Heart On

I hope everyone had a nice Valentine’s Day!  I love a holiday with theme colors.

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This week I loved…

Stumptown cold brew with milk.  I’m not sure if I had ever tried the chocolate flavor before, I loved it.

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An epic chocolate cherry smoothie.  Plain Greek yogurt, frozen cherries, and chocolate milk.

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We don’t really do Valentine’s gifts, but the husband did buy me cupcakes!

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Salted caramel and a delicious funfetti.

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A take on this lemon poppy seed chicken casserole.  We added tons of roasted broccoli.

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A take on shakshuka, with red bell pepper and chipotle.  Topped with roasted zucchini, sumac, and two fried eggs.

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Adam was not around for Valentine’s dinner and I’m fighting a pretty bad cold so I loved myself with Brazos Tacos take-out for dinner.  The Solid – pulled chicken, refried black beans, roasted corn pico, sliced avocado, and jack cheese // Tres Quesos – Oaxacan cheese, manchego cheese, and queso fresco, with refried black beans, sliced avocado, roasted corn pico, and pickled watermelon // chips and salsa.

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Bonus – things I love deeply that you might not know about from the blog:

{1} Diet soda.  It is truly the only food I cherish more than coffee or cheese!

{2} Running.  I am not fast, and I am extremely careful with my knees so I don’t run that often, but it is one of my favorite things.  I run about 3 miles in about 30 minutes one time most weeks and I love every second of it.

{3} Wegman’s hot bar “Asian” section.  I get hot bar chicken at least once a week as a pre-dinner snack but it never makes it onto the blog because it just photographs so abhorrently.

{4} “The Office.”  My love of tv is well-documented and over the past year “The Office” has become one of my favorite shows.  I have seen every episode at least three times!  So much of what is happening with the world right now is scary and sad and I’m really loving feel-good shows that are an escape from reality.

Engaging Eats

It was an exciting weekend, two of our favorite people came to visit us – and got engaged while they were here!  We loved being a part of their special day, and also enjoyed a winery tour, stumbling into the Tom Tom Festival, and staying up far too late.  I mostly took photos of people, but here were five highlights of what I ate…

{1}  Coffee from Sweethaus.  Quad / nonfat / iced / latte / with vanilla and mint.

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{2}  Brunch at Junction.  I had the Huevos Rancheros – crispy corn tortillas topped with refried beans, cotija cheese, fresh avocado, salsa, and 2 fried local eggs.  Plus the Jungle Cat – Vida Mezcal, Campari, pineapple, lime, and Caribbean jerk spiced cane syrup.

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{3}  Lunch at Smoked in Crozet.  We could not believe how good this place was!  I had smoked turkey, fried chicken, cole slaw, and smoked jalopeno creamed corn.  The cream corn was my favorite side dish of all time!

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{4}  I did not take a picture, but I still have to mention how delicious the fried chicken sandwich at The Fitzroy is.  3/4 of us ordered it for dinner and all of us basically swooned over it.

{5}  It was a coworker’s birthday this weekend so I am bringing in the best ever chocolate chip cookies and I ate copious amounts of dough as I worked.

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I am looking forward to eating a baked cookie with lunch today!

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Bells, Poblanos, And Shishitos, Oh My

Highlights from this pepper-filled week…

Coffee coffee.

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I made bang bang shrimp with zucchini noodles loosely following this recipe.  I swapped in gojuchang and honey for sweet chili sauce and tossed the shrimp in some cornstarch to help give it a nice crust.

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Nacho night.  Kettle chips / shredded turkey breast / Camembert and cheddar cheese sauce / parsley // roasted green beans.

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Veggie bowls.  Sauteed red, orange, and yellow bell pepper with sweet onion and garlic / black beans sauteed with charred poblano pepper and cojita cheese / avocado / fried egg / sour cream and Cholula hot sauce.

