It’s Beginning To Taste A Lot Like Christmas

It’s less than 1 week until Christmas and 2 weeks until 2017 <– how is that even possible?!!

After a brutally frigid Saturday, Adam and I took advantage of the practically balmy Sunday and spent some time walking around Manhattan.  We explored the Grand Central Station and Bryant Park markets and enjoyed the tree, the Christmas ornament statues, and the holiday window displays.

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Here were my best bites…

I’m still completely obsessed with both Pacific Rose apples and eggnog iced coffees.

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The hot chocolate from Max Brenner (with a marshmallow on top!) is the thickest and tastiest in the city.

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Muuna cottage cheese is pretty darn good.  That’s an iced tea in the background, in lieu of a 2nd iced coffee, and I’m not even sure who I am anymore.

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I’m not over these super cheesy turkey sandwiches – on an onion roll – from the cafeteria.  Served with broccoli drizzled in honey mustard dressing.

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I made sour cream and three onion dip!  Sautéed spring onions and garlic / caramelized onions / fresh chives.

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This lavender honey beer was enjoyable but far more sour than either of us were expecting.

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This cupcake from Magnolia was the best eggnog-flavored item of this season, including jelly beans and a scoop from Ample Hills.  The icing was marshmallow meringue!

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Crossing my fingers for a slow pre-holidays week at the hospital.

Stick To Your Ribs Dinners

Thank you, to all those who have served.

The weather is starting to cool down a bit more – I can no longer comfortably wear my sandals* – and our dinner choices have shifted towards steamy, stick to your ribs meals.  *Note – I’m still wearing the sandals, I’m just not comfortable any more.

This was also election week and it’s safe to say that I ate my feelings in the form of booze, caffeine, and sugar.  I am a woman, but I’m also cis/straight, white, sans disability or preexisting health conditions, and unlikely to get an abortion, so I know my feelings of disillusionment and heartbreak really pale in comparison to many others’.

On a happy note, here were some of the yummy things I ate this week…

This week’s coffee blend was soooo roasty and good.

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I doubled up with train coffee and post-train coffee a few days, but I’ll note that this quad was enjoyed on a day I skipped the 1st coffee.

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Starbuck’s holiday spiced sweet cream cold brew is good!  It tasted like good tidings and cheer!

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Did KIND bar read my blog?  Limited edition caramel apple pumpkin spice is right up my alley.  With a sweet Ambrosia apple.

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I also love LARA’s hazelnut, hemp, cacao option.  The crunchy nibs are great.

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I was too busy at work for lunch one day and ate this turkey and stuffing sandwich on the way home in literally less than 3 minutes.

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Plain Siggi’s with chocolate tahini and grapes with pumpernickel pretzels on the side.  Yes, I put the grapes in the yogurt.

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Elderflower yogurt (very floral) with persimmons and pumpkin spice Cheerios.

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Strawberry cottage cheese plus grapes and pumpkin spice pepitas and granola.  I didn’t enjoy this seltzer as much as I expected to.

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Stress eating candies of choice –

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Leftover turkey bolognaise that continued to knock our socks off.  Thanks to turkey bacon, mirepoix, and 2+ hours on the stove, this sauce was packed with flavor.

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With wine kombucha.  Blueberry Mint was sweet and drinkable.

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Leftover black eyed pea cakes.  Topped with cheddar, fire-roasted corn, salsa, and a sunny side up egg with smoked paprika.

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We’ve loved this chili from Iowa Girl Eats for years.  This year I stepped it up a bit with lemon-pepper chicken, carrots and celery added to the base, and an additional hour of cooking time to concentrate the tomato before I added the beans.

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Pumpkin beers to keep me company while I cooked.  <– Adam and I both thought these two were some of the best of the season.

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I topped my bowls with shredded cheese, pickled jalapeño, and plain Greek yogurt.  Plus cucumber slices and Trader Joe’s pumpkin soup crackers on the side.

