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Posted on Dec 12, 2011 in Dear Diary, Food | 20 comments

Birthdays, Birthdays, Everywhere!

This weekend was chockfull of birthday celebrations. Well, two of them, at any rate, and both on the same night! Saturday night my family went out to dinner for my brother‘s big ol’ 2-8, and afterward I met up with Sarah to celebrate hers!

You better believe we got in some family portrait-taking too.

And yep, there you have the big reveal of my self-haircut maybe-mistake. I say “maybe” because I still haven’t decided if the bangs are terribly fashionable or just terrible.

I’ll let you all be the jury on the hair though. Sidenote: I finally got Instagram! Be my friend!

Maybe I’ll get used to the bangs after another drink?

Anyway, back to dinner. The meal was really fantastic, with a small, unfortunate coda that we’ll touch on later. We went to J. Gilbert’s, a steakhouse in McLean. I had been there only once before (during Lent for a work lunch), and had a less-than-thrilling experience (mostly entirely due to the fact that I had gone vegan for Lent, and was, y’know, at a steakhouse.)

To start, we got a bunch of appetizers to share! There was an unpictured order of calamari, the above tuna, avocado, and mango dish (AMAZING), and these awesome pretzel-crusted onion rings:

For my main dish, I got a surf-and-turf combo that included a perfectly cooked piece of filet mignon and a crabcake.

My sides were mushroom risotto and roasted asparagus, which was delicious, though skimpy. I only got like, 4 pieces of super skinny asparagus!

Ah well, let’s be honest, this plate wasn’t about really about the asparagus. The steak was cooked absolutely perfectly, and the risotto? Omgah. I die.

After dinner, the family headed back home for cake and presents. I’ll have more deets on the awesome cake (double layer! Homemade icing!) that I baked in Thursday’s post (Ben’s actual birthday!) After the festivities subsided for birthday number one, it was time for me to head out again!

Happy actual birthday today, Sarah!

I joined Sarah and her friends at Vermilion, a very nice restaurant in Old Town Alexandria for dinner #2. Well, if you can call another glass of sparkling wine dinner, since I was still too full of steak, cake, and deliciousness to eat anything else. Other than the itsy-bitsy amuse-bouche that we were all served, that is.

I love tiny food.

I had a great time at both birthday celebrations! Unfortunately, my night didn’t end on such a high note. I got food poisoning from something I ate (through deductive reasoning we figured it was probably the crabcake, unfortunately) and my delicious dinner did not… stay with me. Hehe, ew. Needless to say, it was awful. Even after I stopped being actively sick, Sunday was pretty iffy for me. I’m feeling much better now, though I still feel a little bit “off” digestively. I’m planning on limiting my dairy and meat for the next day or so, and hopefully that’ll set me back on the right track. In the meantime, at least I have an excuse to eat more carbs? Hahaha.

Does getting sick after a meal turn you off of a restaurant completely? I keep thinking that I should feel more put off at the thought of eating at J. Gilbert’s again, or be put off of crabcakes in general, but honestly, the meal was so good that I don’t feel that way. I would definitely go back, and I will probably have crabcakes again in my future, just… maybe not the crabcake AT J. Gilbert’s, eh?


  1. I like the bangs! You pull them off so well which makes me extremely jealous. I look so odd with them and all I want is to have bangs like Zooey Deschanel.

    • Boo barfing indeed! We WILL have our shopping date yet, I’m sorry about, you know, getting all barfy this weekend.

  2. Love the bangs. I had them for a while this past year and finally decided to grow them out again. My main problem is they are kind of high maintenance…for me, at least. But they look super cute on you!

    I think food poisoning is just a fact of life. Sometimes it’ll happen, it’ll suck. But it was just one little freakish colony that made it past the cooking safeguards. Doesn’t happen all that often. So, it doesn’t turn me off of the foods that gave me it. I got it from bad tofu once, oh man. But, I still eat tofu! However, good thing you didn’t do the Jingle All the Way 8k on Sunday morning!!

    • They are high maintenance… if you actually do the proper upkeep. My problem is that I never bother to upkeep any kind of hairstyle, really. I just let it grow until I get bored, and then I cut it and it always ends up looking different, hahaha. But yes! In the end it’s probably good I didn’t sign up for the race!

  3. I like the bangs, too. I can’t pull of bangs because I have a cowlick, and they stick up on one side. But very cute on you!!
    I have to say- it’s very hard to get good-lookin’ photos in a dimly lit restaurant- but yours look fantastic!
    As for getting sick after eating somewhere, I don’t think I could go back. I would just always link the two together, and that would be a turn-off from eating there again.

  4. If I get sick from something at a restaurant, I’m always a little scared to go back because it’s instantly what I associate the restaurant with. Luckily I’ve only had this happen a couple of times.

    I need them to release instagram for Droid. It’s awesome.

  5. i like the bangs 🙂 i look 12 with them so i can’t carry them off! i’m sorry you got food poisoning but i’m glad you don’t think it’ll turn you off from the restaurant since, as you said, it was very tasty!

  6. I have a list of foods that I just can’t eat again after having gotten sick from eating them or just being sick and associating the sickness with the food. Like when I was a kid and had Captain Crunch for the first time I also had the flu and so I was really sick for days (at least in my childhood memory) after eating that cereal. I haven’t eaten it since.

    I like the bangs! I’m often tempted to do some long, swoopy bangs but I’m too impatient with my hair to try to suffer through them growing back in.

  7. Annnnnnd now I want to go to J Gillys. Amazing food. How fun! I hope we can run into each other in FC sometime! xo

  8. 1) I love the bangs.
    2) I tend to shy away from food after I get food poisoning, but I’ve never really got food poisoning at a nice restaurant. My mom and I ended up hospitalized from salmonella from KFC and I’ve never been back there. But that’s not really a big loss.

  9. Gretchen you look great! You always do.

    I love thai food, I mean LOOOVVVVVVVVVVEEEEEE Thai food. If I got sick after eating chicken pad thai, I would probably give it up for good. Just thinking about it makes me want to gag a little. lol

  10. I love the bangs on ya. Everything looks delicious, but ugh to getting sick. I hate being sick. 🙁 Hope your feeling a lot better now. ps. what’s your instagram name?

  11. Over Halloween weekend I had tacos from taco bell. I was sick for DAYS! Then I got dehydrated. It. Was. Awful. The worst feeling I’ve ever felt – even worse than the worst hangover. I will never go there again.

  12. Food poisoning is the absolute worst!! I had a really bad case (as in I should have gone to the hospital) about a month or two after Matt and I started dating…let’s just say that was one way to break down any kind of boundary problems. It was NOT pretty. I’m glad to hear you’re feeling better, though, and hanging in there. (I think that means you get extra cuddle time with Harry and Daxter.) It’s always a bummer when something that tasted so good makes you sick…that happened to me once after a meal at Rasika, but I have continued to go back since!

  13. I once got sick after eating at Jimmy John’s in Harrisonburg and I absolutely refuse to eat there ever again. It happened the second time I ate there and the first time I ate there I wasn’t too fond of it anyway. But I let a friend talk me into ordering food from there at 3 AM and seven hours later I started throwing up and didn’t stop for a good 12 hours…Yuck! SO yes it does turn me off from a restaurant/establishment!

    Glad you are feeling better!


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