Taking Back My Twenties

Posts Tagged "Wine"

A Rainy Hill Country Weekend

Posted on Apr 7, 2014 | 4 comments

This weekend, Matt and I traveled to Hill Country to use our free stay as part of the Marriott Rewards Ambassador Program (review of the program coming in the next month).

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We fell in love with the quiet Hill Country on our first visit, and decided we wanted to go back! The JW Marriott seemed like a perfect destination for a weekend away.

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We drove down on Friday evening. I sang country songs at the top of my lungs while Matt navigated the winding roads – I really wish I could play the fiddle…or the banjo.

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We arrived at Duchmann Family Winery just in time for a tasting and a picnic before the winery closed. I enjoyed all the wines we tasted, but liked the Vermentino white the best.

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We ordered a glass to split with our picnic. Wrapped in a million sweaters, we enjoyed dinner with strings of white lights and Italian music to set the scene.

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Dinner was a giant Italian sandwich and a snickerdoodle from Etzi’s.

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Etzi’s has the best bone bread and super strong mustard. Loved this!

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We got to the resort pretty late, and went to bed after sitting by the fire pit for a bit. I snapped some pictures of the resort and our room in the morning. It was massive and beautiful!

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We were upgraded to a resort suite – one of the many perks of the Marriott Rewards Program!

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There was a giant balcony with a view, but it was too cold and rainy to use it:( Overall, I’d definitely recommend the resort and the restaurant below (although I’m not sure I’d pay out of pocket to visit). It was also extremely family friendly with lots of activities for kids. There were pools and water slides for warmer temperatures too.

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We had high hopes of taking a hike and checking out the resort’s lazy river on Saturday, but the weather had other plans for us.

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We made the best of it though, and drove to a neighboring town for lunch: a salmon burger with lime aioli and some of the best sweet potato wedges in history.

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And then another winery visit! Dry Comal Creek is small and quirky and produced a lot of sweet wines – they weren’t extraordinary, but we bought a bottle because the service was great and we enjoyed chatting with the staff.

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The main event on a rainy night at a secluded resort is obviously dinner! There are two main restaurants at the JW Marriott, but we went with the more causal Cibolo Moon over the fancy steak house. We had a fantastic server – Jose – and a wonderful experience. Hotel restaurants can be hit or miss – but this one was a clear hit.

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We each had a spicy margarita – mine was made with pineapple infused tequila and Matt’s with raspberry-haberno infused tequila! We also received complimentary biscuits with a delicious strawberry-jalapeno jam.

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Matt and I shared three small plates and one entree and it was wayyy too much food!

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First, we had the fried oysters with tomato jam and bacon vinaigrette. I loved how this dish was prepared and the oysters were huge.

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Second, we had a salad topped with crab, lime chips, and avocado. This dish tasted a little bland, but was refreshing in contrast with the heavier items.

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Third, and the star of the show, was the smoked brisket ‘burnt ends.’ Both Matt and Jose had to talk me into this one because I just didn’t know what to expect. I’m sooo glad we got it. The brisket was sticky-sweet with crispy, charred edges.

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And lastly, the bison meatloaf with tangy bbq sauce and mashed potatoes. When this arrived, I really didn’t know if I could eat any more, but after one bite, I made room:) Needless to say, dinner was excellent, and I was thankful we didn’t have to travel far to get home afterwards.

Sadly, Sunday’s weather was worse than Saturday’s, so we had to cancel plans to check out a famous bbq restaurant on the way home because it had open-air seating. I was kinda glad since I had my fill of meat the night before. Plan B: find healthy, hippy cafe in Austin!

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I didn’t have to search very long on the internet to fine one because Austin is filled with them! We decided on a raw, vegan place called Beets Cafe. Despite planning to eat light, I absolutely couldn’t resist trying a raw cinnamon roll made with brazil nut meal, raisins, apples, and cashew cream sweetened with dates. Wow!!

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I ordered the burger made with carrot, beets, sprouted sunflower seeds, celery, parsley, flax, olive oil, crystal salt, and spices, and Matt had a mock Rueben that was so full of flavor you’d think it was the real thing. Oh, and a vegan doughnut from Red Rabbit Bakery for the drive home.

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I promise we had plans to do more than just eat in Hill Country before the weather turned sour!! It was a wonderful and relaxing weekend nonetheless, and I feel stuffed energized for the week ahead!

Happy Monday friends.

