30 Flirty and Thriving

Here we are, approaching the "real" adulthood measurement. The oldest of 4 Fia gals is turning the big 3-0. While I know many find celebrating birthdays to be a waste and a bunch of hoo-ahh, I find that the world today is tough and when you can find a reason, any reason at all, to celebrate, I say you take it and run with it.

When mentioning to my parents that we would be celebrating and kind of celebrating BIG, since it is the BIG 3-0 birthday this year - my mom sort of looked at me and said, BIG 3-0?! It was not a big birthday when we turned that age, why is it now?

I stopped and thought about it for a moment. Well, because school and post-graduate school takes up more time, people are getting married later, financially it is more difficult to find a way in which to survive, I'm not entirely sure when and how this became a big one, but life is hard so why not celebrate the fact that you are approaching a new decade and this one might be a bit easier on you?!

I asked Fran what she wanted to do for her birthday, and I asked with a bit of hesitation seeing as how I know the BIG 2-5 was rough for her, I wasn't too sure how she was going to feel about this one, five years later.

Fran noted she really wanted something simple, nothing too big of crazy just very low-key so we will go with a nice dinner with good friends and enjoy yourselves. Fran chose Vientiane Cafe for a couple of reasons: 1. they are a cure intimate setting not too far from her home and 2. they are beyond accommodating to my food needs and I have never been sick here, not once and this has become my go-to for dinners out.

I worked with Vientiane to make reservations, not something they always take and off to the planning I went. I recruited the twin and baby sister to assist as well, because honestly, every event always is that much better when their thoughts and talents are also incorporated in.

I had asked the baby sister to help with the table decor and the twin to help with some party favors (old schooling it up!). We kept checking in with one another to ensure we had everything necessary and felt confident we were good to go. We arrived at the restaurant in advance to ensure we had plenty of time to setup and Vientiane was awesome about letting us come in and essentially take over the place. We moved tables, lit some additional lights, placed confetti on the table, etc...

The birthday princess arrived (that's right, we got her her very own tiara and had some little hair-clip tiaras for the rest of the ladies at the table). We managed to get everyone to sit down and start completing their best memory of Fran to be stored in a jar. The thought process behind this was that on any given day she is feeling shitty, she can pull out this jar of love and remember how special she is to each and every single person in her life.

Everyone sort of paired off and started reviewing the menu and asking what was good and who wanted to share which appetizer. My recommendations, everything is good here. The curry, I had only once in the past was not my favorite BUT still wasn't bad.

I knew I had to get the rice porridge, so that was settled but for my main meal I was indecisive. Mainly because I was going to rock one of the entrees and the waitress so kindly let me know that when making it gluten free, they are excluding their house-made soy sauce and adding in tamari. Which of course ,tamari will alter the taste a bit. Sort of flustered and feeling rushed, and only because we have 18 other orders that were waiting on my decision, I said, can you have the chef just surprise me with a gluten-free and vegan dish? That they did!

They brought out the Aw Lao with my favorite fluffy tofu.Not a dish that I would have selected for myself and definitely not on my top favorite, but I blame that on the damn rice porridge! That rice porridge is just amazing that and.....the famous king soup. When you start your Vientiane experience with these two dishes, it is really really hard to top them!

After taking my time to enjoy my dish, I circled around and asked everyone else what they enjoyed. The Panaeng curry (peanut based) looked and smelled amazing! I tried the gluten-free version of the pad thai and that was pretty awesome as well but the fried rice is also calling my name....argh! I need them to offer me a sampler plate one of these days!

The verdict is that all of the attendees, even those that were afraid of trying "Thai" cuisine, absolutely loved their dishes and even the twin loved her food when she was afraid she would HATE it.

Vientiane ,as always, you rock and we all know how picking I am out about food and eating out and while I sort of feel the Aw Lao and the Green Curry dishes have let me down, that rice porridge, king soup, Pho, and my desire to try more will keep coming back.



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