Hope yall had a pleasant weekend.
Matt and I stayed in on Friday night and popped open a bottle of wine from our last visit to Charlottesville wine country.
I really love sipping wine while cooking. And Friday’s dinner took quite a while to prepare…I finally got around to trying the famous cauliflower pizza crust that’s been floating around the web. There are tons of recipes out there, but I used this one (with real eggs) so I could use my almond meal instead of cheese.
While it was pretty time-consuming, I thought the crust turned out great! I loved the nutty flavor. The texture wasn’t that different from a flatbread or thin crust pizza, but wasn’t doughy at all like a hand tossed or thicker crust.
Since I already had my food processor out, I decided to make a spicy cashew crema to go with the pizza, which I topped with ground beef, bacon, mushrooms, and peppers. Sadly, I didn’t really like the crema (just too weird). I think the combination of a veggie crust, too much tomato sauce (which I don’t really love on any pizza), and the lack of cheese just made this pizza tooo heathy! Don’t worry, I made up for it on Saturday night:)
A friend gave Matt and I a giftcard to The Porch as a wedding gift, so we checked it out for dinner. But first, we stopped at a cute bar called Victor Tangos for a cocktail. I had an apricot mint julep!!
The menu at The Porch features a lot of classic, comfort food so I switched to beer with dinner because it seemed more appropriate. We started with the brisket sliders, which were simply amazing. The meat to bun ratio was ideal and the sauce was delicious.
For my entree, I ordered the salmon with tomato marmalade, horseradish spaetzle, mushrooms, and salsa verde. The fish was perfectly cooked and I loved the flavors – especially the wild mushrooms!
Matt got the pork tenderloin special served with apples and figs, which was also excellent – perfect for fall and we actually had some fall-ish temps this weekend!
I also finally watched The Great Gatsby. I wasn’t expecting the modern touches, but I really liked the movie. We received this fancy bourbon as a house-warming gift, and made sure to make mini cocktails to sip on during all the party scenes:)
Cheers to a productive week.Read More
I thought I was beating Matt’s cold, but it has gotten the best of me today:( I wasn’t able to go to church or brunch, but my parents were nice enough to order us a pizza and come over for the Duke game.
I really thought I was on the up-and-up Saturday, and attempted a date night. I figured beer is the best medicine (only in the moment…)
Matt and I stopped at Milltown in Chapel Hill and had a drink at the bar – this dubbel was fantastic!!!
I hate how having a stuffy nose affects your taste buds! I figured Asian food might stand out, so we checked out the bar at Jujube, a fusion restaurant with Chinese and Vietnamese influences in Chapel Hill. We decided just to share a cocktail and were blown away by the Hot Date – jujube [date] preserves, bourbon, cayenne, and lemon. Hot and sweet and oh so perfect.
These were melt-in-your-mouth pillows, and again, the sauce made this dish outstanding.
Crispy beef short rib and goat cheese wontons with hot pepper-basil jam arrived next, and while the insides of these were good, I tasted just a little too much of the fried shell and didn’t ever taste any goat cheese Can’t complain about the hot pepper sauce though!
Everything we tried was so unique and flavorful that we decided to just look at the dessert menu. Yeah right. We simply had to try the fried apple-goat cheese dumplings with vanilla-bourbon ice cream and black vinegar caramel. Basically my dream, fried into a pocket.
There were four dumplings under there, and we quickly discovered that the goat cheese was lurking in the corners. Absolutely to-die-for!
I’m so glad we tried something off the beaten path!
And now, my friends, I’m not gonna go to bed; because even though I feel lousy I’m on spring break and I’m gonna stay up past my bedtime watching random tv!!Read More
On Saturday, I had the pleasure of dining at the lovely Guglhupf, thanks to a Christmas gift from Matt’s parents. We’ve celebrated at this cute cafe before, so it felt special to return:) We settled into our two-top on the second floor, amidst the funky hanging lanterns and chandeliers.
However, we couldn’t quite settle because Duke was in the final minutes of a heated match with Maryland. We shared a bourbon with a splash of maple syrup and secretly watched Matt’s phone for updates. Sadly, we lost the game. Matt was a die-hard Maryland fan in his past life, so he just didn’t know how to feel about the final result!
Once we had a chance to take-in the menu, we were hungry! We started with the mussels steamed in riesling with tomato confit, new potatoes, garlic, and fresh herbs. We got a big ole bread basket and enjoyed soaking up every last bit of broth with it. The mussels were awesome.
I went away from my usual pork or fish entrees and tried the cabbage rolls stuffed with french lentils and sweet potatoes, topped with queso fresco and a local honey tomato sauce. I’ve gotten more into vegetarian dishes lately, so I thought I’d really like this, but I just didn’t love the combination of tomato sauce and steamed cabbage. The flavors were really unique, but I think I was craving a heartier dish…
Given that we were celebrating Valentine’s Day, which to me is a desert holiday, we ordered dessert! This was a salted caramel tart with a chocolate crust. It was surprisingly on the lighter side, but very good.
