Another Thanksgiving over:( I had a great time relaxing in Maryland!! It was chilly though – I lasted about 15 minutes playing cornhole on Thanksgiving day, and then snuggled under a blanket until dinner.
I’m not very good anyway…
Matt’s sis was dog sitting this guy and he was adorable!!!! Just look at that fur!
We all sampled and shared lots and lots of beers!
We had a traditional spread of food and I made another pumpkin pie. This dairy-free recipe
was fabulous and much better than the failed vegan pie I made last week. I added a layer of chocolate and made some coconut whipped cream too!
After Thanksgiving, we continued the festivities with more cornhole and beer on Friday, and a trip to Old Town Alexandria on Saturday. My parents joined us from Charlottesville, VA so we could all catch up. Old Town is so picturesque this time of year and we had a delicious lunch at the very cute Virtue Grain and Feed right off King Street.
And on Saturday night, we met a bunch of Matt’s high school friends for dinner and drinks at Metropolitan Kitchen. I haven’t been out in Annapolis many times, so it was fun to check out the scene and the food was great. We ordered a couple of small plates and the highlights were these giant tacos and a burger with cranberry relish and bacon. The cocktails were fabulous too – I had bourbon with fig syrup and walnut bitters.
We hung out for a few hours just drinking and talking. I guess we haven’t been out with friends in a while, so it was really nice to just enjoy drinks and conversation in a cozy bar.
We ended the trip with a lovely brunch at Miss Shirley’s in Annapolis – complete with a bloody mary, cajun shrimp omelette, and this chocolate monkey bread!
When I stepped off the plane yesterday, it was a balmy 69 degrees out. I feel like I’m on vacation in Dallas – I love it! My stomach is really bothering me today though and I’m not sure what to do to get it back to normal. I definitely had some dairy over the holiday, but I wouldn’t think butter alone would throw it so out of whack. I’ve got a bad headache too – can I just sleep through this week? I’m actually really pumped for the next three weeks because we have three holiday parties and then we’re hosting Christmas!!! So that’s what’s next!
Happy eve of Thanksgiving. I’m writing from the plane, where I enjoyed a glass of merlot and a Whole Foods salad. I was in such a rush that I forgot the salad dressing though, so it was kinda gross. But the wine and all the food I’ll eat tomorrow will make up for it. We’re spending the holiday with Matt’s family outside of Annapolis and I’m pumped for four days of relaxation and family time, plus the Allens’ awesome beer selection.
Speaking of awesome, I wanted to write a post to share the amazing spanish feast I enjoyed on Monday night. One of my friends was entertaining clients to develop new business, and invited Matt and I to join for dinner at a new tapas restaurant in Dallas. Casa Rubia just opened in Trinity Groves and I highly recommend it if you’re looking for a food adventure!
We started the evening with a bottle of Spanish Grenache and a massive meat and cheese platter – presented with fig jam, quince, apple butter, and fresh honey.
As for the tapas, we ordered just about everything on the menu for our group of eight, plus the paella special. I didn’t get a snap of everything and the lighting was poor, but these were the highlights:
Octopus, Saffron Potatoes, Pickled Onions, Romesco Verde
Crispy Artichokes, Meyer Lemon, Fresno Chile, Mojama, Saffron Aoili
Texas Quail, Merguez, Sunchoke, Kale, Smoked Onion Broth
Maitake Mushroms, Quince, Duck Egg, Idiazabal, Soft Herbs
Lamb Belly, Moorish Spiced, Pomegranate Molasses Pickled Mustard Seeds Parsnip (who knew you could even order lamb belly – dare I say this was better than pork belly?)
And this giant Nantucket bay scallops and lobster paella easily served all eight of us.
I enjoyed every single bite and loved the experience of tasting so many unique creations.
If I don’t talk to you tomorrow: have a Wonderful Thanksgiving!
I know I haven’t been the best about posting frequently these days, but I’m thankful for those of you who still come over to visit.
I’ve been recovering from a bad cold this week, so when Friday came around and I started to feel better, I was in the best mood! There’s nothing like being sick to make you appreciate being healthy. I didn’t want to do much on Friday, but hot broth sounded amazing, so Matt and I checked out a new ramen restaurant in Dallas called Tanoshii. I’m no ramen expert, so I have idea where Tanoshii falls on the spectrum in terms of good ramen, but I definately enjoyed the experience and the space was very hip.
