Pig Squared

Highlights from the weekend…

We went in to Manhattan early Saturday morning to check out the SNL line.  <– never going to happen, people had been camped out for at least 24 hours  On the plus side, we got to check out the leftover Easter decorations in Rockefeller Plaza.

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We spent the day with a Buffalo friend who is living in the city for a year for fellowship.  We took him to two of our favorite porcine named restaurants and on a long walk from Lower East Side to Tribeca and back.

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Pig Bleeker for lunch.  Smoked fried chicken sandwich with mayo, mustard sauce, hot sauce, and pickles, plus the crispiest fries.

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Pig and Khao for dinner.  I ordered the half hainanese duck, which came with duck fat fried rice which is apparently my favorite thing.

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We had birthday cake croissants at Union Fare.  Can sprinkle dust be a part of my everyday life?

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We had a variety of cinematic favorite tributes this weekend.  90’s throwback snacks while we watched Empire Records on Rex Manning Day!

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And a Thackery Binx inspired Daiquiri Binx cocktail – apple cinnamon infused white rum, simple syrup, fresh lime, egg white.

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Eggcellent dinners using up our Easter leftovers.

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Egg salad – with mayo, dijon, smoked paprika, and red and yellow bell pepper.  Plus roasted broccoli.  We scooped the salad with Trader Joe’s honey butter potato chips which was pretty fantastic.

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Salad salad with a mango kombucha.

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Romaine / cilantro salad dressing / blue cheese / smoked almonds / fried tofu / hard-boiled eggs.

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Have a great week!

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Winter Weekend Wonderland

Three fun facts…

{1} NYC got its first snow this weekend.

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{2} Adam and I used the blustery weather as reason to spend an afternoon at the Metropolitan Museum.  So much Van Gogh!

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{3} We also watched and loved the first season of Stan Against Evil.

{bonus fact} It’s Adam’s birthday today!  I was going to write a gooey, disgusting, you’re-my-everything post but our ten year anniversary is on December 28th so I’ll save up my feels.

Weekend eats highlights…

Eggnog ice cream spiked iced coffee.

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Jalapeño cheddar potato pierogis at Baba’s with caramelized onions and mushrooms.

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BBQ spread at Fletchers.  I had smoked chicken, cole slaw, pickles, and rivers of bbq sauce.

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Egg ‘n grog pie at Four & Twenty Blackbirds.  It was a delicious, boozy custard.

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Edible brownie batter!  For 2, mix 1 Tbsp melted butter / 1 Tbsp granulated sugar / 2 Tbsp brown sugar / 1 Tbsp cocoa powder / 3 Tbsp all-purpose flour / 1.5 Tbsp milk of choice (I recommend eggnog).

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I made stroganoff-ish turkey bowls.  Ground meat sautéed with shallots, paprika, sour cream, and tons of fried mushrooms.

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With carrots and hummus for additional veggies.

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And Holiday Cheers Health-Ade Kombucha for fun.  <– I was expecting to hate the ginger but this ended up being my all-time favorite kombucha, it was all sweet and no spice

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Chicken tenders and slaw.

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Oven-fried chicken tenders (using a rough version of this method) coated in crushed Heritage Flakes and drizzled with homemade honey mustard.

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With homemade cole slaw on the side.  I adore slaw and this quick version was better than any I’ve had in a restaurant.  I didn’t make notes for a recipe but it’s sliced cabbage and golden raisins in a mix of mayo, sour cream, mustard, sugar, and rice vinegar.

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Fantastic cheese plates.  Fancy TJ’s crackers with white stilton with apricots, honey goat cheese, and raw milk cheddar.

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Southern Tier Cinnamon Roll Ale that tasted like a cookie.

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Plus carrots and orange bell pepper with hummus.

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And sugared nuts and dried figs.

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Columbus Travels

My weekend adventures in Ohio were absolutely fantastic!  My cousin had a gorgeous wedding and it was beyond fabulous to get to spend time with my family.

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I got into town two nights ahead of the wedding and had the opportunity to explore Columbus a bit, including Easton, North Market, and German Village.

Culinary highlights…

Flowers and Bread – Iced latte with local milk and a chocolate-stuffed roll with housemade apple butter.

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Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream – Boozy eggnog and Black Cat espresso.

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Related:  I had my first eggnog iced latte of the season on this trip and it made me blissfully happy.

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Roosevelt Coffeehouse – Vietnamese iced coffee.

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The Roost at North Market – I had a giant burrito with scrambled egg, housemade chicken sausage, cheese, black bean salsa, and sour cream.  Plus tons of Franks.

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Wolf’s Ridge Brewery – I had a a flight of three fun beers, Clear Sky Loops a cream ale with orange, lime, and vanilla / Gose brewed with freshly ground coriander and gourmet sea salt / Pi made with spices and local pumpkins.

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The arugula salad with blue cheese, saison poached pear, dried cranberries, marcona almonds, and honey peppercorn dressing.

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And the sweet corn gnocchi with arugula coulis, crispy bread, roasted garlic, and roasted acorn and butternut squash.

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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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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.

