Monday, January 14, 2008

Birthday Mania, I'm a Cupcake Hero?!, & Europe!

Please head over to my new blog at TheUrbanHousewife.com, where you'll find this post & more!

After the madness of the Holidays, there's always one more day we celebrate in my household; my birthday! In years past, I've hid from this day, as I'm not fond of growing older, but recently I've decided to mask my distaste of aging with a party! As you know, I always like an excuse to gather people together & this was no exception.

I debated my birthday cake situation for weeks. Should I order one? Should I make my own? In the end, I went with an ice cream cake from local shop Maggie Mudd, purveyors of Muddslinger's vegan frozen desserts. The "cake" was an oreo-style cookie crumb crust & was topped with two types of ice cream of my choice, placed side by side. Death Squad; a combination of chocolate, peanut butter, marshmallow, fudge, peanuts, & brownie bits took up one side & Twisted; peanut butter ice cream with peanut butter & marshmallow swirls & peanut butter covered pretzels took up the other! It was rich, decadent, & the crumb crust was a perfect addition, although I must say the mix-ins were sparse, as many bites were only ice cream. I took advantage of the photo cake offering & threw my blog logo on there! I thought the birthday message of "Life Ain't Nothin' but Bitches and Money" would be written in fluffy pink frosting, but unfortunately they just digitally altered the file I sent. Overall, it was a good cake & a nice way to enjoy my birthday without laboring over my own celebratory dessert!

In addition to the cake, I pulled out one of my favorite treats; the chocolate fountain! While it may seem insane to own a chocolate fountain, I assure you, it's a delicious treat enjoyed at any party. Deep dark chocolate flowed as people drenched both sweet & savory items in it before consumption. Cherries, strawberries, pineapple, apples, rice krispie treats, pretzels, & of course, Candy Cane Joe Joe's were the items on display & I noticed some other salty treats, like chips, started to be dipped in as well! Bottom line? I love the chocolate fountain & don't have one ounce of regret that I bought it!

There was also non-dessert food there, surprise, surprise! A mini potluck occurred & we noshed on pita & hummus, chips & guacamole, crackers & creamy Sheese, & Ryan's popular dish; cream cheese with hot chili poured over the top! It was the first thing to go, as people ravenously scooped the dip up with chips.
I received amazing presents; gift cards to my favorite places, an adoption of a sheep named Sophie at Animal Place, Sweet & Sara marshmallows, Sheese, & Liz Lovely cookies, an adorable heart covered Jessie Steele apron I've had my eye on, & more! Ryan's gift surprised me most of all, as I never expected something so amazing, especially as we never exchange gifts for holidays. A 9 piece stainless steel All Clad Cookware sets is now in my possession & it is the most beautiful thing a girl with a love of cooking could ever ask for!! To end the night, I headed out dancing at one of my favorite clubs. I ran out to the dance floor with a major sugar buzz & while I probably looked like a maniac, it was a perfect end to my 27th birthday!

In a previous post about my Rich Chocolate Cupcakes topped with Mint Icing & Bittersweet Chocolate Dipped Candy Cane Joe Joe’s, I'd mentioned I may enter them in to the monthly Cupcake Hero contest. Well, I'm happy to say I entered them & I WON! December's entries were all fabulous & I was especially happy to see other vegan entries in the competition this time around. I was totally surprised to take home the title for December & it was a perfect way to wrap up my birthday!

In other news, Ryan & I are heading to Europe in March!
We'll fly in to Frankfurt on March 10th & spend just over 2 weeks traveling around; my birthday present to him. As of now, we plan to visit friends in London & check out Berlin, but we're looking for other destinations to explore. Recommendations on things to see, places to eat, cities to check out, ways to travel, inexpensive places to stay or if you have a place we could crash at for a few days, I'd love to know! Get in touch via email (melisser AT theurbanhousewife.com) or leave a comment.

49 comments:

Vegan_Noodle said...

Happy Birthday Melisser!! Sounds and looks like it was a good one (birthdays seem to get less and less interesting to me since 23 or so...). That cake looks awesome! And since I know how yummy maggie mudd ice cream is (thanks to your recommendation)... that makes it even better.
Ohhh, I am so jealous of the all clad pots, what a sweet gift. And congrats on winning the contest! How awesome.
Also, I spent some time in europe on a budget (loved both berlin and london)... I'd be happy to email you some recommendations (probably not till the weekend sine we have company this week). What a fun trip!!

