Sunday, April 7, 2013

A Weekend of Celebrating

by Meghann on April 7, 2013

Derek turns 29 tomorrow!

Man, that’s hard to believe. When Derek and I first met back in 2005 he had just turned 21. 21! I thought he was so much older and cooler than me. Now 21 seems like such a baby! Now 29 is so much older than cooler. 😉

Happy Birthday, babe!

To celebrate his big birthday this weekend we decided to try a couple of new-to-us places that have been on our “must try” list for a while.

First up was Cheese Please.

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Cheese Please is an adorable little cheese shop in South Tampa. Every Friday and Saturday night they host group cheese tastings that consist of an eight course cheese menu paired with condiments and wine. Each night has a different cheese theme that ranges from soft cheeses to spanish cheeses to spicy cheeses. More than one friend has recommended attending a cheese tasting and, as cheese and wine lovers, we’ve kept Cheese Please in the back of our minds for a special occasion. When I realized we were plan-less Saturday night, I immediately reserved two spots for Saturday’s “Full Flavored” cheese tasting.

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We arrived a tad on the early side and were directed to the back room to a table for two.

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Our menu of cheeses was already laid out for the evening. We took turns drooling over the many selections.

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The eight cheeses had three wine pairings: a chardonnay, a malbec, and a spanish granache.

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At first we were afraid we would be limited to one glass per wine, but that was definitely not the case. Once the wine started, it never stopped. It was like the bottomless glass.

While we were waiting for everyone to arrive, an appetizer plate was placed at every table.

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And then the show began.

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The Cheese Please owners are so knowledgable and enthusiastic about cheese. Before each course they gave a little description and background of the cheese – where it came from, how they discovered, and the various flavor profiles associated with it. We tasted cheeses that were creamy, sweet, soft, salty, spicy, and overwhelming with flavor. Each course had two rounds with the second usually featuring the condiments so you can compare the flavors with and without the additions.

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We were in cheese heaven! It was fun to compare all the cheeses and learn a thing or two along the way. The unlimited wine didn’t hurt either. 😉 It was the perfect date night.

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Our favorite cheese of the evening was the caramelized onion cheddar (soooo much flavor!). Cheese Please offered 10% off of anything in the store after the tasting was over, so we took advantage and brought a block of the caramelized onion cheddar home.

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The cheese was EXCELLENT when crumbled over a burger the next night.

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So. Much. Flavor. I would definitely recommend it!

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This morning we continued the birthday celebrating at Datz Dough.

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My favorite restaurant in Tampa (Datz) recently opening a bakery next door called Dough. They’ve been taunting me with their delicious photos of pastries and doughnuts on Facebook for MONTHS. I couldn’t be more excited that they’re finally open (well, slightly open – they officially open tomorrow!).

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Check out those doughnuts! They had every crazy, creative flavor you could think of!

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Derek and I decided to split three of the tastiest looking doughnuts for breakfast this morning:

  • Espresso Chocolate
  • Heath Bar
  • Chocolate Fudge Sprinkles

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Oh. My. Word. These were some of the richest, tastiest doughnuts I’ve ever had. In the words of Derek, “Who needs birthday cupcakes when you have chocolate doughnuts?!”

Our favorite was hands down the espresso chocolate with crushed chocolate covered espresso beans on top. It was definitely more cupcake than doughnut (in the best possible way).

I heard that once Dough officially opens this week they’ll have a lunch menu with sandwiches. Personally I can’t wait to return and finally try one of their famous Bacon Lattes. It’s not a cheap drink ($6 for one!), but I think it would be worth trying once just to say you’ve tried it. 😉

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Oh, one more birthday celebration – WE BOUGHT A SUV!!!!

We had a rough day of car shopping yesterday (I was seriously *this close* to giving up). We wanted to pay cash for the new-to-us car so we had a pretty strict budget we HAD to stick to. It felt like everything we liked was out of our budget and everything in our budget was only so-so. Derek and I had a long talk last night about not settling and I was prepared to wait until we found something we really loved (in our budget) to pull the trigger.

This morning I found something with possibilities online and talked Derek into checking it out with me after breakfast. We both ended up loving it and finally got the “this car is so us” feeling we’d been waiting for.

We had planned to sell the Echo on Craigslist, but they ended up offering us a great trade-in deal that we couldn’t refuse.

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Bye, bye Echo! I’m going to miss you!!!

And just like that the Echo was gone and I had a new set of keys (that included a clicker!) in my hands. We drove the new SUV home this afternoon.

I’m so excited! On the way home I kept rolling the windows up and down on the passenger’s side from the driver’s side just because I could. Oh, power locks and windows – I already love you!

This was our first big purchase as a married couple (both of our names are even on the title) and it led to a lot of long conversations about our future (kids, finances, etc.). Buying your first car together is definitely one of those milestones that makes your relationship that much stronger.

What a wonderful, exciting weekend. Tomorrow the birthday celebrating will continue with dinner at Derek’s favorite restaurant.

Good Night!

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