Vacation // Staycation

Whew, what a week!  Adam and I have been on vacation since last Saturday and it has been absolutely freaking fantastic!

St. Thomas Vacation

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We spent the first half of our week going home to visit my parents.  It was a great trip; we made multiple beach visits, ate the sandwich we both ate the morning we got married, and had lunch on the beach with an old friend.

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top three vacation moments –

{1}  Eating an egg and cheese sandwich on a johnny cake.

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{2}  Hiking in St. John.  We hiked across the Caneel Bay trail and then walked back to town from Honeymoon Beach.

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{3}  Getting the world’s best fraco (aka shaved ice) downtown – soursop and guava with condensed milk.  It was swoon-worthy!

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Related: I also had a pretty fantastic fresh soursop juice at Mafolie.  It is my favorite fruit.

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NYC Staycation

We stayed in the city for the 2nd half of our vacation.  NYC is my favorite place on Earth so I’m always happy to have additional free time here.  Though we did spend a lot of time home in our apartment — watching tv, in bed, with the dog curled up on our laps!

Quick eats at home included –

All the nachos.  Salad with pulled rotisserie chicken, pinto beans, cole slaw, and pineapple salsa.

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Eggs with the same ingredients, minus cole slaw, plus German butter cheese.

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Cake popsicles!

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Champagne with sorbet while we watched the final finale of Bones. <– one of our all time favorite shows.  I thought they did a really nice job wrapping things up.

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We also had some really exciting eats in Manhattan –

Brunch at Cosme.  I had the duck enmoladas or mole enchiladas.

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Plus the best Paloma ever.  Made with house grapefruit syrup and amazing grapefruit salt on the rim.

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Churro s’more at Boqueria.

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Best thing I’ve had in 2017 and possibly ever: Unicorn latte!!!  A (purple!) caramel latte topped with glittered marshmallows and loads of whipped cream and sprinkles.  It was magical!

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Think stress-free thoughts for me on my return back to reality please.

Coffee, Doughnuts, And Quinoa

Adam and I had the morning off together on Friday and we used the time for another sunrise bridge walk – Queensboro Bridge.

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3 down {Williamsburg Bridge} {Brooklyn Bridge}, and 1 to go {Manhattan Bridge}.  Perhaps in the summer we’ll reverse it and walk out of Manhattan at sunset.

After the bridge, we wandered around the Upper East Side and in and out of Central Park and ended up walking more than 8 miles (<–awesome).  The weather was so gorgeous I wore flip flops for the first time in months (again, awesome) and unfortunately now my calves are killing me (<– not awesome).  I’ve been limping for the past two days!

On the food front, here were my top three favorites…

#1 – breakfast pastries

We tried new treats at two new spots and they were reeeeeeally good!  At Padoca Bakery, brioche – chocolate and dulce de leche swirl and guava and cheese swirl.

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At Orwashers, we had a doughnut injected with strawberry preserves, which was good, and a chocolate almond croissant which was the single-best pastry I’ve ever eaten.

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You have to have coffee with doughnuts.

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The lattes at Bluestone Lane are divine.  We went to the UES location that shares space with a stunning church.

#2 – a new snack

I pack Adam crunchy chickpeas for work all the time and this Korean BBQ flavor is my new favorite thing.

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Related – Sumo Mandarins are officially my favorite fruit of the year.  They are always juicy and tart, and so easy to eat – they’re a snap to peel and have no seeds!

#3 – quinoa soup stoup

I got the idea from Cooking Light; you cook the quinoa in the broth with the other components so it comes together very quickly.

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For my version I used carrots, red bell pepper, celery, onion // s&p, turmeric, smoked paprika, celery seed // shredded turkey breast // 1 cup quinoa // low sodium chicken broth.

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Since I used more veggies and quinoa mine came out thicker like a stew.

This upcoming week I’m looking forward to: a fancy coffee combo this morning, watching the newest undercover episode of “Bones,” and having Thursday off of work.

