I’ve been really fortunate the last few years to celebrate my birthday abroad – last year in Copenhagen, the two years previous in New York City – but with our upcoming trip to Japan, this year we kept it low key.
Because my mom was celebrating her birthday in Antwerp, of course we wanted to go out for dinner. I feel like over the years my parents have really gotten to know Antwerp the city, but not really Antwerp the province, which comprises of many smaller cities. For the birthday dinner we decided on Orso Pizzeria in Berchem. Berchem is most famous for its art nouveau style architecture. On our way to dinner we were able to look at all of the beautiful houses!
One tradition that started a few years back, is that when my mom is in town we go out for a class of champagne at Café Impérial. It doesn’t matter what time of year, we always go to celebrate. Café Impérial is a beautiful café located in the Paleis op de Meir, the former Antwerp residence of Napoleon Bonaparte. So fabulously French! And this time we were lucky enough to celebrate on my mom’s actual birthday!
Starting with the first cheese and working clockwise: Taleggio, Gorgonzola, Abbruzzo salami, ciabatta, rucola wrapped in Carpaccio with Parmesan and lemon, 2 types of assorted olives, and Prosciutto
In September 2013 Koen, Christina, and I celebrated my birthday in New York with an array of Italian specialities and Italian wines from Di Palo in Little Italy. Since we’ve returned to Antwerp I’ve found another Italian delicatessen, Il Pastaiolo, and we decided to have an Italian dinner, which turned into an Italian weekend – our eyes were bigger than our stomachs and we had a lot of food left over! So the next night Koen made pizza that we topped with all of the leftovers!
This was my parents’ last day in New York. We had to part after breakfast, because they had tickets for the afternoon matches at the US Open. So we grabbed breakfast sandwiches from a street vendor to eat in Bryant Park. Afterwards we visited the New York Public Library, then met up with Christine and had lunch at the first pizzeria in America. Day 4 is also the day we transitioned from staying in Midtown with my parents to Chinatown with Christina!
When I initially browsed the Sprouted Kitchen website, I bookmarked the Roasted Eggplant and Za’atar Pizza as a recipe I wanted to try. I love eggplant, onions, and herbs. Finding za’atar was impossible, but luckily on My New Roots there is a recipe to make your own. But even with the make your own, I didn’t have any sumac on hand, so I basically just added a lot of dried oregano and thyme over the tahini spread. I was a bit lazy and bought already made pizza bottoms, but the results were really delicious, especially with the fresh thyme sprinkled on top!