My husband (and in-laws, I think) got me a funfetti cake for my birthday. Despite displaying my very old age on top, it still looked like a cake for little kids. I ate it for breakfast.

I never knew how much I would crave generic white “American” vanilla sheet cake until I moved here. Actually, I didn’t even know this was a type of cake that I could miss. I just thought of it as plain old cake. The type you get at grocery stores, half off. You never really buy this cake; you just look at it in the baked goods section and admire how insane it looks with all its frosting and relevant holiday decorations.

Well, here, they don’t have that type of cake. They have pastries and things filled with whip cream and what my dad would deem “health cake” due to a lack of frosting. (My dad didn’t consider anything cake unless it had frosting and unless it was chocolate.)

It wasn’t until a few years living here that I even realized I missed these standard issue sheet cakes, the ones you can make from a Betty Crocker box. But you can’t find them easily here – not the box or the cake itself.

So my husband special ordered this one, with the little colorful confetti inside to make it even more festive, flavored with strawberry jam because it still needs to be Dutch and a little bit weird. It was one of the best birthday presents I have received.

My birthday belly, long ago.
Photo Credit: Susan Kandel


Today marks my thirty day streak of blog posting!

For my thirtieth birthday, I went to Lisbon and Cascais to eat my way through the land.

It was an amazing trip, full of both urban and beachy walks, great fish and quaint streets. To make the experience even more grand, we received a complementary carafe of port from our fancy beach front hotel. It was the perfect thing to drink after a stroll in the sand, wrapped in our fancy high-end robes, looking out over the Atlantic as the sun set.

Upon checkout, we debated splurging and buying the fifty dollar bottle, but reasoned it was too expensive and passed.

I have now spent my thirties (almost 5 years!) searching again for that port. Nothing that I try tastes as good. I have looked, scouring dive bars and high end liquor stores alike, in search of a memory. The truth is I have likely been successful, unknowingly trying a glass, and rejected it for not being the one. Nothing compares to how it tasted when I was there. It remains elusive. Unknown.

30 is a good number. Good for port and Portuguese beach walks.

There is always more to come. The wine may taste good now, but there are other drinks to try.

In the meantime, seize every moment you can. Buy the bottle. Treat yourself. You may not have the opportunity again.

Happy 30th, my friends!