Walking Weekend

I didn’t watch any of the game, but my weekend sure was super.  Saturday morning Adam and I woke up extra early and went into the city to watch the sunrise.  We parked in Dumbo, walked across the Brooklyn Bridge, wandered around lower Manhattan, and then walked around Chelsea.  Then we took the subway to Park Slope, did a long loop through our old neighborhood, and walked back through Fort Greene to our car in Dumbo.  Throughout the day we ended up walking >11 miles.

Of course, the minute the sunrise started getting gorgeous my camera started dying/getting too cold to function.

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We punctuated our walk with stops for coffees and desserts, but most of it went unphotographed due to my technical difficulties.  Highlights included a dulce de leche iced coffee from Terremoto turned into an affogato with a scoop of goat milk tahini ice cream from Seed + Mill.

I did manage to get a shot of breakfast #1, at the Oculus.  We split a “hell of a nerve” from Joe and the Juice – banana, elderflower, and strawberry juice.

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Plus pastries and lattes at Eataly (with sips of Italian cola).  I got a cream filled croissant; the pastry wasn’t flaky enough for me but the cream was fantastic and I ate it out with a spoon!

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And I had to Instagram breakfast #2 at Santina.

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I had a fantasmic egg sandwich.  Fluffy egg on a soft bun with tons of fontina cheese and green chiles.  I pretty much swooned after every bite.

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Friday’s breakfast was a smoothie.  Frozen strawberries with plain Greek yogurt and chocolate-mint soy milk.

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And Sunday I made an egg sandwich at home.  Smoked gouda and a fried egg on a brioche bun.

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Another highlight was dinner at Pig Beach.  We loved their vibe and their great 90’s music playlist <== we listened to “Pony” by Ginuwine!  There weren’t a ton of menu options for me so I ordered some sides and then got some from Whole Food’s hot bar later on.

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Macaroni and cheese, yummy purple cole slaw, and buckeyes for dessert.  Plus a 10/10 vodka soda and an amazing drink with vodka, honey, and rosé.

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I may not have watched the Super Bowl, but I definitely spent Sunday making and eating on-themed foods!  We had nachos with buffalo chicken on TJ’s honey butter chips.

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Muddy Buddies – made with Biscoff cookie butter instead of peanut butter because I’m bringing them into work at there’s a nut allergy.

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And I used a fun product sample from Moore’s Marinades to make my buffalo chicken baked pasta.

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I used their Blue Cheese Buffalo Wing Sauce – instead of putting in hot sauce and blue cheese separately – and my pasta came out great.  P.S. heat haters, this sauce is more tangy than spicy and I recommend it for wimps too.

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Have a super week!

Spring In The City

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As of this morning our spring vacation comes to a close.  We did St. Thomas, DC, and a few wonderful days in the best city on Earth (aka our hometown, NYC).  After a month apart while Adam was in Texas the past two weeks have been fantastic.  I’m going to miss him a lot this workweek.

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In spite of the rain and bitter cold over the past few days we managed to pack a lot of fun into our Friday/Saturday/Sunday.  We walked more than 10 miles around Manhattan on Friday, most of them in the downpour!  We had enough reprieves from the weather to appreciate how insanely gorgeous our city is in the spring.

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Here were our top five eats from the end of vacation…

{1} Breakfast at Back Room

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Breakfast in a fancy hotel with a view of the city?  Yes, please!  And it was one of the best meals of the weekend.  Adam got an amazing fish platter with herring and smoked sturgeon, smoked salmon, belly lox, pastrami salmon, fingerling potatoes, eggplant salad, and cream cheese with trout roe.  I’m usually a bit too squeamish for lox but I happily stole bites of everything from this plate.

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I had duck confit hash topped with a duck egg!  With a cheddar biscuit with honey and butter.

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You really can’t go wrong with duck on duck; my meal was almost too rich.

{2} Brunch at Du Jour Bakery

It was so good the last time that I had to go back and take Adam.  I ordered an iced latte (made with Brooklyn Roasting Company) immediately.