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Chili, meat sauce, baked potatoes… what’s your favorite hearty, stick to your ribs food for winter?

“Weekend” Top Three

I can’t really call it the weekend because it was my turn to work Saturday and Sunday and I go in today as well (boo).  But I then I have Tuesday off (yay).  Every 4-6 weeks I will be working S/S in exchange for two free weekdays.  It was a little strange to be in the diet office all by myself but I got a ton of work done and saw some really interesting patients.

Here are the top three food highlights, I enjoyed the weekend work but it certainly was tiring, you can safely assume that I ate chips in bed for dinner on Saturday…

{1} Sweet breakfasts to lure myself out of bed.

Not only did I work on the weekend, I went in an hour earlier than usual!  <– because the thought of being at work until 5 on a Sunday was just too much.  I had to bribe myself out the door.  Nonfat iced eggnog latte.

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Fried dough for Hanukkah.

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My marzipan doughnut and roasty coffee were both delicious and were fantastic together.  FYI, Brooklyn people – Doughnut Plant also has a few Hanukkah special doughseeds this week.

{2} Fresh tamarind.

My coworker brought us in tamarind last week.  I haven’t eaten it fresh in years.

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Enough time had passed that I forgot how obnoxiously stringy it is.

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I think I will stew the rest of my share.

{3} 1st night of Hanukkah dinner at Mile End.

ME is quickly becoming one of our favorite spots.  I love how inventive the menu is (modern takes on traditional Jewish dishes all made on a tiny grill and fryer behind an open counter) and the meats and vegetables are expertly prepared.

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We started with blintzes with apple maple crumble on top.  The chef whipped these up from scratch a foot in front of us!  They were outstanding, obviously.

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And we didn’t do latkes but we did have French fries in chicken gravy poutine.

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I got the sprouts kugel for dinner.  Egg noodles with steamed and fried brussels sprouts, cottage cheese, and a soft egg on top.

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I grew up eating sweet kugel with raisins and this savory iteration is the best I’ve ever had.  In fact, this was simply one of the best (top 5) dishes I’ve had all year!

Happy 2nd night of Hanukkah to my readers who celebrate!

Weekly Wrap-Up; Jalapeño Business

Lots of repetition on the food front this week – eggs, cheese, kale, and jalapeño were the featured players! And this is another recap that’s light on content; lots of take-out and several late nights (and therefore late mornings) are to blame.  I’ve got the 10 items I did manage to photograph ranked increasingly by greatness.

{1} Pumpkin oats.

DSC05041Sadly this item was so far from greatness as to just be bad.  The bowl had such potential: oats, Silk Vanilla Almond Milk, chia seeds, cottage cheese, a smidge of vanilla extract and maple syrup, coconut, crunchy Barney Butter, and pumpkin.

DSC05036It was terrible.  The pumpkin was sooooooo savory and squashy.  And this was a fresh can of Libby’s too!?

{2} Baked tomatoes with egg and cheese with a side of kale chips.

DSC05092This was a recipe from Cooking Light but I threw away the magazine and I can’t find it online.

DSC05096DSC05099The dish turned out very well but apparently I’m not a huge fan of baked tomatoes.

{3} White Chocolate Candy Corn M&M’s.

DSC05113Regular m&m’s don’t really thrill me but this seasonal variety (along with the mint dark chocolate) is delicious.

{4} Taco night.

DSC05081Leftover taco shells topped with Ortega Thick and Chunky Salsa and stuffed with eggs – scrambled with spinach and jalapeños.  We continued to be impressed with the taco shells and the filling was delicious, including the little bit of extra I stuck on the side of my plate.

DSC05083DSC05076We definitely need to do taco night more often.

{5} Chicago Mix.

DSC05110Adam and I were obsessed with the caramel and cheddar “golden mix” from the popcorn shop and the Buffalo mall and this will substitute nicely.

{6} Eggs for breakfast.

