Taking Back My Twenties

Restaurant Experiences

Weekend of Hosting

Posted on Nov 19, 2014 | 1 comment

We had too much fun this weekend!

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Matt’s sister came to visit and we had all kinds of good eats and drinks.

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Friday, we made homemade margs – one of my favorite things since we bought really good tequila over the summer – and then we walked to Victor Tangos. I can never get enough of that place. There’s an energetic vibe, the cocktails are creative and ever-changing, and the food is fun. I had a drink made with house-made mushroom (Chantrelle) syrup and something in the whiskey family. So tasty!

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To start, we shared a duck and fig flatbread and bbq lamb ribs. The ribs were incredible, and I always enjoy a good flatbread.

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For the main event, we shared this giant family style pork over lemony polenta and greens

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plus fried kabocha squash.

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Even though we were pleasantly stuffed, we got talked into the sticky toffee cake. It was decent, but for once, too big for me to finish!

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Saturday, I took Chelsea to my favorite gym class and then we ran some errands to get ready for our house party. We recently moved further outside the city to get a bit more space, and decided that Chelsea’s visit and the move were a good excuse for a gathering.

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I also decided her visit was a good excuse for a blow-out:) Sadly, I was too busy cooking and chatting with guests and took almost no pictures all night. I do have one from an after-party of sorts, but we walked in the rain to get there, so it’s not a good hair picture.

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Sunday was spent brunching, enjoying couch time, and eating leftover cupcakes. We had a freezing weekend and even saw flurries Sunday night. Needless to say, it was an excellent weekend, and I’m feeling the beginnings of a sore throat this evening.

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I’ve got a quiet week at work since the first trimester just ended, so I’m hoping to take it easy and get lots of sleep in the coming days. I’m ready to do absolutely nothing but rest over Thanksgiving break.

See ya.

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Allens do Dallas

Posted on Oct 7, 2014 | 1 comment

Well hello!

I had a lovely weekend hosting my in-laws from the far away land of Maryland! We kicked off the stay-cation with dinner at Lockhart BBQ down in the Bishop Arts section of Dallas. This place is famous and we’ve had it on our list for a year. I loved the brisket, ribs, and baked beans, I just wasn’t a fan of the sauce. I had my second pumpkin beer of the season too.

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Matt’s parents love beer, and our friend was celebrating his birthday at Peticolas Brewery, so Saturday was filled with beer! We ate more brisket in taco form, enjoyed cupcakes, and chatted for a couple of hours.

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I also got to catch up with my good friend Sara who was in Dallas for the weekend!

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Saturday night, we took Matt’s parents downtown to CBD Provisions. We had the best cornbread with caramel butter!

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Matt and I shared pimento toast with sausage and arugula,

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and these giant shrimp and grits. I also had a absolutely divine bourbon drink that I would go back to CBD just to order!

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Sunday, we enjoyed a leisurely brunch and walk, and a nice afternoon at the Nasher Sculpture Garden – there was a really neat exhibit featuring special architectural projects by British designer Thomas Heatherwick.

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So that was the weekend! Oh, and the weather was simply perfect.

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Thanks to the Allens for the fun-filled weekend!

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Stampede 66

Posted on Sep 24, 2014 | 1 comment

Oh hey.

I’m just getting around to posting about the lovely dinner I had Saturday night. We’ve been holding on to a gift card from Matt’s parents for quite some time – saving it for a fun surprise. We didn’t have a single thing planned last weekend (I’m loving this!), so we got dressed up and walked down to Stampede 66. It’s a Texas themed restaurant, by chef Pyles – one of my favs.

We both started with cocktails. I ordered a mint julep and asked for a Texas bourbon. It was perfect!

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We debated if we should waste space on bread, but we simply couldn’t say no to jalapeño cheddar cornbread. We also ordered the jam of the day, which was strawberry. Both were superb!

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I was curious about the frito pie (with house made fritos), but didn’t want to fill up on chili with so many entrees to pick from, so we asked if we could just get a cup and they said yes! The chili was delish and quite rich.

