Bombshell Brigitte Bardot said of birthdays, “Every age can be enchanting, provided you live within it.”

I recently celebrated an enchanting birthday in Houston with one of my most charming friends, and it was wonderful. We stayed at one of my favorite hotels, the Hilton Americas downtown, cheered on the Astros, shopped and took in an interesting play. I loved the entire weekend, but my favorite part, of course, was scouting out a new hotel and trying a fabulous new restaurant.

Rosalie Italian Soul, which is housed inside the C Baldwin Hotel, was just a hop, skip and a jump from our hotel, but walking in the door was like stepping back in time. The hotel itself is just plain cool — so cool, in fact, that I half expected to see the Rat Pack bellied up to the hip, mid-century modern lobby bar. The indoor and outdoor spaces at the C Baldwin are so visually intriguing that I absolutely cannot wait for the chance to take up residence there for a long weekend.

Not to be outdone, Rosalie is an experience unto itself. Walking in, it felt like we were guests at a sweet, cool grannie’s house, which makes perfect sense because Rosalie is named after the chef Chris Cosentino’s great-grandmother. Cosentino is of “Top Chef Masters” fame. We breezed by the funky, floral bar and were seated in the retro living-room-like dining room that was the perfect setting to enjoy the menu full of innovative, Italian comfort food.

It was raining outside, and the dark, cool weather made our meal even more cozy. The creamy polenta, robust meatballs, rich blue crab manicotti and luscious sage brown butter ravioli ran the gamut from traditional to unconventional, and they were all outstanding. When next you find yourself in downtown Houston, do yourself a favor and pop into the C Baldwin for a drink and then go to Rosalie for a meal you won’t soon forget.

I adore live theater, and for the first time since COVID began, I was able to take in a show. “An Evening with C.S. Lewis & J.R.R. Tolkien” at the Hobby Center was the perfect way to break the fast.

The night of conversation, set in a pub between old friends and literary titans, was as charming and funny as it was poignant.

Although we were required to wear masks while in the theater, this step back to normal life was the perfect birthday gift. I am so looking forward to attending more plays in the very near future.

The pasta at Rosalie’s is made fresh in-house each day, and it is melt-in-your mouth perfection. It has been a while since I made homemade pasta and my trip to Houston inspired me to dust off my hand crank machine. This recipe is one I was given while taking a class at Vela Farms, and it is easy and delicious.

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Katherine Compton is an active mother of two grown children and a Realtor. She loves cooking almost as much as she loves living in Jackson County. Katherine can be contacted by email at whatscookingkatherine@gmail.com

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