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Rustic Beer Saturday & Sundown on Sunday

Posted on Mar 24, 2014 | 1 comment

Pizza and wine is becoming a Friday favorite! We opened a local bottle that we received from a friend. It was light and spicy.

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I threw together a pizza with leftovers from our pineapple crockpot chicken along with sheep’s manchego, spicy bbq sauce, and cilantro. Pizza is always good. And we watched Rent because I had never seen it! I was impressed Matt knew many of the songs:)

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Saturday we hit up bootcamp and made a hearty lunch in preparation for some beer drinkin. We were supposed to attend a crawfish boil, but because of the weather, the gathering turned into a visit to Community Brewing. We had been once before, and this time they had a new bar area and many more choices. I accidentally drank all three pints, and after hours of conversation, we decided to go in search of dinner. It was a lovely afternoon and I made new friends in addition to catching up with newish old ones.

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We wanted something low-key, so we walked to the Rustic for Texas homestyle cookin.

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They had a great beer list, but I decided on a pricky pear margarita in honor of our trip to AZ (but really because I was tired of beer!).

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We shared two apps and a burger. Above, the cactus fritters (soo good), and below, the smoked catfish and crackers.

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The burger was a bit dry, but I loved the bun and the green chilies that were served with it. The mashed sweet potatoes were amazing!

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We rarely get dessert in restaurants, and were def. not planning to order one on Saturday, but then I saw this go by….

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A giant peanut butter pie – who can resist?

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I usually get to the grocery store on Friday or Saturday, but didn’t make it this week, so we decided brunch was in order on Sunday. We went to Sundown on Granada, which is officially my new favorite brunch spot! It’s on the hippy side and has incredible vegetarian and vegan options. We had been once before, but only sat at the bar for apps. I started with the vegan green drink made with kale, bananas, berries, cucumbers, mint, agave, and it really hit the spot.

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We definitely only needed one brunch entree, but I had no idea they were gonna be so big! I had their version of a vegan benedict, which was swiss chard, sweet potato hash, chipotle-avocado sauce, and fire roasted salsa, over a housemade quinoa burger. I’ve been a bit disappointed in quinoa burgers lately, but this one was full of flavor (and giant).

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Matt’s benedict was ridiculously good too, and consisted of Shiner brisket and bbq hollandaise over whole wheat molasses toast. I was in a definite food coma after this brunch, but it was good for grocery shopping afterwards because I stuck to my list exactly. And good fuel for the week! I’m working three days and have yet another interview. Hope yall had a good Monday! Adios.

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Cauliflower Pizza, The Porch, & Gatsby

Posted on Sep 24, 2013 | 5 comments

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.

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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.

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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.

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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:)

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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!!

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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.

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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!

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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!

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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:)

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Cheers to a productive week.

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Hill Country Getaway

Posted on Aug 30, 2013 | 14 comments

Matt and I drove down to Fredericksburg, Texas for two nights to relax and check out the hill country! Sometimes I have trouble taking it easy when we go on vacation because we plan so much and want to hit all the cool restaurants and bars. But this was the first trip in a long time that felt like a true getaway. We rented a little cottage and really enjoyed the outdoor space. The hill country was so peaceful, and since we were there on a Monday and Tuesday, a lot of things were closed. We enjoyed take-out pizza and mexican food on our patio, visited wineries and picnicked for lunch, drank wine by the fire pit, ate salted caramel and peanut butter fudge (and maybe a piece of chocolate bacon), went for a run that ended with iced coffee, tasted beer, looked at the stars from the hammock, and had a big breakfast before the drive home. I can’t wait to go back!

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Man in an Apron

Posted on Mar 12, 2013 | 4 comments

I feel like a lucky, lucky girl – I’m getting a husband and he cooks!

I went to my usual weight lifting class at the gym today, and came home on the late side to find Matt wearing a Duke apron. He mentioned that he’d get something ready for dinner tonight, but I didn’t expect him to make anything fancy. There was wine!

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I knew it was gonna be good when I smelled fresh basil.

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Matt made jalapeno-basil pork chops. The sauce was sweet and spicy and amazing!!!! Apparently, the secret is red pepper jelly. Seriously, the.best.sauce. The pork was also super tender. And brussels are one my favorite vegetables, so I always enjoy a big pile of ‘em roasted, especially when I don’t have to do the roasting!

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You bet I’m going to bed happy tonight. That’s all folks.

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