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Cheese plate.  Grapes / Camembert and sharp cheddar / olives / tamari almonds / shishito peppers with sea salt, lime juice, and honey. <– I was so excited for this meal and it ended up not having enough protein being the least filling thing on earth and we both had to make sandwiches

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Local dessert love.  Cheesecake ice cream.

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Cupcakes from Sweethaus.  That middle one is cookie dough!

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We’re doing something fun this weekend…

Claro, Cake, Carrots

I worked Friday, Saturday, Sunday (and I keep working Monday, Tuesday!) but I ate enough sugar the last three days to keep me Energizer Bunny-ing through.

Highlights from a tasty weekend…

Birthday cake iced latte from Milk Bar.

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Trader Joe’s cold brew bottles are the 3rd best packaged cold coffees, beat only by Chameleon and Grady’s.

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Fresh alphonso mango.  In strawberry lingonberry yogurt with bran flakes cereal.

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Desserts from House of Inasal.  Halo halo with the best leche flan of my life.

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And ube tres leches!

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Ice cream from Van Leeuwen.  A vegan flavor that was terrible and a s’mores flavor that was my new favorite.

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Dinner at Sauvage // French food.

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Lemony marinated olives.

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Charred heirloom carrots with labne, pistachio, vadouvan, and pistou.

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We shared all the entrees with mushrooms.  Salmon with sorrel, shiitake mushrooms, lentils, and buttermilk sauce.

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Poulet au Vin Jaune with morels and fava beans.  I don’t eat chicken skin that often but it was by far the best component of this particular dinner!

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Dinner at Claro // Oaxacan food.  I had the housemade tepache (a fermented, sweetened pineapple beverage) with a shot of mezcal – they separated my cocktail for me so I could taste the tepache on its own.

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The menu was meant to be enjoyed family style so we ordered all of the things.  Too many things in fact, I wish they had stopped us one or two dishes earlier.  Asparagus and avocado tostado with queso freso, radish, and spring onion.

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Tacos with chipotle shrimp and quesillo cheese.

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Garnachas (like an open quesadilla) with rabbit and duck confit, pate, fermented vegetables, and cojita cheese.

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Memela (masa cakes) with wild mushrooms, espazote, goat cheese crema, and pasilla.

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Goat’s milk chocolate ice cream with goats milk caramel, peanuts, and toasted marshmallows.

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Happy Monday!

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Cookie Monster

Friday, Friday, Friday!  How did a short week feel so long?  At least I had multiple sugar highs to carry me through.

Munk Pack sent me a sweet (but actually protein-packed) box of samples.  Munk Pack Protein Cookies contain a whopping 18 grams of plant-protein and 6 grams of fiber per cookie.  They are gluten-free, vegan, and do not contain sugar alcohols or soy.

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I let Adam review two flavors on his own because he’s the one whose lifestyle depends on quick, protein-packed snacks (and he’s already obsessed with Munk Pack’s oatmeal packets).  He thought double dark chocolate was good but not great and was over the moon for oatmeal raisin spice.  To quote – “5/5.  A little bit savory but not too spicy.  Firm on the outside but moist on the inside, with a good texture from the oats.  Very filling, it kept me satisfied for hours.”

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And personally I liked peanut butter chocolate chip but I loooooved the coconut white chip macadamia.  All of the flavors were very substantial, I actually ended up skipping lunch yesterday because I was still so satisfied from the cookie I ate for breakfast at 9!

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Peanut butter wasn’t necessarily a cookie-cookie but was a darn good protein bar but the coconut flavor was straight-up decadent.  It had the slightly gritty consistency of cookie dough and was one of the more delicious packaged cookies (dessert options included) I’ve ever eaten.

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Plus we threw a baby shower for a coworker this week and I made and ate a million desserts.  Matzoh toffee candy.

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Triple fudge brownies with maraschino cherries and cherry cream cheese frosting.

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I did eat one or two things that weren’t sweet.  Like super spicy Thai food.  I went out for lunch with a girlfriend in Astoria and had a great bowl of extra spicy pad see ew with mock duck.

