The Girl In Sonoma {San Francisco}

Our last two days were spent enjoying the beauty of California wine country.  And eating.  So much eating!  We were trying to pack in as much fun as possible on our last full day and we went a little crazy ordering food.  We definitely didn’t finish everything shown, but we did eat quite a lot.

We started Friday with coffee,

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and fruit and bread.

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We split a Satsuma, an unpictured banana, and a rosemary roll from ACME Bread Company.

We saved the sourdough roll for an amazing lunch of bread, cheese, and chocolate.

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Plus earl grey panna cotta for dessert.

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We had the Cowgirl Creamery Mount Tam fresh from the source because we were there for a history lesson and cheese tasting.

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Best tour of the trip!

After cheese, it was time for wine, with a tasting at Matanzas Creek.

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The grounds were gorgeous and the wine was de-lish!  We liked it so much we even bought a few bottles to bring to Thanksgiving.

Next up was beer (and more cheese!) at Lagunitas Brewing Company.  Brown Shugga was my favorite, unsurprisingly.

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They had pretzels out for palate cleansing between tastes,

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but we also got a big plate of cheesy nachos.

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This was the point in the day where I was getting a little too full!

But we forged ahead with a trip to Bouchon Bakery for a butterscotch éclair.

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And finally settled in at The Girl and the Fig for an outstanding dinner.

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Those light green olives were shockingly good.

I had to get a lavender mojito, it was made with Cruzan rum!

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We started with a cheese plate with apple, house-made fig cake, spiced nuts and baguette.

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We choose a P’tit Basque sheep’s milk, Bohemian Creamery’s The Bomb goat’s milk, and a Bleeting Heart Moolicious Blue.  Because we had to fit cheese into every single meal that day.

Adam and I shared for dinner.  Local mushroom raviolo with sunchoke purée, truffle pesto, local mushrooms, and chicories.

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And the house-smoked trout sandwich with farm egg salad, caper aioli, pickled red onion and dill.

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Both were absolutely amazing.  The sauce under the pasta and the pickled red onions on the trout totally made the dishes.

We got an after-dinner drink with Firelit coffee liquor and Sailor Jerry rum.

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And had dessert that was my favorite dish of the entire trip.  Chocolate and salted fig caramel trifle with cocoa nibs and Italian meringue.

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Adam was amazed by the nibs and I was obsessed with the marshmallowy meringue.  Plus we came home with a jar of their salted fig caramel.

We had such a wonderful dinner at The Girl and the Fig that we ended up going back for brunch on Saturday!  We met up with a medical school friend who is doing his residency in Fresno and he said The Girl was his favorite Sonoma spot.

Fig Fashioned.

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Mussels and frites for the table, which I was totally brave about and ended up loving.

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And the best grilled cheese sandwich of my life.

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We left completely stuffed; the three of us were barely able to get coffee, hours later.

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Our flight was a red-eye and it didn’t leave until after 10 pm so we were able to spend the whole day catching up.  Our friend chose to spend his one day off for the week with us so we were thrilled to make the most of it.

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A perfect end to a perfect vacation!

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The Slanted Woods {San Francisco}

Wednesday morning we stopped at Peet’s for an eggnog iced coffee to go with my Ferry Building farmer’s market pear.

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Then we made our way over the bridge through the pouring rain,

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and up to Muir Woods for a stunningly beautiful hike.

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We bought trusty $4 ponchos to get us through the 4+ miles in the downpour, but I wasn’t able to take many pictures.

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Mostly we just got shots of Adam and me being goofballs.

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We got completely soaked but still had a wonderful time.

Afterwards we went back to the hotel to dry off before our late lunch at Coqueta, a Spanish tapas place that knocked our socks off.

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My cocktail – cream sherry, Luxardo amaretto, sherry vinegar, Manchego, and golden raisins – was one of the best I’ve ever had.

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We split a variety of small plates, all of which we enjoyed greatly.

Huevos Nacional – deviled eggs filled with spring pea, smoked pimenton alioli, on pickled saffron potatoes and olive oil poached bonito.

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Housemade potato chips with shaved Manchego and vermouth vinegar salsa.  A play on bagels and lox of smoked salmon, queso fresco, and truffle honey.

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Wild and cultivated mushrooms with garlic, chili, and sherry.

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And Catalan-style vineyard greens with a caper-raisin puree, raisins, pine nuts, and garlic.  <– my favorite dish of the day

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For dessert we did caramel popcorn with Manchego cheesecakes that were amazing caramel lollipops with a liquid cheese filling.

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And churros with drinking chocolate and a mixed berry powder for dipping.

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Every last bite of this meal was inventive, fresh, and freaking delicious.

After more walking,

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a stop at Humphry Slocombe for fluffernutter ice cream with butterscotch sauce, (<– Adam got ice cream almost every day)

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and a New Orleans style coffee from Blue Bottle,

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we were ready to drink our dinner at 21st Amendment Brewery.

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21st Amendment brews Hell or High Watermelon, one of my top favorite beers, so we were excited to taste our way through their menu.