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And I went savory with an egg and cheese croissant sandwich.  My meal came with a tasty side salad and Adam’s came with fries so we were in business!

{3} Donuts from Underwest

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A Hells Kitchen spot inside of a car wash.  We tried halvah and vanilla-lavender.

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They were a bit cakey for my preferences (Adam disagrees) but the glaze was top-notch.

Plus coffee from Laughing Man, Hugh Jackman’s Tribeca shop that donates all of it’s proceeds to the Laughing Man Foundation.

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That’s a honey lavender latte to fit with our donuts.

{4} Ice cream from I CE NY

Smashed and rolled ice cream!  They spread your base flavor and mix-ins on a giant frozen metal plate.

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I got Thai iced tea ice cream with sprinkles mixed in and popping boba, mochi, and condensed milk on top.

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It was fun, and also some of the best ice cream I’ve ever eaten.  The base ended up being amazingly chewy! <– here is some info on why “chewy” is a compliment

{5} Dinner at Ten Ichi Ramen, a newish spot in Park Slope

We started with duck bao.

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I got the veggie ramen, with an aged egg on top.

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Not as good as Chuko but still pretty darn good.  The broth was so creamy!  Plus their chili garlic oil was wonderful, which is good for me because I add it to my ramen by the scoop.

Williamsburg To Washington Square Park

Oh my goodness, what a great weekend!  Adam and I have been making the most of the summer days, and then some.  This weekend we walked around Williamsburg, across the bridge, up to and around Washington Square Park, and back, to the tune of 10+ miles in one afternoon!

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When we weren’t moving this weekend, we were eating.  Here are some of the highlights…

A fancy-schmancy yogurt bowl.  2% Plum Chobani with two varieties of pluot and a dollop of fresh whipped cream.

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The cream was part of a homemade ice cream undertaking (look for more details – and a giveaway! – on Wednesday).

Coffee at Sweetleaf, a Rocket Fuel.

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Aka cold brew with milk, maple, and chicory.  Chicory blended iced coffees are definitely going to play a big role in my summer.

Espresso and macarons at Bakeshop by Woops.

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Kids, this place was so freaking cute.  And our cookies were amazing, chocolate and lavender chocolate.

Honey sesame soy milk box.

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Adam and I tried to split this but the minute I handed it over to him he guzzled the rest of it down!

Cherry Cola Tic-Tacs.

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I am incapable of turning down a cherry cola flavored item.  Fun fact – the last two photos were not actually taken in front of the same wall, I just seek out brick whenever I have the option for a photo.

Rice bowls at Korilla.  Korilla is basically an Asian Chipotle, but it is at least fifteen times more fantastic.

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My bowl had sticky rice, the most amazing gochujang marinated chicken, sweet corn and snap peas, cheese, tons of red kimchi, and spicy but sweet Korean BBQ sauce.  Adam’s rice had bacon and kimchi in it and we were both swooning.

We tried the new limited-time offerings at Ample Hills.

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The pride month flavor was yummy but we had to throw out the sandwich.  I think that Ample Hills generally makes the best ice cream on Earth but those soggy cookies were truly inedible.

A cone from Sundaes and Cones.

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Lavender and black sesame were both great; those are flavors that could be kind of overwhelming but they were sweet and light yet still identifiable.

A quick red curry at home.

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Rice noodles on the bottom // sautéed bok choy, white mushrooms and straw mushrooms, sweet onion and green onion, and sweet red pepper // sprouted tofu cubes roasted with lime, sugar, Sriracha, and liquid smoke // and red curry sauce with lime, light coconut milk, fish sauce, and minced garlic and ginger.

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We both typically say that we don’t like red curries but we loved this so we should give the real version another chance.

Sandwich night on my lonesome while Adam was at work.

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I toasted sourdough slices in the oven with Smart Balance Light and pepperjack and sharp cheddar cheese then sandwiched them around canola oil mayo and Applegate Smoked Sliced Turkey.

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With roasted green beans on the side.

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How are green beans – roasted with cooking spray and salt – so flipping buttery?!