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We shared the redfish with fried crab and a mole verde sauce. The crab and the sauce with the fish made for an incredible combo. Sadly, there was only a tiny bit of crab, and once we ate it, the fish was rather bland. I loved the sauce though.

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We also ordered brisket with house made pickles and ranchero beans. Our first round of brisket came out cold (weird), so we sent it back. The second round came out sizzlin’ and was divine. Maybe the best brisket I’ve had? The sauce was perfect.

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We went all-out and finished the meal with a triple berry cobbler. This was on the savory side, but the ice cream balanced it out and the crust was an awesome texture.

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Overall, the service was excellent and most of the food was fabulous. The restaurant is decorated with lots of Texas stuff, which does make it feel a bit touristy. It’s a cool vibe, but something about it felt a little empty, even though it was full of people. I think it was just the spacing between tables.

I’m off to bed. Enjoy the rest of the week.

PS: thanks for all your comments on bed bugs. Who know you were all experts! I read the comments and did some more research, and I don’t think I have them. It still makes me a little uneasy having bites on my legs, so I may still have the situation checked out:)

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Restaurant Week and Relaxation

Posted on Aug 24, 2014 | 1 comment

Hey!

I’m so thankful for a restful weekend at home. I can’t even describe how exhausted I was after my first week of work. I managed to scramble some eggs each night for a taco dinner and then went to bed at 9:30, and I was still tired. Despite how my body feels, I couldn’t be happier. I love being back in a routine, I love using my brain, I love collaborating with awesome people, and I love being in a school that’s full of energetic students. I feel like a real member of society again:) With each passing day, I feel more and more fortunate that I landed a job in such a wonderful school!

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We missed restaurant week last weekend, but there were a couple of places that extended it, so we snagged a reservation at Dallas Fish Market. We rarely have dinner downtown, so it was fun to get dressed up and go to a fancy place. We stopped at The Woolworth before dinner, and I ordered a delicious spicy tequila drink with dry ice! Matt didn’t love his drink, and for the price ($13) and casual atmosphere, we decided we probably wouldn’t visit again.

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We strolled just a few blocks to Dallas Fish Market – the space was modern and was decorated with cool blue, fun bubble lights, and ocean scenes.

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We ordered white wine to go with the seafood and this deviled egg was brought out as a little bite before the first course.

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For the real first course, I ordered the tuna tartare, which was pretty typical, but very good.

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My main course was a sea bass with mushrooms, truffle ravioli, and a mustard sauce – this was heavier than your typical fish dish (a good thing in my eyes). I really loved the mustard sauce and I’m obsessed with mushrooms, so it was and hit! Matt had some kind of sweet duck with brussels that was also fantastic.

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We shared the desserts equally – the lemon pine nut tart and the poached pear with butterscotch. Both were enjoyable, but nothing mind-blowing.

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Overall, we had a lovely dinner and I would recommend Dallas Fish Market. I don’t think we’d go back, just because the entrees are really expensive if it’s not restaurant week and we are rarely in that neck of the woods. The food was delightful though!

Have a good week.

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Weekend Dates & A Run-By Fruiting

Posted on Aug 11, 2014 | 5 comments

We had a fabulous weekend at home. After so much travel this summer, low-key weekends are the best. We are traveling two more times this month and then have nothing until Thanksgiving – I’m so excited to take it easy and get back into the swing of working! I stocked up on ingredients to make homemade Lara bars and banana bread with coconut flour muffins for afternoon snacks and bought a brand new planner for the school year (I get so excited for this purchase every time!!!). I’ve got loads of laundry to do, a dentist appointment, and a mani-pedi scheduled (!), and then I’ll be ready to roll.

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Friday night, Matt and I tried the new Hopdoddy Burger bar thanks to some friends who gave us a gift card! We loved everything about it – the space, the service, the beer selection, and the burger, fries, and salad. I’m glad this place has come to our neighborhood.

