Brussel Sprouts, Cabbage, And Eggplant, Oh My!

Goodness me, did we fit in some fantastic eating this weekend!  Three restaurant stops that were three of our best meals in NYC to date.  I spent the past three days giddy and full.

Highlights…

First things first – they can’t all be winners.  Both of these products seemed like things I would flip for so it felt like I should put out a PSA that I was not a fan.  The protein krispie treat tasted stale and horrible and the drink was more peanut than caramel.  Plus I’ve decided that the new Starbucks blonde espresso is not for me because I like the roasty flavor of the traditional espresso.

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I do recommend this salted caramel cold brew that I drank with skim milk.

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I am also a fan of toasted turkey and cheese sandwiches on brioche buns.  With kettle chips and roasted green beans.

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Now the stuff that knocked my socks off – Joyce Bakeshop.  We got baked goods with our coffees on a whim and the kouign-amann ended up being the single-best pastry I’ve ever had.

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Dinner at LIC Market.  We ate on the beautifully verdant back patio and our scenery was lovely but the lighting was terrible.  Fries with raclette to start.

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With a gose.

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I ordered two veggie sides as my entree.  Brussel sprouts with soy, sweet chili, and garlic and eggplant with lemon aioli.  The eggplant was one of my favorite dishes of the past five years, which is really saying something because we’ve had some exceptional eggplant dishes lately.

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Brown butter pecan cake with a sherry chocolate sauce.

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Dinner at Olmstead.  Another stunning interior + terrible photo lighting situation.

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My cocktail was not great – the only item we didn’t swoon over – but Adam’s fig sherry with vanilla and bitters was pretty delicious.

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The menu is set up for sharing so we got to try a bunch of things.  <– We actually felt like they encouraged us to order a little too much because we ended up having to take leftovers home.  Duck liver mousse (with honey drizzled on top!) with garlic crostini and pickled cauliflower.

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Beer-battered delicata squash rings with green tomato and a spice crust.

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Sweet potato and uni dumplings.

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Cauliflower okonomiyaki with yuzukoshō mayo and spicy hazelnuts.

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I had trout with creamed brussel sprouts and shaved chestnuts as my entree.  Adam’s succulent tamarind lacquered lamb is lurking in the background.

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We ordered the “peanut butter and jello” for dessert because how could you see that and not??!  It was strawberry mousse with strawberry jello and peanut butter powder.  It was ridiculous and amazing and I literally giggled every time I took a bite.

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Olmstead, LIC Market, and Joyce Bakeshop, we will be back!

Spicy Cherry Coke Chicken

This past week was extra-strength lengthy.  I stayed late at work a few days and had several issues with my train and the end result was that I was home more than two hours late almost every day this week – yuck!  I did manage to eat some good dinners still, but I did not manage to get this post up on time.

Best bites {or really should I be writing “superior sips” here because I always start with coffee?!} –

Iced coffee with sweetened condensed milk.

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I also had a yummy iced latte from Birch.

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And I tried the new blonde espresso from Starbucks.  <– quite good, felt like it should be paired with vanilla

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Peach Siggi’s with a Cara Cara orange and strawberry granola minis.

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Plain Icelandic style yogurt with maple taffy, Page mandarins, and sprinkled donut crunch cereal.

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I am a marketer’s dream; I don’t eat cereal all that often, and I hate Captain Crunch, but I still bought this because it was adorable!

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Adam and I both had Monday off, so we got to go on a lunch date!  Serendipity3.

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It was our best meal there to date, we were both swooning over our entrees.  I had curried chicken casserole with almonds and many bites of Adam’s sandwich.

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We came home with two-full-meals-worth of leftovers and were still almost too full for dessert.  Almost.  This sundae is the best thing ever – humble (peanut butter) pie / vanilla ice cream / sliced bananas / hot fudge.

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Bonus – we stopped at Dylan’s next door before our walk across the Queensborough bridge and bought a candy bar on a whim that ended up being fantastic.

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I made a big crockpot of Spicy Cherry Coke Chicken for dinners.  Basically this recipe but with Coke instead of Dr Pepper and chicken instead of pork and I diced up my cherries, chipotles, and jalapenos.

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Served on a sandwich with brioche bun and mayo.

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And roasted zucchini on the side.

