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I grew up loving my birthday. Every year I would plan out which restaurant I would have my birthday dinner at and what kind of dessert I would make. Every year I always stumble upon unique recipes near my birthday that I really want to try out so why not bake them and taste test them with my family? I tell myself that if I don't see a recipe that intrigues me that I will buy a cake that year but awesome recipes never fail to pop up around December.

This year I was scrolling through my Instagram and saw that (aka Robyn Holland) posted her Salted Honey Custard Tart and I was INTRIGUED to say the least. I read the whole post and knew that even though it wasn't a cake it was going to be my birthday tart.

The crust is made out of almonds, oats, and olive oil. The custard has honey and flakey sea salt and lastly its topped with fresh whip and raspberries. Doesn't that just sound dreamy! Well, it was! It was THE FREAKING BOMB. The flavor combination was perfect. I would add on more raspberries and maybe one more egg yolk to tighten up the custard a bit more but my god, its really got a good flavor combination.

I made my tart the night before my birthday. I had just gotten home from a dinner with a friend that went a little south. I don't ever drink but since we were celebrating my birthday I decided that having one drink was okay. My friend on the other hand wanted to get another drink out of me and boy oh boy did it come out of me.

We had some cheese dip just to snack on while we had our drinks and not even half way done with my drink I get dizzy and walk over to the bathroom. I asked to cut the line but the woman in front me "really had to go" and I kid you not 10 seconds after she went in I puked. I puked right in front of the bathroom. It was gross, it was embarrassing, and it's one memory I will never forget. Even if i wanted to forget my friend will never let me and honestly she shouldn't. I think its pretty funny. Gross but definitely a good story. Everyone was so nice to me about it and I learned a lot that day. I learned not to mix drinks, drink loads of water, and eat before drinking. LESSONS TOTALLY LEARNED.

Fast forward to the next day I woke up to all the sweetest birthday messages from family members, old friends, and new ones too. I had no plans planned but another friend messaged me to go out and we went to champs dinner for lunch.

Champs Dinner is a vegan dinner in Brooklyn that I highly recommend you check out. If you're vegan you will absolutely love it and if you're not I promise that you will not miss the meat. But if you must go for vegan meat go for the seitan options. Tempeh is not my thing and will never be. Weird texture, bitter taste, and just looks plain weird.

As for everything else... Go buck wild! Especially the appetizers. The mozzarella sticks were the freaking best. I mean look at this cheese pull!

They were so good we had to ask our waitress what they are made out of. She told us they were made out of coconut oil and they get their cheese from a brand called Violife which is available at Whole Foods. After we watched a screening of the movie Elf we headed back to the city and stopped into the Union Square Whole Foods to grab some groceries and a package of Violife cheddar cheese slices! Champs Diner has clearly changed the vegan cheese game for the both of us.

Also vegan tofu eggs are DAMN GOOD! Dude, I don't know what came over me but I always thought that tofu has too strong of a flavor to be made into a good believable substitute for scrambled eggs and on that fateful day I was proven totally wrong. They were light, fluffy, seasoned well, and had the perfect texture to replicated scrambled eggs. And the best part is that I couldn't even taste or smell the tofu. I was in awe of the tofu scrambled eggs and now I want to attempt to make my own tofu eggs!

For dinner I met up with my family for dinner at Raku. It is a great udon place in soho. The udon noodles are super fresh, have a good chew, and are light despite their size. I got the sansei udon and the mushroom tempura in the soup was such a star. The tempura coating soaks up the broth and something extraordinary happens when you taste the two together. The appetizers here were also top notch. I would recommend the agedashi tofu, yaki nasu (eggplant), tako sumiso (octopus), and washugyu tataki (beef).

And to sum up my night of food, fun, laughter, and love I posted this on my instastory....

Still hungry, Alex.

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My favorite appliances that help me create all my recipes! 
Cusinart: It was a birthday present I got that I use all the time to make doughs, smoothies, sauces, & during the holiday it has a permenant place on my counter 
Cast Iron: Comes pre seasoned, ready to use after a quick wash and makes some great eggs in the morning! Along with searing meats, toasting bread, & you can't forget corn bread!
Kitchen Aid: Literally a bakers best friend. It comes with a glass bowl so taking photos is a blast. Its really an investment but one worth making!

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