Taking Back My Twenties

Amazing Restaurants

Bodrum Birthday

Posted on Jul 14, 2014 | 8 comments

Hello!

I’ll spare you the details of my low-key weekend at home and share the last of my Turkey pictures!

After our time in Istanbul, we traveled to the beach town of Bodrum along the Aegean coast. I was really, really excited about this part of the trip, but after the whirlwind of the city, I hadn’t thought much about it. I think Matt and I were both blown away when we arrived and saw how ridiculously beautiful it was. We didn’t stay right on the water to save some money, but our hotel had a breathtaking view from a hill overlooking the city and harbor, so it was fine with me!

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I knew the town was old, but I didn’t realize how much history there was until we started walking around the city and learning more about it. On our first day we explored and visited the ruins of the Mausoleum at Halicarnassus, one of the seven wonders of the ancient world! We probably could have spent another whole day going to historical sites (the castle looked so neat), but we had a birthday to celebrate!

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We walked down to the harbor on our first night and discovered tons of waterfront bars – reminded me of the cove we’d go to in Mykonos every night before dinner on our honeymoon!

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One thing I forgot to mention in my previous posts are the cats in Turkey! They were everywhere and the locals and people working at restaurants kept them well-fed and gave them attention, so it wasn’t a sad situation (or at least didn’t appear to be) like some of the other places I’ve visited where the animals are thin and sickly.

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This was the view from our dinner table down to the docks where the cats were waiting for scraps of seafood.

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Anyway, back to the birthday. Matt turned 30 on the 3rd, so I wanted to do something extra special for him. It didn’t take much research to discover that renting a gulet, or a traditional wooden boat is a big thing in Bodrum. A friend of mine had also done this and highly recommended it, so I made arrangements with a wonderful lady to hire the Adorya gulet for the day.

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Matt didn’t know a thing about it until the morning of, when I gave him a pair of sunglasses and a card that explained the surprise. He was one happy 30-year-old!

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The boat was absolutely amazing and the day was right out of a fantasy….by far the best excursion I’ve ever done!

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We sailed into quiet coves and swam in the brisk water,

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we snorkeled (but didn’t see much),

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we drank beers while floating on noodles,

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and jumped off the top of the boat.

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Our captain prepared an incredible fresh lunch of salad, fruit,

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and fish caught that morning.

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Of course, I arranged for a bit of cake:)

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It was seriously one of the best days of my life.

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After the boat trip, we rested and then strolled into town for dinner. We took a break from Turkish food and had dinner at a Spanish restaurant called La Pasion.

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We sat in a beautiful courtyard and had tapas. I think we ordered 7 and all of them were phenomenal. I’m so glad we found this gem!!

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We went to this one bakery every night in Bodrum to pick a dessert to take back to the hotel. I think Matt’s birthday is about the only day he’s willing to eat dessert with both lunch and dinner!

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On our last day in Bodrum, we took a bus over to the beach side of the town and spent the day at a beach club.

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The view was great! We had crazy winds, so we wrapped up in towels to stay warm and watched the huge beach pillows blow into the water. It was cozy.

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We had one last dinner in the harbor, and then it was back to Istanbul for the long trek home.

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Looking back at these pictures, it’s like the whole trip was a dream. I know I am very fortunate to be able to travel and I’m so thankful that Matt and I had the opportunity to visit such an amazing part of the world and celebrate a fun milestone on a gulet:)

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Rooftop Fun

Posted on Jun 23, 2014 | 0 comments

We had a very nice weekend over here! We didn’t do a whole lot, but we did get to hang out with friends both Friday and Saturday nights. And meet a one month old baby!

Friday, one of Matt’s coworkers was promoted, so we went to a happy hour celebration at the W Hotel, complete with champagne! We had planned on cooking in on Friday, but time got away from us at the party and we ending up eating bar appetizers for dinner.

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On Saturday, we met friends [with dogs] at the rooftop of HG Supply Co. Matt and I have eaten there before, but have never been on the roof – oh my, it’s amazing! It’s a giant space with fireplaces, string lights, mist, and views of the city skyline.

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We had a couple rounds of beers and paleo-style bowls for dinner. Matt and I shared a burger bowl and a Mexican-inspired bowl with spicy pulled pork (so delicious).

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It was a beautiful night and so much fun!

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We had plans to go swimming on Sunday (Matt’s training for a tri), but it rained all day long. We hadn’t had a rainy day like that in a while, so we took it easy and were productive around the house. And then we watched the USA game with some friends, of course!

Another week begins and this one is a short one! See ya

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BBQ Birthday and San Salvaje

Posted on May 19, 2014 | 1 comment

Happiest of Mondays to you guys!

We did a whole lotta nothing on Friday and Sunday so that we could go all out on Saturday! For the first time in a while, we didn’t even put any effort in Friday dinner – we just had leftovers and went to bed.

