Last week I turned 50. There’s a lot of stuff associated with that number as it relates to age. I gotta tell ya… Fifty is FABULOUS.
I’ve had many blessings in my life. Aside from my 3 amazing children, Jerry, family & friends, the blessings I am most grateful for are the silver lifelines that have shown up during difficult times.
2020 was a roller coaster of peaks and valleys. Every time the cart shifted uphill, we breathed deeply before it took us on another nose dive. I am so grateful for these moments of oasis because not only did they get me through last year, but made rounding 50’s corner that much sweeter.
2019 ended in pure celebration when our future son-in-law (Matthew) asked for our youngest daughter’s (Brianna) hand in marriage and she said, “YES!”
Then in February, we got the news from our eldest daughter (Alexandria) and her husband (Adam) we were going to be grandparents. Later that fall Enzlee was born happy & healthy!!!
Our son (Carver) turned 21 and continued to excel in his college classes as they moved online and he moved home. I was so grateful to be able to “pod” with him even if he routinely beats me at chess.
Jerry and I have always said, “As long as we have each other, nothing else matters.” Last year put that to the test and it turns out, we were right. After months of being home together, we still like each other… a lot. 🥰
We realized the 2 things that matter most: family/loved ones and health. After scavaging for toilet paper at IGA and bingeing on what was leftover in Walmart’s Little Debbie aisle, Jerry and I made a conscious effort to do some physiological “home improvements.” We cut out junk food, took walks, and started working out.
For my mental health, I started a cookbook that focuses mainly on SAUCES with accompanying recipes. It should be published by this fall of 2021. I can’t thank my friends enough for testing the recipes and giving me their honest feedback! I’ve got a bit more writing to do, but 57 of the recipes (out of 88) are tested & photographed. 🎉 If you’d like to preorder it, you can do that here.
Finally, we made it through last year! As my birthday approached, Jerry reached out to Chef Niall and asked if he would consider making dinner for us for my 50th birthday. The Firefly’s had been closed for nearly a year, so you can imagine how excited I was when Niall said, “Yes!”
I felt incredibly honored to be treated to an exclusive chef’s choice dinner prior to their reopening. Niall started us off with a choice of a refreshing purple gin cocktail (I’m not sure it has a name yet) or an Old Fashion.
Then he brought out Korean bbq short rib bao buns and spanikopita.
Caesar salads followed the appetizers. Then we were treated to braised Brussels sprouts and an ooey-gooey Mac n’ Cheese to die for. Our main entree was a 6-ounce filet mignon with whipped mashed potatoes and steamed asparagus.
For the piece de resistance, Niall capped off the evening with a generous Big Fat Daddy-o, chocolate and caramel ice cream topped with caramel popcorn and chocolate sauce.
Can you say, “Food coma?” 🤤
The Firefly Grill closed March 16, 2020, and is scheduled to reopen exactly 1 year later, next week on March 16, 2021. Like Jerry and I, Kristie and Niall have taken the imposed 2020 pause to do major renovations to the restaurant they couldn’t have done if it was open.
You may not recognize the improvements when you first walk back into the Firefly, but you will because every upgrade is geared to enhance your experience. The front line and the back kitchen have both been expanded and remodeled.
The refrigeration behind the bar has been updated.
The bar has also gotten a bit of a facelift with new beer taps and resurfaced with reclaimed wood.
Plus (my personal favorite) a new ice maker that creates large beautifully smooth ice balls.
On the technical side, the ordering interface has been updated and streamlined. This means you will have very little wait time before your drinks and first round of appetizers come to your table.
And instead of just a couple Pretzella buns to start you off, Niall has put together a complementary array of fresh veggies, pickled cauliflower with a side of Firefly’s famous Green Goddess dressing as well as some Pretzella Buckeye bread balls.
They’re also introducing their daughter Camden’s smoothies as a healthy side choice, new signature cocktails to the bar, and several new menu items.
When we came in for my birthday dinner last week, we reminisced about what an integral role Firefly has played in our family. Not only did I do my internship here for my culinary degree, but it was our son’s first job (dishwasher) and our youngest daughter did a quick stint bussing tables. We’ve also celebrated nearly every major life event here at the Firefly: high school and college graduations, engagements, wedding receptions, anniversaries, and milestone birthdays.
Having a celebratory dinner at the Firefly commemorating 50 years of life before they reopened was an honor and a beautiful silver lining.