Flan And Floats

Five fun things from the past weekend:

{1} My cousin graduated from VCU with her doctorate like a total badass so we had family in town for celebratory fun.

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{2} We had an amazing meal at Little Star, culminating in the best flan I’ve ever tasted.

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{3} My hair is pink(ish) thanks to this temporary tint spray.  It is subtle, but there’s more color than I was able to capture in a photo.

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{4} Adam and I had the best snacks.  Wegman’s mint chocolate chip yogurt.

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Super meta – smoked gouda pimento cheese dip scooped with pimento cheese chips.

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We made root beer floats with what turned out to be the best ice cream of all time – CoolHaus’ The Best of Both Worlds vanilla tastes like a marshmallow dream.

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{5} I made a tasty dinner.  Chicken tenders (cooked similarly to this) with whole wheat panko and silk chili // dipped in homemade honey mustard // with honey glazed brussels sprouts.

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We sipped on this surprisingly good Three Notch’d sugarcane pecan all while we cooked.

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Vino + Virginia Visitors

We had a great weekend being tourists in Charlottesville + the surrounding area because my mom was in town.  She came up for a quick visit and we all had a blast!

We celebrated May the Fourth…

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Went on wine tastings…

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Explored the farmer’s market…

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Five fun highlights were –

{1} Charlottesville City Market.  We saw someone hand-pressing tortillas so obviously we had to get a chicken taco.

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Plus I never turn down Vietnamese iced coffee.

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{2} Rocket Coffee in Crozet.  I had a great iced latte plus a bagel (<– shipped in from H&H in NYC!) with cream cheese.

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{3} Spirits from Vitae.  We loved it here!  So many Caribbean flavors and they did a theme menu for May the Fourth.  I had a taster of paw paw liquor plus a Cantina Punch – golden rum, mauby syrup, pomegranate juice, lemon, and aloe juice.

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{4} Dinner at Maya.  I didn’t snap any pictures but it was the best meal of the weekend!  I had the crispiest, most succulent duck confit of my life and we shared a s’mores torte with housemade marshmallow fluff!

{5} Dinner at Tillmans.  Greek salad plus pimento cheese served with red pepper jelly and crostini.

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Hope it’s a great week!

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BBQ Chips, BBQ Beans, BBQ Nachos

Highlights from the last week include several new (to me) things…

I don’t usually show my at-work meals, but I wanted to share one of the perks of working in the South – biscuit breakfast sandwiches in the hospital cafeteria.  This had turkey chorizo sausage, a cage-free fried egg, and cheddar.

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These Don’t Go Nuts granola bars have the best texture, almost like a streusel.

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Other snack highlights include this assortment of bbq flavored crisped chickpeas and corn.

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Chocolate beers and hibiscus drinks.  I loved the s’mores beer, liked the tea, and hated the other two.

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My aunt shared a recipe for Chicken Provencal Soup with us and we loved it for dinner.  It’s packed with potato, diced tomato, onion, carrot, and celery.  I dipped some naan in my broth.

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We made fantastic bbq bowls another night.  Collard greens and celery (sauteed with lemon, garlic, butter, and harissa hot sauce) // shredded chicken (cooked in the crock pot with ketchup, yellow mustard, brown sugar, cayenne, paprika, and red onion) // baby heirloom tomatoes // and smoked paprika candied pecans.  Remind me to cook more collards!

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We turned our leftovers into something fantastic with the help of these two products.  1) Hickory BBQ kettle chips that Boulder Canyon sent me to sample.  FYI – Boulder Canyon chips are – certified gluten free – trans fat free -vegan – kosher – made with green energy.  They had a good amount of smoke and tang and weren’t greasy at all.  Bonus, my bags, at least, had tons of foldsies!  2) Borlotti beans that we bought at Mekelburg’s just because the box was so pretty.

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BBQ kettle chips + beans + leftover chicken + roasted corn + sharp cheddar + smoked paprika = nachos!

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Bowls On Bowls

Seven wins from the past seven days…

{1} Peeps coffee creamer!!  It tastes like vanilla marshmallow!!!  But they should have made it pink.

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{2} Speaking of marshmallow, I made cereal bars with Trader Joe’s neapolitan cereal.  I brought them to a work event and they were a hit.  I used my go-to recipe but took things up a notch with the addition of vanilla bean paste.

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{3} I placed a super exciting order with the Mexican Candy Lady.  The standout so far has been these flan gummies.

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{4} Berry breakfast bowls.  Liebe strawberry quark (<– this was 10/10, btw, super creamy and delicious!) / fresh blackberries / granola / cacao bliss.

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{5} Cava bowls are currently our favorite take-out, there are a ton of toppings to choose from.  This was greens / tzatziki / crazy feta spread / harissa / roasted vegetables / grilled chicken / pickled onion / cabbage slaw / chopped cucumber / kalamata olives / and green harissa dressing.  Plus a side of really yummy house-made pita chips.

