Duck Hash At Colonie

I hope everyone had a nice Easter!

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We had friends in town from PA and had a great weekend doing our favorite things with them – walking and eating!

Friday night highlights:  Grand Army / Barcade / Brooklyn Star

My drink at Brooklyn Star was packed with exciting stuff, including aperol and papaya puree.  Plus we had spicy duck wings which are 10/10.

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Saturday highlights:  Sweetleaf / Ice & Vice / Chelsea Market / John’s on Bleecker / we walked across the Williamsburg Bridge, on the water through Battery Park, then over to Brookfield Place and through the Oculus building

Ice and Vice did not fail to impress the out-of-towners.  I got a scoop of Shade (smoked dark chocolate with caramelized white chocolate ganache) in a sesame cone.

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John’s was actually a pizza place that they introduced to me!  Our pie, topped with green peppers, was delicious, and I plan on going back.

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Sunday highlights:  Colonie

All four of us ordered the duck hash at Colonie, it’s that good.

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Adam and I had some fun on our lonesome too.  Like talking a (sweltering!!) walk in Brooklyn and getting coffee and baklava.

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And I made us a very Easter-y salad for dinner.  Greens + fresh cilantro + spring onion / tossed with homemade creamy lemon poppy seed dressing / topped with fresh peas / and medium-boiled eggs.

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Have a nice week!

Vacation // Staycation

Whew, what a week!  Adam and I have been on vacation since last Saturday and it has been absolutely freaking fantastic!

St. Thomas Vacation

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We spent the first half of our week going home to visit my parents.  It was a great trip; we made multiple beach visits, ate the sandwich we both ate the morning we got married, and had lunch on the beach with an old friend.

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top three vacation moments –

{1}  Eating an egg and cheese sandwich on a johnny cake.

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{2}  Hiking in St. John.  We hiked across the Caneel Bay trail and then walked back to town from Honeymoon Beach.

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{3}  Getting the world’s best fraco (aka shaved ice) downtown – soursop and guava with condensed milk.  It was swoon-worthy!

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Related: I also had a pretty fantastic fresh soursop juice at Mafolie.  It is my favorite fruit.

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NYC Staycation

We stayed in the city for the 2nd half of our vacation.  NYC is my favorite place on Earth so I’m always happy to have additional free time here.  Though we did spend a lot of time home in our apartment — watching tv, in bed, with the dog curled up on our laps!

Quick eats at home included –

All the nachos.  Salad with pulled rotisserie chicken, pinto beans, cole slaw, and pineapple salsa.

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Eggs with the same ingredients, minus cole slaw, plus German butter cheese.

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Cake popsicles!

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Champagne with sorbet while we watched the final finale of Bones. <– one of our all time favorite shows.  I thought they did a really nice job wrapping things up.

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We also had some really exciting eats in Manhattan –

Brunch at Cosme.  I had the duck enmoladas or mole enchiladas.

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Plus the best Paloma ever.  Made with house grapefruit syrup and amazing grapefruit salt on the rim.

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Churro s’more at Boqueria.

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Best thing I’ve had in 2017 and possibly ever: Unicorn latte!!!  A (purple!) caramel latte topped with glittered marshmallows and loads of whipped cream and sprinkles.  It was magical!

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Think stress-free thoughts for me on my return back to reality please.

New Orleans Vacation 2016

New Orleans was our best travel experience of 2016.  We stayed at a cute hotel in the French Quarter and had enough time to really get to know the area.  It was a great way to finish up the year.

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This was my first trip to Louisiana and I think we managed to pack a lot in.  We visited three local breweries, walked around Loyola and Tulane, explored the French Quarter and Bourbon Street, went to the World War II Museum….

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We also tasted tons of local (or at least Southern) flavors – pralines, divinity, snowballs, beignets, pimento cheese, etouffe, grits, chicory coffee, milk punch, and hurricanes.

Here were some of our best bites…

♥Pralines.  They were everywhere and the smell was amazing.

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♥Hurricanes.  We went to Pat O’Brien’s (<– yuck!) and Lafitte’s Blacksmith Shop.

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♥Frozen daiquiris, this one was eggnog!

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♥This pecan pie soda was actually horribly disgusting, but it was fun to try!

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♥Snowballs.  NOLA served me the best snow-cones of my life, I had one every day.  This was wedding cake (a blend of vanilla and almond) and egg custard topped with sweetened condensed milk.

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♥Breakfast at Café Du Monde.  This was a must-stop for us, it was actually the only activity I had planned when I booked our tickets.  The beignets did not disappoint and neither did the chicory coffee café au lait (served on crushed ice).

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♥Breakfast at District Doughnut.  We got a Nutella doughnut and a biscuit with pimento cheese.

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Plus yummy Vietnamese coffee and an iced coffee with cola and chocolate milk (<– delicious and infinitely better than it sounds).

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♥Brunch at Willa Jean.

