

    For the record, Kyle’s dad is younger than his mom too!

  26. Pure2raw twins

    Happy Birthday!!! Looks like you had a great birthday celebration!!! Cheers to turning 29. We will be turning 29 in April 😉

  27. Krissy

    Sorry I’m late to the party!! But happy birthday sweetie!! Welcome to the 29 year old club 🙂 I’m right there with you! xoxo

  28. Gena

    Happy belated birthday, sweetie! Sorry not to be more timely. What a fantastic meal to celebrate with.

    I’ll be 30 in June, and I seriously could not care less. The end.

  29. Sophie @ LoveLiveAndLearn

    Happy belated birthday!
    It sounds like you had a really great time 🙂
    Your cupcake looks amazing!
    As does your meal out, the grilled kabocha squash with roasted walnuts, sage, and brown butter in particular looks really delicious!
    Jealous of your froyo for breakfast 😛

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