I've had a history of some pretty sensational celebrations,
(last year my sister, two best friends, and all of their SOs came out to visit for a weekend of wine-tasting,
the year before that Stefan whisked me off to Verbier for a weekend of sensational Swiss skiing)
so Stefan had quite some work cut out for him to out-do himself this time around.
To add to his pressure, I have parents who completely spoil me (in the BEST possible way) with a plethora of perfect presents (think: 3-months unlimited yoga, a new KKF Tiffany's key chain, and 6-months laundry service - just to name a few).
Yesterday, however, Stefan totally hit the ball out of the park.
I was instructed to be home in our apartment at 7pm, "elegantly dressed" and ready for the night. There, Stefan was waiting with an apero - one of my most favorite Swiss traditions that has become a special event for the two of us whenever we can fit it in.
He had picked up the most delicious fresh bread along with some perfectly sliced prosciutto and two right-up-my-alley cheeses.
He popped some champagne...
We made cheers...
And then I opened some sensational presents from my fam...
Some stylish travel supplies from
my adorable little brother Sam
(who clearly has impeccable taste)
We then headed out to our mystery dinner locale - Stefan not sharing a peep. As he drove us in all sorts of misleading directions, he asked me what type of cuisine I was hoping for.
Not only do the French prepare the most decadent dishes, their restaurants tend to be the most romantic and cozy - perfect for a chilly, February birthday.
As luck would have it, Stefan had booked us a table at chapeau! - a little French secret in the Richmond, a neighborhood we had yet to explore. The place was packed (especially for a Tuesday night at 8:30pm) and they led us to a lovely table tucked between two other couples.
But Stefan knew we could do better.
He made fast friends with the French owner and head chef (who was charmed by Stefan's superior French skills - oh the joys of having a husband who speaks every language) who escorted us to the restaurant's best table.
The intimate round beauty where we could sit next to each other
in a luscious leather booth and spy on the rest of the restaurant
while we sipped our wine and ate our butter-laden bread
They had an option for a 3-course or 4-course meal so we opted for both (Stefan with the 3, me with the 4) and ordered a variety of different tantalizing options to share.
The meal started with a creamy cauliflower soup amuse-bouche.
A pan seared scallop with pesto risotto as a second.
Then a maple leaf farms duck breast and bouillabaisse for mains.
And then french toast with hazelnut ice cream and nuage de noix for dessert.
with a candle of course!
But that wasn't all Stefan had planned. He then whipped out my present:
An unassuming jar apparently used for making confit...
Filled with vouchers for all the weeks of a 12-week intensive cooking course!
For us to do TOGETHER!
Not only does the course teach you all the basics for getting around in the kitchen (knife skills, braising, roasting, sauces, etc), Week 12 is an Iron Chef Mystery Basket competition where you compete against your fellow classmates to see who has mastered the skills the most. I could not be more pumped.
Best. birthday. ever.