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I had the shrimp and grits – gulf shrimp, etouffee gravy, grits, and slow poached eggs with cheddar biscuits on the side.

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Cookies and milk for dessert.  With a beater of dough and vanilla-infused milk.

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♥Flights at Abita.  <– one of our very favorite breweries  They had our old favorites and some fantastic limited edition flavors including vanilla Turbo Dog and a key lime gose.  We had beers, Zapps chips, and a root beer on draught and were in absolute heaven.

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♥Lunch at Cochon.  They had house-made eggnog.

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We split a variety of small plates – a roasted carrot special with mint, Louisiana blue crab rice, and whole fried shrimp with pickled mustard seed hot sauce.  The fried herbs were aromatic and wonderful and the best bites were a mix of everything at once.

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♥Dinner at Brennan’s.

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Insanely creamy Caribbean milk punch with Buffalo Trace bourbon, Mt Gay black barrel rum, cream, and vanilla bean.

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Ridiculous foie gras “sweet potato casserole,” with sweet potato puree and candied pecans.

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I had the cheddar risotto for dinner.  With Cherokee Rose cheddar, smoked maitake mushrooms, collard green puree, and a brown butter sauce.

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♥Dinner at SHAYA.  <– best meal of the trip and also best meal of the year

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That’s a halvah cappuccino.  I also had a Pearl Diver – vodka, labneh, vanilla, and lavender bitters.

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We shared a trio of appetizers – Moroccan carrots with chermoula and mint / baba ganoush with green garlic / tershi = a creamy pumpkin spread with crispy garlic and chili oil.  All with fantasmic pita bread and herbed olive oil.

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Also foie gras with rose tahini and carob molasses on challah toast (omg).

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I had the matzoh ball soup for my entrée.  With slowed cooked duck, dill, charred leaks, lemon oil, and a cinnamon-scented broth.  Best matzoh balls of my life!  Adam had slow cooked lamb and the bites I stole were truly the best thing I’ve ever tasted (fyi I don’t typically eat mammals but I’ll have a taste occasionally if I know the meat is humanely-sourced and Adam says the flavor is worth it).

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Dessert(s).  We basically rolled away from the table!  Chocolate babka with halva ice cream and labneh cheese cake with burnt honey ice cream.

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It was a wonderful trip!

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P.S. No post coming from this weekend, it was the husband’s birthday and I was in celebration-mode versus blogger-mode.  And now we’re both back at work.. womp wah.  Have a great week!

Vacation Part 1/3

We’re on vacation!  Friday through next Sunday Adam and I have 10 glorious days off together!!  We’re spending time in New Orleans and next weekend we’re doing a staycation in the city.

You can tell we’re in vacation-mode because we ate 90% of our meals out of the house and with drinks and dessert and have been purchasing all of the coffees.

Espresso at Variety.

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New Orleans cold brew at Blue Bottle.

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Espresso at Mixtape.

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Iced coffee and a chocolate croissant at L’imprimerie.

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Drinking chocolate at Devocion.

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Dinner at Sally Roots.  Booze face.

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I got jerk chicken ramen!  Chicken broth, yummy jerk chicken, noodles, fish cakes, bamboo, spinach, and wood ear mushroom.

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We did dessert at Guadalupe Inn.  Drinks with meh chocolate tres leche cakes and churros stuffed with fabulous goat milk caramel.

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Best brunch of the year at Rider.  Safe Word of the Day and Covet Thy Neighbor’s Drink.

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The Cure = crispy rice and lentil cakes, duck confit, cilantro, hoisin, sriracha, and poached egg.  Adam had lox and fries, a combo you didn’t know how much you needed.

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Dessert at Odd Fellows.  Crème brulee and banofee ice creams with brown butter cake crumbs on top.

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Pretty damn good brunch at Forrest Point.  This drink was named “Fancy Pants,” Flor de Cana, Wild Turkey, Pedro Ximenez sherry, pineapple, lemon, Lapsang Souchong, star anise, cinnamon, and demerara sugar!

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Chilaquiles!

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Skillet s’mores with Fernet.

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I did manage to make some dinners at home – chicken enchilada casserole.  I loosely followed this recipe from Jo Cooks, with brown rice and the addition of green chilis.  With roasted zucchini on the side and chips for dipping.

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Other things that are making me happy… this assortment of cola-flavored goodies.  The gum was great the seltzer was too plain.

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We found (freshly made) coquito at a bar in Bushwick!  It tastes like coconut eggnog and joy.

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The Body Shop sent me this sweet holiday gift.  Fantastic eyeshadow and delightful smelling things.  FYI – they are offering a bunch of gift sets that will contribute to rainforest conservation, I recommend everything strawberry.

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Happiest thing of all?  I’m on vacation!

Best Of The Weekend

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Best coffee – The Voodoo Child at Sweetleaf.

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Iced (super strong) coffee concentrate with condensed milk and housemade sweet cream.

