It began when I went home and did only what I wanted. Right there, that was a darned freeing feeling.
Then Tom came home half an hour early, having left work an hour early to drive to the other side of town to Cheesecake Royale where, which despite what you might expect from the bakery's name, he was picking up "the best tiramisu in Dallas."
You might think they would mention this on their website, but no. They are evidently hoping that the fact they even produce tiramisu will also be the best kept secret in Dallas. Anyway, it is truly amazing as is evidenced by the fact that we had it over ten years ago at an acquaintance's home who I no longer even recall by name. Wow. This bakery uses all fresh ingredients and starts from scratch each day. It shows. Delicious, creamy, not too sweet, and dripping a bit of fresh espresso from the lady fingers. So very good. So very much also as they sell it in a large plastic pan that is about 9x13". Hannah and Rose, we have a ton of tiramisu just waiting for you to help us eat it!
Then we grabbed Kirsten (a college friend of Hannah's who is staying with us for a few weeks as she has begun working after graduating but needs to save up some deposit/rent money) and went to Fireside Pies on Henderson. I'd been curious about the quality of their pizza since they mention a wood burning oven and hand stretched dough. Hoochy mama, that's good pizza!
They definitely encourage communal dining as diners are advised that pizzas are good to share between two to three people, as are the salads (which are gigantic). We tried Jimmy's Spicy Italian Sausage Pizza (with Scamorza & Roasted Red Onions) and the Peta Pie (Sonoma Goat Cheese, Balsamic Mustard Portobellas, Arugula, Roasted Red Peppers, Roasted Pinon Nuts & Charred Tomato Vinaigrette). Both were delicious with thin, oven baked crust and perfectly balanced flavor. The sausage pizza was definitely spicy while the Peta Pizza almost seemed as if it came with salad atop it which made it a bit difficult to eat but the balsamic element shone through and made the trouble worth it. We were all full with four pieces total left over. Tom and I indulged in an Italian beer on tap which was a flavorful lager that complemented the pizza perfectly.
In a mellow mood, we returned home where I attacked a pile of gifts, most of which were books ... my idea of the perfect birthday.
- The Help (thanks to Mom and I can't wait to read it),
- complete Flannery O'Connor short story collection,
- Flannery O'Connor essay collection (noticing a trend here?),
- an absolutely gorgeous book on the Vatican (from my sis who now is determined that I should visit some day after she and her husband were there about a month ago ... isn't it great when people want something so wonderful for you? It makes me feel very loved ...),
- A gift certificate for buying books (woohoo, another way around that New Year's resolution of no book buying ... with my own money ... thank you Kirsten!),
- In Bruges, such a profane, violent movie and yet I love it so
- Hot, Sour, Salty, Sweet, one of the best cookbooks/photography books ever but ever so expensive
- And, of course, baby Mac. From darling Tom who understands me as no one else does. It also may help explain my feeling of being overcome by the munificence of this gift when I mention that not only are we on a tight budget but I have the hand-me-down that has made it through everyone else in the house. I was fine with that actually. But Tom wanted me to have new. What a sweetheart.
My cup runneth over.