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And served on top of nachos!

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My other dinners were brinners.

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Breakfast bowl with sauteed kale with tons of garlic and onion, Trader Joe’s meatless breakfast sausages, and two fried eggs.

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Scrambled eggs with tons of onion, chipotle, and sharp cheddar and roasted green beans on the side.

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Hope everyone is having a great weekend!

Best Ever Iced Coffee

I survived the less-than-zero-degree weather!  My first winter in Buffalo I bought myself a pair of (children’s!) Sorrel snow-boots and they remain the single most essential item in my closet.

I worked Friday, Saturday, Sunday, so my weekend eats weren’t all that exciting.  Work was busy-busy so I mostly ate quick, snacky things.  The highlights…

Iced coffee with a crispy Pacific Rose apple.

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This New Orleans-style cold brew with sweetened condensed milk is officially my favorite coffee combo of all time.  I love Grady’s in general and this was perfectly spiced so with the SCM it was insanely delicious.

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Sooooo much hot chocolate.

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A giant smoothie I shared with Adam – plain Greek yogurt, frozen soursop, mango, and grapes.

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Toasted onion bagel with jalopeño-cheddar cream cheese.  I ended up scraping off part of my mountain of cream cheese like some kind of tourist.

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Watermelon / Sriracha chicken bar / vanilla crispy square.

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Maple salmon bar / TJ’s dried chokanan mango / TJ’s seed & bean medley.

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The first two nights of dinner I was thanking past Emily for leaving me yummy leftovers.  Hot wing pasta.

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Hot dish.  With ketchup and Sriracha on top.

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And Sunday night I finally got around to cooking the meal I had planned for the first night of Hannukah!

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I had kind of a bad foodie/good foodie thing going on – my latkes were from a box but my matzoh brie was fried in duck fat.

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I sprinkle sugar on mine because that’s how I grew up eating it.  And that’s a blob of labne on my latkes that I wished was sour cream.   Plus we had roasted broccoli with sumac.

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I am off of work today! and we are going somewhere fun for lunch!!

Hello, 2018!

On a personal level, 2018 is off to a great start.  Adam’s and my last week of 2017 staycation was deeply wonderful, so I’m starting the year in a damn good mood.

Though perhaps I’ll be less ecstatic today, by the time this post goes live I will already be outside attempting to dig my car out from the foot plus of snow dropped by the bomb cyclone.  I work this weekend so thankfully I was already off for the worst of it on Thursday.

Here were the best bites from the year so far…

This week’s coffee – Starbucks espresso roast.

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Plus on my snow day I sipped on a super fancy Stumptown Nitro Cold Brew with chocolate milk.  Total frothy, creamy, goodness.

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Yogurt bowl work lunches are off to a good start.  Coffee and Cream Chobani with maple almond butter granola and a Pacific Rose apple and MadeGood chocolate chip granola minis.

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Mint Chocolate Chunk Chobani with chocolate Cheerios and chocolate-covered cocoa nibs.  This new flavor was surprisingly delicious, just like mint chip ice cream.

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Smoked turkey and Swiss sandwich box from Starbucks.

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Popping champagne gummies for the new year.  I have loved all of the bears from Project Seven that I’ve tried so far.

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Yummy vanilla bean French pudding.

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Exciting limited edition seltzers tasting.  We didn’t like the cola as much as I had hoped – it was too weird to have the flavor without the sweetness – and the unicorn kisses wasn’t magical but was very tasty.

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I totally rocked it in the kitchen this week; three meals were 10/10.  Like good luck bowls to start the year – forbidden rice / collard greens – sauteed with garlic / hoppin’ john – a slightly bastardized version with orange bell pepper added in.

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Hot wing pasta with carrots and celery on the side.

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Whole wheat pasta shells / sauteed baby spinach and green onion with fish sauce / shredded chicken breast with cream cheese and hot sauce / sharp cheddar.

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Chick pot pie hot dish (loosely inspired by this recipe from Molly Yeh).

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Shredded chicken breast / tons of sauteed mushrooms, onion, celery, and peas / roux + caned low fat milk and chicken broth with sour cream, hot sauce, mustard, liquid smoke, and smoked paprika / tater tots!

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Hope everyone’s 2018 is off to a good start!