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Saturday, we drove out to the burbs to celebrate the adorable Rosco – he turned one! Time is flying – I can’t imagine how fast it moves when you’re a parent!

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You’re telling me this whole cupcake is just for me?
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We enjoyed a lovely bbq buffet, adult beverages, and Texas breezes out on the patio. It was great to catch up with a bunch of friends who all moved to Dallas after Duke!
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We got home just in time to change clothes and walk downtown to try San Salvaje – the new Stephen Pyles restaurant!. I was pumped to try it because it’s South American fusion and reasonable priced for downtown Dallas. I somehow snagged a reservation before it had even opened last week. We arrived a little early and tried a flight of pisco from Chile and Peru at the bar. All three were slightly sweet, but sooo strong! We made it through half of each glass and then I added a few drops of agave and some lime to turn these into mini pisco sours. I guess I’m a wimp:)

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I was so excited to see the wine list because they had many bottles for $25-$32!! I love this restaurant just for that! We splurged for this bottle of malbec and it was wonderful!

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We skipped the entree and just ordered a few small plates. Less is more these days.

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This is the pork belly tacu tacu (lentil cake) with fig compote. It was absolutely perfect and the pork just melted in my mouth.

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Next, the lobster sweet corn tamale with fried avocado – also fabulous.

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The duck tacos were probably my favorite and they came with two salsas, cilantro, and a little tower of limes for seasoning!

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Last of the small plates was the crab arepa.

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The waiter talked us into desserts too, which were incredible: the sweet banana tamale (holy moly, so good),

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the sweet potato donuts!!!

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I was already completely in love with San Salvaje and then Chef Pyles stopped by our table to chat!! He’s been traveling to South America for years and created the restaurant based on his experiences. We’re hoping to plan a trip down there in the near future and got his recommendations for cities. He was so sweet and even went into the back to look up some names of restaurants in his notes and came back to share them with us later. He was down-to-earth and friendly, and now I’m an even bigger fan:)

Have a good week.

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Finally

Posted on May 4, 2014 | 8 comments

Thanks for your sweet comments!

I was sick all week long and spent a lot of time on the couch watching Dawson’s Creek, eating pancakes, and sleeping. But the whole time I was smiling! After 61 cover letters and interviews for 13 different positions, I am finally done. I have accepted the role of Learning Specialist at an independent school! The position is brand new, so I will be spearheading the development of policies and procedures surrounding the academic support program, coordinating support services for students with learning differences, and acting as a resource for parents and teachers. My role will be similar to what I was doing last year as a school psychologist, except that I won’t be testing students to determine special education eligibility (because I.D.E.A. doesn’t apply in private settings), and I’ll be working in ONE SCHOOL! I am pumped for this challenge, and I am so grateful for the opportunity to be working with an amazing group of professionals. I substituted on Friday and only got more excited to be back in a school setting with the kiddos. I don’t start until the new school year, so I will continue working at Equinox in the meantime.

Needless to say, Matt and I celebrated this weekend.

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We popped open a bottle of Prosecco that’s been in my fridge since December.

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We drank it in the park by our apartment while the sun was setting and then ordered Thai takeout. It was a wonderful evening.

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Saturday morning, I was finally feeling up for some exercise afer 4 days off – I took Matt with me to a spinning class and then tried out the steam room for some relaxation afterwards. Felt so good to sweat!

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Matt let me pick our Saturday evening dinner destination, and I went with Komali because of the incredible Mexican-inspired menu – seriously my dream menu. We walked to dinner in the glorious 80 degree temps.

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Cheers! I ordered a tamarind margarita with a spiced rim and it was amazing.

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For appetizers, we ordered the goat cheese with morita chile and piloncillo,

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as well as the PEI mussels with pasilla chile flakes, cilantro, and tequila – whatever crema was on the toasted baguette was out of this world.

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For entrees, we ordered the pan seared scallops with cauliflower poblano rajas, apple compote, and ancho chile glaze,

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and the poblano pepper stuffed with beef tenderloin and dried fruits & nuts with toasted walnut sauce and cilantro.

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And lastly, the pumpkin tres leches with candied pepitas and cinnamon whipped cream.

Everything we ordered was amazing – I’m kind of in love with Komali now. We definitely went all out, and the dinner made for one hell of a celebration!

Hope y’all had a lovely weekend.

PS: thank you for the continuous support this year and for bearing with me during these past couple of crazy months!