DSC05116Eggs scrambled with sautéed kale, cottage cheese, and Parmesan.

DSC05121Plus a baby apple.

DSC05120This was a winner, and you’ll see most of the components again in #7.

{7} Cheesy mac.

DSC05107Annie’s Mac and Cheese with peas, Parmesan, and eggs (scrambled with cottage cheese and jalapeño).

DSC05104Stirring the eggs into the pasta was so genius, I’m never serving macaroni the traditional way again.  And the parm was grated by hand, making this feel extra fancy.

{8} Whole Foods hot bar.

DSC05042Kale salad with a bit of mac and cheese.  Plus fried plantains for dessert.

DSC05045Ugh, plantains are too good.  So sweet and chewy.

{9} Everything bagel with jalapeño cheddar cream cheese.

DSC05089DSC05085This was from La Bagel Delight, a spot in Park Slope that makes the best bagels in the city.  They blend the cream cheese in shop, look that those giant hunks –

DSC05087Fabulous.

{10} Homemade nachos with candied jalapeños.

DSC05056How could nachos with candied jalapeño possibly not be the single best thing I ate all week?

DSC05050Some roasted green beans,

DSC05058piled next to nachos.  Late July Multigrain Chips with 2% sharp cheddar and candied jalapeños.

DSC05062Yummmmmmm.

What was the single best thing you ate this week?

Weekly Wrap-Up; Mid-September

I feel like I don’t have anything to say here so I’ll just get to it.  You saw how clever my title was.

^breakfasts^*

Amazing oatmeal.

DSC04475DSC04474In the bowl were unsweetened almond milk, banana hunks, oats, chia seeds, tons of cottage cheese, and the very last of the sweetened condensed milk.

Food Emporium Trading Company Vanilla Granola with Almonds and Pecans in skim milk.

DSC04446Berry yogurt bowl.

DSC04467Wallaby low-fat vanilla bean yogurt with blueberries.

DSC04470This Wallaby was one of the best yogurts I’ve ever tasted!  The flecks of vanilla bean throughout felt quite fancy.

^lunches^*

Chinese food.

DSC04381Cheese and greens eggs.

DSC04400DSC04396Eggs scrambled with cottage cheese, greens (a frozen blend from Whole Foods), and 2% provolone.

Carrot salad.

DSC04384Matzo crackers.

DSC04439A sheet of Egg and Onion Matzo with Cabot Light Sharp Cheddar melted on top,

DSC04441and a sliced Jazz apple.

DSC04443Adam doesn’t like matzo prepared with egg (he’s crazy!) so we eat it as crackers in our house.

^snacks^*

Organic India is promoting their gift baskets for the upcoming holiday season and they offered to send me some products from their Tulsi Tea Line to review.

DSC04406Please note – these teas were sent to me free of charge.  I was not provided further compensation for writing this post.  All opinions are my own.

So far I’ve tried the Green Tea, which cold-brewed beautifully.  Usually I’m not a green girl (it’s Adam’s favorite) but I loved this one.  The flavor is completely devoid of the acridness that I usually taste in green teas.  I used it in tasty tea spritzers.

DSC04412Green tea + Polar Mandarin Seltzer.

DSC04408Hot beer bread, straight from the oven, with Smart Balance Light.

DSC04451Cola hard candies.

DSC04459These guys have the best fizz!

^dinners^*

Different Chinese food.

DSC04341DSC04342Pasta toss.

DSC04394Bow ties with corn and broccoli, tossed in browned butter.

Thai crunch salad.

DSC04418Romaine topped with sliced chicken (marinated in TJ’s spicy peanut vinaigrette, then baked), edamame, shredded cabbage, salted peanuts, and more spicy peanut vinaigrette.

DSC04421DSC04416Veggie pizza.

DSC04424Melts.

DSC04458A big hunk of beer bread topped with trout salad (TJ’s canned smoked trout mashed with Miracle Whip) and 2% provolone then stuck under the broiler.

