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Make up for all those missed summer birthday this year.

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Growing up, I remember what a terrible disadvantage I thought it was for my poor friends with summer birthdays. Not having the opportunity to celebrate during the school year, they never got cupcakes in class or had their lockers decorated by friends; they never experienced the joy of having their car windows decorated with shoe polish wishes. Even as adults, those of you who have summer birthdays know the struggles of trying to put together any kind of celebration between friends traveling, kids at camp and the weather in Houston being either too hot or too rainy.

Luckily, the summer season is packed with unique things to do in Houston, even more so for the foodie in us. Surrounded by friends and family who have summer birthdays, I wanted to share some out-of-the-box ways to celebrate and make them feel extra special during a very busy time.

Cocktails & Crudos at Milano Bar

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Bar Milano is offering a Cocktails & Crudo series of classes all summer long.

Simply toasting to a birthday is so last year. Shake things up, toss things in the air, and get tossed with the best of them. The Milano Bar at CityCentre (800 Sorella Ct., 713-827-3545, radio-milano.com/milano-bar) is hosting a monthly Cocktails & Crudos series where guests are invited to master the art of mixology while snacking on bites and crudos (or raw fish preparations, great for the summer months) from chef Jose Hernandez. Located on the lower level of the ultra hip Radio Milano in Hotel Sorella, Bar Milano offers guests a trendy, laid-back vibe with a speakeasy feel—not a bad backdrop for some birthday snaps!

A fun and interactive way of enjoying your celebratory cocktails, the Cocktails & Crudos series consists of learning which flavors work well together, what cocktails are in season now, and most importantly, how to be a master mixologist. For the person who is interested in being more than just a boozy birthday boy/girl, Cocktails & Crudos at Bar Milano is a great way to celebrate. The session is $40 per person and includes three summer cocktails and three hors'd'oeuvres. To book a seat at the next session, call 713-827-3545.

Cooking Classes at Pondicheri

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Pondicheri's second-floor Bake Lab offers cooking classes and other private events.

With each birthday that passes, I try my best to learn something new or cross something off the old bucket list. That being said, one of the items on my list that never seems to get crossed off year after year is learning how to cook Indian food. (And I'm Indian, so you can imagine the grief I get from my mom.)

For the spice-loving, birthday-celebrating foodie, Pondicheri (2800 Kirby Dr., Ste. B132, 713-522-2022, pondichericafe.com) offers monthly cooking classes in their Bake Lab & Cook Shop, located on the second level of the West Ave complex. For $110 per person, the beginner's class includes ingredients for flavorful, summer recipes along with mastering the fundamentals of how to incorporate Indian spices into everyday cooking. The duration of the class is approximately two hours and includes dinner and drinks (with the option of wine). Taught by Anita Jaisinghani (chef-owner of Pondicheri and Indika) and Mark Eisenbraun, an evening in the bake lab with up to 12 guests could be just the right blend of spices for your next birthday party. Space is limited, so go to pondichericafe.com to make a reservation for the next cooking class in August. And if you find that all of the classes have filled up, you can always book the Bake Lab for a private cooking class of your very own.

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