It's official. My best friend Sheridan is a real grown-up now. That's what happens when you hit 30 (and I'm only a couple months behind her ... scary!). Technically, Sheridan's been 30 for a week now, but she went out of town with her boyfriend on her actual birthday. So all her friends gathered in Little Rock, Arkansas this weekend for a fancy birthday dinner at Ciao Baci, a sophisticated Italian joint located in a converted old house. Here's Sheridan making her birthday wish on some Strawberry Daquari Cupcakes that I made (more on that in a second):
Ciao Baci served this amazing bread before our food arrived. It's thinly-sliced Italian bread doused in olive oil and black pepper. And I do mean doused. I had to lick the olive oil off my fingers when I was done. It was so, so delicious.
As for entrees, Ciao Baci didn't have any vegan options on the menu aside from a salad or two. But they were more than happy to make me this Vegan Pizza:
The crust was out of this world. It was cracker-thin and hand-tossed. It had an olive oil base with eggplant, mushrooms, spinach, and tomatoes. Yum!
After dinner, I broke out the Strawberry Daquari Cupcakes, a recipe I tried from Claire Gosse's Are You Sure That's Vegan? — an lovely little vegan dessert cookbook:
Aren't they adorable? I shot these guys at my house before I left for Little Rock. I really wanted to capture the pinkness of the cake in good lighting. These little guys are made with real strawberry daquari mix and they're topped with coconut-buttercream. You can order Claire's book here.
As for presents, Sheridan got TWO awesome aprons. She actually asked our friend Brittany for an apron, and I also bought her one on a whim. I had no idea she'd asked for one from someone else. But a girl can't have too many aprons, right?
Brittany gave her this Kiss the Cook apron:
And I gave her this vintage number that I purchased at Muddy's Bake Shop in Memphis:
Muddy's — an adorable vegan-friendly bakery (I'll do a full post on this place soon!) — sells aprons that are handcrafted by local folks. A percent of the proceeds from this apron benefits birds in the Gulf.
Does this chick look 30? No way. I think we're aging pretty well. I love you, Sheridan! Happy birthday!