DSC04452The last dinner won best meal of the week.  This will be making a reappearance on the meal plan for sure.

Weekly Wrap-Up; Cheesetastic

This week’s eats were all about the cheese and carbs {see also: several servings of unpictured pizza and popcorn}.  I’m missing many of the day-time meals but I managed to capture every single dinner for a change.

breakfast

Apple and honey french toast for Rosh Hashanah.

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I soaked a slice of Trader Joe’s sourdough in 1 large egg, a splash of milk, vanilla extract, and some cinnamon maple sugar and then cooked it in 3/4 Tbsp butter.  After my toast was frenched, I tossed a chopped Pink Lady apple in the rest of the Tbsp of butter with a little more cinnamon maple sugar.  Then I topped my french toast with my cooked apples and drizzled the whole thing with honey.

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Delish.

Tropical smoothie courtesy of the husband.

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He said Thai young coconut, frozen mango and banana, lime juice, and sweetened condensed milk all went in the blender.

On the weekend we ate eggs as a family.

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For two, I scrambled together 4 large eggs with salt, pepper, 1 slice of 2% provolone, and a big scoop of 2% cottage cheese.

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Cottage cheese is my favorite scrambled egg addition; normally it tastes very sweet to me but in eggs it is so cheesy!

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Plus toast with Strawberry Crofter’s on the side.

lunch

Leftover mac and cheese that I attempted to stir-fry.

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I reheated the mac in canola oil with soy sauce, rice vinegar, and Sriracha and then scrambled in an egg.  I’m not sure this dish really worked.

This next one looks like a “snack” picture, but I did in fact drink giant coffees for lunch two days this week.  I had several errands that ended up running long.

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The one pictured was a clover-brew of their Hawaiian blend, which was fantastic.  And yesterday I cashed in a drink freebie so I went big – venti non-fat iced latte with an extra shot of espresso and 2 shots of salted caramel(!!).

snack

Microwave mug cookie.

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Number 2 Pencil is basically a single-serve cookie genius.

Milk drink.

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This was a China Town find.  ‘Twas very thick and sweet.

ZICO latte.

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This flavor might even be better than their chocolate coconut water.

Sourdough with Smart Balance Light.

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If I’m eating bread with butter (versus jam) I almost never toast it, for some reason I prefer my buttered bread raw.

Froyo.

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Another snack that was on repeat this week.

dinner

You already saw our vegan mac and cheese.

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Served with roasted green bean fries for our green.

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We ate our fries right off of the baking sheet, like animals.  We don’t have a dishwasher and plates are annoying to wash, damn it.

Salad and casserole night.

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Adam said that my Cheesy Eggplant Bake is my best recipe, and that’s really saying something because I even cut back on the cheese this time.

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Served with side salads.

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Romaine lettuce blend, hemp hearts, cucumber, TJ’s peanut dressing, and Iberico cheese.

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The dressing did NOT go with the rest of the salad but it was all we had.

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The cheese was from this TJ’s pack that fancied up our whole week.

Kale nachos.

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A kale chip base topped with broccoli, roasted corn, and melted cheese.

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This was one of my better ideas.

Pizza on a quesadilla.

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Inspired by Jenna’s idea, but particularly this comment.

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I made quesadillas with flour tortillas and TJ’s reduced-fat Mexican cheese blend.  Then topped them with Tj’s fat-free refried beans, ground turkey (99% fat-free, cooked with taco seasoning), sliced orange bell pepper, and manchego cheese.

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With roasted kale on the side.

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I told you this was a cheesy week!

fun

We put up a photo wall.

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An assortment of pictures from college (round 1) to now, “framed” with washi tape.

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It may not be perfect, but we love it.  And it was so nice to add a pop of color to our drab living room.

We saw a racoon in our parking lot.

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This may be the first little bandit I’ve actually seen in person, which is funny because I’m completely obsessed with them.

We went on a three-hour bike ride in Central Park.

