How Do You Solve A Problem Like Maria

My title is a tongue in cheek joke about how the weather channel is turning me into a crazy person this month.  I was having such a good week too.  The VI was finally getting some desperately needed federal assistance and national news coverage and my parents got cell service back and I was able to talk to my mom.  But now, Maria is expected to hit the Virgin Islands as a category 3 hurricane this week.  Fantastic.

I’m still not really feeling up to prattling on about my days, but I did have some fun this week so I’m posting a top five…

{1}  favorite work bites

{a} coffee coffee coffee

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{b} I am still obsessed with that Trader Joe’s nut and seed mix

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{c} I also packed a nice tasting plate – dried apples, TJ’s crispy cheese bites, and a maple salmon bar.

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{d} This cafeteria wrap was on point.  Chicken / pinto beans / tomato / bell peppers / banana pepper / cheddar.

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{2}  apple eatventures

{a} I made caramel apple bread from scratch!  Basically just pumpkin bread made with apple sauce instead of pumpkin puree and totally just an excuse to use these caramel chips.

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{b} Caramel apple oatmeal.  Rolled oats / caramel chips / cinnamon / chia seeds / dried apples.

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{c} Caramel apple Twizzlers.

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{d} Apple pie milkshake.  Vanilla ice cream / Greek yogurt / applesauce/ cinnamon and gingerbread spice.

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{3}  cobb salad pasta salad

Whole wheat bowtie pasta / crumbled fancy aged blue cheese / turkey bacon / chopped chicken breast / hard-boiled eggs / diced avocado / shredded spinach / roasted baby tomatoes.

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{4}  a Mile End meal recreation

Mile End Deli has a Brussel sprouts dish on their menu that we were over the moon for, so I recreated it at home.  Our version was roasted brussel sprouts / tossed with crispy turkey bacon / plus olive oil and honey / sprinkled with sumac / on a base of labne.

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While we cooked – which took no time at all – we sipped on Switchel.

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Up Mountain Switchel sent me a box for review.  The lemon flavor was too spicy ginger for me, but I loved the Yerba Mate.  The ingredients list is short and simple (the four things listed on the front of the bottle plus water) and a serving has 54 calories and 10 grams of sugar.  It paired nicely with our meal and would be a good alternative option to booze or soda with dinner.

{5}  a trip to the South Fork of the Hamptons

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{a} Doughnuts and coffee at Grindstone.

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I had a Nutella s’mores brioche doughnut and a vanilla latte.

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{b} La Colombe black and tan (draft latte and cold brew) at Sag Town Coffee.  P.S. Apparently I am obsessed with Sag Harbor, it is so cute!

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{c} Lunch at Lunch.  Instead of a lobster roll I went with the seafood chili – with a bloody mary – and was quite pleased with my choice.

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{d} A cup of birthday cake ice cream at Scoop Du Jour.

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{e} And best of all, we got to stick our toes in the sand at the beach.

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It was a super foggy day and the crashing waves were gorgeous.  Plus we saw about a million seagulls.  <– best beach day ever

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Sandwiches And Scottie Dogs

Bites from this week…

I had an exciting product sample to review – Nocciolata Dairy Free Organic Hazelnut and Cocoa Spread.  It’s organic, vegan, and made without palm oil.

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The spread tastes like Nutella but better – it’s creamier and the sweetness has less bite.  I ate many a spoonful this past week!

I also enjoyed it in an excitingly neon strawberry smoothie.  Frozen strawberries / pitaya / cow’s milk / chocolate hazelnut spread.

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And in yogurt bowls with Greek yogurt and a trio of plucots.

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Non-yogurt lunches came from the cafeteria (and were tasty as all get out).  Toasted sandwich – cheesy focaccia / mayo / spicy chicken / cheddar / tomato / spinach – with sweet potato fries.

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Bean and veggie quesadilla – with pinto beans / mozzarella / bell peppers / onions / corn / and tomato.

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This week’s work snack was candy – Japanese milk chews and black licorice.

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My coffee (former freebie) was 10/10.  This is less roasty than what I usually go for but still totally swoon-worthy, it isn’t the slightest bit bitter or sour.

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Adam was gone every night this week and I am unable to make myself adult if no one is there to see it so dinners were convince foods and/or nachos.

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I’m scheduled to work the next five days but feeding myself a vegetable is definitely job #1 for the weekend.

 

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!

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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Beans, Beans, Every Flavor Beans

I worked straight through Saturday to Thursday last week and it tired me out (hence the late post!).

The good news is that my work schedule meant I had a three day weekend.  And the better news is that I used my extra day to go on a quick trip to CT with Adam.  In other weekend excitement – we took the dog into the city to visit a dog park (he was not a fan).

Food themes for the week were beans and more beans, candy and more candy, and coffee (always coffee).  Here were the highlights…

Breakfast at Blue State Coffee in New Haven.  I had an egg and cheese sandwich on sourdough and an iced latte.

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Stumptown coffee.

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Pitaya smoothie with frozen cherries and cookies and cream pudding.  (<– bought the pudding on a whim, hated it, and was too cheap to toss it, but it was actually wonderful in the smoothie).

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Brunch at Fat Goose.

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I had a sparkling Paloma.

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And the foie gras panna cotta(!!!).  With strawberries, rhubarb, jam, and buttered challah.

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It was amazing.  And even better, there was a dog in my lap while I ate it!

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He got a bite of my ice cream for being a well-behaved brunch companion.

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Lemon yogurt with blueberries and maple granola.

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Plain yogurt with chocolate tahini, blueberries, and cotton candy grapes.

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Adam and I tried Costa Nova Waffle on an errands day.  They have tasty Portuguese coffee.  We had a crispy waffle with s’mores and a soft waffle with twix and both were delicious.

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Road trip snacks.

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Milk candy!  Japanese Hokkaido and Polish sesame milk caramels.

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These Haribo grapefruit candies are insanely good.

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Froyo on a hot day – birthday cake with mochi, nonpareils, and cereal marshmallows.

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Turkey BLT pasta (inspired by this Cooking Light recipe).   Whole wheat shells / turkey bacon / wilted arugula / roasted heirloom tomatoes / tossed with mayonnaise and salt and pepper.

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Salmon bacon sandwiches!

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Brioche buns with mayonnaise and gojuchang / sharp cheddar / a fried egg / and TJ’s salmon bacon.

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With roasted green beans.

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Red beans and rice (loosely inspired by this Serious Eats recipe).  Celery, green pepper, and onion cooked in evoo / salt, pepper, cayenne, and smoked paprika / with TJ’s turkey summer sausage / and red kidney beans / served on brown jasmine rice.

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White beans with turkey bacon, celery, and gojuchang.  Plus sweet potato cheese fries.

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Dinner in New Haven.  We got Thai takeout – chicken pad see ew and pad thai – to eat in our hotel room in front of the cable tv.

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Plus ice cream that was fantastically creamy and good, cookie dough and coffee oreo for me.

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Enjoy the rest of your week!

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