Weekend Update: Chilaquiles Edition

Our Saturday and Sunday plans mirrored each other and my weekend days ended up following a template:

maple iced latte in Brooklyn // brunch at a Chris Santos restaurant in the Lower East Side with chilaquiles // ice cream for dessert // walk across a bridge // a veggie-forward homemade dinner  {x2}

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Iced nonfat latte with four shots of espressso and maple at Otha’s.

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Iced nonfat Maple Shay with extra espresso at Brooklyn Roasting Co.

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Brunch at Beauty and Essex.  Vanilla doughnuts stuffed with raspberry jam to start.

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I ordered a cocktail with tequila, honey, and smoked blackberries.  It was good but Adam’s neon green Emerald Gimlet stole the show – Belvedere vodka, basil, lemon nectar, and fresh lime.

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BaE is tapas style so we ordered three savory dishes to share.  Crab egg foo young with shiitake mushrooms.

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Chilaquiles with and pulled chicken, sunny side up egg, cotija cheese, and pickled red onion.

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And braised chicken meatballs with sheep milk ricotta, wild mushroom, and truffle.

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Brunch at Stanton Social.  This is another sharing-encouraged spot so again we picked three plates to split.  Fried chicken on blue corn waffles with corn pudding, fresno chile, and maple syrup.

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Housemade naan with lamb bacon, zaatear spiced labneh, and pickled tomato.  It was totally swoonworthy.

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Chilaquiles with hand pulled chicken, sunny-side up egg, and feta.  We preferred the Stanton Social chilaquiles to Beauty and Essex.

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I also had a delicious Vietnamese coffee cocktail with Finlandia, Kahlua, cold brew coffee, and chocolate bitters.

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Fueled across the Williamsburg Bridge with a doughnut ice cream sandwich at Stax.  We had bourbon cornflake ice cream with Frosted Flakes and condensed milk on top.

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Fueled across the Manhattan Bridge with Ice & Vice.  Red (hibiscus, rose, Swedish Fish fluff) and Opium Den (white sesame, toasted poppy seed, lemon bread crouton) in a Froot Loops cone.  The red ice cream was our favorite thing we ate all weekend.

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I made an updated version of my Cheesy Eggplant Bake with meat sauce.  For the sauce I cooked ground turkey breast and onion in olive oil with garlic, oregano, salt, pepper, and cayenne with tomato paste and crushed tomatoes.

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Quinoa bowls for Sunday dinner.  Tri-color quinoa topped with smoked trout, lemon pepper Swiss chard, and butter sautéed chanterelles.

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^^^

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Couch Potato, Twice Baked

This past week I came home from vacation and went back to work.  It wasn’t all bad, the end of vacation means I get to see this face –

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We made it home in time to celebrate his Buyday.  With steak!

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Here are the highlights of what the humans ate this week…

Coffee (coffee! coffee!).  Wicked Joe Coffee sent me some samples.  WJC is a sustainable, family-owned company producing certified organic, fair trade coffees.  They offered to let me try out the goods in celebration of the fact that they are available in 247 Sprouts Farmers Markets nationwide.

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I tried both blends (cooked in our drip coffee maker than cooled and served iced) black and with skim milk to taste-test and give them two thumbs up!  I also did some fun, sugary coffee pairings based on the tasting notes to jazz up my return to work mornings.  Wicked French says “bakers chocolate with an unexpected hint of sweetness” so I used fancy chocolate milk.

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Big House has “sweet notes of caramel and citrus” so I swirled in dulce de leche.

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Yogurt bowls.  Vanilla almond granola / cloudberry peach skyr / and three(!) colors of plucots.

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Passion fruit Fage / an apple / and an Rx Kids chocolate chip bar.

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I snuck in one last day of midweek vacation with Adam on Wednesday and we went on a lunch date at the gorgeously cool Chaan Teng in Hell’s Kitchen.

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I had shrimp and chicken dumplings to start.

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And a sweet and spicy cocktail with tequila, tamarind, basil, Szechuan peppercorns, mango juice, lime, and chili.

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They had kung pow duck!  With chilis , peppers, peanuts, and jicama.

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Snack attack.  We finally got to Astoria to try Chip.  My s’mores cookie was gooey perfection and now I can’t wait to go back.

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Cola candies.

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Korean Chili KIND bar.  <– I like their savory flavors even better than the sweet

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These dried mangos from TJ’s are out of this world good.

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If you stretch the definition of “cooked” to its limit, I made five nights of home-cooked dinners!  Turkey and sharp cheddar sandwich on a toasted whole-wheat croissant.

