Tag Archives: asparagus

Day Two

Good evening! How are you all this beautiful Friday evening? I for one could not be happier about being in bed and under the covers at 11:30 on a Friday night, away from the blustery cold and a long day.  I’m a little too comfortable… I’ll be very proud of myself if I make it through this whole post without nodding off!

We ended up making rich mugs of hot chocolate last night before we went to sleep (I’m not sure there’s a more perfect nightcap on the market) using Jacques Torres’ hot chocolate.

Ari was in charge of the preparation….

He did a pretty good job.

The chocolate was very thick and filling, almost like a pudding.  I topped mine with marshmallows and cinnamon.

It knocked me right out, and I fell asleep almost immediately.   Although I’ve been getting less rest than usual this past week, I bounded out of bed as soon as my alarm went off.  Must be the pre-work jitters!

I made another rich breakfast, hoping it would hold me well into the morning: 5 grain cereal with ground flax, cinnamon, 1 small banana, warmed frozen berries, almond butter and agave.

I got to the office right on time, ready to start Day 2 of training.  Did I mention I have my own office? 😀   Around 11:30 my stomach was growling pretty loudly, so I dug around in my purse for a snack.  Unfortunately I was a little distracted last night and didn’t have time to pack a lunch or snacks, but luckily I found a Date Heart Thrive hidden away!

We broke for lunch around 1:30 and I dashed out to grab a salad.  Hopefully I’ll be able to plan better in the future… I can’t spend $11 every day for a mediocre meal!  I had a mixed green salad with marinated mushrooms, tofu, avocado, asparagus, and chili lime vinaigrette.  It was pretty blah.

I needed a little pick-me-up, so I visited the fancy coffee machine in the communal pantry.

We’re running low, but there are so many flavors to choose from! Each cup is brewed “to order”, with the push of a button.  Pretty cool, hmm?

I spent the rest of the day trying to learn as much as possible from my trainer… I’m on my own starting Monday!

After work, I met my Little Redheaded Friend for dinner.  We went to Friend House 2 (I was very sad to discover that the original Friendhouse, one block over, had closed within the last month 😦 ) for Japanese.

We started with miso soup:

For my entrée, I strayed from my usual order (sashimi) and ordered a roll combination instead.  I must have been craving carbs!  By the time I finished my Sweet Potato, California, and Spicy Tuna rolls, I was thoroughly stuffed.

Kalle and I sat and chatted for a little while and let our tums settle before making our way to Whole Foods for dessert.  We’d originally wanted to go to a proper coffee or dessert shop, but it was so cold and windy out that we just decided to take refuge in the supermarket.  I got a “Caramelita bar”, which tastes like a cross between a Hello Dolly/Magic/7 Layer bar and Pecan Pie.

This was as big as it looks, and then some.  I’d broken it in half and had fully planned on saving the rest for later, but we were in the store for almost an hour and I ended up nibbling the whole thing. It was a little too rich for me, but it was still very tasty.

Well, I made it through the post without falling asleep!  I’m watching A Christmas Tale while I wait for Ari to get home, but it’s a pretty long movie my chances of finishing it are slim.  What are your favorite holiday movies?

Have a great weekend!

Little Miss Sunshine

Good morning and happy Monday! Or should I say Moanday? I flirted enough with the snooze button to make Ari jealous this morning; the actual alarm was ringing for over half an hour.  Luckily no one else was home or I would have felt really bad.  I always try to pick the most annoying ringers so that I’ll jump right out of bed… sometimes that doesn’t work so well!

Yesterday I woke up in a funk.  It was pouring down rain outside, and everything just felt a little off.  I tried my best to push it away by having a fabulous breakfast, which I focused on this honey that we picked up at the gift shop in the Sanssouci Palace in Germany.

German Almond Honey 1

It has layers of honey, each at a different level of crystallization.

German Almond Honey 3

The top layer is filled with almonds!

German Almond Honey 2

I found a lucky box of unopened Kashi waffles in the freezer, so I jazzed two up to the best of my abilities.  The first was topped with yogurt, fresh figs, and the honey/almond mixture:

Kashi Waffle w/ German Honey, Figs & Yogurt

The second waffle was topped with yogurt, fresh figs, walnuts and blueberry honey.