Jenny Wren said...

If I owned a chocolate fountain I would have a party everyday! Happy Birthday, and congratulations on being a cupcake hero.

whitneybee said...

Happy Birthday, lady! Sounds like it was fab-u-lous!

Traci Anne said...

So just when I thought the cake was the, er, icing on the cake, the rest of the entry just keeps getting better and better!! Happy birthday!!!!

Also, if you find a scrappy lookin' girl with a Texas accent on your front step demanding for chocolate from the fountain... erm, yeah. I'm just sayin' :)

Cakespy said...

Intense, extreme pleasure overload. I read about Maggie Mudd on Dailycandy a while back, but their writeup did not show the awesomeness as nicely as your post! As a bonus, LOVE the pic of the cut cake--reminds me of Damien Hirst (sp?) artwork.

porcalina said...

WOW - 9 Piece set? Ryan rules!! Enjoy :)

shaun.marie said...

happy birthday - and what a fun cake! the chocolate fountain is a good time - a friend of mine opened a chocolate fountain catering business, and made gobs of money. i think there is a vegan need out there!

Kittee said...

hey melisser!
happy 27th!! it looks like you had a fabulous party! i've been to parties with chocolate fountains before, but of course the chocolate's never been vegan. i wish we lived closer, so i could've helped you celebrate. congrats on the baking competition, too. lots of love!

xo
kittee

Liz² said...

good luck on your trip! and happy birthday! (and I can't believe you own a chocolate fountain, that like owning a cupcake tower except like a zillion times more amazing)

mel said...

Happy birthday again! I love you that own a chocolate fountain.

reiskeks said...

Happy Birthday :)

As for some vegan friendly addresses in Berlin:

1. Vegan Food (mostly organic, full assortment of Sheese and Cheezly) - Veni, Vidi, Vegi, Pucklerstr. 32, 10997 Berlin [Kreuzberg], Mo.-Fr. 12.00-19.00, Sat. 10.00-16.00; they speak English.

2. Vegan burgers, french fires, vegan muffins etc... (those are real vegans working there, so you will always get sunny smiles asking for the vegan options, everything is clearly labeled and does not contain ANY hidden ingredients, certified organic, they have also take out vegan burgers and cold cuts) - Yellow Sunshine, Wiener Strasse 19, Berlin 10999 [Kreuzberg], Sun.-Thu. 12.00-24.00, Fr.+Sat. 12.00-01.00; they speak English.

3. Vegan food and take out (mostly organic) - Hans Wurst, Dunckerstrasse 2a, Berlin Prenzlauerberg, weekdays 12:00-00:00, weekend from 11:00 to open end, Monday closed.

4. Vegan cakes, take out and catering - Maja's Deli, Pappelallee 11, 10437 Berlin, Mo.-Sat. 12.00-19.00.

5. Vegan ice cream (very very good, but they do not label it really well, so better ask which one is vegan, there are some friendly vegans working there) - Tanne B. Eissalon, Eisenbahnstr. 48, 19997 Berlin [Kreuzberg], summer: every day 10.00-22.00 (or longer if the weather is good), winter: every day 10.00-20.00; some of the staff speaks English.

6. More infos on vegan cafes and restaurants and shops in Berlin (German only) - Veganleben.info.

I hope this helps a little. And a small warning: most elderly Germans do not speak any English and some of them would not even try to learn it (they do not like it). Some younger people are anti English too. But alternative guys (punks, hippies and other "weirdos" like me for example :)), and especially vegans, speak most likely fluently English.

You can always rely on health food stores (called Bioladen) to buy vegan foods and the staffs speak English usually. Sadly, no one of them sells vegan cheese so far...

bittersweetblog said...

Happy birthday, and congrats on winning cupcake hero!! I saw that announcement and got so excited- Win one for the vegans!

And that ice cream cake sounds like a sugar rush on a plate. I love the whole idea, and the icon on top just makes it perfect.

Anyway, I for one will miss you dearly while your off having fun in Europe, but I hope that you have a great time.

VeganFabulous said...

Awesome cake, and awesome birthday! Capricorns rock! (my bday is Jan 10th)!!!

eatersregret said...

