Yes, friends, it’s true – today is my birthday! I’m 19 years old… ok really I’m 29. One year away from the big 3-0 and I couldn’t be happier. My life is full of wonderful friends and family. Work is coming in steadily. I am thrilled to finally be blogging and sharing my culinary ideas with all of you. I’m really feeling good about 2012 – so far it has been great and I look forward to discovering what the rest of the year will bring.
You might be wondering what the Starving Artist does for his birthday. My philosophy on birthdays is: if you don’t make a big deal about it, no one will. All of those who say “oh I don’t do anything, it’s whatever, etc, etc…” are fooling no one. I used to be that guy and it sucked. Who doesn’t want to feel special on the one day out of the year that is meant to be their special day? I say play the birthday card for all it’s worth. I’m no princess, but goddammit it’s my birthday! And let’s be honest, I’ll take any excuse to indulge. For me, that means doing exactly what I want to do, eating exactly what I want to eat, being surrounded by all the people I love, and, of course, birthday cake. For reasons that were out of my control, my birthday last year was a complete dumpster fire. I was sick, it was Easter Sunday, I was wandering around New York City by myself – I don’t even want to get into it. This year I am home in Los Angeles and I am making it totally awesome, Starving Artist style.
First, birthday cake. Ok, let’s just call it out: I love culinary projects, but there is no way in hell I am baking my own birthday cake. Clearly I can’t afford some custom ordered monstrosity, but I also refuse to have some pre-packaged cake someone picked off the shelf at Ralph’s. The starving artist is frugal, not cheap. My cake has to be chocolate on chocolate and there is only one bakery on earth that gets me excited about chocolate cake: Costco. Yes. You heard me right. The best chocolate cake you will ever encounter in your life is the All American Chocolate Cake from the Costco bakery. It’s five layers of the most divine chocolate cake covered in thick, rich chocolate frosting, the sides littered with dark chocolate shavings. It’s a chocolate-gasm. A giant, Costco-size stack of heaven that costs about $17 and will easily feed 15. I might buy two.
Second, I need a place to gather all my friends and share this cake. Usually when I want to gather people and be merry I throw a party, cook a bunch of food, and cram a ridiculous amount of people into my small apartment…. but, my birthday is the one day a year I don’t actually want to host. Yes, it’s nice not to have to cook, but more importantly I don’t want to have to limit the people I invite because of the size of my living space. Yes, I dream of the day where I host my legendary catered birthday parties at my palatial estate in Bel Air. I’ve flown in my family from across the country, 200 people in attendance, magnificent food…. but right now, I have to work with what I’ve got. I want my birthday to be an open event where everyone can come and go. I found a great deal at the The Village Idiot on Melrose. You can reserve their private room in back for no cost, no minimum purchase, and they will even provide plates and silverware for your cake. And it’s also just a great venue – lots of space, big beer and drink selection for those who want it, great food. The best part is they provide you a dedicated server who will check people out as you go, which means no horrible group check situation. Perfect.
So with those details taken care of, the rest of the day is up to me. Always I want beach and seafood on my bday, so I’ll be lunching at The Reel Inn on the PCH in Malibu. I actually had my bday party here one year. It’s the perfect venue – open outdoor seating, big long wooden tables, right on the beach, and it’s a counter set up, so everyone pays for themselves and gets a number. And come on, it’s a seafood shack. I’m a New England boy, it makes me feel right at home. Then I want to shop. Starving artist shop, of course: Nordstrom Rack, Buffalo Exchange, Crossroads Exchange. Very excited. And I’ll see what else the day will bring. Because, goddammit, it’s my birthday.
What’s your starving artist way of celebrating your birthday?