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We shared Hell or High Watermelon, Vina, Framboise Forte D’or, Belgian Chocolate Stout, and a yummy honey meade from a guest brewery.

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Also, a giant plate of fried cheese curds.

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Ridiculous!  And we were completely sober by the time we finished the 4 mile trek back to the hotel.

Thursday morning I fueled up with a praline chestnut latte and a local apple.

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Plus a great rose macaron that we picked up along the way.

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But the super steep hills still totally kicked my butt.

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We were supposed to spend the morning in Golden Gate Park but unfortunately the crazy rain scared us away.  We ended up eating our way through Japantown.

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And actually even getting some Whole Foods hot bar while we hid and tried to keep dry.

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Thankfully our afternoon plans were an indoor tour/tasting at Anchor Brewery.

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We had a great time and definitely recommend it.

The rain cleared up in the afternoon while we spent some time in Chinatown.

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And Boba Guys served us the best bubble teas of the year.

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My almond milk coffee with boba and housemade almond jelly was delicious.

Then we were back to the Market Building where we couldn’t resist a final Vietnamese iced coffee from Out the Door.

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An ironic choice considering our dinner reservations.

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The Slanted Door has been on my list for years and it did not disappoint.

Piña colada – El Dorado 3 year white rum, house coconut cream, fresh pressed pineapple juice, pineapple gum, and lime.

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Adam got a truly fabulous steak and I did three veggie options for my meal.  Fried kabocha squash – palm sugar & lime caramel sauce, thai basil.

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A green papaya salad –  pickled carrot, rau ram, crispy shallot, roasted peanut – that was my favorite dish of the day.

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And the Catalan Farm spicy broccoli – braised tofu, lion’s mane mushroom.  The spongy mushrooms were so cool!

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We did another round of churros for dessert.

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As well as a brown butter cake trifle with huckleberries, lemon curd, and hibiscus meringue.

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The meringues were as tasty as they were gorgeous.  A great way to end our fourth day!

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San Francisco Recap, Day 1 & 2

If you follow me on instagram you’ve already figured this out, but {surprise!} I’ve been in San Francisco for the past week.  Adam had the last two weeks of November for vacation again this year so I took the time off as well.  We spent week 1 on the West coast and now we are headed off to Ohio for Thanksgiving family time.  So far it’s been great!

I have a ton to share from SF – we basically walked and ate all day, every day – so I’m going to try to keep myself from being too wordy, but I’ll still need to split this up into three posts…

We had non-stop flights each way which was awesome.  Monday we flew out around noon so we had a little time at home in the morning and then with the time change a full afternoon of vacation. Plus there was free television and movies on the plane which was basically the most exciting thing ever.

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Plane food.  Coffee, plus a white cheddar and pumpkin butter sandwich and tasty pretzel sticks.

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The time flew by and before we knew it we were struggling up super steep hills on our way to dinner.

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We had a late reservation so we stopped for bubble tea first.  Brown sugar ice milk with egg pudding and grass jelly.  Apparently I love egg pudding.  And grass jelly.

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And we got to keep our cool bottles.

Dinner was Waterbar, a sustainable seafood spot right near the Bay Bridge.

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I got a cocktail with Buffalo Trace bourbon, Heering cherry liqueur, Benedictine, and orange zest.

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We split a leek and parsnip soup with smoked trout that was very yummy (I had lots of good trout this trip).

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And for dinner I did pan-roasted sablefish – caught in Fort Bragg, CA – with globe artichokes, butterball potato, grapefruit, nicoise olives, and chervil.

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I adored the artichokes, but sadly didn’t like my fish at all.  This was the only meal that I didn’t love on the trip.  My food was practically floating in a watery sauce and I hate that.  Adam, on the other hand, thought my dish was great and basically licked his plate clean.  He enjoyed his ono with uni butter so much that I still definitely consider the meal a win.

And we did have brown sugar brioche bread pudding, with butterscotch pecan ice cream, for a fabulous dessert.

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’twas a great first night.

Tuesday morning we headed out for a run in the neighborhood around our hotel.  We ended up happening on the Palace of Fine Arts.  It was beyond gorgeous.

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I am so glad we got to see it.

We had a beautiful morning exploring Fisherman’s Wharf.

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Including a stop for a fresh bowl of crab chowder.

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We took the ferry for a tour of Alcatraz.

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Then we spent the afternoon at the Ferry Building Marketplace.

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We loved it there and went back almost every subsequent day.  I was crazy jealous of people buying fancy mushrooms.

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We shared a greens 2 juice from Pressed.

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An iced coffee with milk and sugar from Blue Bottle.

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And a Duck Yeah sundae – vanilla ice cream on duck fat pecan pie – from Humphry Slocombe.

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I thought the ice cream was great, but not as good as Ample Hills.  Adam looooooved it.

We also hit up Slanted Door’s Out the Door for Vietnamese iced coffee and buns.

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Chicken bun for me.

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We had dinner reservations at SD later in the week and this first taste got us very amped up.

We spent the rest of the afternoon walking around the piers and staring at the sea lions.

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Snacks included salt water taffy,

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chunks torn off a loaf of sourdough from Boudin,

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and a very lackluster drinking chocolate from Ghiradelli.

