Top 10: Birthday Meals

In honor of 10 years of Pop.Bop.Shop., each month this year I have been sharing a Top 10 list of my best discoveries of the past decade. In case you missed any of the earlier round ups, you can check them out here: 

Today, September 29, is my 35th birthday, so it seemed only right to share my favorite birthday meals! 

It's no secret that I am very into my birthday. I would make it an internationally recognized holiday if I could. My family and friends are amazing at indulging me in this obsession. Over the years, I have had some epic meals, so it was incredibly tough to narrow this down to just ten.  

We'll do this David Letterman-style, starting with #10 and working our way up to #1. 

10. Spillover (Miami, FL) 

I celebrated my 33rd birthday at the Spillover in Miami, FL with my mom and cousin (who was visiting from Israel).

Spillover

The meal felt particularly decadent, because we headed there after my cousin and I had luxurious massages at the Jurlique Spa at the Mayfair Hotel around the corner. 

My favorite dish at Spillover is the buffalo cauliflower, drenched in blue cheese dressing. 

Spillover

They also make dozens of great burgers and sandwiches.

Spillover Spillover

A major bonus: they let you order half regular fries, half sweet potato fries! 

If you find yourself in Miami, Spillover is in the heart of Coconut Grove, near great shops, a movie theater and Bianco Gelato, a Galler family go-to. 

9. Eataly (Boston, MA) 

In 2017, I celebrated my birthday with some of my best friends from college at Eataly. The Boston location had recently opened and we couldn't wait to explore (and eat our faces off). 

We had a cheese-tastic meal at La Pizza & La Pasta. 

Eataly Eataly Eataly

To this day, the cacio e pepe at Eataly is still my favorite. 

After dinner, we wandered over to the gelato counter for dessert. I went with half salted caramel, half dark chocolate.

Eataly

It's a good thing I don't live in this neighborhood, because if I did, I'd be ordering gelato every night! 

8. Fi'lia (Miami, FL) 

My mother is the ultimate Miami concierge and she couldn't wait to take me to Fi'lia when it opened. She organized an evening for me, her, my sister and two of my cousins. The hostess walked us to a big round booth, perfect for chatting and sharing plates. 

Fi'lia makes wonderful veggie dishes and they toss their Caesar salad tableside, just like the guacamole at Rosa Mexicano. 

Filia FiliaFilia

We loved the savory dishes and were equally thrilled with dessert - two kinds of ice cream sandwiches, cut up to share. I didn't mind the sparklers either! 

FiliaFilia

This is such a happy memory. 

7. Barcelona Wine Bar (Brookline, MA) 

Back in 2015, one of my New Year's resolutions was to experience the Bloody Mary bar at Barcelona Wine Bar. Though I had been many times for dinner, I'd never gone for brunch. So, I decided to rally my girls and make that the location of my b-day celebration. 

The Bloody bar was even more impressive than I was expecting. Tons of options. 

Barcelona Wine Bar

We had eggs, patatas bravas, frosting-topped muffins and more. 

Barcelona Wine BarBarcelona Wine BarBarcelona Wine Bar

Even though it was only 11:00am, it's never too early for cake! Our server brought a molten chocolate cake with a candle. 

Barcelona Wine Bar

Here's a shot of all the ladies just as we were finishing the meal. 

Barcelona Wine Bar

6. Blue Dragon (Boston, MA) 

Last year, I toasted to 34 with one of my best friends from college at Chef Ming Tsai's Blue Dragon. She has a stunning garden at home and brought a vase of fresh flowers to decorate our table. 

We had tiki drinks and shared a cornucopia of appetizers. 

Blue Dragon Blue Dragon Blue Dragon

To finish, we ordered the signature dessert, the skillet chocolate chip cookie. 

Blue Dragon

I was definitely feeling the birthday glow. 

Blue Dragon

5. Myers + Chang (Boston, MA) 

Myers + Chang is just one of those special occasion places. I have gone there to celebrate so many things - engagements, promotions, kicking a bad illness - you name it. Last year, I went with one of of my oldest and dearest friends to share a meal in honor of my 34th. 

