#29. & #30. go to an expensive restaurant and enjoy a night of jazz

Mike turned 26 the second day into our trip in Texas. It’s crazy to think that we began dating when he was only 19 and now he’s more than half way to 30! I like to tease him about what an old grump he is and how lucky he is to have such a young, radiant 23-year-old as his fiancée.

Mike’s the kind of guy who never makes a big deal out of his own birthday, even though deep down, I know he secretly wishes people would. He’s always been very simple – dinner and a card. I on the other hand, consider myself a birthday fanatic. I love celebrating other people’s birthdays and I love celebrating my own. I think birthdays are awesome (which is why I recently celebrated turning 23 ½) because it’s your own personal holiday. It belongs all to you. Plus there’s always cake, and who doesn’t love cake?

That’s why I knew I wanted to give Mike his best birthday present ever – by letting him celebrate it with his family in Texas, whom he rarely sees.

I couldn't resist snagging a picture on this awesome bench.

I couldn’t resist snagging a picture on this awesome bench.

Mike, his dad and I spent the sweltering afternoon at Kemah Boardwalk, enjoying tropical beverages, novelty candy and laughing at Mike’s unexpected birthday present from a bird. Kemah is full of little shops, carnival rides, an aquarium and a nice view of the water.

Kemah Boardwalk - before the clouds cleared up.

Kemah Boardwalk – before the clouds cleared up.

texas daquiri

Is that not the biggest strawberry you’ve ever seen?

It was a fantastic way to spend the afternoon – relaxing and laughing while sipping on daiquiris and margaritas at noon.  We then spent an hour or so at a nearby Texas version of Dave & Buster’s, playing pool, shooting hoops and playing skee ball.

Boys will be boys.

Boys will be boys.

We went home to get freshened up for dinner, as Mike’s dad and stepmom were taking us to Perry’s Steakhouse, one of the nicest (and expensive) restaurants in the Houston area. I’m talking Mike and I would only be able to afford to SPLIT an appetizer here. And to top it off, it was jazz night at the restaurant. It was perfect.

We were seated in the bar area where the band was playing covers of popular hits, and almost immediately Mike and his dad started an unspoken competition of who could name the song first as they’d sing along with the music. We ordered a round of drinks and some appetizers.

Mike's scallops, which he devoured.

Mike’s scallops, which he devoured.

Beef Carpaccio with arugula salad.

Beef Carpaccio with arugula salad.

True to picky form – the appetizers consisted mostly of seafood (bleh), so I ordered some extra cheesy au gratin potatoes while the others ordered beef carpaccio and bacon wrapped scallops. We also devoured some of the most deliciously warm bread I’ve ever tasted while we sipped on our various libations.

Giant bowls of potatoes are cheese are all I need in life.

Giant bowls of potatoes and cheese are all I need in life.

After getting tired of ordering the same old lemon drop martini, the bartender suggested I try one of their most popular drinks – the blueberry cucumber martini. I hate blueberries and I hate cucumbers even more, so I was skeptical, but figured I’d give it a shot. I’m glad I did because it was easily one of the best tasting drinks I’ve ever ordered. It was crisp, light, refreshing and strong. Everything you’d want in a drink.

My new beverage of choice.

My new beverage of choice.

We all proceeded to order our entrees – from crab topped filet, to scallops and sea bass to lamb. While we waited on our food, we talked about the kids, our upcoming wedding and life as the band continued to play in the background with its gently thumping bass and melodic keyboard. Mike and his dad continued to serenade the table as they correctly identified one song after another. Like father like son.

Horrible lighting - but amazing steak.

Horrible lighting – but amazing steak.

When our food finally arrived, Mike and I clearly savored every single bite as we both knew this was a meal we would have never been able to afford otherwise. Everything was absolutely delicious and unsurprisingly, Mike practically licked his plate clean.

Dinner is never complete without a fire hazard.

Dinner is never complete without a fire hazard.

Four martinis, cheesy potatoes and a steak into the meal, I felt I was ready to burst but we couldn’t leave without Mike enjoying a birthday dessert. A fan for the overly dramatic, Mike ordered a flaming desert, a Mont Beur Blanc (vanilla cake, topped with ice cream, white chocolate sauce and strawberries). The chef came out and prepared it table side as we all watched in awe when the chef lit the dessert on fire with flames that stretched five feet tall.

Mike's birthday dessert.

Mike’s birthday dessert.

After an amazing experience and four hour meal, we managed to pick ourselves up and head home for the evening.

On the way back, Mike whispered to me, “Thank you for the best birthday I’ve ever had. Thank you for giving me my family.”

All I could do was smile.

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