Kashi Waffle w/ yogurt, figs, honey & walnuts

This “feel good breakfast” was working its hardest!

Feel good breakfast

I snacked on an apple while trying to rally myself to face the cold rain… look how foggy it is! That white space is supposed to be water.

Foggy Apple

After trekking back across the boroughs and dodging raindrops, I was ready for lunch.  I’m still working on a pretty big container of leftover lentil soup, and we really don’t have any free freezer space for me to store it in.  So… soup it was!

Veganomicon Lentil Soup

I was craving bread, but discovered that it had gone over the hill, as we say.  Instead, I had a Maple Nut Clif Bar.Maple Nut Clif Bar

It was about 4 at this point, and I realized that my foul mood wasn’t going to go away without a little outside help.  After I waited as long as I could for my food to digest, I laced up my shoes and fired out the door for a run.  I would have had to wait at a light if I went down my usual route; instead, I veered left without thinking and ran down a pedestrian-populated street.  When I reached a dead-end, I turned back and tacked on my regular 2-mile route.  I was going a lot faster than usual… sometimes when I’m not feeling great I end up getting frustrated and walking, but yesterday was the opposite.  When I got home, I saw that I’d run 3.36 miles in 29:40… an average pace of 8:49/mile.  Thank you, mean reds!

I quickly did an 8-minute ab session, showered, and tagged along with Ilana for Yom Kippur services.  When I got home, I heated up leftover stir-fry and asparagus, which might have been better the second day!

Leftover Asparagus & Shrimp Stir Fry

This was an enormous portion, but I was a hungry girl and I ate every last scrap.  I enjoyed a bowl of coconut milk ice cream, mixed frozen berries and homemade almond milk…

Coconut Milk Ice Cream w/ Berries & Almond Milk

… while I caught up on e-mails and watched Sunshine Cleaning. I remembered this getting mixed reviews, but I loved it.  It’s pretty dark, but Amy Adams, Alan Arkin & Emily Blunt are so good together.

sunshine-cleaning

Well, I’m off to the mailbox to return the movie so I’ll get a new one by Wednesday.  I’m a little nuts about my Netflix, but I like to maximize the number of films I get per month!

Have a great day 🙂

Off-days with the ones I love

Good evening! I’m so sorry about the posting delay; I spent the weekend with older that, while it still works, is just not up to blogging speed.  No matter! Today’s will just be Doublemint style; double the pleasure, and most definitely double the fun 🙂

On Friday morning, I made one of the best breakfasts I’ve had in a long time: Butternut Oatmeal Pie. The combination of flavors and textures really did taste like a Fall dessert!

Butternut Pie Oats

In the bowl:

  • 1/2 cup steel-cut oats, soaked overnight
  • butternut squash purée
  • Greek yogurt
  • walnuts
  • agave
  • cinnamon
  • nutmeg

I spent a lot of time puttering around, catching up on e-mails and cleaning.  I ended up leaving the house pretty late, so my time at the gym was minimal!  I did manage to get a total-body workout in, though: 10 minutes on the stairs, arms/lazy abs (one ab machine), and 10 minutes on the bike.  It’s very efficient, if you only have half an hour.  On the way in, I gobbled down a Trader Joe’s Mixed Berry Fiberful bar.

Fiberful/ I am not sidney poitier

After making myself moderately presentable, I headed uptown to meet Caitlin for lunch at Alice’s Tea Cup.

Caitlin at Alice's

I’m a creature of habit, and always order the Light Fare: small salad, soup & bread.  I was very excited when I heard they were serving butternut squash soup… but, of course, it was made with chicken stock.  Instead I ordered the lentil soup, which bummed me out a teensy bit because a) it seems like always have lentil soup, and b) I still have a big vat of leftover lentil sitting in the fridge! But it was still good, and their bread was amazing as usual.