Dinner at The Smoke Joint, our new favorite bbq spot.

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They have Mother’s Milk at the bar, which wins them points.  Adam’s strawberry vanilla bourbon limeade wasn’t bad either.

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Their juicy, tender, chopped bbq chicken comes with a side of pickles and spicy cole slaw.

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And their smoky collard greens are meatless, so I got to try real bbq collards for the first time in my life.

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I loved them!

If this upcoming week is half as good as my weekend I’ll be all set 🙂

The Slanted Woods {San Francisco}

Wednesday morning we stopped at Peet’s for an eggnog iced coffee to go with my Ferry Building farmer’s market pear.

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Then we made our way over the bridge through the pouring rain,

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and up to Muir Woods for a stunningly beautiful hike.

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We bought trusty $4 ponchos to get us through the 4+ miles in the downpour, but I wasn’t able to take many pictures.

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Mostly we just got shots of Adam and me being goofballs.

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We got completely soaked but still had a wonderful time.

Afterwards we went back to the hotel to dry off before our late lunch at Coqueta, a Spanish tapas place that knocked our socks off.

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My cocktail – cream sherry, Luxardo amaretto, sherry vinegar, Manchego, and golden raisins – was one of the best I’ve ever had.

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We split a variety of small plates, all of which we enjoyed greatly.

Huevos Nacional – deviled eggs filled with spring pea, smoked pimenton alioli, on pickled saffron potatoes and olive oil poached bonito.

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Housemade potato chips with shaved Manchego and vermouth vinegar salsa.  A play on bagels and lox of smoked salmon, queso fresco, and truffle honey.

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Wild and cultivated mushrooms with garlic, chili, and sherry.

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And Catalan-style vineyard greens with a caper-raisin puree, raisins, pine nuts, and garlic.  <– my favorite dish of the day

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For dessert we did caramel popcorn with Manchego cheesecakes that were amazing caramel lollipops with a liquid cheese filling.

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And churros with drinking chocolate and a mixed berry powder for dipping.

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Every last bite of this meal was inventive, fresh, and freaking delicious.

After more walking,

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a stop at Humphry Slocombe for fluffernutter ice cream with butterscotch sauce, (<– Adam got ice cream almost every day)

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and a New Orleans style coffee from Blue Bottle,

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we were ready to drink our dinner at 21st Amendment Brewery.

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21st Amendment brews Hell or High Watermelon, one of my top favorite beers, so we were excited to taste our way through their menu.

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We shared Hell or High Watermelon, Vina, Framboise Forte D’or, Belgian Chocolate Stout, and a yummy honey meade from a guest brewery.

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Also, a giant plate of fried cheese curds.

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Ridiculous!  And we were completely sober by the time we finished the 4 mile trek back to the hotel.

Thursday morning I fueled up with a praline chestnut latte and a local apple.

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Plus a great rose macaron that we picked up along the way.

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But the super steep hills still totally kicked my butt.

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We were supposed to spend the morning in Golden Gate Park but unfortunately the crazy rain scared us away.  We ended up eating our way through Japantown.

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And actually even getting some Whole Foods hot bar while we hid and tried to keep dry.

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Thankfully our afternoon plans were an indoor tour/tasting at Anchor Brewery.

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We had a great time and definitely recommend it.

The rain cleared up in the afternoon while we spent some time in Chinatown.

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And Boba Guys served us the best bubble teas of the year.

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My almond milk coffee with boba and housemade almond jelly was delicious.

Then we were back to the Market Building where we couldn’t resist a final Vietnamese iced coffee from Out the Door.

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An ironic choice considering our dinner reservations.

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The Slanted Door has been on my list for years and it did not disappoint.

Piña colada – El Dorado 3 year white rum, house coconut cream, fresh pressed pineapple juice, pineapple gum, and lime.

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Adam got a truly fabulous steak and I did three veggie options for my meal.  Fried kabocha squash – palm sugar & lime caramel sauce, thai basil.