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The chocolate was literally the only dish that didn’t knock our socks off all week, a pretty good track record if you ask me.

We were exhausted from walking around all day so we did Mexican take-out and hotel room cable tv for dinner.

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Mushroom nachos for me.

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It was a great first two days!!

Wednesday and Thursday coming tomorrow…

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Loves Of Late, Winter Edition

Some of the holiday-themed things that have been rocking my (warm, fuzzy) socks…

{1} Silk Holiday Nog

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I am a total eggnog devotee – I can’t help but buy every ‘nog flavored item I spot – and I think Silk’s soy nog is better than any other iteration.  It is just so darn good; super thick and sweet but only 80 calories per cup compared with more than double that in the original.  And you can make the best overnight oats with it.

{2} Lay’s Wavy Milk Chocolate Covered Potato Chips

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Salty and sweet for the win.  These have the perfect balance of chocolate to chip.  I haven’t tried very many chocolate covered potato chips in my day, but these are definitely better than TJ’s kind.  I don’t know why they are only available around Christmas, but Adam is ob-sessed with them.

{3} Old Factory Candles Gift Sets

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Old Factory Candles (sold exclusively on Amazon) offered to send me one of their three-piece themed candle sets.  Each candle burns for 20 hours and is hand-poured in the US with natural soy wax.

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I chose “Happy Holidays,” obviously.

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Gingerbread, Candy Cane, and Christmas tree.  The ‘bread is sweet but not too spicy, the candy cane is pure peppermint goodness, and the tree totally makes up for the fact that we can’t have a real tree because the dog is a monster.  I love them.

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In fact, I’m such a fan I plan on buying more on my own.  Just look at some of these clever lines – “Winter Wonderland” is hot cocoa, roasted chestnut, and first snow; “Coffee Shop” is coffee bean, hazelnut, and chai tea; and “High as a Kite” is cannabis, incense, and bag ‘o cookies!

P.S. Other than the candles which were sent to me to review, these products were purchased with my own money.  I received no compensation (beyond the free goods) for this post.  All opinions are my own.

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Pumpkin Beer Mini Round Up

Let’s be real – this post isn’t for you guys, it’s for me.  I needed a list of pumpkin beers to reference when I freak out next season because the first squashy brew has hit the shelves.  Posting to the blog means that my personalized list will be readily pulled up on my cell phone.  I promise the next post will be for you!  Please do make recommendations in the comments though.

love it – must buy again

ACE, Pumpkin Hard Cider  {#3}

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Blue Moon, Cinnamon Horchata Ale (no, there’s no pumpkin, but this ale deserves a mention)

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Great South Bay, Splashing Pumpkin (pumpkin ale)

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Harpoon, Pumpkin Cider

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Harpoon, UFO Pumpkin

Ithaca Beer Co, Country Pumpkin (pumpkin ale)

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Rogue Farms, Pumpkin Patch Ale  {#1}

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Southern Tier, Warlock (imperial pumpkin stout)  {#2}

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like it – could take it or leave it

Elysian Punkuccino (coffee pumpkin ale)

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Naked Flock, Pumpkin Cider

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hate it – do not buy again

Captain Lawrence, Pumpkin Ale

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Flying Dog, The Fear (imperial pumpkin ale)

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Magic Hat, Wilhelm Scream

What are your favorite pumpkin beers?

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Insta-Wrap-Up; IX

I have no Webster love to share this edition, I feel like a terrible dog mom!  If I don’t take pictures on the regular, how will people know that I have the cutest boy on the planet?  Anyway, here is some of what I did instagram…

I can’t believe I never shared this recipe on the blog, but I made a pumpkin mug cake and it was fantastic!  Just the usual recipe with 1/3 cup pumpkin subbed in for butter.

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During Pumpkin Month, Halloween nails.  I did clean up the edges a bit after that picture!

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Spotted on a taco stand in Brooklyn -

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This made me laugh so hard.  Also, do you use The Skimm yet?  It’s a week-day email service that gives you a quick, comprehensive overview of current events.

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And I may not have gotten the dog on candid camera, but I did show off this adorable dachshund ring that my cousin sent me.

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Sorry, Webs!

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Weekend Top Three

{1} I made my Buffalo Chicken Baked Pasta.  But I made this version cheesier.

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Like, soooo cheesy; I accidentally spilled in most of the bag of cheese when I meant to do an extra sprinkle.

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I also added more buffalo wing sauce, a bit more spinach, and swapped in whole-wheat pasta, ranch, and lean ground turkey for chicken breasts.

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It was delicious.

{2} We soothed our fiery mouths with pumpkin beers.

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All four ended up being fantastic.  I wasn’t expecting to love the ales because I tend to prefer stouts and ciders, but they were some of the best pumpkin brews of the season.

{3} I found on-point bubble tea right next to my work.

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One of the doctors told me about it and I might have to give her my firstborn.  Awesomely chewy boba and tons of flavor options (they even had pumpkin!).  Shown above is strawberry rose black tea with tapioca and rainbow jelly.

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