Lentil Soup Light Fare

The warm pear + endive salad with carmelized onions and roquefort cheese was, as always, very good…

Endive & Pear Light Fare

I think I’m just a little burned out on the Tea Cup. Never thought that day would come? Neither did I.  After lunch, Caitlin and I wandered around, hit up some sample sales, and wandered around trying to figure out what kind of tasty treat we were craving.  Turned out to be… nothing! We couldn’t make up our minds, which I think was because we were actually pretty full from lunch.  On my walk home, however, I stopped and bought an apple from a vendor on the street (and scored last month’s issue of SELF for $1!). Hit the spot!

Apple on the street

A little while later I met up with Greg for dinner, and we stopped at our favorite Middle Eastern hole-in-the-wall for take-out falafel. The restaurant has undergone some ownership changes and is now lit with bright flourescents and features a Maoz-style logo.  Strange.  I ordered the falafel/hummus plate, which came with pita and about a pound of yummus.  I ate all of the falafel (which was a little cold by the time we ate it, but still good) and a piece of pita, and saved the rest of the bread and hum for later.

Falafel/hummus to go

We then went back out for drinks and chat…

Drinks at the Abbey

… which led to this.

Ben & Jerry's

I don’t even really like Ben & Jerry’s, but Peanut Butter Cookie Dough? Half-Baked Frozen Yogurt? I couldn’t say no.  I felt a little sick afterwards, to say the least… oops.

Greg, Ben & Jerry

When I woke up the next morning, my mama was ready to RUN!  We fueled up with coffee, and headed out for a leisurely 2 mile walk-run.  When we got back, I dug into my hummus and pita leftovers, topping them with a microwaved egg, salt & pepper.

Eggs, hummus & pita

This was a delicious combination, and I’ll have to re-create it soon.

Eggy hummus close-up

I also had 0% Fage, an apple and cinnamon.

Fage 0% w/ apple & cinnamon

Finally, my mom and I headed out to take on the day and run some errands.   On our walk downtown, we got distracted by the delicious smells coming out of Georgia’s Bake Shop and stopped inside.  I munched on a chocolate almond croissant to better fuel my shopping tasks. Scrumptiously decadent 🙂

Georgia's Bake Shop Chocolate Almond Croissant

We crossed everything off our our lists in record time, and did a stellar job shopping the sales.  On the walk home, we munched on Gala apples.

Twin Apples

I also introduced her to chunks of energy… she was a fan!

Chunks of Energy

Since I never ate a formal “lunch”,  I snacked pretty much throughout the entire day… when I was little, I followed the “six small meals” plan completely unknowingly!  I like to sample, what can I say.

Big Carrot

We had some surprise guests for dinner (Judy and Caitlin!), so I helped my dad get dinner ready.  While we were prepping ingredients, I sipped on a glass of Black Box Wine Sauvignon Blanc.

Food Prep + Wine

Whenever we have company, everyone gravitates towards the kitchen!

Daddy in the kitchen

My mom set out dried apricots, walnuts, and rosemary-baked bread sticks.

Fall table setting

Dinner was superb.  We started with avocado halves dressed with fresh lemon juice, olive oil, balsamic, salt & pepper.

Avocado appetizer

And for the main event: mango/onion/green pepper salad with chili-infused dressing, shrimp stir-fry with homemade Italian egg noodles, and steamed asparagus.

Shrimp Stir fry, mango-chili salad, steamed asparagus

For dessert, we had fresh figs dressed in lavender honey served with Haagen-Dazs’ Vanilla Swiss Almond ice cream.

Lavender honied figs with Vanilla Swiss Almond ice cream

It took a couple tries to get the ice cream right, though…notice anything funny?

Haagen-Dazs' Vanilla Swiss Almond

The carton on the left was missing the chocolate-covered almonds, and they’re the best part!  I’ll be calling the company tomorrow.  Once, I bought a box of Oreos that were missing the cream filling!  What’s the goofiest product blunder you’ve ever come across?

Regular posting will resume tomorrow.  I hope you had a great weekend!

Stealing Beauty

Good morning, friends! If you haven’t already, don’t forget to enter my giveaway! It will change your life.

