Sunday was Geoff's birthday so we had a whole weekend of celebration beginning with a birthday dinner with the Holtzes on Saturday night. Several years ago, Geoff mentioned the stuffed grape leaves (dolma) that his grandma made when he was younger. I decided to surprise him for his birthday that year with the dolma, but I got it very wrong - his grandma's recipe was all rice and I added ground beef and raisins. It was good, but not the food of his childhood. Over the past several years, I have refined my recipe (very similar to this one) and added a second dish - mititei - a super-garlicky sausage that I made with all local lamb this year and formed into meatballs.
I rounded out Geoff's traditional birthday dinner with some home-made ginger ale-based cocktails (way easier to make than you would think) and a pumpkin cake with whiskey-caramel sauce. The cake was good, but I'm never going to beat the three foot long guitar cake I made when he turned 30 (there was also less arm-wrestling than at that party). Wanting some sort of festive decoration for the birthday boy, I also made bunting from craft felt. Colorful and imminently reusable.
We had big plans on Sunday to go hiking in the Hill Country, but woke up to a rainy day with highs in the 30s and decided to watch movies on the couch instead. An easy, relaxing birthday.