There have been some very stressful goings on in my life this June, which has kept me busy, exhausted and sad. Change is always hard. I was afraid that I was beginning to become depressed, but I slept a lot this Saturday and I feel so much better! Several people have commented that I am handling these stressful times better than I ever have before, which certainly makes me feel quite good and accomplished.
Another time that I was feeling good was my birthday celebrations in May. Early in the month, we had my family celebration and then towards the end, I had a party with my friends. Both events were a lot of fun and I definitely felt loved. This post is about my family celebration.
First, I had to look pretty! My mom took me birthday clothes shopping a few days earlier and we had bought this shirt and shoes. The shirt has a flowered lacy design, but it's hard to notice in this picture.
(shirt-Stein Mart?; leggings-Target?; shoes-Marshall's?)
I love these shoes! Peach seems to be the color of the season and these shoes actually go with a lot of my outfits. If you look closely, you'll notice that my ankles are not shaved. I'll get my legs waxed before going to the beach next month, but unless I'm wearing a bathing suit, I don't normally shave or wax my legs. I usually wax my legs, as it's better for my sensitive skin, but I just can't gather enough motivation or care to do so on a regular basis. So far, nobody has died of embarrassment.
You can see a little bit of the design on the shirt in this picture. My earrings are coca-cola bottle caps that I got at an arts festival a few years ago and the necklace was a present from my father. My hair is now shorter. I like my look-it is cool, comfortable, and fun.
The restaurant we went out to eat at is a new establishment called The Georgia Pine. I was excited, because it is a gastropub right here in metro Atlanta! Metro Atlanta, especially in my area of town, is known to mainly consist of chain restaurants, which makes for boring and mediocre eating options. Usually my family ends up going to Decatur or Atlanta in order to have a nice or unique meal. The Georgia Pine had just opened up three weeks prior and it is owned by the same people who opened another gastropub-like restaurant also in Lawrenceville, called Local Republic. Two hipster-catering restaurants in Lawrenceville? I am so happy!
It was sort of funny how I discovered The Georgia Pine. Here is the status that I posted on Facebook:
I need help! I'm trying to find a good place to eat near me in Lawrenceville for my birthday dinner. I want someplace that is not a chain, with really good food with some at least semi-healthy options. And with more options than beef burgers and boring salads. I found a place called Local Republic in downtown Lawrenceville that sounded promising, but their menu is mostly meat based burgers-no black bean or veggie ones and I'm not a big meat eater. Is there anything closer than Decatur that actually has good service and quality food?
My friends really came through for me! I got sixteen responses in all and when one friend mentioned a promising sounding restaurant and then another thought that it might be closed, one friend really impressed me by calling the restaurant and talking to the manager! I'm so glad she did, because that's how we found The Georgia Pine, which really was everything I was hoping for.
The Georgia Pine is a restaurant that uses many fresh, local ingredients. Here's what their website says:
We support the little guy, whether it’s right down the road or across the country. Every beer we tap is brewed in GA. Our food is regionally inspired and benefits from minimal manipulation of great ingredients. Almost all of our dishes are finished in the Woodstone oven. We strive to bring well crafted experiences to the table every time.
I ordered their ginger beer, because I had never had that before, but they accidentally gave me ginger ale instead.
I had never had that brand before, so I was still happy. Even so, we asked for a ginger beer also.
I liked them both, but I found I prefer the ginger beer. It is light with a crisp bite.
The staff was very friendly and our waitress recommended the Honey Pork & Greens sandwich, and since I love both pulled pork and greens I decided to take her advice!
"slow roasted brown sugar & honey pork, collards, & mustard on Cuban roll" Wow! This was one of the best sandwiches I've had in a long time! The greens and pulled pork were cooked to a juicy perfection and I was surprised at how light the sandwich was! I really don't like the way rich food makes me feel and I was a little afraid that this meal might be too rich, but it really wasn't. The cooks let the natural flavors of the greens and pork shine by not hiding it with fatback or barbecue sauce. My only complaint is that sometimes the mustard seemed a bit too strong, but that was only when I got just a bite of bread-when my mouth had the combination of greens, pork, mustard and roll I was in heaven! I also had grilled onions and okra. Okra is my favorite vegetable, so I had to get them as my side. I had never had them grilled before and they were delicious.
There was only one vegetarian entrée, besides the salads, but I would still recommend this restaurant. I went to their sister restaurant, Local Republic, a month later and while it was also good, I definitely like The Georgia Pine the best. It's quieter, with higher end food, in my opinion.
When we got home, we each had a slice of Pepperidge Farm's new Milano cake!
Isn't it pretty? Yum! We got it, because I had a coupon and I love Milano cookies. The only thing that makes the cake "Milano" is that it has crumbled cookie pieces on top. It's a white two-layer cake with chocolate buttercream frosting. Here's a hint: heat your slice for about five seconds in the microwave before eating. The cake is found in the frozen section of the grocery store and it tastes so much better when it is warmed up a little bit. The chocolate is rich and very satisfying.
I had a very enjoyable birthday dinner and dessert with my family and I am very happy that Lawrenceville seems to be getting more sophisticated. I also was very touched at the way my friends collaborated and researched to find me the kind of restaurant I wanted. Truly, myself and my stomach feel loved.