Wow your party food sounds soooo good! Chips in chocolate is a great concept - have you tried hot popcorn with minstrels mixed in :)

My byfrnd got me a chocolate foundue set for christmas, I can't wait to fire it up - diptastic!

Rural Vegan said...

Happy birthday! Your cake looks amazing and it sounds like you got a ton of great loot!

VeggieGirl said...

ahhh, happy birthday, Melisser!! all of your presents, the chocolate fountain, ice cream cake (Maggie Mudd! yum!), your cupcake hero designation, and the excitement of your upcoming trip (I LOVE Europe), make for a perfect celebration :0)

Rage And Love said...

Happy Birthday to you! I'm glad that you had a great time for your special day, and I totally understand the feeling and dread of becoming older (!)...my friend just turned 20...20! She left her teens!
That's so awesome that you're going to Europe! Hope you have loads of fun!

vegetalion said...

HAPPY BIRTHDAY! Your cake looks gorgeous, tasty, and hilarious (bitches and money? awesome). And I'm SO jealous of your guests - what an amazing spread! (I have secretly always wanted a chocolate fountain)

Ashasarala said...

Happy Birthday! Your b-day sounded amazing and the gifts sound even better. :)

And Europe? How exciting! I can't wait to hear all about it.

urban vegan said...

Happy, happy b'day! What an adorable photo of you stabbing int that awesome pirate-y cake.

the pleasantly plump vegan said...

Happy Birthday! I use to dread my birthdays but I've made peace with getting older. I love the birthday pictures! that cake and the chocolate fountain look so freakin' good. chips drenched in dark chocolate sounds pretty amazing to me.

Gigi said...

Happy Birthday Melisser! Have a fantastic vacation.

A said...

http://blog.isecard.com/iseblog/

a blogger (normally 'this fish needs a bicycle') took on her own european adventure. and came out with an additional blog (linked)telling of wonderful places to stay and eat, as well as what to avoid.

definitely check it out, and happy birthday!

pavotrouge said...

happy birthday!

make sure to check out Vienna. It's a beautiful city and somewhat of continental Europe's vegan capital!

VeganFabulous said...

I also wanted to mention that picture of you with the cake and knife is so rad.

blythou said...

Happy belated b-day, Melisser !

Wanna crash for a couple of days on our airbed in Paris ? You'll be welcomed and treated as royalties... And we're vegeterians, so I'm sure we'll be able to find plenty of tofu for you two ;-)

ChocolateCoveredVegan said...

Oh my gosh, CONGRATULATIONS on winning the cupcake contest! That's awesome :o).

And happy birthday, too. I think you made the right decision about the cake-- if I lived near Maggie Mudd, I'd definitely order from them.

Jennifer R. said...

YOUR SKULL cake is super cute.....! love your blog, we should link up. let me know and i'll add ya. : )

all the best,

Jen Ramos
'100% Recycled DESIGNER Cards'
www.madebygirl.com

jess (of Get Sconed!) said...

Happy Birfday!!!!!!!

That cake blows my mind. I love the logo on it. Of course, I'm very jealous of the European travels...but get your butt to pdx already so we can go to nutshell!

Tina said...

Happy birthday (late), I saw your post about this over at the PPK. Sounds like you got some awesome gifts for your birthday. A Jesse Steel apron is on my wishlist, they're so cute! When you visit Europe you should definitely come to Sweden! Stockholm is gorgeous :)

the little one said...

Congrats on cupcake hero! Happy birthday. Europe should be so much fun. I'll look forward to hearing about your itinerary.

Seitan Wörshipper said...

Wow! Happy bithday!! That cake rule`s! That decoration with skull-logo is awesome, and combination of white and pink work`s really good.. Your birthday foods looks all great, hope you had nice parties!

Nice to hear you`re going to touring over Europe.. I live in Finland, so I maybe recomended to visit in Helsinki or Tampere.. Helsinki is nice,lively and allso the capital of Finland. There you find some interesting museums, green-parks and other famous atractions like historical buildings etc. There is also some nice restaurants where vegan can eat good meal. I recomended those ethnic indian and Nepalese places and also there finds some nice chinese restaurants. There is only handfull of full-vegetarian restaurants:
Zucchini is nice,cozy and quite cheap and popular lunch-time vegetarian place where you can allways got the vegan lunch if you just ask for the staff. Open Mon-Fri 11am-4pm, closed the month of July.

