Instead of exchanging birthday gifts with my friends, we go out for a festive dinner at a restaurant of the birthday girl's (or boy's) choice. For me, this is so much better than torturing myself over buying a gift who knows if they'll like. And how many times have you received an unwanted gift? I'd quickly lose count. I know many people who get undesired presents who just pass them on or worse, throw them out.
This way we're still stimulating the economy, providing jobs to wait staff, the kitchen crew, suppliers and so on, and not adding to clutter or the landfill. Now, on to the dinner!
For my friend's June birthday, she picked cheerful Salsa y Salsa. Isn't it cute? Love the checked reusable napkins.
Margaritas! Mango lime and cactus pear, $7.50 each (happy hour special, hello New York City prices).
Guacamole, $8.95. I LOVE guacamole. Even the name of it. It just sounds like it's going to be something fun.
Her meal, chili relleno: cornmeal coated poblano chili with three cheeses, roasted tomato salsa, black bean sauce and crema fresca, $11.95.
My friend eats meat, but feasts on vegetarian meals all the time. I think that's terrific. So many can't even imagine one meal without meat.
Mine: watercress salad with mango, avocado, pineapple, toasted pepitas (roasted pumpkin seeds with ancho chili, cumin and cayenne pepper) in a lemon-line cilantro dressing, $7.95. I held the manchego cheese.
Her dessert, roasted coconut covered vanilla ice cream in goat milk caramel sauce in sweet sugar tostado, $6.
I may just have to try roasted coconut on some non-dairy ice cream, soon!
I had a dessert too: cinnamon sweet potato flan, $6.
We left with our stomachs full, and our spirits lifted by delicious vegetarian food (no meat missed here), great conversation (including one or two laughing attacks), and were already pondering what we'll have on a future visit.
Flashback to other yummy Salsa y Salsa outings, when I had veggie fajitas, veggie tacos, and sweet fried plantains and black bean and radish tostada salad.
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