Spicy Cherry Coke Chicken

This past week was extra-strength lengthy.  I stayed late at work a few days and had several issues with my train and the end result was that I was home more than two hours late almost every day this week – yuck!  I did manage to eat some good dinners still, but I did not manage to get this post up on time.

Best bites {or really should I be writing “superior sips” here because I always start with coffee?!} –

Iced coffee with sweetened condensed milk.

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I also had a yummy iced latte from Birch.

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And I tried the new blonde espresso from Starbucks.  <– quite good, felt like it should be paired with vanilla

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Peach Siggi’s with a Cara Cara orange and strawberry granola minis.

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Plain Icelandic style yogurt with maple taffy, Page mandarins, and sprinkled donut crunch cereal.

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I am a marketer’s dream; I don’t eat cereal all that often, and I hate Captain Crunch, but I still bought this because it was adorable!

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Adam and I both had Monday off, so we got to go on a lunch date!  Serendipity3.

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It was our best meal there to date, we were both swooning over our entrees.  I had curried chicken casserole with almonds and many bites of Adam’s sandwich.

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We came home with two-full-meals-worth of leftovers and were still almost too full for dessert.  Almost.  This sundae is the best thing ever – humble (peanut butter) pie / vanilla ice cream / sliced bananas / hot fudge.

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Bonus – we stopped at Dylan’s next door before our walk across the Queensborough bridge and bought a candy bar on a whim that ended up being fantastic.

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I made a big crockpot of Spicy Cherry Coke Chicken for dinners.  Basically this recipe but with Coke instead of Dr Pepper and chicken instead of pork and I diced up my cherries, chipotles, and jalapenos.

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Served on a sandwich with brioche bun and mayo.

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And roasted zucchini on the side.

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And served on top of nachos!

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My other dinners were brinners.

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Breakfast bowl with sauteed kale with tons of garlic and onion, Trader Joe’s meatless breakfast sausages, and two fried eggs.

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Scrambled eggs with tons of onion, chipotle, and sharp cheddar and roasted green beans on the side.

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Hope everyone is having a great weekend!

A Merry Little Christmas

Merry Christmas to all my readers who celebrate!  I am actually at work today, but Adam and I had a great weekend making merry.

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We pretended it wasn’t raining and took a long walk around Manhattan and over the Brooklyn Bridge.

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I was very excited to check out the holiday decorations at Chelsea Market and the Oculus and Brookfield Place.

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Best bites highlights…

Nobletree eggnog cappuccino.

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I also bought a fancy Ronnybrook eggnog and dumped it over ice with a triple shot of espresso, so good.

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We had yet to stand in the Dominique Ansel line to try a cronut but when I read this month’s flavor I knew it was time – eggnog caramel!

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Crispy, chewy, gooey; they were totally fantastic and worth the wait.  Eggnog caramel may be my new favorite thing.

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Lunch at Kobrick Coffee.  I had a grilled cheese with swiss, shallots, and horseradish maple mustard.

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Plus a Strong Island Iced Tea – gin, tequila, rum, triple sec, cynar, Hella cola tonic, lime juice, and soda.  The little coffee cup was Adam’s cortadito – a crazy delicious cross between a cortado and a Cuban coffee.

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Holiday flavors jelly beans – eggnog, pumpkin pie, cranberry, hot chocolate, and peppermint.

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Harpoon Winter Warmer.  The pink drinks were my attempt at making a peppermint marshmallow vodka that did NOT work.

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Rice and Gold for dinner for a whole jerk roasted duck.  Wrapped up with jerk-hoisin sauce, pickled cucumbers, and moo shu pancakes.

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We also had cured salmon crudo with onion ash, myoga, jalapeno, and maple bourbon soy sauce.

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Charred eggplant with Chinese yogurt, scallion, and crispy shallot that was one of the best dishes I ate this year.

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A Bondi Kelly – white rum, luxardo maraschino, lime, and charred pineapple.

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And a citrus salad dessert special with cardamom labne and yuzu nata de coco.

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We brought home our leftover duck to put on nachos which was the best idea ever.

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And our Christmas Eve dinner was snowflake pasta with pesto, red bell pepper, baby kale, and turkey pepperoni.

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May your day be bright.

Won’t You Brie My Neighbor

Bites from the week…

I was on a FUN – aka sweetened and spiced – iced coffee kick.  Dark roast cold brewed with brown sugar, pumpkin spice, and extra cinnamon.

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La Colombe pumpkin spice draft latte.

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Vanilla cold brew from Bowery Coffee Co with half and half.

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Since we have multi-grain sourdough in the house I’m back to loving toast.  With Smart Balance, strawberry jam, and cheese!

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Yogurt bowl lunches.  Pumpkin Chobani with toffee bits and sweet and spicy pecans and a Snap Dragon apple.

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Pumpkin Noosa with a brown sugar cinnamon peanut butter packet.  Plus a honey tangerine and a Sweet Thorn kombucha.

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Maple yogurt with vanilla granola, banana chips, and tangerine.

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Plus one day I got cafeteria sushi.

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A quick but delicious dinner.

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Roasted brussel sprouts and a sliced RosaLynn apple.

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A toasted sandwich with smoked sliced turkey, pumpkin butter, and brie.  The sandwich was so freaking good that I ended up making it again for dinner the next night too (except we were out of turkey so I added cheddar for a double-cheese dream!).