A Merry Little Christmas

Merry Christmas to all my readers who celebrate!  I am actually at work today, but Adam and I had a great weekend making merry.

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We pretended it wasn’t raining and took a long walk around Manhattan and over the Brooklyn Bridge.

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I was very excited to check out the holiday decorations at Chelsea Market and the Oculus and Brookfield Place.

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Best bites highlights…

Nobletree eggnog cappuccino.

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I also bought a fancy Ronnybrook eggnog and dumped it over ice with a triple shot of espresso, so good.

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We had yet to stand in the Dominique Ansel line to try a cronut but when I read this month’s flavor I knew it was time – eggnog caramel!

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Crispy, chewy, gooey; they were totally fantastic and worth the wait.  Eggnog caramel may be my new favorite thing.

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Lunch at Kobrick Coffee.  I had a grilled cheese with swiss, shallots, and horseradish maple mustard.

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Plus a Strong Island Iced Tea – gin, tequila, rum, triple sec, cynar, Hella cola tonic, lime juice, and soda.  The little coffee cup was Adam’s cortadito – a crazy delicious cross between a cortado and a Cuban coffee.

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Holiday flavors jelly beans – eggnog, pumpkin pie, cranberry, hot chocolate, and peppermint.

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Harpoon Winter Warmer.  The pink drinks were my attempt at making a peppermint marshmallow vodka that did NOT work.

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Rice and Gold for dinner for a whole jerk roasted duck.  Wrapped up with jerk-hoisin sauce, pickled cucumbers, and moo shu pancakes.

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We also had cured salmon crudo with onion ash, myoga, jalapeno, and maple bourbon soy sauce.

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Charred eggplant with Chinese yogurt, scallion, and crispy shallot that was one of the best dishes I ate this year.

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A Bondi Kelly – white rum, luxardo maraschino, lime, and charred pineapple.

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And a citrus salad dessert special with cardamom labne and yuzu nata de coco.

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We brought home our leftover duck to put on nachos which was the best idea ever.

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And our Christmas Eve dinner was snowflake pasta with pesto, red bell pepper, baby kale, and turkey pepperoni.

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May your day be bright.

It’s Beginning To Taste A Lot Like Christmas

Eggnog, peppermint, and rugelach, oh my!

Adam and I spent the weekend eating all of the holiday things!  We did an eggnog tour of Brooklyn one day and then a Brooklyn holiday ice cream tour the next.  I learned that even if you share and leave a lot of leftovers you can still tire of eggnog very quickly, and I’m probably someone who enjoys eggnog more than the average reveler.  I also affirmed that no matter how many twinkly lighted and tinsel bedecked holiday pop-ups I encounter, I will still clap my hands in glee every time.

Alphabetically, here are some Brooklyn spots celebrating with holiday pop-ups and/or themed items:

16Handles.  Peppermint froyo with Oreo and hot fudge.

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Ample Hills.

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There were so many holiday choices we had to get a flight to taste them all!  In the front row – Eggnog with rum / Festival of Lights cream cheese ice cream with raspberry rugelach / Candy Cane.

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Bearded Lady.

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BL Eggnog – bourbon, spice, a whole egg.

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Brooklyn Cupcake.  Coquito cupcake.  <– not a seasonal item actually, it’s on the menu year-round

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Ladybird Bakery.  Eggnog mousse tart.  <– this was more visually appealing than anything, 5/10.

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Leyenda<– most festive stop of the weekend, 2nd only to Miracle on 9th Street

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Coquito Ho Ho – Resposado Espolon tequila, Oloroso sherry, Braulio, coconut cream, cinnamon, egg.

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Oddfellows.  Eggnog and Santa’s Cookies milk sorbet with chocolate chip cookies.

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And here were the highlights of my less festive eats…

We were pretty pleased with this 7-11 cold brew can.  Made with skim milk and minimal sugar and it had way more flavor than anything we can get from the thousand Dunkin Doughnuts near our apartment.

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Brunch at Forest Point.  We need to come here more often because it’s amazing.  Oban Sour – Moto Whisky, Mizu Lemongrass Shochu, yuzu-maple cordial, lemon, pimento dram.

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I also had hummus, Israeli cucumber salad, fantastic grilled naan, harissa, and perfectly poached eggs.

