Wednesday, July 28, 2010

2 Birthdays, 1 Night

We met up with friends last weekend to celebrate Nick and Natalie's birthdays! Nick and Natalie are siblings and have a birthday that is almost one year to the date (she is 364 days younger than him). They usually have great combined birthday parties and this year was no different. About 30 of us met up at Maria Maria for dinner, then we headed off to a bar to finish the night.

Here is Nick and Natalie,,, having "Happy Birthday" sung to them. Nick is the guy on the right, doing the "Zoolander Face", and Natalie is the brunette in the picture (Magen, Nicks girlfriend is in the middle of them).

Nick, Chris, Jason and Jim... with Joe in the background

Jenn, me and Lindsay at dinner

Large group dinners scare me because it is always a nightmare when it comes to paying for the bill. Frequently the amounts that people pay and what is on the bill never match up which results in a huge headache trying to figure it out. HOWEVER, Maria Maria separated the bills for us (we asked before we even ordered if they could do it) so this big group dinner didn't have the stress at the end of the meal.

Maria Maria started off on the right foot... Chips were crispy, salsa was a nice garlic flavor (which I love) and the Mojitos were spot on tasty. Their Mojitos were almost as good as Jims, and that is saying a lot. I ordered the Carnitas (Slow baked adobo marinated pork shoulder, topped with cured red onions and cucumber, served with smoky black bean sauce and fresh tomatillo salsa verde) and Jim ordered the Chipotle Shrimp (Grilled Bacon wrapped shrimp stuffed with julienne Jalapinos & Poblanos peppers topped with White cheddar, swiss and Monterey cheeses served with Roasted Red Bell pepper butter).

Jim's dish was pretty darn good... a couple of the shrimps were halfway burned, but it wasn't so bad that we needed to send the dish back. He said his rice and beans were average, nothing that stood out. I was very hopeful for my Carnitas... I have been in a pork mood over the past few months and I am always on the look out for a good pork dish! I was so disappointed, The meat came out in chunks and it was very, very, very dry. The meat had a nice flavor and the cured red onions and cucumber helped give the meat a little moisture. Jim had left over roasted red bell pepper butter from his shrimp and I used it to help out the pork... which actually tasted pretty good, but then again what doesn't taste good when butter is added??? Plus my dish (for $16) was just the cast iron pan filled with meat and tortilla's and a small little ramekin full of black bean paste (hard to describe, it was so very smooth and had a nice flavor) and a tomatillo sauce.... there could have been a side of rice to help out the dish. Of course, if the meat had been stellar I couldn't be bitching about the lack of a side dish.

After dinner, we stayed and listened to the salsa band (very good, and fun!) for a bit while finishing up our drinks. Jim, me and Jason

We headed over to Speakeasy after dinner (I think the lower part of the bar has a new name, but can't remember what it is).

Lindsay, me, Tiffany, Erin, Vannessa and Jenn....
and John as a sneaky guy getting into the ladies photo

Looking down from the 2nd floor at the bar...

Tammy, Jenn, Charlie, Natalie's husband (DAMN, can't remember his name), some random dude in a white shirt making a "I'm tough" face, Nick, and John

Do you know why I love my friends?? It is because they are complete hams and will always pose for pictures :) Which is perfect for me!

Chris, John, Jim, Tammy, Matt and Vannessa

Nick, Natalie and Jason

And of course... the couple self portrait to end the post :)

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