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Best new restaurant – Butler Bake Shop and Espresso Bar.

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The infinitely Instagramable new Williamsburg coffee spot boasts a Michelin-starred pastry chef.

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We got a caramel sea salt cookie next to an Intelligentsia Americano.

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Best beer – Wick for Brains was a great first pumpkin sip of the season.

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Enjoyed at Barcade while Adam and I teamed up to kick butt at the seasonally appropriate Golly Ghost game.

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Best dessert – scoops from OddFellows‘ new “Passport Program.”  October’s flavor inspiration is Asia.

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We tried Thai Iced Tea and Ube with miso butterscotch.

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Best dinner – a Jewish-Japanese feast at Shalom Japan.

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Forget best dinner of the weekend, this was one of the best meals of the year!

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We shared three different appetizers because we couldn’t narrow down our choices any more.  Roasted cauliflower with anchovy and pickled raisins.

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Tuna belly toasts that were the best bites of the night.

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And Sake Kasu challah with raisin butter.

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For dinner I ordered the dish that got us in the door – Matzoh ball ramen topped with a foie gras dumpling and soft-boiled egg.  The ramen was 10/10 fantastic and the matzoh ball ended up being the best I’ve ever eaten.

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Dessert was chocolate banana challah bread pudding with crème fraiche and whiskey caramel.

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The service was almost as good as the food, which was so good I swear we would have ordered another round of every dish if we hadn’t been so full!

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It’s Pumpkin Month!

Pumpkin Month is here!  On the Emily calendar September is for apples, October and November are for pumpkin, November and December are for eggnog and gingerbread, and December is for peppermint.  This month’s on-theme stash is especially bountiful.

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Here are some highlights from the weekend…

My favorite coffee combo – espresso and chocolate milk.  I hate “mochas” because the syrup is gross but this iteration of chocolate and coffee is the best.

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Brunch at Benchmark.

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I had a roasted vanilla lemonade with vodka.

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This unassuming omelette was actually stuffed with duck confit and goat cheese.

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My best lunch came from the Starbuck’s refrigerator case.

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We cooked two tasty dinners.  Broccoli salad based on this recipe from Cooking Light.  We roasted the broccoli and sauteed the onion and served the salad warm, which I highly recommend.  I also swapped maple for honey and rice vinegar for cider vinegar.

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Served with white bean and basil dip with orange bell peppers and potato chips.

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Plus a disappointing cider.

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And I loosely followed Rachel Ray’s recipe for pumpkin and sausage pasta.

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Served on butternut squash pasta shaped like tiny pumpkins!!

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With roasted honey sriracha smoked paprika cauliflower.

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And our last and favorite cider, just in time for pumpkin beers.

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Non-food wins included…

I started reading One More Thing, Stories and Other Stories and now I’m completely obsessed with B.J. Novak.  The collection of stories fits together in ways that are surprising, moving, and sidesplittingly wry.

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Watching the dog put himself to bed, complete with covers and his head on a pillow.

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He’s the best.

Semi-Vacation

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Adam has been on vacation for the past two weeks which means that, even though I’ve been at work most of the days, it feels like I’ve been on vacation for the past two weeks.  Nice!  Husband time is the best and getting to see him immediately before and after work (versus him going in while I’m asleep and coming home after dinner is made) is better than any white sand beach.

I mostly spent the past week making googly eyes at Adam.  But also, per usual, we walked and ate a ton when I wasn’t busy at work.  Here were the top ten eats for the week/end…

{1} Caramel coffee at home.

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{2} Coconut coffee from Konditori.

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{3} Brunch at Colonie.  Duck hash for two.

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With aioli, a poached egg, and the best fried potatoes.

{4} Drinks at Grand Army.

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The best round included this Under the Sea – Batavia Arrak agricole rum, navy-strength rum, absinthe, cinnamon, coconut, lime, and blue curacao.

{5} Fruity beers at home.

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We recently discovered that we adore New Belgium and their watermelon lime ale did not disappoint.

{6} Key lime pie.

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Adam explored the North Fork one day – and loved it – and brought me home some of the best pie.

{7} Mamey ice cream.

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I made a sundae with maple peanut butter, granola, and sprinkles.

{8} Ice cream with apple cider caramel.  Ample Hills is celebrating Roald Dahl this month.

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Enjoyed September 1st to celebrate the first day of Apple Month.

{9} Buffalo chicken quinoa bowls.

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I stirred sautéed onion, carrots, and celery into quinoa and topped it with fancy blue cheese and buffalo chicken dip.

{10} Seafood extravaganza at Littleneck.  We shared lobster and crab rolls.

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The very best dish of the night was this charred broccolini.

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With anchovy, lemon, and chili flakes.

{bonus} Dinner at Oiji.  I didn’t take a single picture but Adam and I enjoyed one of our favorite meals of all time there.  Among other things, we had a transcendent mushroom salad and honey butter chips that blew our minds.

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