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Lunch at Lion’s Milk.  We shared a sandwich with black olive paste, toasted sesame oil, and kasseri cheese.  Plus Turkish coffees.

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Tofu bowls for dinner.  With mint lime kombucha.

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Roasted buckwheat and kobucha squash with roasted elephant garlic / roasted zucchini / baked garlic brown sugar tofu / Sriracha.  Except apparently neither Adam nor I like buckwheat one bit; we ate off our toppings and had cheese and crackers instead.

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I try to have every healthy dinner include a protein, carb, fat, and veggie, and technically these meals fit the bill.  Smoky honey chips with melted sharp cheddar and carrots with hummus.

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Homemade onion dip (with turkey bacon and sharp cheddar!) with roasted broccoli and TJ’s cheesy tree crackers for dipping.  I also dipped baby carrots and kettle chips but they didn’t make a nice forest.

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I shredded two large sweet onions and spent 50+ minutes caramelizing them and it was well worth it.

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Especially because I sipped this peachy and delicious Shiner Bock Holiday Cheer while I cooked.

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Two more nights of Hannukah and one week ’til Christmas!

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Miracle On 9th Street

New York City is the best place on Earth and that is doubly true around holidays!  Adam and I had a lovely weekend with lots of walking and we explored Brooklyn, Queens, and Manhattan and saw and ate all sorts of fun holiday and city things.

Like lights in the Lower East Side.

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And wild swans in Sheepshead Bay.

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Coffees, specialty cocktails, pizza rolls, and other fantastic eats…

Mace’s Miracle Christmas Cocktail Pop-up is officially my new favorite holiday activity!  I wish I had taken pictures inside because it was freaking magical.

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The specialty cocktails were so fun!  I had a Not Even a Mouse – pumpkin spice infused rye whiskey, Budweiser-marshmallow syrup, pumpkin puree, egg, and a marshmallow mouse.

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And a Snowball Old Fashioned – gingerbread bourbon, sugar, and pecan bitters.

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Iced latte love.  Brooklyn Roasting Company.

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Orso.

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Yogurt bowl win.  Plain Greek yogurt with maple jelly and vanilla bean powder with golden kiwi and granola on top.

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Ice & Vice double scoop that was truly the best ice cream Adam or I have ever eaten.  TBT – earl grey, dark chocolate, and speculoos chip and PSL – pecan, sorghum, and latte toffee.

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The Nog at Sugar Sweet Sunshine, pumpkin cake layered with eggnog pudding and whipped cream.

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Luda’s Dumplings.

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We shared shrimp and loaded potato with garlic sour cream and mushrooms on top.

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Brunch at Butter & Scotch, aka the restaurant that’s decorated like the inside of my heart.

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I had biscuits with mushroom gravy and an egg on top.

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The NameShake.

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Birthday cake slice (the leftovers were still moist 24 hours+ later, fyi) and a Unicorn Treat – a brown butter cookie drenched in sprinkles!

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The space was adorable, the music was wonderful, and as we were rolling ourselves to the door the waitress brought us a chocolate chip cookie to go since we had been so excited about everything.

Dinner at Thursday Kitchen.

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You have to get a light-up booze-filled capri sun!  I went with strawberry.

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The menu is tapas style so we got to taste a lot.  Everything was so interesting, and perfectly spiced.  Pan-seared plantains with Korean chimichurri, honey ricotta, roasted pistachio, dried cranberry, and crispy plantain crumble.

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Duck confit empanada with dill crème fraiche, cumin, and pickles.

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Gnocchi with Korean chili pepper sauce, garlic aioli, parmesan, and crispy seaweed.

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My homemade dinners weren’t bad either.  I made vegetarian “rice” and beans casserole.

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Riced cauliflower / pinquito beans / onion and bell peppers (yellow, orange, and green) baked in evoo / red enchilada sauce / sour cream / shredded cheese.  I topped my bowl with more sour cream and some Cholula sauce plus beet and goat cheese cassava chips.

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An epic take on cheeseburgers and fries.

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Roasted green beans and butternut squash.

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Cheeseburger roll ups!  Crescent roll dough / ground turkey sautéed with chopped onion and pickle relish / mayo and ketchup / shredded cheese / brushed with garlic butter.

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Happy 1st week of December!