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{6} I made my own bowls too.  Roasted sweet potato / bok choy sauteed with garlic and green onion / candy salmon / fried egg.

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{7} A take on okonomiyaki – pancakes stuffed with roasted cabbage and corn.  Topped with mayo and Sriracha.

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Party Peeps

7 highlights from the last 7 days…

Chocolate chip banana bar.  I found it in our hospital’s cafeteria but apparently it’s such a new product it hasn’t made it to the website yet.

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Crazy freeze-dried fruits from Trader Joe’s.  The dragonfruit wasn’t a fit for my tastes but the grapes were sweet and amazing.

IMG_4283Birthday cake Peeps!  Look at their adorable sprinkled butts!

 

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Kung Fu Tea.  Almond milk tea (half sweet, extra ice) with Oreo and aloe jelly.

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Squid ink pasta with tahini sauce, 5 spice tofu, roasted zucchini, and chili oil.

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Slow-cooked parmesan garlic chicken and potatoes + broccoli.  We didn’t brown our chicken and it still came out great.

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Greek salad – romaine and cucumber with TJ’s Greek feta dressing, green olives, crispy cheese bites, and roasted chickpeas.

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Have a great week!

Little Star = Big Star

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We ate some really yummy things last week!  Here were the highlights…

{1} Canned coffees that I schlepped back from New York.

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{2} Lemon meringue macarons at the farmers’ market at IX Park.

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{3} A Trader Joe’s shaped meal that was both quick and delicious.  Cauliflower gnocchi + turkey summer sausage + pizza sauce + broccoli rabe.  You can bake the gnocchi (425 degrees Fahrenheit for 15-20 minutes) and it comes out great.

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{4} A Korean feast at Maru on the downtown mall.  I had the spicy chicken and cheese plate – spicy gojuchang marinated chicken served with rice cakes and Korean sweet potato and topped with melted cheese.

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It was spicy, and smoky, and kind of amazing.  The portion was gigantic and my leftovers – which I stir-fried with eggs and roasted broccoli – were kind of amazing as well.

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We also had pat bing soo – shaved ice with red bean, mochi, and milk powder.

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{5} Dinner with my cousin at Little Star, a newish, supremely gorgeous, tapas spot.  The space and the tableware – which was thrifted and eclectic – were beautiful.

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We ordered all the things and loved every single bite and sip.  All three of us agreed it was one of the best meals we had eaten all year.  Agave Angel – mezcal, lime juice, and cream.

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3 month aged manchego with apricot honey preserves.

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Charred shishito peppers with romesco and pasilla de Oaxaca chile.

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Sunny side up eggs with salsa negra, green onion, sesame seeds, grilled bread, and hickory sauce.  <– this was the top dish of the night, the contrast of the sweet hickory sauce with the eggs and salsa was divine

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Shrimp and grapes with garlic, leeks, tequilla, and pickled chiles.  We went right ahead and sipped that sauce.

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Seared tuna with rendered foie gras, salsa molcajete, cilantro oil, and charred onion.  <– 2nd best dish of the night, which is unsurprising when you consider the words “rendered foie gras”

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Coffee service.

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Crumb cake with meyer lemon curd, ear gray cream, and mezcal caramel.

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Creme carmel flan with peaches.

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*swoon*

Let Them Eat Cake

I am going on vacation next week and I definitely already have vacation brain!  The past 7 days I’ve done barely any cooking and taken barely any photographs of what I have been eating.

Here were five great highlights…

{1} Cake in all forms!  Billy Idol Cake from Paradox, aka white wedding cake with lemon curd.

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{2} Cake ice cream > ice cream cake.

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{3} I have come around to Adam’s point of view that Sicily Rose makes the best lattes in Charlottesville.  Their fancy espresso machine is key.  Four shots on ice with skim milk in a small cup is 100% perfect.

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{4} Poblano x2 pasta bowls.  Trader Joe’s creamy chicken poblano ravioli with celery, poblano pepper, and TJ’s turkey summer sausage sauteed in a butter.

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{5} We finally made it to Lampo and it lived up to the hype.  The Fungi pizza was downright decadent; Sharondale Farm pioppini and oyster mushrooms, thyme, onion, garlic, panna, aged provolone, grana padano.

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Adam and I shared two amazing salads.  Cavoletti di Bruxelles – shaved brussel sprouts, chives, fennel, hazelnuts, maple garum vinaigrette, pecorino.

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Cavolo Nero – Tuscan kale, candied almonds, ricotta salata, golden raisins, pickled mustard seed, apple cider vinaigrette, crispy parsnip.  This was the best dish of the meal.

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Plus I had the Hell and Honey cocktail; Del Maguey Vida mezcal, Espolon, aperol, grapefruit, scorpion pepper honey.

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And we had the budino for dessert; chocolate pudding, sweet cream, olive oil, salted hazelnut brittle.

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P.S. I will not be blogging from vacation – though I will share some fun on instagram – so I’ll see you guys after St. Patrick’s Day!