I can’t believe it’s already Monday… and there’s only one more Monday of August! Where has the summer gone? I guess I’ve done a lot… I’ve been to Germany, Michigan, Utah, and Maryland… it’s just strange to know that it’s almost Fall.  Autumn is actually my favorite season, though… I love the feeling of a “fresh start” that a new school year always gave me, pulling out my sweaters, drinking hot Chai, Halloween, MY BIRTHDAY… so yeah, I’m pretty excited for the weather to change, now that I think about it!

Yesterday, I met my friend Lisa for brunch at the Manhattan Diner.  I haven’t seen her since June, and it was so nice to catch up.  Neither of us had fully recovered from the shock of being awake, so we drank lots of coffee.

IMG_9647

We both ordered the same thing: an omelet made with organic eggs, avocado, pepper jack, carrots, and zucchini, with a side of mixed greens. We also both doused our eggs in hot sauce and ketchup… we’re fated to be friends 🙂

IMG_9650

The bread was good, but nothing beats my beloved toast from the usual place, so I only had one slice.

IMG_9651

All of that coffee was just what I needed, so after I left Lisa, I went home to gear up for a run.  I haven’t really exercised since my yoga class on Thursday, and although I walked about 7 miles throughout the weekend, I needed to feel the cardio burn.  It was great! It started raining towards the end of my run (about 3.1 miles) , but it actually felt really refreshing.  I came home a sweaty beast, but with enough energy to do my 8-minutes abs exercise, which I’ve sorely ignored lately.

Total time: 37:53 minutes

Maximum heart rate: 195 (98%)

Average heart rate: 165 (83%)

Calories burned: 405

By then, I was ready for a snack. I made a BIG bowl of plain Chobani, 1 banana, 1 nectarine, and a drizzle of pomegranate syrup.  It was perfect! My dad reminded me the other day how versatile (and yummy) pomegranate syrup is.  It’s also relatively inexpensive ($5/bottle), so I’d encourage you to try it if you haven’t already!

IMG_9653

I was feeling industrious, so I made some of Gena‘s homemade raw almond milk.  I’d left the almonds soaking overnight, so this was easy-peasy and took almost no thought whatsoever! I don’t have a nut-milk bag, but a conventional strainer did the trick.

IMG_9652

I let it strain through while I showered and packed up, and by the time I was ready to go, I had beautifully separated almond milk.  I saved the “nut meat” as well… I’m planning on making some Bonobo-style nori wraps! (Note: this is 1/2 Gena‘s recipe.)

IMG_9656

I made it home just in time to meet some friends for dinner.  We went to Brick Café, and although the service was a little slow, it worked out perfectly because we got to catch up and gab a lotIt was pretty much everything a Sunday evening should be: good food, good friends, and relaxation.

I started with a piece of baguette, smeared with a generous portion of olive paté.

IMG_9657

I was a little boring and just ordered the tuna niçoise salad (mixed greens, hard-boiled eggs- yolks removed, asparagus, olives, and potatoes), but it was good! I wasn’t a fan of the creamy dressing, so I just asked for oil and vinegar instead.

IMG_9659

Once home, I curled up with an almond butter-smeared VitaBrownie and watched Stealing Beauty.  I really liked the film! I want to go back to Europe.

IMG_9662

I didn’t sleep too well… I woke up at 4 AM with some of the scariest nightmares I’ve ever had, involving… Jeffrey Dean Morgan.  Denny, why do you do this to me?!

Have a happy Monday 🙂

When Bubby Comes to Town

First and foremost, thank you all so much for your positive comments on Ari‘s “Wanderlust” music video.  (He’s also updated his Tour Belly page… check it out!) I have a feeling there are going to be a lot of changes come August 25, the date of their record’s release, and I’m excited you’ll all be able to experience it, too 🙂

Breakfast yesterday was weird, but very tasty:

IMG_8476

Daisy Brand 2% cottage cheese with 1 plum, a few strawberries, 1/2 banana and 1 T PB2.

IMG_8477

I haven’t had time to get to the gym much this week, as you may have noticed, so I’ve been running more often than usual.  I went for a 2 mile jog yesterday, stopping to walk a couple times for 20-30 second breaks on the way back.  When the end is in sight, I often peter out and get more tired.  Does anyone else have this problem? I think I need a running buddy! When I ran in Michigan with Judy, I did 3-4 miles easily.

