Law And Order SVU (Spectacular Vittles Unit)

I still don’t want to talk about anything important.  I’d rather think something else than the fact that my hometown was just ravaged by yet another hurricane.  St. Thomas – and the devastated Caribbean as a whole – is pretty much all I’ve been thinking about for the past 2 weeks.  Let’s talk about yummy food instead.

Three facts before we get into the meat of this post –

{1} I just learned that vittles is actually an outdated spelling of the word “victuals.”

{2} I was serving on the jury for a criminal case for the past 5 days.  I don’t dread my civic duty at all, and it was a very positive experience.  Deciding a verdict is an awesome responsibility and I feel like I got a learn a lot about our legal system over the past week.

{3} I have added to my apple stash!  Gum, kombucha, and gummy bears, all of which I highly recommend, by the way.

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Plus Noosa Yoghurt sent me a fun package of fall flavors, including one of their newest flavors – Apple!

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The highlights…

This week’s coffee – Campfire Blend.  Plus I purchased a latte every day on my lunch break.

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Since I couldn’t have my camera with me in court, I’m missing a lot of my day-time eats this week, but I do have shots of my packed snacks (including a full lunch for my Thursday back at work).  Maple Chobani with Heritage Flakes and a gingergold apple.

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Apple Noosa with an apple bar.  This Noosa really does taste like pie filling!  The yogurt is soooo creamy and sweet and the apples are just a bit cinnamon-y.

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Pink lady apple kombucha, cinnamon apple sauce, cinnamon apple oatmeal, and sour caramel apple gummy bears.

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Snacks worth mentioning include: this 365 brand popcorn.  It’s low sodium but totally not bland; I loved it and I usually won’t even eat bagged popcorn.

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A yogurt bowl with chocolate Siggi’s yogurt, chopped plucot, granola, and a few caramel chips.

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Trader Joe’s new peanut butter roundels.  They are basically supersized peanut cups, so obviously we are obsessed.

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It’s not officially fall until today, but we still made some cold weather comfort foods for dinners.

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Grilled cheese sandwich on whole-wheat sourdough with labneh, sharp white cheddar, and a sprinkle of sumac.

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Dipped in tomato soup (a low-sodium boxed variety from TJ’s that was good but not great).

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With roasted squash.

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I also made a ridiculously delicious Mac and Cheese and Greens casserole.

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Make a roux with 2 Tbsp butter and 2 Tbsp flour // whisk in 1 cup skim milk and 8 cups baby spinach food processed until smooth with 3 Tbsp pesto and salt and pepper to taste // stir in 9 oz shredded sharp white cheddar and a healthy sprinkle of cayenne and smoked paprika // fold in 8 oz whole wheat shell pasta cooked according to package directions // pour into a casserole and top with 1 oz cheese // bake at 375 degrees Fahrenheit for 20 minutes.

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On the agenda this weekend?  We’re hoping the weather holds out for a final trip to Smorgasburg and a first-time visit to Roosevelt Island.

How Do You Solve A Problem Like Maria

My title is a tongue in cheek joke about how the weather channel is turning me into a crazy person this month.  I was having such a good week too.  The VI was finally getting some desperately needed federal assistance and national news coverage and my parents got cell service back and I was able to talk to my mom.  But now, Maria is expected to hit the Virgin Islands as a category 3 hurricane this week.  Fantastic.

I’m still not really feeling up to prattling on about my days, but I did have some fun this week so I’m posting a top five…

{1}  favorite work bites

{a} coffee coffee coffee

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{b} I am still obsessed with that Trader Joe’s nut and seed mix

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{c} I also packed a nice tasting plate – dried apples, TJ’s crispy cheese bites, and a maple salmon bar.

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{d} This cafeteria wrap was on point.  Chicken / pinto beans / tomato / bell peppers / banana pepper / cheddar.

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{2}  apple eatventures

{a} I made caramel apple bread from scratch!  Basically just pumpkin bread made with apple sauce instead of pumpkin puree and totally just an excuse to use these caramel chips.

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{b} Caramel apple oatmeal.  Rolled oats / caramel chips / cinnamon / chia seeds / dried apples.

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{c} Caramel apple Twizzlers.

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{d} Apple pie milkshake.  Vanilla ice cream / Greek yogurt / applesauce/ cinnamon and gingerbread spice.

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{3}  cobb salad pasta salad

Whole wheat bowtie pasta / crumbled fancy aged blue cheese / turkey bacon / chopped chicken breast / hard-boiled eggs / diced avocado / shredded spinach / roasted baby tomatoes.

