Ohhh, delicious, delicious, delicious. My parents, Kirk and I went out for my mom’s birthday at UNION Kitchen & Tap in Encinitas. It was a Saturday night, the place was packed and rowdy (thanks to Encinitas’ holiday parade taking place that evening), but no matter — the food was fantastic.

Sweet Potato Poutine $8 (appetizer)
Sweet Potato Fries, Blue Cheese Fondue, Crumbled Bacon

Braised Beef Belly “Pot Roast” $20 (Dad’s entree)
Roasted Root Vegetables, Horseradish Pommes Puree, Braising Liquid

UNION Burger $14 (Mom’s entree)
Brandt Beef, Bacon, Tomato Jam, Cheddar (she substituted bleu cheese)

Scallops $14 (my entree)
Chorizo Garden Vegetable Hash, Butternut Squash Puree, Lemon Basil

I didn’t get a photo of Kirk’s Shrimp & Grits, but they were delicious, too. Thankfully Kirk doesn’t mind that I steal from his plate, nor does the rest of my family; my mom and I especially like to try everything on the table, whether it’s ours or not.

Our server, besides knowing the menu like the back of his hand and possessing an elephant’s memory, brought Mom a creme brulee with a candle, and even led us through the Happy Birthday song.

Apple Wood Smoked Creme Brulee $7 (birthday dessert!)
Caramelized Julian Apples

Since we’re not exactly musical types (yes I know it’s just Happy Birthday), I don’t think any of us had planned to start belting out in the middle of a crowded restaurant. But, there was a birthday candle, and an official birthday dessert … besides, we couldn’t let the server go solo!

(We’ll just have to forgive him for this blurry photo.)

Cheers, to delicious food, family, and one Happy Birthday! ☼