When I got back from the run, I did Level 3 of 8-minute Abs.  I forgot to turn my HRM off, so these stats aren’t 100% accurate:

Total time: 42:42 minutes

Maximum heart rate: 191 (96%)

Average heart rate: 136 (68%)

Calories burned: 318

On the way into the city for my haircut, I snacked on an apple:

IMG_8478

My hairdresser (whom I hadn’t seen for 15 years; he used to cut my hair when I was little and pretty much gave me the exact same haircut I had when I was 2… I love it! I’ll have to find you an old photo) was in Caitlin‘s neck of the woods, so we met up for lunch at Bouley Bakery.

I’ve been wanting to try out David Bouley’s new place for so long, and this did not disappoint.  It has everything! Fresh organic meat and fish:

IMG_8479

A hot bar:

IMG_8481

Cold salads:

IMG_8482

They even have sushi!

IMG_8484

We both decided to build killer salads.

IMG_8487

Mine had:

  • spinach
  • arugula
  • tomatoes
  • feta
  • whole wheat pasta shells with walnuts
  • beet salad with walnuts
  • marinated Chinese mushrooms & tofu
  • asparagus
  • lobster/bean salad

IMG_8488

I dressed it with a little oil and vinegar.

IMG_8486

I wanted some bread, so I got a whole wheat roll with sesame seeds.

IMG_8490

Our tummies were pleased.

IMG_8491

After lunch, we wanderd over to Moomah, a coffee shop that, we agreed, is like Alice’s Teacup for toddlers.

IMG_8492

The design is whimsical and artistic, like stepping inside a children’s book.

IMG_8496

Yes, I’m that creeper who takes pictures of the bathrooms…

IMG_8493

… but even that is beautiful!

IMG_8494

They sell handmade toys and gorgeous dresses (that, rumor has it, Caitlin’s mom is trying to get them to sell for “big girls” like us).

IMG_8495

Everything is perfect, down to the plastic to-go coffee cups.  I was low on cash and pushing my 3 PM-coffee-cutoff (which I think I’ll be adjusting to 5 PM on days that I work), so I just admired Caitlin‘s iced latte.

IMG_8497

Then, just as the rain was starting to come down, we scurried underground and took the subway to MoMA.  The exhibit was absolutely beautiful.  So many colors!

I especially liked Paul Signac’s Portrait of Félix Fénéon:

IMG_8504

We started to get a little tired and needed a Smarties pick-me-up.  C and I first discovered our love for Smarties on a camp trip to Quebec in 2002; when I saw these in Berlin I had to snag her a box.  They’re like M&Ms, but with a harder shell and better chocolate.

IMG_8512

After we looked at a few more exhibits, we parted ways and went home.  Dodging raindrops (who needs an umbrella?), I ran from the subway to the house to be there in time for Ari’s Bubby and aunt’s visit.  After catching up with them a little, we all went to Sac‘s for dinner.  There aren’t any kosher restaurants within walking distance, so we decided on Italian instead.

I had 1 piece of tomato focaccia:

IMG_8513

I was a bad girlfriend and ordered spinach fettuccine with shrimp in garlic & oil (shellfish is not kosher).

IMG_8514

I ate all the shrimp and half the pasta.  The bottom of the bowl was filled with about 1/2 inch of oil; it’s odd that I ordered this considering I work in an Italian restaurant and can get it for free any night, but I was in the mood.

After saying goodbye, we left to go pick up the rest of Ari’s family from the airport.  There were all kinds of complications with their flight (baggage claim, missed connections, customs, etc.) and we ended up spending three hours at the airport.  No matter, because on the way home, we stopped at… Coldstone!

I went all out and ordered a “Like It” cup of Sinless Sweet Cream w/ 1 Reese’s PB cup, peanut butter, and hot fudge.  Coldstone is no Oink‘s, but I still savored every bite.