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{4}  a Mile End meal recreation

Mile End Deli has a Brussel sprouts dish on their menu that we were over the moon for, so I recreated it at home.  Our version was roasted brussel sprouts / tossed with crispy turkey bacon / plus olive oil and honey / sprinkled with sumac / on a base of labne.

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While we cooked – which took no time at all – we sipped on Switchel.

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Up Mountain Switchel sent me a box for review.  The lemon flavor was too spicy ginger for me, but I loved the Yerba Mate.  The ingredients list is short and simple (the four things listed on the front of the bottle plus water) and a serving has 54 calories and 10 grams of sugar.  It paired nicely with our meal and would be a good alternative option to booze or soda with dinner.

{5}  a trip to the South Fork of the Hamptons

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{a} Doughnuts and coffee at Grindstone.

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I had a Nutella s’mores brioche doughnut and a vanilla latte.

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{b} La Colombe black and tan (draft latte and cold brew) at Sag Town Coffee.  P.S. Apparently I am obsessed with Sag Harbor, it is so cute!

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{c} Lunch at Lunch.  Instead of a lobster roll I went with the seafood chili – with a bloody mary – and was quite pleased with my choice.

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{d} A cup of birthday cake ice cream at Scoop Du Jour.

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{e} And best of all, we got to stick our toes in the sand at the beach.

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It was a super foggy day and the crashing waves were gorgeous.  Plus we saw about a million seagulls.  <– best beach day ever

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Coffee And Eggs

Important Things First

I was finally able to speak with my parents and they are alright (and the rest of my island family members are safe as well).  Phone service, power, and most cell service are out, so for the foreseeable future I can only talk to my parents when they manage to borrow a working cell phone.  Communication on-island is tricky as well, radio stations were down and when I spoke with my parents briefly Friday afternoon they didn’t even know that Jose had been updated to a category four (thankfully that ended up being a nonissue).  We got unbelievably lucky and our home’s roof is fully intact.  When I got off the train Friday morning I had a voicemail from my dad and I was so relieved I starting sobbing in the middle of the street like a crazy person.  It’s been an emotional weekend, I am completely overwhelmed with gratitude for how fortunate my family was.

The United States Virgin Islands as a whole was not so lucky.  St. Thomas and St. John were decimated by Hurricane Irma.  On St. Thomas, our only hospital, airport, fire station, and post office were destroyed.  Looking through my friends’ pictures of the destruction on Facebook is heart-wrenching.

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If you feel compelled to help the VI, here are some options:

  1. A friend I trust is crowdfunding via YouCaring and will distribute money to local foundations
  2. Tim Duncan vowed to match donations up to $1million
  3. Kenny Chesney also started a foundation
  4. If you are interested in volunteering to help with clean up, here is where you can register

Weekend Eats Highlights

{1}  apple adventures

I broke into some of my Trader Joe’s apple goodies – freeze dried Fujis and cereal bars.  Along with a coffee Chobani yogurt drink.

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{2}  delightful drinks

Iced coffee with chocolate milk, my favorite beverage combo.  I also loved my lavender mint water.

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{3}  stupendous snack

Trader Joe’s hit it out of the park with this seed and bean medley.  Apparently dried fava beans are my favorite thing, who knew?

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{4}  eggy eats

I breakfasted at the hot bar before starting my shopping at Whole Foods.  Scrambled eggs with potatoes and turkey bacon and an iced latte.

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Homemade chilaquiles!  Tortilla chips heated in a skillet with olive oil / tossed with green salsa and sour cream / with roasted zucchini folded in / and cheese / topped with two burnt fried eggs.

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{5}  Brooklyn bites

Brooklyn Kolache Co.

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We shared poppy seed, chocolate, and jalapeño egg and cheese.

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BKG Coffee Roasters.

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This spot was adorable and my latte was yummy.

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Cinnamon And Marshmallow In My Coffee

I have eaten some very yummy things over the past four days!  Adam and I both worked the holiday, but first we got to spend almost two full weekend days together!!!  Good times.

Things [literal things] that made me happy this weekend…

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Thanks to all of Target’s cheap “back to school” goodies, we have a jazzy new shower curtain and bedspread.

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The sheets underneath are pretty happy-making too.

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A Saturday trip to the Brooklyn Botanic Garden.  Such a fun way to spend a morning.  We were expecting things to be sparse due to the season but there was still a ton of beauty to admire.

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As of last Friday, it’s Apple Month.

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This spiced apple bourbon hand soap is currently the best smelling thing in our house!

Culinary highlights…

I haven’t eaten anything apple yet but I did cram some pretty fall-forward flavors into my coffees.  Cinnamon.

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And toasted marshmallow.

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Though I also had a very summer-y Australian iced coffee with Wandering Bear cold brew and vanilla Curious Creamery ice cream.

