Pumpkin’s Still In Season

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This post includes three more days of vacation (Sunday, Monday, Tuesday); I eased back into the work-week after my trip.  It’s supposed to be in the 20’s in NYC later today so now I kind of wish I was away on vacation again!

Highlights from the week…

Coffee!

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Pumpkin spice my grandma brought me from Winans.

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Pumpkin smoothie with Greek yogurt, maple syrup, cow’s milk, cinnamon, and nutmeg.

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BBQ at Salt and Bone.

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I got a ridiculous but tasty Percocet with aged rum, coco lopez, citrus.

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And had turkey breast – 3 hour smoked with a butter sauce – cole slaw, and a few bites of Adam’s potato salad.

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Thai food in Sunnyside.  Fried tofu.

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And drunken noodles that actually had enough veggies for my tastes.

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One of our favorite winter traditions is visiting Winter Village at Bryant Park for a thick hot chocolate.

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Gooey walnut chocolate chip cookie from Chip in Astoria.

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Buckeye straight from Ohio.

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We tried something fun from Minamoto Kitchoan – Sakura Gomora, sweet bean and mochi wrapped in a cherry blossom pancake.

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Packed lunch – strawberry and rosehip kefir cup with a cupcake crumbled in!  Plus a snap dragon apple.

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I brought in chocolate cupcakes (from a mix!) with homemade cream cheese frosting and Amy Sedaris sprinkles for a coworker’s birthday.

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Yogurt with pumpkin puree and pumpkin spice Cheerios and Frosted Mini Wheats.

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Roasted fall salad – quinoa / shredded brussel sprouts / leeks / turkey bacon / sweet and spicy pecans / gold raisins / and oven-fried sage.

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One of the co-founders of CHUT UP reached out to my about sampling their new line of condiments and I happily accepted, so those were featured in dinners for the rest of the week.  All three flavors are made with minimal processing and no added sugars (and they’re tasty!).

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I made a veggie-packed version of chana masala with the addition of celery and orange and yellow bell pepper.

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Topped with apple and caramelized onion chutney.

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And a dinner for dipping with blue cheese dressing and beet ketchup.

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Roasted broccoli and a root veggie mix from Trader Joe’s (carrots, beets, parsnips, and sweet potato).

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Baked chicken tenders crusted in panko after an overnight marinate in peri peri hot sauce, minced ginger, lemon, and brown sugar.

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Won’t You Brie My Neighbor

Bites from the week…

I was on a FUN – aka sweetened and spiced – iced coffee kick.  Dark roast cold brewed with brown sugar, pumpkin spice, and extra cinnamon.

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La Colombe pumpkin spice draft latte.

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Vanilla cold brew from Bowery Coffee Co with half and half.

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Since we have multi-grain sourdough in the house I’m back to loving toast.  With Smart Balance, strawberry jam, and cheese!

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Yogurt bowl lunches.  Pumpkin Chobani with toffee bits and sweet and spicy pecans and a Snap Dragon apple.

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Pumpkin Noosa with a brown sugar cinnamon peanut butter packet.  Plus a honey tangerine and a Sweet Thorn kombucha.

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Maple yogurt with vanilla granola, banana chips, and tangerine.

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Plus one day I got cafeteria sushi.

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A quick but delicious dinner.

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Roasted brussel sprouts and a sliced RosaLynn apple.

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A toasted sandwich with smoked sliced turkey, pumpkin butter, and brie.  The sandwich was so freaking good that I ended up making it again for dinner the next night too (except we were out of turkey so I added cheddar for a double-cheese dream!).

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Pumpkin sausage pasta topped with cheese and fried sage!

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I loosely followed this recipe from Rachel Ray.  A few key changes – I toasted my pasta / I used half as much pasta (whole wheat bow ties) so there was a greater ratio of sauce / I used turkey maple breakfast sausages / I added orange bell pepper with my onions / I used extra stock instead of wine / I added cayenne pepper / I used fat-free half and half.

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Best thing I ate all week?  Banoffee (aka banana toffee) Magic Bars!

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My coworkers loved them so much they asked my to post the recipe on the blog.

Banana Toffee Magic Bars, makes 24 squares

  • 1/2 cup salted butter
  • 15 sheets graham crackers, crushed
  • 1 cup dark chocolate chips
  • 1 cup butterscotch chips
  • 1 cup toffee bits
  • 1 cup chopped dried baby bananas (from Trader Joe’s)
  • 1 cup unsweetened banana chips
  • 14 oz can sweetened condensed milk
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.  Place butter in a 9×13 inch baking dish in heating oven.
  2. When butter is fully melted, remove dish from oven and combine graham cracker crumbs and butter.  Mix well, then press firmly into the bottom of the dish.
  3. Sprinkle remaining ingredients on top of crust then top evenly with sweetened condensed milk.
  4. Bake 25-30 minutes, until lightly browned.
  5. Allow to cool before cutting.  I recommend storing these in the freezer and letting them come to room temperature to serve.

White Gummi Slushie

I worked the weekend (and had two weekdays off) so my schedule has been a bit out of whack.  It is still basically summer temperatures here so we haven’t moved on to hot chocolate and soups but we have been loving the crap out of Pumpkin Month.  Here were some highlights from the past 7 days…

Weekly coffee combo – Black Hand and chocolate milk.

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This pumpkin spice kefir is super tasty.

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Pumpkin Noosa with a TJ’s pumpkin cereal bar and a SweeTango apple.

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TJ’s pumpkin yogurt with pumpkin spice Cheerios and Frosted Mini Wheats and a Starkrimson pear.

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Key lime skyr with pomegranate and Heritage Flakes.

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Adam and I got a midweek lunch at Sweet to Lick vegan cafe and we are completely in love.  We had a terrific hero with bulgogi style setain, gochujang mayo, and pickled vegetables.

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Plus the best chocolate chip cookies ever sandwiched around Oreo cream filling!

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Detroit Friends potato chips (expo sample).  These are some of the very best kettle chips we’ve ever tasted and their company is totally fantastic too – some of the potatoes are grown in a vacant lot in Detroit’s Hope District.

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Orange slice candies.  There’s a vitamin commercial where a woman squeezes an orange slice shaped gummy and it made Adam and I both immediately want to run out to the drugstore.

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Campfire S’mores ice cream.

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White gummi slushie from 7-11.  We are obsessed, these are so good.  I’m not sure what the actual flavor is (pineapple?  or maybe white grape?) but they are juicy and delicious.

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All-you-can-eat sushi buffet at Mizumi.  We love it there, everything is super fresh and expertly prepared.  I didn’t snap all of my plates but the highlights included crab cakes, inari, and seaweed salad.

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Roasted squash and tuna quinoa cakes with cocktail sauce.

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Veggie bowls.  Shredded cabbage tossed in this sauce / roasted edamame / marinated hard-boiled eggs (marinated in gochujang, brown sugar, soy sauce, and rice vinegar).

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Mexican food at Oak House in Floral Park.

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I had a Mezcal mojito.

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And veggie fajitas with carrots, onions, squash, peppers, and mushrooms.  They had chipotle Cholula at the table and we doused everything with it.

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Plus Adam and I split vanilla flan and tres leches cake for dessert.

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Have a great week!

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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