Silvoplee is my favourite:they serve rawfood,different sallads,warm foods and some sides like seasoned rice,splet sallad etc. in that buffet tabble. Also wery good raw-cakes and smoothies,organic tea and coffee. Take what you want, and pay for the food by weight, but because of that that can be little expensive place to eat big portions. But exellent!
Open Mon-Fri 11-18, Sat 12-18, closed Sunday and all July.

If you want only some quick and cheap snack/fast food-style meal you must go to Vegemesta:Little,take away-style place. Menu features veggie burgers with soy, tofu, and hemp. Also has vegan schnitzel, fried potatoes with Thai nuggest, daily meals, and more. Mostly vegan except the soya burger which contains egg. Free wi-fi internet access. Open Mon-Thur 14-20, Fri-Sat 12-24, Sun 12-18.

If you want to know more, just put message in my blog!

There is some nice healthfood/organic stores where to shop some speciall vegan items but also "normal", medium-sized and bigger markets are almost all selling nice wariety of different vegan products. There is also one new, full vegan market opened before christmas! Asoka is small, cheapish place where you can shop vegan-specailities in side with those everyday-conumed foodies.
Adress is Torkkelinkatu 3(in Kallio, near by vegemesta and central of Helsinki).

textual bulldog said...

Holy CRAP that cake is AWESOME TO BEHOLD. And don't you ever let the haters make you feel like you have to defend your chocolate fountain! :)

I lived in Berlin for 3 months awhile back, and the main piece of vegan advice I have is: falafel, falafel, falafel. And don't forget to try the fries with curry ketchup from a stand at 3am after a long night of clubbing. I remember getting some really good ones from a place near the bar Tacheles, which I'm sure you'll hit up if you're there. It's famous bar in an old bombed out building from WWII. The clubs in Berlin are crazy. There's one that you crawl through a muddy tunnel to get to.

I stayed at a couple of hotels for a few days when I first got to Berlin, before I moved into my apartment. Both hotels were what they call "art hotels" and were totally fun. One was a tiny B&B that I forget the name of, but the other was this one: http://www.luise-berlin.com/
I remember both being pretty affordable (although the one I can't remember the name of was much cheaper than the one I just gave you the website for). Just get a good guidebook to Berlin like the Time Out city guide and it'll cover all this stuff. I love Berlin so much. You're gonna have so much fun!

bazu said...

Yay, cupcake hero!
And yay, Europe in March! Are you SURE you don't want to hit Paris........? =)

Melisser; the Urban Housewife said...

Amanda- I would love some Europe budget tips! Thanks so much!

traci anne- C'mon over! We'll order another cake!

Jessie- Come to SF & we'll Mudd together.

porcalina- Thank you! He's a keeper!

Kittee- Thank you! I am determined to have a Kittee Kake some time in my life. I may have to come spend a birthday with you; I'll bring the fountain!

reiskeks- THANK YOU! You are AWESOME & totally named places I didn't know about yet. (woo, ice cream!)

eatersregret- I don't know if minstrels are vegan, but choco-popcorn sounds great!

VeggieGirl- It's so true! Thank you.

vegetalion- Thanks! You should totally get a fountain! haha.

A- Thank you for the link!

blythou- I wish wish wish we had time for Paris! *sigh*

jess- I will be there in May!! Get ready for me! woooo.

Seitan Wörshipper- Thank you for the great information on Helsinki! It sounds like I need to pay a visit to it soon!

textual bulldog- Mmm, falafel! I have no doubts I will eat it often. The curry ketchup sounds awesome too! I'll have to check out Tacheles & I'd love to know the names of any other cool clubs as well! Thanks for the info!

bazu- You KNOW I do, but I can't this time around. ugh!
Jenny Wren, Whitney, shawn.marie, Liz², Mel, Hannah, VegFab, Rural Vegan, Rage&Love, Ashasarala, urbanvegan, PPvegan, gigi, pavotrouge, CCvegan, Tina, thelittleone- Thank you so much for the birthday wishes!

Mini said...

I know the

Natur Bar« in Frankfurt/Main
Restaurant
Oeder Weg 26
60318 Frankfurt/Main (Nordend)

I wasn't there but a friend of mine told me about it. And you should visit Hamburg it's such a beautiful city!

Have fun in Germany!

Melisser; the Urban Housewife said...

Thank you Mini!

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