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Plus Adam and I hung out for a bit at Gossip; love it there.

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Still obsessed with this Trader Joe’s seed and bean snack.

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It was a week of fantastic home-cooked dinners.  Like Asian-style cabbage wraps.  <– best dish of the week

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Red cabbage cups / ground turkey sauteed with shredded carrot, spring onion, orange and bell pepper/ crushed peanuts on top.

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Plus two dipping sauces – miso, lime juice, sugar, soy sauce, rice vinegar, gojuchang / avocado, cilantro, fish sauce, rice vinegar, lime juice, Greek yogurt, evoo.

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Another night I used the leftover avocado cilantro sauce to make a killer salad.  With red cabbage, arugula, spring onion, shredded carrot, yellow bell pepper, black beans, sharp cheddar, and salty peanuts.

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With an assortment of global gummy candies for dessert.

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And another night we made loaded cheeseburger cheese fries!

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Waffle fries / cheese / tons of sauteed onion / mini turkey cheeseburgers / with ketchup and mayo on top.

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Plus broccoli slaw on the side, sauteed with rice vinegar and cream cheese.

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Have a happy weekend!

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.

Ice Cream In LA

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We took full advantage of our week off and took a trip out to the West Coast!  This was our first time in Los Angeles and we had a great trip.  We rented a car and had enough time to do some exploring.  Keeping with vacation tradition, I got sick with a sore throat, but thankfully half of our agenda was ice cream anyway!

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some of our favorite things we did – –

Chinatown // Griffith Park Observatory // La Brea Tar Pits

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// Malibu

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// Rodeo Drive // Santa Monica // Venice Beach

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// Venice Canals

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some of our favorite things we ate – –

Afters Ice Cream  <– this wins best ice cream of the trip

Brioche ice cream sandwich with cookie monster ice cream and sweetened corn flakes.  I couldn’t get a good photo in the sun but this was out of this world.

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B Sweet

Filipino dessert bars are the best.  I got amazing Halo Halo.

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Blue Star Doughnuts

The bottom one was terrible but the top one was a fantastic buttermilk glazed.  This was our very first stop on the trip and it was a nice start.

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Egg Slut

House-made turkey sausage, cage-free over medium egg, cheddar cheese, and honey mustard aioli in a warm brioche bun.

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Grand Central Market

There was so much to do here!  We got chicken tacos.

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And the best pad see eiw I’ve ever tasted.  The noodles were a little bit charred and perfectly chewy.  We were both in heaven.

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Magpies Soft Serve  <– this was the best soft serve we’ve ever had

I got a swirl with cherry cola(!!!) and sweetened cream.

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Mr. Holmes Bakehouse

It was adorable in here and we almost came away with some gold pins.  California croissant with smoked salmon, ginger, wasabi, and nori.

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Philz Coffee

The mojito iced coffee lived up to expectations.  I do have to mention that it makes me crazy that they call this “mojito” though, mojitos have mint and sugar but they also have rum and lime and without the second two ingredients you have a mint iced coffee, not a mojito.

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Salt and Straw

It’s as good as they say.  We had salted, malted, chocolate chip cookie dough and almond brittle with chocolate ganache.

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Son of a Gun  <– this was our best meal of the trip

This tapas-style seafood restaurant pretty much blew our minds.  I drank a Ruby Red Julep – Angels Envy Bourbon, ruby red grapefruit, hibiscus, lemon, and mint.

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We had the lemonfish poke with black radish escabeche, citrus, and crispy sunchoke.

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Maple cream with smoked steelhead trout roe and pumpernickel flakes.

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Heirloom tomato salad with avocado, chili, lime, miso, and corn.

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Blackened rock cod with tomatillo salsa, fried tortilla, and crema.

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And for dessert, Italian Hamburger: a brioche ice cream sandwich with caramel and maldon sea salt.

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And now it’s back to work, wish me luck!

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