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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. ๐Ÿ˜‰

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. ๐Ÿ˜‰ 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. ๐Ÿ˜‰

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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!

{ 43 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Emily @ The Swallow Flies April 7, 2013 at 9:46 pm

Congratulations on the new car! That is such an exciting endeavor! And that cheese shop — omg.
Emily @ The Swallow Flies recently posted..I’m Freeeeeeeee!

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2 Presh April 7, 2013 at 9:49 pm

Let’s start where my tummy started.
That burger looks awesome! So awesome.
Sounds like a good weekend to me.
Bacon latte -interesting indeed!
Next time I’m in Tampa I’m stopping there for a donut!
Congrats on the new car!!

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3 Michelle @ A Healthy Mrs April 7, 2013 at 9:57 pm

Oh my goodness, this post has me drooling! The cheese! The donuts! YUM!

Congrats on the new car!
Michelle @ A Healthy Mrs recently posted..A Little Sunday Baking

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4 Steph April 7, 2013 at 10:01 pm

I have GOT to get to DOUGH! Looks so good and I’m sad I missed the meetup on Thursday. Congrats on the new car!
Steph recently posted..Gutsy Cooks: Honey Mustard Lemon Chicken

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5 Amber @ Busy, Bold, Blessed April 7, 2013 at 10:02 pm

Yum, so many tasty eats! Congrats on your auto purchase and Happy Birthday Derek!
Amber @ Busy, Bold, Blessed recently posted..April Whole30: Week 2 Meal Plan

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6 emily April 7, 2013 at 10:27 pm

Oh my gosh, I don’t know if I’m more jealous of the cheeses or the doughnuts! Happy early birthday to Derek!
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7 Maggie April 7, 2013 at 10:50 pm

Yay! New vehicles are awesome! Congrats. ๐Ÿ™‚

PS – I have food envy over that cheese…

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8 Mrs. Swan April 7, 2013 at 11:15 pm

What kind of SUV did you end up with? Those donuts look amazing.
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9 Courtney April 7, 2013 at 11:19 pm

Wow, that’s super exciting! ๐Ÿ™‚ Happy Birthday and congrats on the new Zoom Zoom!
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10 Liz April 8, 2013 at 12:52 am

Yay for a new car! What did you end up going with?

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11 Gina April 8, 2013 at 5:03 am

Wow, sounds like you had a great weekend! That cheese shop sounds awesome…I wish there was something like that around me.
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12 Kim @ Living, Laughing & Losing April 8, 2013 at 5:23 am

Happy Birthday to Derek and congrats on the new SUV! ๐Ÿ™‚
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13 Debbie B. April 8, 2013 at 6:09 am

First of all, happy birthday to Derek. You know how to celebrate in style. Cheese and wine with some shopping and donuts. Congratulations on the SUV. But what did you end up getting? The suspense is killing me. I see Nissan in the background but that wasn’t on your list…

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14 Kelly @ Running to Healthy April 8, 2013 at 6:40 am

Oh. My. Wow. The Cheese Shop and Datz both look amazing. I’m so glad I live in Tampa!! Have to put both of these on the list for the very near future. Thanks for the recs!!
Kelly @ Running to Healthy recently posted..The Military 3-Day Diet (Day 1 Review)

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15 Jan @ Sprouts n Squats April 8, 2013 at 6:48 am

Wow that Cheese Please place is like my dream come true! Love it!
Jan @ Sprouts n Squats recently posted..Marvelous in my Mondays #4

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16 Susie April 8, 2013 at 6:53 am

Happy birthday Derek! And congrats on the new car, very exciting weekend ๐Ÿ™‚
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17 Danielle @ itsaharleyyylife April 8, 2013 at 6:59 am

congrats on the car. those donuts look delicious! I would definitely try a bacon drink!
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18 Elizabeth @ Positive Change April 8, 2013 at 8:34 am

What a fun weekend!! Happy Birthday to Derek!
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19 Carly D. @ CarlyBananas April 8, 2013 at 8:43 am

Can’t wait to hear more details about the car. I’m in the same boat you were in before – I got a car right after college that has ZERO features because it was cheap…. no power windows or locks or…anything really. Now that I’m commuting a longer distance I want a new car but don’t want to go broke either. I know I’ll need to buy soon though… my car is almost 10 years old and it doesn’t have a lot of time left. I’m dreading it but also looking forward to the little things… like power locks and windows haha ๐Ÿ™‚
Carly D. @ CarlyBananas recently posted..Three Things… Monday Edition: All Moved!

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20 Karen @ Runner Girl Eats April 8, 2013 at 8:49 am

Congrats! I was so happy when car shopping was over. Also, I don’t even like doughnuts but those look incredible!
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21 Katie @ running4cupcakes April 8, 2013 at 9:08 am

oh my goodness – this post just kept getting better. . . cheese tasting, them doughnuts, then a new (to you) SUV! Awesome weekend. ๐Ÿ™‚
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22 Sarah @ Yogi in Action April 8, 2013 at 9:41 am

That cheese and wine tasting sounds AMAZING! I would be going every weekend if that place was open in my city. I’m not usually one for doughnuts- but those look truly amazing.