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Pumpkin sausage pasta topped with cheese and fried sage!

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I loosely followed this recipe from Rachel Ray.  A few key changes – I toasted my pasta / I used half as much pasta (whole wheat bow ties) so there was a greater ratio of sauce / I used turkey maple breakfast sausages / I added orange bell pepper with my onions / I used extra stock instead of wine / I added cayenne pepper / I used fat-free half and half.

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Best thing I ate all week?  Banoffee (aka banana toffee) Magic Bars!

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My coworkers loved them so much they asked my to post the recipe on the blog.

Banana Toffee Magic Bars, makes 24 squares

  • 1/2 cup salted butter
  • 15 sheets graham crackers, crushed
  • 1 cup dark chocolate chips
  • 1 cup butterscotch chips
  • 1 cup toffee bits
  • 1 cup chopped dried baby bananas (from Trader Joe’s)
  • 1 cup unsweetened banana chips
  • 14 oz can sweetened condensed milk
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.  Place butter in a 9×13 inch baking dish in heating oven.
  2. When butter is fully melted, remove dish from oven and combine graham cracker crumbs and butter.  Mix well, then press firmly into the bottom of the dish.
  3. Sprinkle remaining ingredients on top of crust then top evenly with sweetened condensed milk.
  4. Bake 25-30 minutes, until lightly browned.
  5. Allow to cool before cutting.  I recommend storing these in the freezer and letting them come to room temperature to serve.

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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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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Freedom!

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I’m on vacation!  Friday was my last day of work for 11 glorious days!  I prepped for vacation by eating all of the ice cream last week 🙂

For a work-week this past week was not a bad one.  Adam and I were off together on Wednesday and got do some Lower East Side wandering.  And over the weekend we did some Long Island exploring.  Plus I met with friends for brunch.  And ate all the aforementioned ice cream.

Last week’s flavor themes: (Stumptown) coffee // ice cream // cheese // corn // egg.  Highlights…

Brunch at The General Greene.  I had the farro bowl with pesto, roasted sweet potato, avocado, and a poached egg.

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Black Brick Coffee just might be our new favorite spot.  It’s a neat space and my Stumptown latte was ridiculously good.

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Trader Joe’s new coconut cold brew coffee is pretty tasty, especially with chocolate milk.

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Vanilla bean yogurt with blackberries, granola, and chocolate tahini.

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Plain Greek yogurt with black plum and Oreo cheesecake.

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Sandwich with curly fries.  Spicy chicken / mayo and mustard / lettuce / pickles.

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Because I don’t eat enough nachos at home, they were a special in the cafeteria this week.  Pinto beans and cheddar with olives, corn, bell pepper, and onion.

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Our Long Island exploration took us to both Farmingdale and Babylon.  We had a flight of craft beers at Lithology.  My favorite was the honey rye with rosemary, followed closely by the sour farmhouse ale.

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We also did lunch at Swell Taco.

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My burrito was giant and packed with grilled chicken, refried pinto beans, rice, veggies, salsa fresca, sour cream, and Monterey jack.

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I’ve seen multiple foodie instagrammers try to say that Ben’s compares with Levain <– NO.  PSA – this was not good.  These cookies were greasy and terrible and I threw mine out after two bites and still had a stomach ache.

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We checked out the Filipino goodies at Johnny Air Mart and snacked on calamansi soda and Polvorón shortbread.

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Bubble tea from Vivi.  Grapefruit Yakult with crystal boba and coconut jelly.

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Brigadeiro Bakery taught me that I actually don’t like ice cream as much as I think because apparently brigadeiros are my favorite dessert.  <– they are a condensed milk candy so that’s not that surprising

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Stumptown coffee soft serve with sprinkles and cookie dough at Scoops.

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Birthday cake soft serve with sprinkles at Milk Bar.

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Cookie dough with toasted coconut soft serve at Stew Leonard’s.  This was both the best soft serve and the best edible cookie dough we’d ever tasted.

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Sweet milk and browned butter pecan ice cream at Malai.

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BBQ chicken salads.  Baby romaine with ranch / cheddar / cucumbers / leftover cole slaw / shredded chicken with Korean bbq sauce.

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Bean and chicken bowls.  Sautéed onions and green pepper / cheddar / shredded chicken with cilantro sauce – cilantro, roasted jalapeño, canola oil, honey, and salt / pinquito beans from Susie Q.

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The beans were a kit sent to me to review.  They came with a premixed seasoning packet (mild red chili, onion, garlic, and select spices) so they were a snap to prepare, and much tastier than canned beans.  They kept their shape after cooking and were firm but not chewy or mealy.  <– I would buy these with my own money

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I know these eggs look god-awful, but they were amazing.  Scrambled with unsulfured chicken hot dogs / kimchi / and cheddar.

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Dinner at Colonia Verde.  This restaurant is insanely gorgeous, Adam and I were in heaven.

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I drank the Patient Extra – Cachaca, Luxardo Maraschino, grapefruit, lime, and citrus bitters, which was fabulous.

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And ate duck confit tacos and grilled sweet corn salad with carmelized pepitas, cotija cheese, and mint.

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P.S. It’s my birthday today!!

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