A perfect date night:)
I ended my weekend with another date on Sunday – a breakfast date with a high school friend who was in town.
My friend is getting married as well, so we talked all things wedding and honeymoon! I ordered an english muffin with fried eggs, tomato jam, and pimento cheese. It was kinda small, but soooo good! I need to get out and order breakfast sandwiches more often. And go on more friend dates.
I’m getting really into these relaxing weekends. The next two are going to be busy, so I’m glad to fit in some really lazy weekends this month. Back to work. See ya.Read More
A holiday and a half day due to ice made last week fly by…and now we’re almost in February. I can’t say I’m too sad that January is almost over:)
We had plans to head to Duke for our weekly Fuqua Friday, but because of the icy conditions, it was cancelled. Matt swung by the grocery store and picked up a package of bacon and a hunk of pizza dough and a beautiful pie was born. We declared this the best pizza we’ve ever made! Dates, blue cheese, white cheddar, olive oil, and bacon. We pre-cooked the dough so it was perfect and the dates got crispy and caramelized.
We also popped open these two monsters:
The bourbon barrel porter was fabulous, but the barley wine was a bit too hoppy for my taste.
Since Netflix appeared to be down, we dug into my very small dvd collection and watched Notting Hill – such a nice movie.
Since I got the laundry out of the way on Friday, I didn’t do much of anything on Saturday. The morning classes were cancelled at the gym, so I just took a mile walk and later browsed some stores, and called it a day. It was nice.
Matt and I had grand plans to meet friends in Chapel Hill for drinks, and try a new restaurant, but when it came time to get off the couch, we were too cozy! I’m such a wuss when the weather is cold. We made bourbon + bitters instead, and then finally ventured out to the local bar around the corner for dinner.
Black bean veggie sliders for me.
Duck confit poutine for Matt!
And because there had been some confusion earlier about a pork belly taco special that we really wanted and was no longer available, our waitress sent us home with a mysterious peanut butter dessert. We never asked what it was, but it involved heavenly crust, peanut butter fluff, a possible cream cheese icing, and chocolate sauce. Needless to say, I was quite happy with this end to our evening.
Today? Sunday brunch!
We met friends at the Nasher Cafe and I had a lovely Asian shrimp salad with cashews. Brunch is always such a great way to catch up with friends. I think because restaurants are generally quieter during the day and no drinking is involved, it makes for good conversation:)
Tonight was the free community class at the Sync studio and my legs are still aching!
PS: Just found out we are on a three hour delay due to freezing rain in the AM. Hooray for sleep!!Read More
Sometimes it’s so nice to have no plans. I had really low expectations for last night, and I such a blast in small town Durham. We had hoped to throw a party, but with so many people traveling, it was kind of a fail. And then we tried to coordinate a progressive evening of sorts with different friend groups and it just didn’t come together. So, Matt and I found ourselves with a completely free NYE and a fabulous night was born.
We started the festivities with bourbon drinks after Matt got us a brand new bottle of Maker’s Mark. Yum!
Then, we headed to the hole-in-the-wall mexican place around the corner for $2.50 margaritas. After being in Miami for a few days, Durham prices were welcomed with open arms. I also ordered guac to hold me over to our late dinner.
Stop number two was a cocktail at the cute Beyu bar. This was honey infused bourbon with amaretto and sour. We made friends with the bartender and took our sweet time:) [Not rushing all the time is a big resolution of mine]
I was lucky enough to score one of the last tables at Mateo Tapas for a 9pm dinner. My parents took us to Mateo for my birthday and I’ve been dying to go back. It was just as heavenly as I remember and the vibe was perfect for that swanky NYE feeling.
We shared the brussels spouts salad with pear, pecans, and pomegranate vinaigrette – it was just as good as it sounds.
The two breads we ordered were simple, but delightful: bread with tomato and olive oil and bread with spicy tuna and melted cheese. The spicy tuna was probably my favorite item of the night.
Also delicious were the short ribs with grits and the trout with serrano ham.
The small plates were perfect because we weren’t too full to continue the party. We found a spot at the bar at Bull McCabes, where we drank beer to kill the last hour.
The atmosphere was laid back yet festive – there was a DJ playing 80′s music and noise makers and hats were passed out.
And free champagne at midnight! Happy 2013!!
We headed home shortly after the ball dropped, and since we aren’t really into 80′s music, we put on our favorite songs…
and had a dance party in the living room:)
To start 2013 off on a grand note, we finished off the last of my birthday cake from the celebration of my 27th year. BEST cake ever.I
I have an exciting year ahead and my biggest goal is to go with the flow, enjoy the ride, breathe, laugh, and let the positives outweigh the negatives.Read More