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Cheddar-chive biscuit and a matcha iced latte at Annex.

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Brunch at Maison Premiere.  We had a pastry assortment that was out of this world.

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Maison Jungle Bird – Hamilton Black Rum, Cruzan Black Strap Rum, pineapple, Campari, and sugar cane.

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I had the duck confit hash with bell pepper and poached egg.  <– not as good as Colonie, sadly

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While at the Garden, we had lunch at the Yellow Magnolia Café.  (<– newest venture from the chef/owner of Wilma Jean)

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I had wonderfully crispy, lemony fried chicken.  Served with habanero honey, collard green slaw, and delicious wild rice.  I suspect that there was honey butter in the rice because I don’t even like wild rice.

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We took a long post-lunch walk for coffee and ended up also getting ice cream for dessert – blueberry with blue velvet cake from Little Cupcake Bakeshop.

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Friday night I met a girlfriend in the Lower East Side for dinner and drinks.  Sizzling noodles at The Tang.

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I ended up with way too much food because I also couldn’t resist the Chungking Express salad – romaine, soft-boiled egg, honey, black vinegar, and chili oil.

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How fantastically ridiculous are the drinks at Mother of Pearl?!  My daiquiri – with Campari, grapefruit, and rosemary tincture – was tasty to boot.

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We made an oldie but a goodie – buffalo blue cheese black bean burgers.  Served with raw carrots and celery the first night.

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Our citrus-y sip-while-you-cook line up did not contain any winners, we hated both of these drinks!  <– normally I wouldn’t include this in a “highlights” section but they both sound so good in theory that I wanted to make sure I warned you

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Sunday night I got fancy with a Southern dinner.

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Pan-fried catfish!  I made a spice rub with salt, pepper, cayenne, cumin, brown sugar, and smoked paprika and cooked the fish for 3.5 minutes on each side.  Drizzled with a lemon butter pan sauce.

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Plus sautéed collard greens with shallots, toasted coconut, and avocado (plus lemon, rice vinegar, and liquid smoke).

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Flavor themes of the weekend – Campari / eggs / coffee / collard greens.

New Noosas

I’m free (again)!  After a short return to work I’m back on vacation for the next week, woo-hoo!

Honestly?  I need a vacation.  I was only back at work three days but I stayed late for more than an hour on Thursday and Friday and now I’m tuckered out.

Thankfully I had a few exciting things to get me through my week.  Like a luscious line up of fun new beverages: Black Hand nitro cold brew / Secret Squirrel Vietnamese iced coffee / La Colombe triple draft latte / Maeil caramel macchiato / Harmless Harvest strawberry coconut water.

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And an extra exciting package of product samples from Noosa.

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Noosa yogurt is already pretty much angel pudding, so when they offered to let me try their new line of Noosa Mates (yogurt with premium mix-ins) I jumped at the chance.

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They were even better than anticipated!  Loved them all.  I was happy with the portion of both yogurt and toppings and each one has between 240-270 calories.  Banana Chocolate Peanut with Guittard chocolate chips and salted peanuts.

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Honey cranberry almond with pepitas and granola.

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Coconut almond chocolate.

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Maple ginger with candied ginger and gingersnap crumble.  I wasn’t expecting to like this because I think that I think that ginger is too spicy, but it was delicious!  The candied ginger was chewy and delightful.

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Honey pretzel peanut.

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I ate some fun stuff on my free days too.  Like doughnuts (which were just awful, but how cute is that pink wall?!).

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And a trip to Red Hook.

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We had key lime pie from Steve’s.

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And crab sandwiches from Brooklyn Crab.  Snow crab roll with Cholula-orange aioli.

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Alaskan king crab roll with warm butter and chives.

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Plus cole slaw.

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And a  Passion Paloma with mescal, passionfruit puree, and grapefruit soda.

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Plus we stopped at Baked for coffee and brought home a grasshopper bar for dessert later in the week.

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After a long span of eating every meal out, I was excited to make us a fancy dinner.

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Smoked turkey kielbasa with onions and bell pepper.

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Plus pommes aligot <– super cheesy potatoes.  I loosely followed this recipe.  I had to lighten up a few ingredients to accommodate what we had in the fridge (less butter, 2% milk instead of cream, low-fat three cheese cheddar blend) and it was still insanely yummy.

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I served my leftovers piled all together in a bowl with smoked paprika maple mayo on top.

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By the end of the week I was so exhausted by my three days of work that I got Chipotle instead of cooking anything!  Rice / sautéed veggies / chicken / pinto beans / corn salsa / spicy salsa / sour cream / cheese.

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Have a great weekend!

