Tastes Of The Tropics

Tropical tastes from the last week include – coconut, Cuban food, rum, soursop, starfruit.

The best things I ate last seven days…

Caramel spice latte in a can.  My brain won’t accept that I hate coconut milk in coffee yet but this did smell amazing.

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But I loooooove Kirt’s marshmallow ice cream blended into iced coffee.

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These 7-11 gummies were rainbow sherbet, cotton candy, and starfruit flavored.

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We ordered chocolates from Bon Bon Bon – an adorable candy shop in Detroit – and the packaging alone filled me with glee!

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Plus the bon bons were inventive and delicious (and adorable!!).

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Cocktails at Vitae, an amazing little local craft distillery.  I had a Flower Sour – barrel-aged rum, lavender, simple syrup, lemon, egg white, and lilac.

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And we brought home a bottle of golden rum and made yummy cocktails at home too – rum, soursop, and club soda.

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A duo of IPAs.

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We had a sampler of beers at Random Row. We did not do well at trivia, but had a wonderful time.

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Lunch at Ace BBQ.  I had a biscuit with pulled jerk chicken and pimento cheese.  Plus coleslaw and a grape soda.

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Sheet-pan – aka one pan – hash.  You cook everything on the same pan, starting with the hardiest vegetables and added the more delicate things as time goes on.  This was Japanese yam, purple sweet potato, bell peppers, green onion, pinto beans, and cojita cheese.

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Topped with baby heirloom tomato, cilantro, and homemade guacamole.  This was fantastic!

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And my leftovers – additionally topped with hot sauce and a fried egg – were somehow even better.

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Thai chicken pizza.  I made a sauce out of tamarind, peanut butter, and ginger and we topped it with shredded chicken, mozzarella cheese, and carrots, green onion, and cilantro.

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Simple sandwich night – Trader Joe’s white whole wheat topped with mayo, yellow mustard, colby cheese, and smoked turkey.  Plus baby carrots and chicken and waffle chicken chips!!

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Adam had to travel near Richmond this weekend for work and I tagged along for dinner at Kuba Kuba, a great Cuban spot.  Cafe con leche with condensed milk.

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Codfish cakes with enchilada sauce, fried eggs, and Cuban toast.

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And we shared flan and tres leches!

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Best dinner of the week award goes to this plate – chicken salad made with toasted almonds and kimchi / potato pancakes with paprika and ginger / roasted green beans.

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Have a great week!

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Chocolate + Coffee, Chocolate + Peanut Butter

Highlights from the past week…

Personal Life:

We had several boons come together in the last week or so.  Related – I am waaaay overdue on sharing some big life updates.  In short, the highlights are –

  1. Adam is officially a board-certified surgeon (woo-hoo!)
  2. Adam got his dream job and is all set up to be a critical care attending in New York this summer (woo-hoo!!)
  3. We’ve lined up our New York apartment
  4. Our lease here was a month short but we’ve finally lined up a place to live in Charlottesville in July

Television:

I finally talked Adam into watching “Hart of Dixie” with me and he is as smitten as I am!  Related – read this Buzzfeed article.

The Bob Dylan cover in this terrible WGU commercial makes me ugly cry every single time I hear it.

Food:

This was one of my best coffee combos this year, Dark as Dark with chocolate milk.

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Related – Whole Food’s hazelnut mochas (with light syrup, extra espresso, and ice) are freaking delicious.

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Both of our moms went a bit overboard and we are drowning in Easter candy.  The highlight, as always, is these pectin jelly beans.

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And the low was these terrible new m&m’s.

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Still loving these Stinger peanut butter cracker bars.

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Related – I finally found these in a snack-sized kids portion and now I am eating even more of them.

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We had a duo of fruity beers that did not disappoint.  Abita’s Lounging Iguanas pineapple coconut IPA is a 10/10.

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Pizza night.  A simple turkey pepperoni pizza on Trader Joe’s cauliflower crust plus a simple side salad.

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Trader Joe’s vegetable biryani with vegetable dumplings frozen meal.

