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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The End Of The First Month Of The New Year

I’m two weeks late and about a hundred pictures short, but here, finally, is a (bi)weekly wrap up for the end of January.  I blame a bout of the cold, a string of loser dinners, and a case of the mid-winter blues for my lack of timeliness and photo-taking-enthusiasm.

Gaps aside, here were some eats from the past two weeks…

{rated within their category; i.e. the yogurt bowl is an 8 out of 10 compared with other yogurt bowls not compared other dissimilar items}

Green monster from the cafeteria.  They sometimes set up a smoothie bar at the rotating station.  I chose spinach, strawberry, mango, and coconut water.  8.5/10

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Chocolate iced coffee.  8/10

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Work snack – an apple and coconut caramel bar.  The score here is for the Thai Coco coconut milk drink, which was creamy and sweet.  9.5/10

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Soursop yogurt with blueberries and vanilla granola.  8/10

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Turkey reuben-ish sandwich from the cafeteria.  Sliced turkey, swiss cheese, pickles, spinach, and cole slaw on a whole-wheat wrap.  Plus french fries dipped in 1000 island.  6.5/10

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Cola kombucha.  6.5/10

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This Milka Oreo candy bar didn’t have as much cookie in it as I wanted.  6/10

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But these TJ’s sour gummies are the best gummy candies Adam or I have ever tasted.  10/10

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Biscuit breakfast sandwiches for dinner.  Buttermilk biscuits (<– I don’t recommend this recipe, the biscuits had no flake) / maple Sriracha mayo / smoked gouda / fried egg.  6/10

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Pumpkin soup.  Roux, canned pumpkin, and chicken stock with sautéed onions, carrot, and maple chicken breakfast sausage on the bottom.  This didn’t turn out as well as I was expecting it to, the salt and pepper pumpkin seed brittle I sprinkled on top was by far the best component.  5/10

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Escarole and white bean skillet with (turkey) bacon and artichoke.  7/10

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Creamy turkey pasta.  Ground turkey sautéed with garlic, browned mushrooms, and oven-roasted tomatoes, tossed with sour cream, and whole-wheat pasta.  7.5/10

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I’ve got some yummy things planned for this weekend so hopefully the next post will be slightly less lame!

 

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!

Last Week’s Top Five

Last week was extra-stressful at work so I don’t have much to share on the food front, I ate a Starbucks sandwich for dinner two nights in a row!  And I relied on hummus and fries for lunch because I didn’t pack a single yogurt bowl.  Adam and I have fun plans this weekend and hopefully the downtime will help gear me up to get my act together next week.

Here were the culinary high points…

{1} Pumpkin sausage pizza.

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TJ’s crust / pumpkin puree with ginger / mozzarella / sliced TJ’s turkey summer sausage / fresh sage.

{2} Pumpkin spice gum from Project 7.

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I bought it because I’m a crazy person, but didn’t actually expect it to be good.  It’s delicious (confirmed by Adam and a coworker).

{3} Fall flavored Ralph’s cream ice.

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Caramel apple and pumpkin pie!

{4} A friend and I met for dinner at Luke’s and had lobster grilled cheeses.

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Good, but my drink was better – Downeast pumpkin cider.

{5} Cheesy veggie eggs.

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Scrambled with turkey sausage, chopped spinach, sautéed mushrooms and green onion, and mozzarella cheese.

Apple Picking Outing

I had to go into work on Sunday but Adam and I fit a weekend’s worth of fun into Saturday.  We drove two hours upstate to Twin Star Orchards for an afternoon of apple picking.

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We did a complimentary cider tasting first.  And enjoyed a wood-fired pizza – with fancy mushrooms and truffle oil – for lunch.

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We came home with fewer than 10 apples (they actually just let us take our bag for free!) because we don’t have any grand baking plans, but had a great time walking around the orchard.

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Date night was a new sushi spot in Great Neck.  We split seaweed salad and edamame to start.

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I got a meh veggie roll and a fantastic spicy crab roll for dinner.

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They were out of the mackerel Adam wanted so they gave us free red bean ice cream with our bill.

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New candy bar for dessert.

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The popping candy didn’t have much get up and go but the milk flavored cream was very pleasing.

New take on an old casserole.  I made smoked trout noodle casserole.

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I loosely followed Martha’s recipe for the sauce.  With whole-wheat rotini pasta, tons of sautéed mushrooms and chopped celery, smoked trout, and dill and smoked paprika.  Topped with smoked gouda and crushed sour cream and onion potato chips.

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Served with a new (to us) beer, coconut caramel chocolate brown ale.  I don’t usually drink ales but this was unique enough to hold my interest, at least for 3/4 of the bottle.

What’s new with you?

Four Day Week Top Five

I’m not at work today!  Or tomorrow, or the next day, or the next!!  Even better, I get to spend every second of the next four days with my husband, who just came back from a trip out of town.

Nothing is as exciting as this long weekend, but here are five foods from the week that were thrilling in their own right…

{1} Compartés bars.  They are crazy expensive but I am completely obsessed.

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The Salty Malty bar was one of the best chocolates I’ve ever eaten.

{2} Taco salad.

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Romaine, carrots, chopped tomato and onion, corn, cheddar, salsa, sour cream, olives, and hard-boiled eggs.

{3} Junky fast-food style chicken wrap from the cafeteria.

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Totally delicious and definitely not nutritious; this is why I mostly pack my lunches for work even though I eat for free in the cafeteria – the salad bar is available but nine times out of ten I’m going to pass it up for something I can eat with fries.

{4} A product review from Sonoma Syrups, whose goods contain no perservatives or artificial flavors or colors.  The syrups can be used in alcoholic drinks and baking, but no one is surprised that I tried them out in iced coffee.  Sea Salt Caramel isn’t quite as robust as a scoop of dulce de leche, but it definitely made a better coffee than the Starbucks’ caramel macchiato.

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The Vanilla Hazelnut was tasty too.  A 2 Tbsp serving of the syrups has </100 calories and is strong enough to flavor a 10 ounce cup of dark coffee.

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And Meyer Lemon was yummy enough that I didn’t even wish this iced tea was coffee!

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Heads up PSL addicts, they do have a pumpkin spice syrup.

{5} Meze meal.  I met a girlfriend for drinks and dinner mid-week.

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I ordered spanakopita, smoked cremini mushrooms, and hummus with warm chickpeas and hard-boiled eggs.  The spanakpita was meh (we both thought it tasted like something you’d buy frozen at Trader Joe’s) but the hummus was great.

Enjoy your weekend!