Virginia Vacation

My week off from work has been pretty great so far!

Monday was my birthday.  I kept tradition going and enjoyed my free Starbucks birthday drink (quad nonfat iced latte) with sprinkles on top.

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Adam and I took a quick three day trip to Virginia.  Road trip essentials include…

Snacks (highlights were sweet chili Doritos and Koru apples).

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Coffee (mojito black tie from Peet’s aka cold brew with sweetened condensed milk and mint).

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Music.  I full-on head banged down the highway for a few hours thanks to our excellent music selections, including Betty Who, The Offspring, and this Regrettes song I’m obsessed with –

Richmond food highlights…

The coffee at Black Hand might be our all-time favorite.  We swooned over our choices and left with several bags of beans.

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Lunch at Urban Farmhouse.  I had a pimento cheese grilled cheese with local tomato and salad with cucumber, mint, and feta.

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One of my cousins lives in Charlottesville and she drove down for the day to spend my birthday with me.  We had an amazing dinner at Saison.  My Fuentes Fizz was smoky and delicious – Mezcal, Velvet Falernum, Cherry Herring, lime, grapefruit, egg whites, and soda water.

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We shared grilled okra and peaches to start.

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And I had the crispy rice bowl with fermented chili sauce, oyster mushrooms, pickled vegetables, and a poached egg.

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Dessert was just ridiculous.

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Panna cotta with honey glass and honey powder!

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Charlottesville food highlights…

Bagels at Bodo’s, where they ship in New York water for their dough.  I had an everything bagel with olive cream cheese and it was wonderful.

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Froyo at Arch’s.  Dulce de leche and cake batter with Oreos and a huge scoop of gooey brownie batter on top.

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We had dinner at Mas with my cousin and her boyfriend.

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I was too busy enjoying the company to take pictures (plus we ordered a million different plates!) but everything was fantastic.  The shrimp were out of this world.

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Now TODAY, I get to go pick up both Webster and my parents!  Enjoy the rest of your week!

Beans, Beans, Every Flavor Beans

I worked straight through Saturday to Thursday last week and it tired me out (hence the late post!).

The good news is that my work schedule meant I had a three day weekend.  And the better news is that I used my extra day to go on a quick trip to CT with Adam.  In other weekend excitement – we took the dog into the city to visit a dog park (he was not a fan).

Food themes for the week were beans and more beans, candy and more candy, and coffee (always coffee).  Here were the highlights…

Breakfast at Blue State Coffee in New Haven.  I had an egg and cheese sandwich on sourdough and an iced latte.

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Stumptown coffee.

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Pitaya smoothie with frozen cherries and cookies and cream pudding.  (<– bought the pudding on a whim, hated it, and was too cheap to toss it, but it was actually wonderful in the smoothie).

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Brunch at Fat Goose.

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I had a sparkling Paloma.

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And the foie gras panna cotta(!!!).  With strawberries, rhubarb, jam, and buttered challah.

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It was amazing.  And even better, there was a dog in my lap while I ate it!

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He got a bite of my ice cream for being a well-behaved brunch companion.

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Lemon yogurt with blueberries and maple granola.

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Plain yogurt with chocolate tahini, blueberries, and cotton candy grapes.

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Adam and I tried Costa Nova Waffle on an errands day.  They have tasty Portuguese coffee.  We had a crispy waffle with s’mores and a soft waffle with twix and both were delicious.

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Road trip snacks.

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Milk candy!  Japanese Hokkaido and Polish sesame milk caramels.

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These Haribo grapefruit candies are insanely good.

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Froyo on a hot day – birthday cake with mochi, nonpareils, and cereal marshmallows.

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Turkey BLT pasta (inspired by this Cooking Light recipe).   Whole wheat shells / turkey bacon / wilted arugula / roasted heirloom tomatoes / tossed with mayonnaise and salt and pepper.

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Salmon bacon sandwiches!

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Brioche buns with mayonnaise and gojuchang / sharp cheddar / a fried egg / and TJ’s salmon bacon.

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With roasted green beans.

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Red beans and rice (loosely inspired by this Serious Eats recipe).  Celery, green pepper, and onion cooked in evoo / salt, pepper, cayenne, and smoked paprika / with TJ’s turkey summer sausage / and red kidney beans / served on brown jasmine rice.

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White beans with turkey bacon, celery, and gojuchang.  Plus sweet potato cheese fries.

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Dinner in New Haven.  We got Thai takeout – chicken pad see ew and pad thai – to eat in our hotel room in front of the cable tv.

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Plus ice cream that was fantastically creamy and good, cookie dough and coffee oreo for me.

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Enjoy the rest of your week!

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