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I made a veggie take on this fire chicken with cheese.

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With tofu instead of chicken, plus roasted broccoli and Japanese sweet potato.

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Bowls On Bowls

Seven wins from the past seven days…

{1} Peeps coffee creamer!!  It tastes like vanilla marshmallow!!!  But they should have made it pink.

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{2} Speaking of marshmallow, I made cereal bars with Trader Joe’s neapolitan cereal.  I brought them to a work event and they were a hit.  I used my go-to recipe but took things up a notch with the addition of vanilla bean paste.

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{3} I placed a super exciting order with the Mexican Candy Lady.  The standout so far has been these flan gummies.

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{4} Berry breakfast bowls.  Liebe strawberry quark (<– this was 10/10, btw, super creamy and delicious!) / fresh blackberries / granola / cacao bliss.

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{5} Cava bowls are currently our favorite take-out, there are a ton of toppings to choose from.  This was greens / tzatziki / crazy feta spread / harissa / roasted vegetables / grilled chicken / pickled onion / cabbage slaw / chopped cucumber / kalamata olives / and green harissa dressing.  Plus a side of really yummy house-made pita chips.

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{6} I made my own bowls too.  Roasted sweet potato / bok choy sauteed with garlic and green onion / candy salmon / fried egg.

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{7} A take on okonomiyaki – pancakes stuffed with roasted cabbage and corn.  Topped with mayo and Sriracha.

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Little Star = Big Star

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We ate some really yummy things last week!  Here were the highlights…

{1} Canned coffees that I schlepped back from New York.

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{2} Lemon meringue macarons at the farmers’ market at IX Park.

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{3} A Trader Joe’s shaped meal that was both quick and delicious.  Cauliflower gnocchi + turkey summer sausage + pizza sauce + broccoli rabe.  You can bake the gnocchi (425 degrees Fahrenheit for 15-20 minutes) and it comes out great.

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{4} A Korean feast at Maru on the downtown mall.  I had the spicy chicken and cheese plate – spicy gojuchang marinated chicken served with rice cakes and Korean sweet potato and topped with melted cheese.

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It was spicy, and smoky, and kind of amazing.  The portion was gigantic and my leftovers – which I stir-fried with eggs and roasted broccoli – were kind of amazing as well.

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We also had pat bing soo – shaved ice with red bean, mochi, and milk powder.

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{5} Dinner with my cousin at Little Star, a newish, supremely gorgeous, tapas spot.  The space and the tableware – which was thrifted and eclectic – were beautiful.

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We ordered all the things and loved every single bite and sip.  All three of us agreed it was one of the best meals we had eaten all year.  Agave Angel – mezcal, lime juice, and cream.

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3 month aged manchego with apricot honey preserves.

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Charred shishito peppers with romesco and pasilla de Oaxaca chile.

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Sunny side up eggs with salsa negra, green onion, sesame seeds, grilled bread, and hickory sauce.  <– this was the top dish of the night, the contrast of the sweet hickory sauce with the eggs and salsa was divine

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Shrimp and grapes with garlic, leeks, tequilla, and pickled chiles.  We went right ahead and sipped that sauce.

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Seared tuna with rendered foie gras, salsa molcajete, cilantro oil, and charred onion.  <– 2nd best dish of the night, which is unsurprising when you consider the words “rendered foie gras”

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Coffee service.

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Crumb cake with meyer lemon curd, ear gray cream, and mezcal caramel.

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Creme carmel flan with peaches.

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*swoon*

Smoky Salsa Sustenance

This was a good week in home-cooking!  And snacks.  And ice cream.  Highlights include…

Tortuga coffee with half and half.  I brewed it with a bit of vanilla bean powder.

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These peanut butter cookie dough protein bars are legit.

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We roasted Japanese yams with olive oil, garlic, salt, pepper, and paprika and they were delicious; just amazingly creamy.

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Trader Joe’s honey hedgehog butter cookies.  Just a little bit savory and sweet.

