Saturday, April 20, 2013

Terry's Birthday Weekend

Terry's birthday is tomorrow! To celebrate, we organized a couple of different fun outings, starting last night with a night in Santa Monica. Our first stop: Bar Chloe

A little hipster, but we thought the bartender went out of his way to make me an off-menu drink. In the end, both of our cocktails tasted delicious and refreshing, a perfect way to begin the evening.

Our dinner at The Lobster, a Santa Monica landmark, hit the mark in a big way with the food. Terry started with (unpictured) oysters, and I ordered a bowl of very authentic clam chowder.

Unlike any chowder I've tasted, I liked this hearty bowl of soup and thought the clams in their shells made the starter more fun. And then it was on to the main event:

Terry's three-pound grilled Maine lobster

My lobster ravioli, a little too rich but still quite tasty

We enjoyed it all with a bottle of Alpha Omega Chardonnay, a very generous gift from my parents. :-)

After our late night (the dinner reservation wasn't until 8:45 pm), we still woke up early this morning for a workout (I'll share it with you tomorrow--it was a doozy!) and then hit the road around 9 am for San Diego! Terry absolutely loves craft brews and has become something of a beer snob connoisseur. So he picked out three breweries for us to visit today.

Our first stop of the day: Ballast Point Brewery.

 We each tried a few different brews and liked the general setup of this place. They have plenty of tables set up inside and out, and since the weather turned out to be gorgeous, we snagged a spot in the sun.

I wasn't a huge fan of the options I tasted, but Terry liked his enough to purchase some. I thought the brewery was brilliant to have a partnership with a pizza company. The pizza looked tasty, but we opted for a different lunch option.

Terry had seen an article about Urge Gastropub in a magazine, Beer Connoisseur, and it was only about five minutes from Ballast Point.

This place, though in a super unassuming shopping center, pleasantly surprised us. I ordered the Burger of the Gods:

And Terry went off the Market Menu to have the Off Duty Foodie Burger with grass fed beef and chorizo in the patty.

We didn't take any photos at AleSmith, the next stop, but we did start to notice the parade of party buses and stretch limos that had chosen the same breweries we had so far. It's pretty hilarious to people watch at breweries.

Anyway, our final stop of the day was Green Flash Brewing Co.

This place was our favorite of the day. The selection was more varied and offered plenty of different types of brews to taste.

This brewery was also the largest of the three and had an impressive indoor and outdoor space for relaxing and tasting. Plus we could spot the barrels and tanks in the back rooms.

We headed home quite satisfied with a fun day. I took the wheel (and of course made sure to be a safe designated driver!), and we ended the evening with some Downton Abbey and leftover pizza. Our plans for tomorrow--Terry's actual birthday--include a brunch with Terry's parents and a movie. Should be a fun day!

How do you usually celebrate birthdays? We like to keep things fairly calm, but we also love celebrating with some traveling or dinner. I love to spoil Terry, and he always spoils me--even when it isn't my birthday--so he deserves a great celebration!


  1. That burger looked quite delicious! We tend to keep our dinner celebrations pretty low-key as well. Sounds like you had the perfect day--enjoy the rest of your weekend!

  2. Sounds like a fun birthday! As I've gotten older, birthdays have definitely changed. I'm all about casual and calm!

  3. Oh how I miss Cali!! Santa Monica was one of our favorite day trips!

    Happy Birthday Terry :)

  4. Sounds like fun! I love going out to eat for my birthday