Monday, February 26, 2024

This is 38

Last year, I had a pretty rough birthday. With Matt completely occupied by the early days of drill school, we didn't have the time or capacity to do anything beyond the usual dinner-and-cake after the big day had already passed.
This year, he more than made up for it. Of course we still had cake and dinner, but we also took a weekend trip to Victoria, BC, and he coordinated the whole thing.

My birthday was on a Thursday this year, and Matt was on shift. So the next day, we brought Zoe over for dinner and cake at Scott and Robby's, then left her there on our way home.
Chocolate pistachio cake from Nuflours this year.
The next morning, we caught the Victoria Clipper at 8am. This little cruise takes you from Seattle to Victoria in three hours, with beautiful views of the Olympics and Cascades along the way.
We arrived in Victoria around 11am and walked to our hotel. Matt had booked us a pretty impressive two-bedroom suite walking distance from downtown Victoria. We expected not to be able to check-in so early, but wanted to leave our bags there so we could explore the city unencumbered. Luckily, our suite was ready for us! 
Matt splurged on nice seats so we had a beautiful view of the city as we arrived.
After a quick freshening-up, we walked to lunch. Matt had heard the sushi in Victoria is outstanding, so he chose a little place about 15 minutes from us. Honestly, this may have been the best sushi I've had in the PNW. The rolls were unique, super fresh, and everything was labeled gluten free. They even had gluten free soy sauce ready to go. Their green tea was really good too, full-bodied and aromatic.
Gozen Izakaya
After lunch, we walked to the Natural History Museum. Unfortunately, one of their galleries was closed as they prepared the next exhibit, but I really enjoyed the Old Town, New Approach exhibit that felt like walking through a portal into the year 1900.

After the museum, we were both pretty tired. We grabbed a coffee, took a quick detour to the firefighter memorial, and then went back to the hotel to rest.
I decided I was craving a really good steak, so we made last-minute reservations for dinner at The Keg. Dinner wasn't 'til 8:45, so we had a drink and appetizer in the hotel before walking over. It was worth the late hour – my sirloin Oscar was incredible and they comped our crème brulée for my birthday. I appreciated how many gluten free options they had, all clearly labeled.

The Clipper's return trip to Seattle boards at 4pm, so we had all day Sunday to explore Butchart Gardens. I scheduled high tea at the gardens because I'd heard the gluten free experience is amazing. We took the city bus (it took about an hour) and had about thirty minutes to explore before our tea time.
Overlooking the Sunken Garden.
Even though they weren't in bloom, the gardens were spectacular. I bet in summer they're breathtaking.
Tea was quite the experience. I chose a rose congou and Matt chose the Bachelor Button, which was a little like an Earl Grey. I had made our reservations with a note that one of us needed a gluten free menu. 
Well, I had expected the usual: a smaller menu than the usual with store-bought gluten free cookies or whatever. Instead, I was surprised that my tiered tray had all the exact same foods as Matt's, plus a little chocolate card with Happy Birthday written on it.
Even the starter trifle we were served was fully gluten free.
It was absolutely excellent. I couldn't finish everything and afterward I was so full! 
We finished our walk around the gardens, stopped by the gift shop so I could pick up the tea I'd had at lunch, then hopped on the bus for a ride down to the Butterfly Gardens. I don't care that they're more geared toward kids; seeing all the insects and butterflies and birds was so fun.

Then, we caught the bus back to Victoria, picked our bags up from the hotel, and got in line to board the Clipper. 
We arrived back in Seattle around 8pm, picked up Zoe, and made our way home. It was the perfect little getaway and a wonderful way to kickoff 38 years.


1 comment:

  1. What a wonderful way to celebrate, and you didn’t have to plan it yourself! Couldn’t be better.