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.

It’s Beginning To Taste A Lot Like Christmas

Eggnog, peppermint, and rugelach, oh my!

Adam and I spent the weekend eating all of the holiday things!  We did an eggnog tour of Brooklyn one day and then a Brooklyn holiday ice cream tour the next.  I learned that even if you share and leave a lot of leftovers you can still tire of eggnog very quickly, and I’m probably someone who enjoys eggnog more than the average reveler.  I also affirmed that no matter how many twinkly lighted and tinsel bedecked holiday pop-ups I encounter, I will still clap my hands in glee every time.

Alphabetically, here are some Brooklyn spots celebrating with holiday pop-ups and/or themed items:

16Handles.  Peppermint froyo with Oreo and hot fudge.

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Ample Hills.

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There were so many holiday choices we had to get a flight to taste them all!  In the front row – Eggnog with rum / Festival of Lights cream cheese ice cream with raspberry rugelach / Candy Cane.

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Bearded Lady.

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BL Eggnog – bourbon, spice, a whole egg.

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Brooklyn Cupcake.  Coquito cupcake.  <– not a seasonal item actually, it’s on the menu year-round

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Ladybird Bakery.  Eggnog mousse tart.  <– this was more visually appealing than anything, 5/10.

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Leyenda<– most festive stop of the weekend, 2nd only to Miracle on 9th Street

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Coquito Ho Ho – Resposado Espolon tequila, Oloroso sherry, Braulio, coconut cream, cinnamon, egg.

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Oddfellows.  Eggnog and Santa’s Cookies milk sorbet with chocolate chip cookies.

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And here were the highlights of my less festive eats…

We were pretty pleased with this 7-11 cold brew can.  Made with skim milk and minimal sugar and it had way more flavor than anything we can get from the thousand Dunkin Doughnuts near our apartment.

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Brunch at Forest Point.  We need to come here more often because it’s amazing.  Oban Sour – Moto Whisky, Mizu Lemongrass Shochu, yuzu-maple cordial, lemon, pimento dram.

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I also had hummus, Israeli cucumber salad, fantastic grilled naan, harissa, and perfectly poached eggs.

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Lunch at Lion’s Milk.  We shared a sandwich with black olive paste, toasted sesame oil, and kasseri cheese.  Plus Turkish coffees.

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Tofu bowls for dinner.  With mint lime kombucha.

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Roasted buckwheat and kobucha squash with roasted elephant garlic / roasted zucchini / baked garlic brown sugar tofu / Sriracha.  Except apparently neither Adam nor I like buckwheat one bit; we ate off our toppings and had cheese and crackers instead.

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I try to have every healthy dinner include a protein, carb, fat, and veggie, and technically these meals fit the bill.  Smoky honey chips with melted sharp cheddar and carrots with hummus.

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Homemade onion dip (with turkey bacon and sharp cheddar!) with roasted broccoli and TJ’s cheesy tree crackers for dipping.  I also dipped baby carrots and kettle chips but they didn’t make a nice forest.

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I shredded two large sweet onions and spent 50+ minutes caramelizing them and it was well worth it.

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Especially because I sipped this peachy and delicious Shiner Bock Holiday Cheer while I cooked.

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Two more nights of Hannukah and one week ’til Christmas!

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Pumpkin’s Still In Season

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This post includes three more days of vacation (Sunday, Monday, Tuesday); I eased back into the work-week after my trip.  It’s supposed to be in the 20’s in NYC later today so now I kind of wish I was away on vacation again!

Highlights from the week…

Coffee!

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Pumpkin spice my grandma brought me from Winans.

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Pumpkin smoothie with Greek yogurt, maple syrup, cow’s milk, cinnamon, and nutmeg.

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BBQ at Salt and Bone.

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I got a ridiculous but tasty Percocet with aged rum, coco lopez, citrus.

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And had turkey breast – 3 hour smoked with a butter sauce – cole slaw, and a few bites of Adam’s potato salad.

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Thai food in Sunnyside.  Fried tofu.

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And drunken noodles that actually had enough veggies for my tastes.

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One of our favorite winter traditions is visiting Winter Village at Bryant Park for a thick hot chocolate.

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Gooey walnut chocolate chip cookie from Chip in Astoria.

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Buckeye straight from Ohio.

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We tried something fun from Minamoto Kitchoan – Sakura Gomora, sweet bean and mochi wrapped in a cherry blossom pancake.

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Packed lunch – strawberry and rosehip kefir cup with a cupcake crumbled in!  Plus a snap dragon apple.

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I brought in chocolate cupcakes (from a mix!) with homemade cream cheese frosting and Amy Sedaris sprinkles for a coworker’s birthday.

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Yogurt with pumpkin puree and pumpkin spice Cheerios and Frosted Mini Wheats.

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Roasted fall salad – quinoa / shredded brussel sprouts / leeks / turkey bacon / sweet and spicy pecans / gold raisins / and oven-fried sage.

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One of the co-founders of CHUT UP reached out to my about sampling their new line of condiments and I happily accepted, so those were featured in dinners for the rest of the week.  All three flavors are made with minimal processing and no added sugars (and they’re tasty!).

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I made a veggie-packed version of chana masala with the addition of celery and orange and yellow bell pepper.

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Topped with apple and caramelized onion chutney.

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And a dinner for dipping with blue cheese dressing and beet ketchup.

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Roasted broccoli and a root veggie mix from Trader Joe’s (carrots, beets, parsnips, and sweet potato).

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Baked chicken tenders crusted in panko after an overnight marinate in peri peri hot sauce, minced ginger, lemon, and brown sugar.

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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.

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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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!

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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