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A green papaya salad –  pickled carrot, rau ram, crispy shallot, roasted peanut – that was my favorite dish of the day.

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And the Catalan Farm spicy broccoli – braised tofu, lion’s mane mushroom.  The spongy mushrooms were so cool!

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We did another round of churros for dessert.

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As well as a brown butter cake trifle with huckleberries, lemon curd, and hibiscus meringue.

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The meringues were as tasty as they were gorgeous.  A great way to end our fourth day!

San Francisco Recap, Day 1 & 2

If you follow me on instagram you’ve already figured this out, but {surprise!} I’ve been in San Francisco for the past week.  Adam had the last two weeks of November for vacation again this year so I took the time off as well.  We spent week 1 on the West coast and now we are headed off to Ohio for Thanksgiving family time.  So far it’s been great!

I have a ton to share from SF – we basically walked and ate all day, every day – so I’m going to try to keep myself from being too wordy, but I’ll still need to split this up into three posts…

We had non-stop flights each way which was awesome.  Monday we flew out around noon so we had a little time at home in the morning and then with the time change a full afternoon of vacation. Plus there was free television and movies on the plane which was basically the most exciting thing ever.

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Plane food.  Coffee, plus a white cheddar and pumpkin butter sandwich and tasty pretzel sticks.

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The time flew by and before we knew it we were struggling up super steep hills on our way to dinner.

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We had a late reservation so we stopped for bubble tea first.  Brown sugar ice milk with egg pudding and grass jelly.  Apparently I love egg pudding.  And grass jelly.

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And we got to keep our cool bottles.

Dinner was Waterbar, a sustainable seafood spot right near the Bay Bridge.

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I got a cocktail with Buffalo Trace bourbon, Heering cherry liqueur, Benedictine, and orange zest.

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We split a leek and parsnip soup with smoked trout that was very yummy (I had lots of good trout this trip).

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And for dinner I did pan-roasted sablefish – caught in Fort Bragg, CA – with globe artichokes, butterball potato, grapefruit, nicoise olives, and chervil.

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I adored the artichokes, but sadly didn’t like my fish at all.  This was the only meal that I didn’t love on the trip.  My food was practically floating in a watery sauce and I hate that.  Adam, on the other hand, thought my dish was great and basically licked his plate clean.  He enjoyed his ono with uni butter so much that I still definitely consider the meal a win.

And we did have brown sugar brioche bread pudding, with butterscotch pecan ice cream, for a fabulous dessert.

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’twas a great first night.

Tuesday morning we headed out for a run in the neighborhood around our hotel.  We ended up happening on the Palace of Fine Arts.  It was beyond gorgeous.

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I am so glad we got to see it.

We had a beautiful morning exploring Fisherman’s Wharf.

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Including a stop for a fresh bowl of crab chowder.

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We took the ferry for a tour of Alcatraz.

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Then we spent the afternoon at the Ferry Building Marketplace.

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We loved it there and went back almost every subsequent day.  I was crazy jealous of people buying fancy mushrooms.

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We shared a greens 2 juice from Pressed.

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An iced coffee with milk and sugar from Blue Bottle.

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And a Duck Yeah sundae – vanilla ice cream on duck fat pecan pie – from Humphry Slocombe.

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I thought the ice cream was great, but not as good as Ample Hills.  Adam looooooved it.

We also hit up Slanted Door’s Out the Door for Vietnamese iced coffee and buns.

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Chicken bun for me.

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We had dinner reservations at SD later in the week and this first taste got us very amped up.

We spent the rest of the afternoon walking around the piers and staring at the sea lions.

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Snacks included salt water taffy,

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chunks torn off a loaf of sourdough from Boudin,

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and a very lackluster drinking chocolate from Ghiradelli.

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The chocolate was literally the only dish that didn’t knock our socks off all week, a pretty good track record if you ask me.

We were exhausted from walking around all day so we did Mexican take-out and hotel room cable tv for dinner.

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Mushroom nachos for me.

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It was a great first two days!!

Wednesday and Thursday coming tomorrow…