Buffalo Chicken Ballyhoo

Is it seriously September already??  Actually, don’t answer that; if I think about how fast this year seems to be going it makes my head spin.  At least now it’s Apple Month.

Here were eight things from the end of the eighth month…

{1}  coffee excitement

A match made in heaven?  I put creamy pecan popsicle in my iced coffee.

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The lattes at Black Brick are roasty and delicious.

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{2}  brunch at Loosie’s Café

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This space was gorgeous!  I had a grains bowl with shitake and king oyster mushrooms, purple kale, quinoa, roasted beets, cucumber raita, mint, and a soft egg.

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{3}  “milk and cookies” at The Bedford

Adam and I split a The Dude’s Caucasian – house-made vanilla bean espresso vodka on the rocks with a drizzle of cream.

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And a Drunken Cookie – underbaked chocolate chip cookie dough stuffed injected with white chocolate.  <– omg

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{4}  lime, mint, and elderflower sparkling water

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{5}  Curious Creamery ice cream mix

Please note – this product was given to me free of charge to review.  I was not provided further compensation for this post.  All opinions are my own.

It is mix that doesn’t require an ice cream maker, all you have to do is beat it with the milk of your choice and freeze.  It takes about 15 minutes of hands-on time, and we found the ice cream consistency to be enjoyable after 5 hours (and it continued to be good 48 hours later too).

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I used 2% cow’s milk but you can also use full-fat, skim, almond, etc – the mixes themselves are lactose-free and have no trans or saturated fat.  I made the vanilla packet plain – Adam thinks it tastes like marshmallows! – and the chocolate I mixed with dulce de leche and roasted pecans for a turtle sundae.

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We didn’t love the final product, but did quite like it.  I’d say the ice cream is better than 7-11 brand, Turkey Hill, or the no-name stuff at cafeterias; on par with most store-bought ice creams; and not as good as Ben and Jerry’s or the ice cream we can get at places like Ample Hills or Ice and Vice in the city.  If I’m living somewhere that isn’t NYC in the future I would definitely make it again.

{6}  the last of the seasonal summer beers

These ended up being two of my all-time favorite strawberry beers.  Shiner Strawberry Blonde / Saranac Strawberry Tart.

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{7}  out-of-this-world good buffalo chicken tenders

I base all of my “oven-fried” chicken on this recipe from A Cozy Kitchen.  I used skinless, boneless chicken breast tenders and baked for 24 minutes at 425 degrees.  I mixed smoked paprika and cayenne in with my flour and used panko as my bread crumb.

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The final product was tossed with a mix of buffalo sauce, butter, and brown sugar.

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Paired with carrots and celery – steam/sautéed and finished with thyme honey balsamic vinaigrette – to keep the theme going.

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{8}  buffalo chicken and blue cheese cheese fries

Our leftover chicken got to participate in something magical – waffle fries baked with cheddar, blue cheese, and buffalo chicken on top.

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Have a great weekend.

Second Staycation

By the time you read this I’ll be on a plane heading west, woo-hoo!

We are on our final week of summer vacation.  We are excited for today’s travels, but when we made our plans we made sure to include time for some New York City love.  Adam and I spent the past three days having a blast in our hometown.  We ate all the things, got in some good dog cuddles, and spent some time showing off the Lower East Side to a friend (one of our favorite humans recent moved to the city for fellowship and we are excited to share the love).

Here were the top six edible highlights from the past three days…

{1}  Antica Pesa = our new favorite Italian spot

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Every piece of this meal was perfection.  From the “Stranger Danger” – Ilegal Mezcal, guava, mint, hot honey, lime, and a Campari float.

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To the cheese plate with the best blue cheese we’ve ever had.

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I had housemade fettuccine with fresh mozzarella and eggplant puree and Adam had outstanding lasagna.

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Plus for dessert we had coffee granite with chocolate cornflake crunch on top and a Gianduia hazelnut cream on the bottom that was my all-time favorite bite of dessert.

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{2}  Chef’s Club Counter

The boys liked their smoked salmon toasts and I loved my duck rice bowl with olives, citrus puree, and duck cracklins.

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{3}  Mother’s Ruin

My chicken and waffles were my favorite plate of food of the summer!  The wings were coated in ridiculously fantastic Cholula-honey glaze.  I also had a great drink with light rum, cava, honey, and mint.

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{4}  Booze in Brooklyn

We played our favorite game at Barcade (and were infinitely frustrated by Tapper) and I fell in love with Dogfish Head’s SeaQuench gose.

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Plus we had way too many drinks and fell in love with the vibe at Rocka Rolla.

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{5}  Treats at Bibble and Sip

Iced lavender latte and a coconut Thai iced tea panna cotta.  And now we want to go back and try every other flavor of panna cotta.

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{6}  Turkey cheese burgers

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We made yummy turkey burgers – simply seasoned and kept moist with a brioche panade – on brioche buns with sharp cheddar cheese and bread and butters from Pickle Guys.

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With roasted zucchini.

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And a duo of fruit beers – New Belgium Juicy Watermelon Ale / Flying Dog Tamarind Ale.

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See you this weekend!

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