We started with the panfried pork and shrimp dumplings, which may have been my favorite part.
We shared a traditional (I think?) ramen dish with Tonkotsu soup and miso topped with pork belly, miso grilled corn, roasted sesame, bean sprouts, and scallions, and we added mushrooms for fun. The broth seemed a little bland, but the toppings were great and I loved slurping up the noodles. The other dish we shared was a spicy coconut curry soup topped with tempura prawns, mussels, menma, cherry tomato. It was delicious!!
On Saturday, I took a tough class at the gym and then perused the Dallas farmers market for the first time. There were tons of cheap fruits and veggies, and we came home with giant strawberries, cantaloupe, and avocados. Then we headed to Dallas Beer Kitchen for the first time. The selection was amazing! We tried three incredible dark beers (Lakewood Goatman, Oskar Blues Ten Fiddy, Laughing Dog Anubis Coffee Porter) and then a local IPA that had just been tapped in honor of North Texas Beer Week. They were all super strong and really tasty. We’ll be back.
We ventured over to Sundown on Granada in the same neighborhood for dinner. I already love this place! They had a new menu and the cocktail list was impressive. I got a bourbon with pumpkin spice simple syrup!!
The menu had lots of vegan, vegetarian, and gluten free options and it was impossible to decide. Check out these stuffed avocados! We ordered three kinds: tomato with black bean, corn, and agave; sun-dried tomato and toasted almond basil; and grilled chicken, cranberry, and candied pecans. They were serviced with endive for easy delivery and all the combinations were fabulous!
I also ordered a baby kale salad (which was great with even more avocado),
and the kobe beer chili sweet potato fries!!!! Aka, heaven!
Can you tell I’m loving the Dallas food scene!
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.
The spicy duck salad and peanut curry shrimp were both tasty and lighter than your typical thai food. Perfect lunch!
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
I picked up lunch and met Matt in Bryant Park. The weather was 60 and sunny and was just gorgeous birthday weather:)
We shared a pumpkin sandwich, a quinoa salad, a ginger beer, and a grasshopper cookie from Peacefood Cafe. T’was lovely.
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!
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.
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.
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:)
Glazed short rib tacos (amazing),
pepper and potato empanadas,
maitake mushrooms with fresno pepper vinaigrette, and un-pictured brussels. LOVED this restaurant experience so much!!
And then, after a 20-block walk home, we got to eat this:
It’s a carrot cake from Peacefood Cafe, which some reviewers claim is the best carrot cake in the city.
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.
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.
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.
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.
We also had the red snapper in a pepper sauce,
and more mushrooms (I’m obsessed).
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.
I’m sad it’s over, but so, so thankful for a perfect weekend. And so another year begins!
Even though I love restaurant week, I’ve had some bad experiences with it in the past – poor service, limited menu, or just blah food. When I heard about it in Dallas, I quickly went to OpenTable, but all the restaurants I wanted to try were booked. So after reading some reviews, I picked Salum. I probably wouldn’t have picked it otherwise, so I’m happy that I stumbled upon it!
The weather has been perfect for strolling around the neighborhood! Our reservation wasn’t until 8:30, so Matt and I stopped and grabbed cocktails on the walk to the restaurant. I’ve been drinking way too many margaritas since arriving in Dallas:)
When we got to Salum, we were seated immediately at one of those long two-tops tucked in a corner. We felt kinda far apart, so the hostess quickly moved us to a four top right by the open kitchen.
The bread basket was great – there was an olive focaccia bread that was especially good. For my drink, I decided to go the wine route, and our waitress brought four different reds for me to taste. I love, love it when servers do this unprompted. I ended up with an incredible zin!
My first course was the Texas goat cheese baked with roasted elephant garlic in olive oil. Of course, Matt and I finished off the bread in the basket before I knew I was getting this, so I ended up eating a ton of bread. I asked the server for more of the olive focaccia for dipping though and she brought a fresh basket straight from the oven. It was heavenly.
My entree was the grilled mahi with a pumpkin seed pipian, chorizo, and potato croquette.