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BBQ chicken salad.  Local greens / ranch / baby heirloom tomatoes / pulled chicken breast with Korean bbq sauce / smoked cheddar.

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An assortment of freezer items, and eggplant that I actually cooked myself.

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TJ’s Thai sweet chili veggie burgers.

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Crinkle cut fries (with ketchup and mayo).

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Steamed/sautéed eggplant cooked with canola oil, fish sauce, gojuchang, honey, and garlic scapes.

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I made pimento cheese twice baked potatoes!

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This was my first time making twice backed spuds (or even eating them for that matter) but they came out great.  The filling was a mix of potato / extra-sharp cheddar / diced pimentos / mayo / smoked paprika and cayenne.

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Served with baked tofu.

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And beautiful roasted purple and orange cauliflower.

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The potatoes were great leftover too.

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With leftover duck that I chopped up and reheated in a skillet.

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And oven-baked okra fries.

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Have a great weekend!

It’s Hot Outside And I Want Ice Cream And Iced Coffee

Here’s a looong post because it’s been a looong time since I last posted!  20 things from the past 10 days…

{1-4} Cool Coffees.  New Orleans iced coffees from Homecoming and Otha’s.

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Toasted marshmallow iced latte from Sweetie Pies on Main.

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Homemade frappe with dark roast, milk, ice, and birthday cake ice cream (<– I enjoyed the Halo Top a surprising amount, and would definitely buy it again).

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{5-6} Decadent Doughnuts.  Nutella beignet from Maman.

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Rose and marmalade doughnut from Polka Dot.  <– one of the best doughnuts either of us had ever eaten

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{7-10} Work Bites.  Piñata apple, salted caramel Doubleshot, and an ancho pepper turkey stick.

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Almond water (<– yuck!), chocolate hazelnut croissant, and a smitten apple.

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Vanilla bean yogurt with white peach and crumbled cookies (<– the recipe I always make with butterscotch and dark chocolate chips and walnuts).

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TJ’s avocado citrus yogurt with fresh mango and a peanut butter Larabar on the side.

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{11-12} Lunch in Greenpoint.  Greenpoint Fish and Lobster.

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Watermelon lemonade with cava.

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Grilled bluefish tacos with citrus cabbage, chipotle-lime mayo, radishes, and cilantro on grilled corn tortillas.

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Greenpoint Beer and Ale.  I got the honey saison.

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{13} Quality Eats at Quality Eats.  French toast cocktail (<– extra points for the punny name!) = bourbon, maple syrup, cinnamon, egg white, and prosecco.

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I had fried eggs with avocado and salsa rosa, and a perfectly dressed salad.

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And we had the s’mores ice cream sundae for dessert, with burnt marshmallow ice cream.

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{14-17} Winner Dinners.  Kimichi quesadillas.  I stuffed wonderfully soft tortillas with a mix of sharp cheddar, chopped kimchi, and mayo.

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Served with sour cream, roasted zucchini, and a weisse beer with lychee and pink guava.

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Bean and cheese tacos.  With watermelon beer and seltzer.  I cooked pinto beans in a skillet with evoo, salt, pepper, curry powder, and cayenne, then mashed them up with a spoon.

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With sour cream, salsa, Mexican cheese blend, and sautéed onions and green pepper.

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Chicken wing pasta.  Whole wheat shells / shredded chicken / peas / habanero wing sauce / cream cheese / blue cheese.

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Our first trip to Win Son = the best meal of this post.

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I got the Breakfast of Champions drink with peanut milk, toasted sesame, rum, rum cream, and toasted coconut.

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Fried eggplant with black vinegar, kefir cheese, and spiced cashews.  <– maybe my favorite thing I’ve eaten this year

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Sesame noodles with scallions and oyster mushrooms.  Plus a metric ton of chili oil.

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{18-20} Delicious Desserts.  Molly’s Cupcake for raw cake batter stuffed yellow cake.

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Bubble tea at Yaya Tea.  Guava black tea with yogurt popping boba and mango stars.  <– new favorite boba spot

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Ice and Vice seasonal flavor, No Whey – labne ice cream with burnt honey and preserved lemon.  This was so refreshing!

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Enjoy the rest of your week!

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Channeling Leslie Knope, Ron Swanson, and Christopher Turk

Questions about my title?  They’re all characters who love breakfast foods.  This weekend we were all about breakfasts, brunches, and brinners.  In fact, we ate enough “breakfast” foods to fill this whole post…

Thompkin’s Square Bagels.  We had a perfectly chewy poppy seed bagel with birthday cake(!!) cream cheese.  Plus wonderful chocolate milk and coffee.

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Vanilla-berry smoothie.  Vanilla almond milk, vanilla pudding mix, chia seeds, frozen strawberries and dark sweet cherries.