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Saturday night, we went on a fun date night to the new Stock and Barrel in the Bishop Arts section of Dallas. The cocktail menu looked great, so we went a little early and had drinks at the bar. I had a bourbon and blackberry drink that was different than my usual bourbon + something sweet + bitters.

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The menu has lots of things to be shared! Now that menus are changing from formal entrees to small and large plates, I can’t hardly stand to just order one thing anymore! I love tasting and sharing lots of different items, especially because Matt and I almost always want the same foods! We started with the lump crab fritters and the mussels. I really loved the mushrooms and chorizo in the mussel broth.

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Our big plate was the meatloaf with smoked bacon over white cheddar grits. It was absolutely amazing and the best meatloaf I’ve ever had (I actually haven’t had that many:))

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And, the caramelized brussels with sweet chili.

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It was a wonderful dinner and a perfect date night because we got a booth. Now I’m ready to get this week started!

I just saw the tragic news about Robin Williams and couldn’t hit publish without paying tribute to a true legend.

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Turkish Delights

Posted on Jul 9, 2014 | 5 comments

The food in Turkey was ridiculously good. And oh so fresh!

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There were markets with beautiful fruit. I had sooo many cherries at breakfast every morning. Given that we were near the water, there was also wonderful local seafood and we enjoyed seabass 4-5 times during the trip.

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The Turks start their meals with mezes, small dishes or snacks that are usually served cold. I was obsessed! The only problem was that we would often order a couple and eat them with lots of bread, and then be too full for our entrees:)

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Another dish I was in love with was warm hummus served with hot pastrami. I could eat this for days.

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For snacks, we would sometimes stop by one of the many juice stands for freshly squeezed juice,

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or duck into a spice store for giant medjool dates.

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And the bakeries, oh the bakeries, were delightful, and on every corner. Matt and I made it our goal to try all the varieties of baklava and would search for the best-looking bakery after dinner each night.

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Waffles stuffed with toppings were also a thing over there. Although it doesn’t look as delicious as it tasted, this soft waffle was filled with dark chocolate, caramel, bananas, strawberries, and sprinkles; it was to-die-for.

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I drank lots of Turkish wine. Although most food in Turkey was less expensive than in the US, the alcohol was pricey. I stuck to local Turkish wine and beer, because cocktails were $15-$20! The Turkish reds weren’t too flavorful (although we had one or two good ones), but the roses and the whites were great. I’m not usually a rose girl, but I got into them on this trip. Side note: the bar below is called Mikla and had the most incredible views of the city. You MUST go for a drink if you are ever in Istanbul!

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The local beer, Efes, came in a dark variety that both Matt and I loved.

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We had many wonderful meals, and I obviously didn’t document all of them, but here are a few highlights:

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Meze by Lemon Tree (above). I choose this for our last night of the trip (we were back in Istanbul) because the menu is mostly modern mezes. We ordered 6 cold ones and 3 hot ones and every dish was incredible. It was phenomenal.

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Another great restaurant was Banyan in Ortakoy. Although this restaurant was Asian fusion and not Turkish, it had the most beautiful view of the water and I had to share the caramelized sea bass and quinoa shredded salad picture because it was probably the best salad I’ve ever had!

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Lastly, we had a really nice meal on our first night at a modern Turkish restaurant called Lokanta Maya

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Above are shredded wheat balls stuffed with feta and honey and below, fried zucchini.

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We also had fresh clams and more seabass!

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I think the Turkish food was my favorite part of the trip! After avoiding dairy for most of this year, the feta and yogurt tasted extra heavenly. Aside from being uncomfortably full some nights, I didn’t have any issues with bloating. I was religious about taking my probiotics while traveling, and I think they are making all the difference (either that or I’m just not stressed about finding a job anymore:) Anyway, I’m just so thankful that I was able to enjoy all the Turkish food and still feel pretty good!

I’ll share some pictures from Bodrum and Matt’s 30th next!

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