Everything about this dish was fantastic – the actual mahi was simple and rubbed with some incredible seasoning and the sauce was light but flavorful. The croquette was the best part though, because it was a thick and cheesy and balanced the fish perfectly. I love it when a fish dish comes with a heavier side. The portion size was just right.
Dessert was a duo!!! The chocolate caramel tart with an almond crust and a mini apple and berry crisp. Both were awesome and I enjoyed getting two mini desserts and not having to share either one:)
This was definitely the best restaurant week experience I’ve ever had!
I had a jam-packed weekend here in Dallas – so many fun things to see and eat!
Thursday evening, we checked out the Sandbar Cantina for a friend’s birthday party. I was pretty excited to see this beach volleyball bar, as it was covered in white sand and seemed like a cool concept just outside of downtown.
It was definitely a neat spot, although most of the volleyball courts were busy with league matches, so it doesn’t seem like many people go to Sandbar just to hang out if they aren’t involved with a league. It was fun to sip Corona in the sand and the food was decent – I was a bit disappointed that the menu was so small and only included tacos and burgers, but hey, it’s bar food. I love both, but I feel like that’s all I’ve been eating in Dallas thus far:) Matt and I shared a burger with pineapple and avocado fries!!
On Friday, the Dallas Trader Joe’s opened and I braved the crowds to stock up. It actually wasn’t that crowded and I was surprised there weren’t more fun samples. I’m so happy to have masala burgers, dill havarti, and jalapeno hummus!!
In the evening, Matt and I met friends at The Common Table – this place has been recommended by so many people and it’s really close to us, so I was pumped to try it. The patio was super cute and the beer list lived up to expectations. I’m loving some of the local beers, especially the Revolver Blood & Honey, and it’s fun that there are so many more midwest and west coast breweries on the beer menus in Texas. I hear the food is awesome as well – we didn’t eat anything because we went the Groupon route yet again for dinners out this weekend.
Friday’s Groupon was for State & Allen (hey, that’s my last name now!). I had one of the best salads of my life – a unique combination of crab meat, watermelon, beets, goat cheese, and big fried green tomatoes (hidden on the bottom) over arugula with a balsamic reduction.
Saturday we met my friend Liz at an arts market in the Design District.
There was a dumpster pool (didn’t pack my suit, darn), really awesome live music, and FREE BEER!! I ordered a Fireman’s #4 blonde ale, and was super excited when the guy told me I didn’t owe anything.
All of the art and goods were really neat and I picked up this handmade Texas necklace!!
I had read about some of the Dallas food trucks, so when I saw the Nammi truck, I knew that’s what I wanted for lunch. I tried the bahn mi with bbq pork and it was incredible!!!! It was pricey at $9, but big enough to share and really tasty. This local sparkling (?) water was great as well.
Groupon #2 was for Pozo, a fresh mexican-inspired restaurant with a cute deck outside of an old house.
I ordered a strawberry black pepper margarita, which was really disappointing. For $10, it was watered down and not very strong – why would anyone serve a margarita ‘on the rocks’ over crushed ice!!? It took up a ton of space and melted instantly in the Texas heat.
The good news is that everything else at Pozo was delicious.
The salsa was really thick and flavorful (although really spicy) and the chips were the good thick ones that you know are terrible to consume in large quantities…
We ordered two entrees to share and they were both huge – the Udin Azteca (above), which was like a mexican lasagna with chicken, mango, queso fresco, chorizo, jack cheese, cilantro, and a tomatillo-poblano sauce. This dish was stuffed with so much meat that it was really rich (I’m actually surprised it didn’t make my stomach hurt), but it was so good and unlike any mexican entree I’ve ever had.
The chile relleno was a little lighter, although still giant, and was filled with grilled vegetables, spinach, pecans, goat cheese, avocado cream, and queso fresco. Loved both!
And Sunday, we attended the FC Dallas – LA Galaxy game! Having played soccer in college, Matt obviously loves the sport and I definitely enjoy watching it more than the others.
Conveniently, there’s transportation that will take you to the game from a couple of different bars in Dallas, so we took the bus on the trek to Frisco. As can be expected, the food options at the stadium weren’t great, but we enjoyed a brisket plate and frozen margaritas in the ‘beer garden.’
The game was super exciting in the 2nd half and ended with a 3-3 tie.
And that was my weekend. Let’s hope this week can be healthy and productive. See ya.