Birthday Week
by Keleigh May on July 7th, 2015

Last week was birthday week. Yes, at the May House we celebrate birthday week, and last week was epic because it was my 30th birthday week. We spent the week at glorious Topsail Island, NC. The food and celebrations that followed were is a list of the most memorable (and delicious) ........
First, as we were heading to the beach Tucker tripped and broke his arm. Well, I figured we had 2 choices, sit and heal at home, or sit at the beach. Beach it is! If you have watched the news you know the coast of NC has been full of sharks...needless to say, cast or no cast, we weren't getting in the water. We filled our days flying kites, searching for seashells and digging for sand fiddlers. Our nights were filled with eating, both out and in. The week before our trip I had made and froze a couple meals ( Quin"WOW" and Superb Herb Chicken, Chicken Fajita Pitas, and Meatball Meals ) so meals were as simple as reheat and eat!
One of our favorite places was Beach Shop Grille, at Topsail Beach where Tucker reclined and dined on his favorite shrimp burger. 
What do 30 year old's eat for breakfast? Almond Cake from Whole Foods of course! Almond is my all time favorite cake flavor, 30 isn't looking (or tasting) so bad after all. 
Birthday dinner was at Catch in Wilmington. I had "Lobster, Lobster, Lobster". It was tempura fried lobster tail, with champaign lobster bisque and lobster mashed potatoes. I mean, how can ANYTHING top that? Everyone's meals were equally amazing (I managed to also get a photo of my sisters sweet potato salad with spinach, blackberries, feta cheese and fresh NC flounder. Oh, I should mention everything at Catch is local and/or organic (swoon). 
The culinary genius behind the amazing Catch is Chef Keith Rhodes.  Rhodes, a Wilmington native, has been voted the city’s best chef for three consecutive years and was also the NC James Beard Semifinalist as well as Best Chef Southeast, 2011. Chef Rhodes’ enthusiasm for North Carolina seafood is contagious, and his passion for his “Modern Seafood Cuisine” comes through in every bite. He’s a stickler for wild caught and sustainably raised seafood, and favorites such as his signature NC Sweet Potato Salad and Conch Fritters complement the day’s fresh catch. Any chef that will take the time during the busy dinner rush to come out and take a picture with me, and kiss me on the head, has my heart (and my stomach) forever! Can not wait to return to Catch!
My big 30th birthday gift was a brand new set of ZWILLING Energy 10-Piece Ceramic-Coated Stainless Steel Cookware! Each piece in the set features fully clad, 3-ply stainless steel construction with a thick aluminum core to conduct heat quickly and evenly, plus a PTFE and PFOA free Ceraforce™ nonstick ceramic coating for effortless food release and quick cleanup. 
Some delicious seafood was devoured at Sears Landing in Surf City. Tucker was on a shrimp kick, and wanted a shrimp grilled cheese, well a shrimp po boy with cheese was just perfect according to him. Succulent seared scallops are perfect for any meal, I mean just look at the size of those things?! My mouth is still watering. 
One of our favorite stops on Topsail Island is Sugar Island Sweets. From the buttery fruit jam bars, to the ooey-gooey caramel pecan sticky rolls, to the fresh baked cakes and brownies that seem to fly off the shelves as soon as baker Samantha Smith puts them out-this sweet slice of heaven is not to be missed. Like Catch, Sugar Island Sweets focuses on local and organic ingredients, using them as much as possible (double swoon). Want to sample some of Sugar Island's confections, but aren't planning a trip to Topsail Island anytime soon? Sugar Island ships! The jam bars are life changing (just sayin').

Samantha was super busy making cakes so her sweet husband posed for a pic with me. I love family owned and operated businesses! Shop Local everyone!
At Sugar Island Bakery I found Singing Dog Vanilla Bean Grinder. Ok, I LOVE I put vanilla bean paste on my ice cream, double (ok triple) the amount of vanilla I add to cookies and cakes kinda love. The pleasure of seeing those little black specks in my favorite desserts is one of my life's greatest joys. Despite all my vanilla love, I have never seen a vanilla bean grinder. Well, my ice cream has found a new favorite topping. I can add those mouth watering little black specks to any and everything now.  This might be the favorite 30th birthday present I bought for myself. 
When I wasn't stuffing my face with delicious fresh caught seafood, or scrumptious sugary treats, or vanilla incrusted vanilla ice cream, I enjoyed my Garden Of Life Organic Plant Proteins. In fact,  Joe, Tucker, my momma and sister all got on the protein bandwagon this trip! The small packets are great for traveling and I made sure to stock up on lots of flavor options so everyone could decide what their favorite flavor was.

My Take Aways From This Trip:

  • Make and freeze some meals so all you need to do is reheat then eat.
  • Find restaurants that support local and organic ingredients, they taste better.
  • Shop family owned businesses.
  • Bring healthy (and filling) snack/meals.
  • Above all remember that whether you are eating at a great local restaurant, or enjoying meals you made and froze from home, even when you're on vacation, where there's a meal, there's a way!
On a random and unrelated note:

I found my first sharks tooth on this trip.
It should come as no surprise given how many sharks are out there chomping this summer. 

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