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Freeze-dried banana slices.

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These Jalapeño Popper Turkey Burgers are one of the best recipes on my site.  With roasted broccoli.

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Okonomiyaki!  With purple Japanese yam, roasted green cabbage, and green onion.  Topped with Kewpie and Sriracha.

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Plus Thai iced tea on the side.

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We made the best tacos I’ve ever eaten, hands down.  Filled with a loose take on this slow cooker chicken taco recipe.  We used chicken thighs, taco seasoning, paprika, garlic, lime, serrano pepper, sweet onion, and red and yellow bell pepper.

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Topped with cheese, sour cream, and a loose take on this smoky salsa roja recipe.  We used extra chipotle and subbed in lime and brown sugar for vinegar and molasses.

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IPAs on the side.

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For nacho night we baked our flour tortillas into chips.  Topped with cheese, sour cream, homemade salsa, and black beans sauteed with green onions and serrano pepper.  Plus a side of roasted green beans.

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Happy weekending!

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Double Bacon Cheese Beyond Burgers

My trip home last weekend was perfect and we survived “Winter Storm Gia” this weekend… 2019 is looking like my year.

Highlights from week 2 include…

Iced coffee with black walnut extract and sweet cream creamer.

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Stumptown cold brew coffee box.

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Who knew that Perfect Bars were so freaking delicious?!  This peanut butter chocolate chip one was basically cookie dough.

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Stonyfield chocolate yogurt pouch (7/10), a Kiku apple (8/10), and a chocolate peanut butter filled Clif bar (9.5/10).

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I brought these yummy coconut candies back from St. Thomas.

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Shiner S’more is officially my new favorite beer.

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Guzzled while assembling everything but the kitchen sink cookies with caramel, kettle chips, toffee bits, caramel chips, and chocolate chips.

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This quickie packaged foods dinner was sooo good.  Chicken and cheese pupusas + bbq chicken chips + roasted broccoli + Trader Joe’s Zhoug sauce.

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I have an unhealthy obsession with the “Asian” section of Wegman’s hot bar.

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We made insanely, over-the-top, decadent double cheese burgers with Beyond Burger patties.

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Two patties on a brioche bun with mayo, turkey bacon, and smoked cheddar slices.  Plus kettle chips and veggies from the Whole Foods’ hot bar – curry caulilini and roasted rainbow carrots, mushrooms, and root vegetables.

img_3144Then later in the week we did a similar thing with Boca Chick’n patties.

 

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We made killer sheet pan hash browns.  Potato, sweet potato, purple sweet potato, olive oil, smoked paprika, green onion, turkey bacon, and red, yellow, and orange bell pepper.

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Topped with Zhoug and fried eggs.

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…And A Partridge In A Pear Tree!

This post includes five sweet things, four holiday theme items, three types of eggnog, two homemade dinners…

Stumptown Cold Brew with Trickling Springs egg nog.

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Grady’s Cold Brew with Promised Land Holiday Nog.

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I made my banana toffee magic bars for a cookie exchange at work and they came out really well!  I subbed in caramel chips for butterscotch and it think it was an upgrade.

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Sweethaus‘ holiday cupcakes are somehow eight times better than their already fantastic regular offerings.  Eggnog and gingerbread with meringue frosting.

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Hardywood’s gingerbread stout is stupid good and dangerously easy to drink.

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This lavender can from Kombucha Town is my current favorite kombucha; it’s very mellow.

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Fancy tuna salad makes an easy dinner.  A mix of tuna and smoked sardines with mayo, dijon, and capers / roasted brussel sprouts / baby carrots / Trader Joe’s everything crackers.

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But Wegman’s take-home meal section makes an even easier dinner.  Spicy general tso chicken with fried rice and seaweed salad.

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And one night I did legitimately cook – a protein, some veggies, and even a sauce.  Asian take-out style tofu!  This recipe but with oven fried tofu (similar to this method) in place of chicken.  I also used rice vinegar instead of red wine vinegar and added in some cashews.

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