And congrats on the new SUV. Pictures?
Sarah @ Yogi in Action recently posted..Relaxing in the mountains

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23 Laura April 8, 2013 at 9:51 am

Do we get to see a picture? I’m surprised you didn’t post one! ๐Ÿ™‚

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24 Meghan @ After the Ivy League April 8, 2013 at 10:02 am

Those doughnuts from Dough look so amazing! Such great birthday eats for Derek, what a way to celebrate. And congrats on the new car!
Meghan @ After the Ivy League recently posted..Snow Shoeing, Tree Climbing, and a Near Moose Sighting

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25 Allison April 8, 2013 at 10:16 am

Not cool lady! Buying a new car and not telling us what you got! We wanna seeeeeeeee it! ๐Ÿ™‚
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26 Melissa @TryingtoHeal April 8, 2013 at 12:05 pm

Yay! I’m so happy for you two getting a new car together! And what better than on Derek’s birthday weekend, with those delicious looking donuts to boot! Glad you had a great weekend Megs!
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27 Sara @ Fitcupcaker April 8, 2013 at 12:29 pm

Wow those are the most amazing looking donuts
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28 Emily N April 8, 2013 at 2:24 pm

Glad you guys both love the new SUV. Soon you’ll be a two SUV household, I bet, just like J and I!
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29 Karen :0) April 8, 2013 at 3:04 pm

Sounds like a fun weekend!! Happy birthday to your husband! :0) Those doughnuts look and sound delicious!!

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30 Annette @FitnessPerks April 8, 2013 at 3:07 pm

Yay-congrats on the new purchase! Happy b-day to Derek!

p.s. LOVE cheese. That places looks amazing.
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31 Mary April 8, 2013 at 5:06 pm

Big happy birthday Derek! Birthdays should always be celebrated over a whole weekend/week!
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32 Beth April 8, 2013 at 5:42 pm

YAY! All of that. I have never heard of that cheese place so THANK YOU (I think! LOL!) And happy bday to Derek. And finally – I had the bacon latte! You’ll have to tell me what you think. I don’t want to tarnish your thoughts with my impressions. We should do a morning girls meet up there next week.
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33 BroccoliHut April 8, 2013 at 8:35 pm

A cheese tasting sounds like a perfect way to celebrate a birthday! Happy birthday to Derek!

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34 Victoria @ Reluctantly Skinny April 8, 2013 at 9:51 pm

Oh man, I wish there was a cheese tasting place near me! Sounds fabulous. Congrats on getting a new car. It is such a big accomplishment as a couple – we felt the same when we bought my car. It was the first financial decision we made together!
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35 Carli April 8, 2013 at 10:32 pm

How could any place called Cheese Please be bad? It pretty much says yummy in the name! It sounds great though.

Congrats on your new SUV. I’m sure you’ll love it as much as the Echo in no time.
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36 Sarah @ Making Thyme for Health April 9, 2013 at 12:39 am

Cheese Please looks like my kind of place! And those donuts? Holy yum! Plus an SUV? Sounds like a seriously good weekend. I just got my first new car a few weeks ago and it feels really good to own something that’s yours from the get go. Congrats!
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37 Ashley @ Eat Run Live Happy April 9, 2013 at 7:40 am

I want donuts now. Doh!! (yes Simpsons)
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38 Ashley April 9, 2013 at 10:26 am

That cheese place looks AWESOME.

Happy birthday to Derrek!

I keep taunting my boy about how he is about to celebrate his last birthday in his 20s, he doesn’t appreciate it, haha
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39 [email protected] April 9, 2013 at 7:27 pm

Onion Cheddar? AGH that sounds so good!!!
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40 Christian April 10, 2013 at 6:36 am

Culinary heaven! I’ve never tried crumbling cheese over a burger, just using a cheese slice. Sounds like you had an awesome (and very full) week!

Oh, an SUV means kids in the future! We traded in our Hyundai Accent for a Santa Fe, and BOOM, kids ๐Ÿ™‚
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41 IanW April 11, 2013 at 5:59 am

Wow 29 – so the last 8 years have flown by the sound of things. Glad you had such a great time. Cheese is one of my favorites too.
And a word of encouragement to continue to enjoy life to the full.
I will be 69 next birthday. Time just flies and seems to get faster as you get older. My theory is that a year becomes a smaller percentage of your life every year so they go more rapidly. So take care to pursue all your dreams while you can

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42 Crystal April 12, 2013 at 12:18 pm

I love this! I wish I had a cheese tasting room close to where I live. That’s right up my alley. What a fun birthday celebration. My husband’s birthday is on the 16th. Thanks for the inspiration!
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43 Caroline Calcote April 12, 2013 at 8:32 pm

Awesome! Congrats on the new car. I totally remember when Chad and I bought our first car together, also our first big purchase together as a married couple. We bought a new 1995 Pontiac Grand Am. That was a great little car, long gone now. I know I’m always “old lady” posting, but since then we have bought several more cars and a house…and closing on our second house in 2 1/2 weeks (after living in our first for 17 years). Finally moving on from our little “starter” house, haha. I love all of your newlywed stuff. Makes me so nostalgic.
Caroline Calcote recently posted..Family Favorite Series at The Tampa Theatre โ€“ The Princess Bride

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