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Snapshots from Puerto Vallarta

Posted on Jan 21, 2014 | 25 comments

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I absolutely fell in love with Puerto Vallarta! I can’t believe this paradise is just two hours from Dallas. The food, the people, and the scenery were wonderful. Matt spoke Spanish as much as possible, and we chatted with so many interesting people and got to know the staff at the resort. We ate amazingly fresh seafood, consumed as much guacamole as humanly possible, and sipped margaritas and cervezas a little too often. One of the highlights was a mountain bike trip we took into the countryside. We rode through little villages, saw beautiful birds, and were surrounded by lush forests. If you’re ever in Puerto Vallarta, I highly recommend La Leche and Cafe des Artistes for dinner, and EcoRide bike tours for a challenging excursion!

Thanks for all your kind words and strong opinions on my previous post. I guess you can see why I haven’t shared much during this job search period:) I really appreciate the supportive comments – thank you for understanding that this is a frustrating time!

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Celebrating in New York

Posted on Oct 22, 2013 | 11 comments

Where do I even start? NYC is just so amazing. And the food, oh the food!!

I arrived on Thursday and was able to meet Matt for a quick lunch in Hell’s Kitchen. We dined at a Thai-French fusion cafe called Breeze and scored a little table right on the patio/sidewalk.

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The spicy duck salad and peanut curry shrimp were both tasty and lighter than your typical thai food. Perfect lunch!

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Matt had to get back to work, so I walked the afternoon away. Starting in Hell’s Kitchen, I walked down through Chelsea, and stopped in the market, and then walked through the West Village.

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I eventually made my way to the lower east side and stopped into Babycakes for nourishment. The bakery is gluten free, vegan, and soy-free, so I was really curious to try something. The apple cider donut was absolutely amazing! I took it down in about ten seconds. I saved the cupcake and split it with Matt later that day, but it wasn’t very good (dry, with a weird taste). I want more donuts!

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For dinner, I met a bunch of college friends at Empellon Taqueria in the West Village. The restaurant was dark and intimate, but the loud music made it a bit hard to converse. It was great to catch up though, even if we had to yell:) We enjoyed spicy margaritas, guac, and tacos. My three tacos – chicken verde, wild mushroom, and pastrami were all delish. It’s hard to beat Dallas when it comes to tacos though.

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Friday was my actual birthday, so I slept in and took myself out for a day of exploration. I started with a run along the river and ended up back in the lower east side to pick up a cake.

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I stumbled upon this incredible juice bar and had the best almond milk chai latte of my life. I may move to New York just for this latte.

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I picked up lunch and met Matt in Bryant Park. The weather was 60 and sunny and was just gorgeous birthday weather:)
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We shared a pumpkin sandwich, a quinoa salad, a ginger beer, and a grasshopper cookie from Peacefood Cafe. T’was lovely.
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I spent the afternoon shopping, although everything was too expensive, so it was more like looking. It was just fun to be out and about!

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Once Matt got off work, we kicked off the evening at Gramercy Tavern. We sat at the bar and had the most wonderful service! The bartender comped our first round simply because Matt had to stand up while I was sitting at the bar. Nice! I started with a little bubbly and the moved on to a fall bourbon special.

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Since my favorite restaurants typically involve small plates, I picked ABC Cocina for dinner. It was exactly the vibe I wanted and all the food was fantastic.

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We shared the olives with poblano and mint pesto, which I de-pitted and ate on bread, because that’s how I learned to like them on the honeymoon:)
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Glazed short rib tacos (amazing),
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pepper and potato empanadas,
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maitake mushrooms with fresno pepper vinaigrette, and un-pictured brussels. LOVED this restaurant experience so much!!
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And then, after a 20-block walk home, we got to eat this:
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It’s a carrot cake from Peacefood Cafe, which some reviewers claim is the best carrot cake in the city.
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It.was.so.dense.
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This is definately not your typical carrot cake! There’s pineapple inside! I’m still thinking about it now. We couldn’t even eat a fourth of it on Friday night, but were able to finish off the whole thing by Sunday night.
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Matt got us tickets to see Big Fish! We slept in on Saturday morning, and then went to the matinee show in the afternoon. The costumes and set were wonderful. I loved seeing this because I’m a big fan of the movie.
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Saturday evening was chilly, so I had to layer with random tops! We went to The Ginger Man and warmed up with pumpkin beers after the show.

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And then we had dinner at Craft. The atmosphere was beautiful, although I felt a little out of place at such a nice restaurant. The waitress didn’t help that feeling, as she became annoyed when we only ordered four things. The food was all very unique and perfectly prepared. The portions were really small, although we didn’t care because we knew we had more cake waiting!
Above is the pork with egg and jalapeno and below is the pumpkin ravioli.
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We also had the red snapper in a pepper sauce,
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and more mushrooms (I’m obsessed).
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We declined dessert, but enjoyed mocha marshmallows on the house. The hostess also sent us home with fresh muffins to enjoy the next morning, which was a nice touch.
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I’m sad it’s over, but so, so thankful for a perfect weekend. And so another year begins!
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