I’m so happy to share the news.
We’re going to Paris!
It’s long been a hope of mine to return to my favorite city with my family — and two weeks from now we’re off.
So with Charlotte’s birthday weekend upon us this past week, there was lots of prep and research — plus a party that would get us all in the Paris spirit.
Saturday was the day we celebrated her 12th birthday en famille.
First up, breakfast of her choice from Jim and Patty’s on Fremont.
She couldn’t decide which pastry to get, so we got an assortment and shared them all: chocolate-cream cheese swirl muffin, New York coffee crumb cake, and a peach crisp pizza (with a short-dough crust).
All were so good (but the crisp may have been the best).
Then she had a theatre performance at Northwest Children’s Theater (they do such a great job!) and we surprised her with a bouquet post-show.
And then off to lunch at a place of her choosing.
She wanted Pine Street Market and to sample the charms of Ken’s Artisan Pizza.
They always do such a good job there on pizza (and I get to grab some of my favorite bread loaves there, too.)
For dessert, Wiz Bang Bar, of course.
This time she opted for a concrete with Salted Caramel Chocolate Soft Serve with homemade cookies and hot fudge mix blended in.
It was crazy rich and plenty big for us all to try.
Think of a concrete and Blizzards for Grownups (or gourmands).
Charlotte has become quite the steak lover, so there were grilled flat-irons and garlic bread for birthday dinner — plus a fresh-from-the-market tomato salad to balance the richness.
And then yesterday she enjoyed her big birthday party.
In light of our impending trip, we decided to make Paris Picnic the theme — and with temperatures in the mid-80’s, our front yard was the perfect place to set up a luxe dining spot.
I grabbed blankets, sheets, pillows, tables, benches and flowers from all around the house
and my crafty daughter brought out all the things she’d made for the party: homemade Pom-Poms and tassels, banners, party favors and even this hand-drawn Pin-the-Bow-on-the-Poodle game.
I love this poster so much; she saw this image somewhere on Pinterest and free-handedly drew a five foot long version of it.
Before you know it, her friends started to arrive.
There was a lot of catching up to do as these girls hadn’t all been together for a while.
The girls played Charades, opened presents — and then they enjoyed their feast.
I chose the mini Martinelli Apple Cider bottles because they look like mini-splits of Champagne.
I’d collected a number of my favorite French cheeses from both the farmers market and stores — plus breads from both Ken’s Artisan and Grand Central Bakery.
There was also lots of charcuterie and fruit, much of it from the PSU Farmers’ Market the day before.
My favorite part of the party was watching the girls breaking off large chunks of bread and experimenting with the different options available, and introducing the girls to one of my favorite combinations: baguette, French butter, wild honey and Maldon sea salt.
So simple and yet so swoonworthy.
Lastly, that Pin-the-Bow-on-the-Poodle Game.
And then Charlotte pulled together the rest of the party favors — including a sleeve of French macaroons for each girl to enjoy later with her family: salted caramel, apricot, strawberry, pistachio, vanilla and dark chocolate.
I think our Paris Picnic was a big hit — and an exciting preview for us of the trip ahead.
(I’m beyond excited to think of the picnics we’ll have there).
But one last thought before I sign off.
Yes, figs. Grab them and some of your favorite French melty cheese.
When you add them both to some sliced baguette (and drizzle some of that wild honey on top), you’re unlikely to eat anything better this week.
A bientot, mes amis!