Birthdays in Baltimore

Having a birthday at college is exponentially more fun than having one during the school year in high school.  Why, you ask?  Well, my friend Kayla just celebrated her 20th birthday on Monday and I can think of a number of reasons.

Baltimore’s Fun Eateries

On Monday we went to Paper Moon Diner, near Johns Hopkins University and only about a five-minute drive down N. Charles.  The birthday girl picked it, of course, and it’s definitely a favorite among Loyola students.  Surprisingly, though, I had never been!  It’s quite the eclectic little establishment, with an assortment of odds and ends, collectibles, and children’s toys hanging from the walls, ceilings, and just about every available surface.  The menus are even cased in old hardcover picture books.  The cuisine is definitely diner-style, but with a twist.  My roommate Meagan and I both enjoyed the BBQ chicken wrap and we shared fries and onion rings among the table.  A nice treat on a Monday night before our workload got too crazy.

Interior of the Paper Moon Diner, photo courtesy Jen Navatto.

I’ve been to many other Baltimore-area favorites to celebrate birthdays with my Loyola friends, depending on the tastes of the particular friend.  In February I went with four of my closest friends to Tapas Adela in Fells Point, my personal favorite for Spanish tapas (small plates) in Baltimore, for Meagan’s 19th birthday.  It has since become a favorite of our group because you can really find something for everyone there.  It’s also where Meagan tried crabcakes for the first time! (*so proud of my little Massachusetts girl*)

Celebrating Meagan's birthday with our friends.

Last month Meagan, Jen and I went to the Ambassador Dining Room to celebrate Jen’s 19th birthday, which was in August.  Jen has interesting taste in music and clothes, so of course, food is no exception.  At the Ambassador, we enjoyed upscale Indian food (the lamb was honestly the best I’ve ever had) and dined in a renovated garage, complete with fireplace.  Very cool, and very Baltimore.

When my birthday comes around in March, it always has been and always will be the same request: Chiaparelli’s in Little Italy.  It’s been my favorite since I was a little girl, and a birthday of mine just isn’t complete without their traditional house salad, fresh-baked bread, and fettucine alfredo.  Then we walk down the street to wrap up the evening with some desserts from Vaccaro’s.  Mmmm….I can’t wait till March.

With Meagan and Jen on my 19th birthday at Chiaparelli's.

Friends on Campus

When it’s a friend’s birthday on campus, one of two things will usually happen.  Either the person will text or Facebook message his or her close friends and ask who’s available to go out to dinner to celebrate.  Or the friends will plan when and where to take the birthday celebrant for a special evening.

This is such a cool fact of college student existence because it seems like everyone

Celebrating with my friends and the birthday girl, Kayla, in her apartment in Campion last week.

recognizes the sacredness of birthdays.  Yes, we didn’t do anything to deserve being born and yes, they come around every year, but everyone wants their birthday to be just a little extra special than any other day of the week.

When you get a text, message, or call from a friend to celebrate his or her birthday, if you’re available and don’t have too much work due the next day, you go.  And you love every second of it.

An Excuse to Have Fun and Celebrate During the Week

In high school, I would dread my birthday falling during the week because I knew it would mean nothing more than a balloon and cupcakes in school with my friends and then a dinner at home with my parents.  At college, though, days of the week tend to blend together anyway, so it doesn’t really matter if your birthday falls on one.

Kayla cutting her cake.

Actually, I would propose that it can be even more fun if your birthday falls during the week because it gives you and your friends a much-needed break from school and an excuse to eat some good food that you don’t have to cook yourself, catch up with each other, and enjoy the best things in life, like friendship and conversation.  My birthday falls on a Monday this year, so I guess we’ll see if this hypothesis proves true!

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