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Bike riding in the park may just be my favorite activity.  I’ve chosen it for my birthday several times now.

Happy Monday, everyone!

Weekly Wrap-Up; My Apartment Is Packed But I’m Still Here

I know this is a short “week,” but my laptop has been out sick since last Friday and I’m excited to have her back.

The days since I last posted have been crazy; moving requires a lot of work!  And since we had to pack up so early I’ve been living out of a duffle bag in my own apartment.  The food situation has been pretty ridiculous.  Also, I said a lot of goodbyes this week and they all involved alcohol.  The dog has been judging me.

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Breakfasts

Cinnamon Pecan Special K with skim milk.

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I’m glad that cereal is so tasty, because it was one of the only foods left in the house.

The day I tried to go without cereal (and use up some odds and ends) I ended up with…  skim milk, ~2 Tbsp sweetened condensed milk, and malted milk powder.

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It wasn’t bad, but I won’t be making it a regular breakfast either.

(Non-alcoholic) Drinks

Not so good, was the Honeysuckle Pear Drink Chia.

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The flavor combo had such potential, but I would not have purchased it if I had noticed that it contained stevia and monk fruit extract.  You know what is already sweet?  Honeysuckle and pear juice.  Why not just leave the ingredients at that rather than adding (the terrible flavor of) sugar-free sweeteners?

Very good, was the Honest Fizz Orange Pop.

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I realize there is stevia in this one that I’m not complaining about, but this was delicious.  The flavor was a perfect match to Crush Orange Soda, just a tiny bit less sicky-sweet.  I will definitely look for it again.

Flipping amazing, was the Cucumber Melon Polar Seltzer.

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If you see this – buy it!  It smelled so much like a watermelon!  My co-worker tasted it and we both agreed that it was the best seltzer we’d ever had.

Lunches and Dinners

Like I said, pickings were slim, so dinner was either brinner – aka breakfast for dinner –  or food from a restaurant.

The last slice of Finish the Fridge Frittata with a white nectarine.

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I was loving nectarines earlier this summer but lately I haven’t had much luck getting one that isn’t squishy.

The best “yogurt” bowl I’ve ever made.  Frozen blackberries microwaved with a little sugar on the bottom, Chobani 2% Banana Greek Yogurt and low-fat cottage cheese in the middle, and granola on top.

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I was heartbroken when I realized I couldn’t make another one of these bowls until after we finish moving.

On Monday, a friend and I drove up to visit to friends who relocated to Rochester after graduation.  We had a really nice day, including lunch at Aladdin’s.

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My spread was the vegetarian combo.  I chose Dolmades, Babaganoush, and Spanikopita.

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The food was amazing and we got to sit right along the canal, so the view was too.

On Tuesday, my sweet coworkers took me out for an early goodbye dinner.  We started the evening at Cantina Loco.  I didn’t really enjoy my first experience at Cantina Loco but I am very glad that my coworker knew enough to drag me back.  Everything was delicious, especially the pitchers of margaritas.

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And the Nachos Locos.

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They were covered in pork but I was a trooper and picked it off because the nachos were just that good.

For dinner I ordered the California Fish Taco – Crisp Fried Fish, Cabbage Slaw,
Pickled Onion, Spicy Sauce.

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Delicious!

We went to Founding Fathers afterwards and I am kicking myself for not going sooner.  Great bartender, great drinks, and apparently great free popcorn that I somehow didn’t notice.  Among other things, we had a shot that was basically a liquified snickerdoodle!

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The bartender asked trivia questions all night, which I loved.  I even gave him two new questions to add to his rotation.  What do you call this “?!” punctuation mark?  [Answer at the end of this post]

One night I got a spicy cajun quesadilla from The Spot.

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The prices are a little high, but the Spot’s food is quite good.

Last night’s dinner was my final slice of Zetti’s.

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My white broccoli pizza was delicious, a good way to finish out my Zetti’s addiction!

See you next week!

Answer – an interrobang