Steven's 28th Birthday Celebration

March 7th marked the 28th birthday of my incredible boyfriend Steven. He and I have been through a lot since his last birthday celebration and he has grown so much since. He has continued to excel in his workplace interviewing potential new employees and mentoring interns and newcomers, taken on multiple ambitious hobbies and coding-related projects, and continued to maintain strong bonds with his family and friends. I couldn't ask for a better person to have in my life daily, and celebrate this week. 

Here is what Steven and I did on the day of his birthday to celebrate!





The first thing I did when I got home from work on Wednesday was usher Steven - who was working from home that day - into our bedroom to wait while I set up his gifts. After a few minutes of me running around like a crazy person, pulling things out of hiding places all over the apartment, the above image is the display he saw when I finally let him emerge from the room.


On the right was a hand-drawn card and some camera-related gifts from my parents and Pepper.




Steven is a huge fan of dessert wine and always asks for a glass when we go out. So serving ports to him sake cups and crystal jiggers has always felt so wrong. So I purchased some cordial glasses from our absolute favorite glassware company, and a bottle of Boston Bual Madeira, which I found at Flatiron Wine and Spirits in the Financial District. It's the perfect spot to pick up luxurious specialty drinks that fit any need you can think of.


And so that he had a some candles to blow out, I got us each a cupcake from a local bakery stand called Batter. It's an adorable stand in the middle of the Financial District that sells tons of sweets that will satisfy your workday sweet tooth. 





Recently, Steven has been collecting pipes and trying to learn more about them as a hobby and product. So I decided to add to his collection. When I stopped by a local cigar shop, I asked the owner - a pipe connoisseur himself - what the ultimate best tobacco brand was, and he recommended Cohiba for special occasions. It smells in our opinion, sweet like chocolate mixed with caramel.


I also got him a stand for the three pipes he already owns. According to Steven, the stand has seven slots because you're supposed to have a different pipe for each day of the week, to allow them each suitable time to rest. So it's clearly time to buy four more!


Finally, I gave him his big gift of the evening...literally. It's sort of an infamous design called the Calabash Meerschaum, with Meerschaum being a type of mineral which is often found floating in sea foam. It many times comes from the Black Sea.

It stands out a lot in pop culture as certain Sherlock Holmes portrayals have used it as an accessory, and it's featured in the infamous opening in Inglorious Bastards, used by Christoph Waltz's character. It has a look and style to it that becomes synonymous with power and deep thought.


I ordered it from pipe retailer Meerschaum Store, which is based out of Turkey where most amazing pipes come from. Steven always admired the pipe and mentioned it enough times in conversation that I knew it'd be the perfect addition to his birthday gifts.


I believe it makes him feel fancy. According to him, it feels good in his hand!







After hearing about this restaurant for many months and struggling to get reservations on other special occasions, Steven and I finally visited one of the highest rated Japanese restaurants in the city: Kusakabe. I made a reservation a few days in advance, confirmed it with the staff twice, and got my tastebuds ready for a treat Steven and I had been waiting over a year to try for ourselves. After all, he did request sushi for his big day!


This restaurant is also located right next to the infamous Transamerica Building, which I rarely get to see so close up!


When you enter the restaurant, the first thing you see is the kitchen staff and sushi chefs working hard to make some of the best dishes this city has to offer.


We decided on the 8 course menu, or Petite Omakase.



1st Course - Ichiban Dashi

Brewed broth made from dried Konbu and Katsuo-bush


Pictured in the back left in red behind our ice cold sake


2nd Course - Sushi Prelude

Zuke Chutoro, bluefin medium fatty tuna cured in soy sauce and a piece of signature sushi


We agree that this tuna was the best part of the entire meal


3rd Course - Takumi Zushi

Two kinds of seasonal signature sushi



4th Course - Sashimi

Chef's selection of two kinds of sashimi with Umami soy sauce & yuzu onion sauce



5th Course - Hassun

Six kinds of chef's assorted les petit plats


And of course, I couldn't resist snagging a close-up of this tiny clam chowder


And this adorable piece of sushi



6th Course - Soup

Kani Kaburamushi, fresh steamed Dungeness crab with turnip, avocado and roasted crab oil



7th Course - Seasonal Sushi

Chef's selection of two kinds of seasonal sushi of the day


This piece of squid was the second most delicious thing I had that night. And believe me, it was hard to choose favorites at this place.


8th Course - Sushi Finale

Chef's selection of sushi & roasted Ariake Nori Temaki



A la Carte

If you're like us, you'll want to indulge even further with their a la carte options. So we had more salmon as well as some jellyfish


Crème brûlée

And since I let the restaurant know we were celebrating Steven's birthday, they were kind enough to surprise him with crème brûlée for dessert. Which gave him the perfect opportunity to blow out another candle and make another birthday wish. Let's just say Kusakabe is definitely worth the hype!




Steven and I had a wonderful time celebrating his special day, and I hope you enjoyed reading about it. I won't lie, it's easier to put together gifts and days like this when you are doing it for someone appreciative, loyal and deserving. I hope these tips and suggestions will inspire your next big event or fun purchase. Until we meet again.