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Pistachio pastry at Maman.

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I also had a lavender hot chocolate.  Their cups/wallpaper/whole aesthetic pretty much kill me.

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Nickel and Dinner.

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I had roasted maitake mushrooms with provolone, ratatouille, garlic butter, and poached eggs.  I didn’t love the ratatouille, but cheese and mushroom just might be my new favorite combo.

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Off-theme but worth mentioning: we had rolled ice cream for dessert and it was wonderful.  I CE NY for the win.  Coffee latte ice cream with Oreo mixed in and mochi, marshmallow, and condensed milk on top.

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Egg empanada at Butler.  Local eggs, arugula, and cheddar, plus a divine cilantro dipping sauce.

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Breakfast for dinner.

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Coffee ale since Shiner collaborated with my favorite cold brew.  This was very drinkable.

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I made scrambled eggs with cheese, browned mushrooms, and turkey ham.  Roasted green beans for me and asparagus for Adam.

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Other fun stuff?  We started rewatching “Parks and Recreation” (shocker), we spent an afternoon at the mall, and Saturday morning we headed into the city before dawn to walk across the Williamsburg Bridge at sunrise.

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Chocolate Strawberry And Banana Date

A short post for a short week; here were my top five tastes…

Snack-pack lunch at work.  Crispy broccoli, jerky(1), baby carrots, and a Cara Cara Orange.

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I am a sucker for limited edition Oreos(2).  I always eat them by splitting two in half to make one double-stuffed cookie.

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Homemade dinner, chicken with bbq sauce, roasted asparagus, and another killer potato(3) recipe from Serious Eats.

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Dinner out with a friend, I finally made it to Taïm  and I loved it.  We had sandwiches(4) and smoothies(5).

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  1. Smoked Salmon Maple Stick from EPIC
  2. chocolate-covered strawberry limited edition Oreos
  3. cheesy onion, bacon, and potato gratin
  4. pita with balaganoush, tahini, Moroccan carrots, and pickled cabbage
  5. date, lime, banana, and soy milk

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!

26 Hours In DC

This past weekend we took a quick trip to our nation’s capitol.  It was a whirlwind in-and-out visit but I did have time for two museums, three monuments, and an epic dinner.  Adam had a surgical quality improvement conference on Sunday and I tagged along to spend the day with a girlfriend who lives in the city.

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We spent practically as much time in the car as we did awake in DC.  Here were the healthier car snacks –

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On the less healthy side, I also had potatoes in multiple forms.

We stayed at the hotel where the conference was being held, much fancier than we’re used to.

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There was a lobby atrium (which our inner room looked out over) and trail mix bar.

We got in pretty late in the afternoon on Saturday, but had enough time for a visit to the Renwick Gallery.

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Then we took a long walk around the river basin, and up to the Washington, Lincoln, and Jefferson Memorials.

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The timing worked perfectly so that we could catch the reflecting pool near sunset and it was stunning.

That night we met up with friends for dinner.  Returning to Tail Up Goat was our number one priority for this trip.  They recently earned a Michelin star!  The food was as fabulous as we remembered.  I got an itsy bit drunk so I’m not great on details, but once again we tasted more than half the menu.

My cocktail with vodka and apricot was lovely.

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Red grit sourdough topped with sumac onions, candied black olive, and bottarga (salted cured fish roe).

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The crispy salt cod balls – no photo – were Adam’s favorite dish.  We also split a cheese plate with cocoa nibs and orange and Campari jam.  I’m pretty sure I never want to eat gouda sans nibs again, their crunch and sweetness was genius with the cheese.

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For my entrée I did roasted eggplant with red onion, za’atar, hazelnuts, and burnt bread sauceGuys, that bread sauce is no joke, especially with the creaminess of the eggplant.

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Cannoli with lemon curd, candied pistachios, blood orange marmalade for dessert.

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We also swooned like crazy over the pistachio roll (like a cinnamon pecan roll) with labneh gelato and fennel honey.  10/10.

Sunday morning I slept in and took advantage of hotel room cable.  Adam had a busy day of learning and I had a fantastic afternoon walking around with my girlfriend.  I had several iced lattes and we had beers and bar snacks on a patio in the sun.

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The weather was crazy all weekend, I planned for layers when I packed but ended up shedding everything I could because even my thin scarf was too hot!

We settled in the AC at Ted’s Bulletin.

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They had turkey reubens.

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And amazing Old Bay Bloody Marys.

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Before I knew it I was back with the husband and back on the road.

Vacations are great but coming home is the best – there was a dog on my lap while I wrote this post.