She had arranged for the hostess to bring me a special menu that shouted "Happy birthday!" right on the top. 

Myers + Chang

We had cocktails, including my favorite there, the Bloodlust. It's a blood orange margarita was a sriracha salt rim. 

Myers + Chang

We feasted on a half a dozen savory dishes (it's impossible not to over-order there). 

Myers + ChangMyers + Chang

The grand finale was a slice of birthday cake, topped with rainbow sprinkles and two candles. 

Myers + Chang

I was one happy girl. 

Myers + Chang

4. Doc B's Fresh Kitchen (Miami, FL) 

My cousin went to college with the owner of Doc B's, so before it even opened, she was hyping us up. The day we decided to check it out, I shot her a quick text to let her know, and I had no idea what magic she was working behind the scenes. 

We had the most delicious lunch - sweet potato chips and guacamole, salads and sandwiches. 

Doc B'sDoc B'sDoc B'sDoc B's

As we were getting ready to leave, the manager came over and said, "I heard we're celebrating a birthday today." Before I had time to verbally respond, a fleet of servers appeared, each carrying a different dessert. My jaw was on the floor! 

Doc B'sDoc B's

3. Alden & Harlow (Cambridge, MA) 

Chef Michael Scelfo's Alden & Harlow has become one of my favorite spots in Harvard Square. Whenever someone suggests meeting up in that neighborhood, this is always my first suggestion. 

I've actually celebrated my birthday here several years in a row! I love to sit in the section with the plant wall. 

Alden & Harlow

My must-have veggie dishes are the charred broccoli with butternut squash hummus and the Verrill Farm corn pancakes. 

Alden & HarlowAlden & Harlow

Though I don't eat meat, the Alden burger is legendary. 

Alden & Harlow

Of all the b-day meals I've had here, the most special memory was when my parents and sister came to town. We sat at a high top table right in front of the open kitchen. As we were wrapping the meal, Chef Scelfo surprised us with two beautiful desserts.

Alden & Harlow

And yes, I am wearing a sequin sweatshirt. 

2. Cuchi Cuchi (Cambridge, MA) 

In 2010, 12 of my closest girlfriends joined me at Cuchi Cuchi in Central Square in Cambridge, MA to celebrate. The restaurant doesn't take reservations (not even for large parties), so we started the evening with cocktails at the bar. 

Cuchi Cuchi

Once our table was ready, we ordered nearly every small plate on the menu! I don't remember most of what we ate, but I do remember laughing the entire meal. 

At dessert, our server brought out an enormous candle and placed it right in front of me. Behind him, the rest of the dining room staff was singing and waving tambourines. It was amazing. 

Cuchi Cuchi

There was a chocolate cake for dessert (are you sensing a theme here?) for a sugar rush just before we headed across the street to dance the night away at the Phoenix Landing.

Cuchi Cuchi  

1. Giulia (Cambridge, MA) 

When I started drafting this list, I already knew my meal at the Giulia pasta table was going to be #1.

Over the summer of 2016, my parents asked me to think about what I wanted to do for my birthday, their treat. I had heard that Giulia offered reservations at their pasta table, which is directly in front of the open kitchen.

Giulia

I researched it, and they only take reservations two months in advance. You can select the five-course of seven-course menu, and you have the option to pair with wine. 

We booked the table, and my parents and sister flew up from Miami. We were also joined by several of my best friends. 

Giulia

Every single course was divine. 

Giulia Giulia

For dessert, they brought not one, not two, not three, but four cakes! 

Giulia

I was radiating joy that entire night. 

Giulia

Many of the friends who were at that dinner still say it was the best meal they've ever had. 

And there you have it! My Top 10 birthday meals. 

Do you have a go-to special occasion place? I'd love to hear where you celebrate. 

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Molly Galler

Welcome to Pop.Bop.Shop. My name is Molly. I’m a foodie, fashionista, pop culture addict and serious travel junkie. I’m a lifelong Bostonian obsessed with frozen confections, outdoor patios, Mindy Kaling, reality television, awards shows, tropical vacations, snail mail and my birthday.

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