Birthday at The Melting Pot

Going out for my 30th birthday first started out with the question of what to wear. I took the approach that I learned worked best for my bachelorette party and showed up at Marshall's looking to spend about $20 and find something appropriate. I was looking for something that said "Hey, I am here to have fun, but I know it is not 21 that I am turning!" After finding that and checking out, I ran into Albany celebrity Erin Harkes who sang our first dance at our wedding. She is a great woman. I couldn't love her more. Anyways, here I model my 30th birthday party outfit for you:

Those heels I have only wore before down the aisle of my friend's wedding (we switched to flip flops not long after) and to my bachelorette party. Living in NYC for almost 5 years ballet flats became my go to for everything, but this seemed like an occasion for heels! Unfortunately, walking around Crossgates Mall in high heels turned out to be less than ideal. I did buy some great things with my birthday gift card from J. Crew - this skirt that belongs in a museum filed under "Impressionists" and a purple cardigan to go with it. I also got a very cool navy blue with red polka dot pencil skirt from H&M. Then we headed to The Melting Pot.

They were swamped so we waited for our reservations at the bar. We enjoyed martinis with jalapeno and garlic stuffed olives.

Apparently my husband had signed up for the "Birthday package". This included balloons at the table, a box of chocolates to take home, and a photo of us they took, printed out, and framed for us to take home. He said maybe it was cheesy or a rip-off, but I said no - totally worth it!

We went with the Big Night Out America which is their current special (apparently the Big Night Out changes theme every six months). So we started with the Wisconsin cheese, which had Boston lager, scallions, bacon, mustard, and tabasco. It was amazing. I also got the beer pairings for each course so this one came with Sam Adams.

Then we had salads. I had the one that went with the special - the iceberg wedge with peppercorn ranch paired with a flight of Sierra Nevada pale ale. My husband substituted in the spinach salad with mushrooms and a shallot bacon vinaigrette.

Then we went with the "coq au vin" cooking style. It seems pretty healthy and the burgundy wine gives it a nice full flavor. We went with what came with the "Big Night Out America", which included steak, buffalo chicken, BBQ pork, mushroom pasta purses, and a lobster tail. Beer pairing was Stone IPA.

I love all the sauces they give you, but two of my favorites are the yogurt based curry and the "Green Goddess" (which has cream cheese and chives I think).

Then - of course - dessert! I was on the phone with my mother-in-law thanking her for the J.Crew gift card and describing my awesome floral pencil skirt, so my husband went ahead and ordered Bailey's mixed with white chocolate. You get all these dippers like red velvet cake, cheesecake, Rice Krispie treats, strawberries, and bananas. Beer pairing was Guiness.

All in all, what a great cozy spot. I went on and on about the writing club my friends and I started and how I want to be the next Ann Brashares or Janelle Brown. As you can probably tell from the photos, the lighting is really dark, which makes it a great place for couples (she said they were insanely jammed on Valentine's Day).

Then we were supposed to meet a friend of ours for drinks from NYC, but we didn't get a hold of her. It was actually a blessing we thought we were going out with her, because if we hadn't have thought that we probably would have just come home and I would have read a book and he would have watched hockey. I sent out a few text messages "Want to meet us at The Point in 15 minutes?" And our friends did - plus we got a ride out of it from our friend's boyfriend who had people over and wasn't joining us. In a world where we usually ask people if they want to come over for dinner in three weeks, and they write it on their calendar, there was something really fun about the spontaneity. It must be said that we have great friends. I literally knew one person when we moved here, and a couple people my husband was friends with in Seattle moved here at the same time we did. the book MWF seeks BFF pretty much consistently defines "good friends" as those you can invite to things last minute. We know such smart and interesting people. Also, the tables at The Point are big enough and there are enough of them to accommodate multiple large groups (which is really something you cannot say about all drinking establishments in Albany). My friend bought me a Blue Moon (which my husband makes fun of, but I like). My husband bought me the "About Thyme" cocktail which has thyme, lemonade, cucumbers, and Hendrick's. I've had it before, and it is very good. Anyways, more talk of the writing club, HelloGiggles, and all around a great time.

I went to sleep feeling very happy. From my hilarious parents waking me up with a phone call, to all the great birthday cards I got, the text messages from my bridesmaids and boss, the great presents from my husband, and the enormous amount of Facebook messages - it was all very, very sweet. I loved dinner at The Melting Pot. I also felt more than anything really grateful for all the people in my life, and the life we have put together in this city.


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