IMG_8516

We were pretty exhausted by the time we got home (Ari’s sister had been up for 24+ hours) and went right to bed.  It was a good day 🙂

Hope you have a great Friday! I’ll be working, but I have a good feeling that this week will be much better than last. What are you up to this weekend?

Hidden Gems and German Shopping

Good evening and happy humpday! It’s not much of a hump if you’re on vacation, however… yesterday was another fabulous day of art, exploration, and, most importantly, food! We found two surprisingly delicious (and deliciously surprising) restaurants that, sadly, will remain in Berlin even after we leave.

For breakfast, I started with a fresh bowl of fruit: half a peach, half a banana, and strawberries.

IMG_7595

A slice of seedy, grainy bread with three different cheeses: raw goat, gruyère, and something else I’ve forgotten.

IMG_7596

A cup of mixed-fruit yogurt:

IMG_7597

Some wake-me-up java:

IMG_7598

Doesn’t my mama just have the cutest little feet?

IMG_7599

We headed out to get our shop on at KaDeWe, and passed a couple of these strawberry stands.  They’re all over the place: in the metro, on the street… and all they sell is strawberries! Sounds good to me 🙂

IMG_7600

Although we got caught in the rain, we didn’t melt, and found our destination with [relatively… neither my mom nor I speaks German] no problem.

IMG_7617

The 6th floor of the KaDeWe department store is nothing short of amazing.  Don’t get me wrong- I love Whole Foods almost more than life itself, but they don’t have an entire wing devoted to different kinds of olive oil (they even had an avocado oil!). Or mustard. Or pastas, organized by region.

This was only a fraction of the cheese department (I sampled several varieties, all of which missed the camera… oops):

IMG_7610

Tea:

IMG_7611

Specialty cakes:

IMG_7612

Individually portioned sweet treats:

IMG_7613

Chocolate:

IMG_7615

Spice heaven:

IMG_7614

Nestled in with all of the gourmet goodies are all sorts of specialty food bars: pasta, antipasti, dessert, champagne… my mom and I picked the first one we saw.  It had what we’ve come to identify as New German cuisine, and it was perfect.

We were feeling festive, so we ordered drinks with lunch.  I had a glass of Sancerre to go with my bread:

IMG_7602

We watched as the chefs prepared the meals. Each batch of asparagus was steamed to order, each shrimp peeled, devained and cooked.  With the exception of, possibly, Basta Pasta, I’m pretty sure this doesn’t happen in New York.

IMG_7603

I ordered a 1/2 portion (although, judging by the entrée size of the gentleman seated next to me, I’m pretty sure I was given the same amount of shrimp) of salad with shrimp, white asparagus, and tomatoes.  It was dressed with aged balsamic and a light pesto.

IMG_7604

My mom got a white asparagus quiche which was fresh, fluffy, and unlike any quiche I’ve ever tasted.  (When we asked about the dressing her salad came with, the chef said he’d only give us the recipe if one of us married him.  When my mom offered me up, the other chef came over and said that, since he was the younger chef’s father, he would have to marry my mother and keep everything even.)

IMG_7605

Squares of dark chocolate came with our meal…

IMG_7607

…. But, after seeing so many tempting treats, we needed a pastry.  We found the Lenôtre counter, a Parisian luxury cake-shop.  (I’d had Lenôtre once before, in Paris, when I bought a friend a cake for his birthday party.) Without any hesitation, we ordered the Concerto, a 12-layer chocolate hazelnut praline cake, to split. I could go on, in detail, about each layer, but that would be cruel.

IMG_7609

After we’d fueled-up properly, we went back downstairs.  In the clothing department, I ended up finding some great things… they ended up all being from Sandro, a Parisian brand (I’d hoped to find some German designers, but oh well), but I fell in love with them all and they were on sale.

A short brown eyelet skirt with a paper bag waist (I wore this today):

IMG_2596

A finely knit black shirt with pretty silver detail:

IMG_2600

And a white linen dress with great pockets (I LOVE dresses with pockets… they’re hard to see in this photo).

IMG_2601

We finally tour ourselves away and went to meet my dad at the Pergamon museum. Inside the museum is an impressive number of re-constructed ancient ruins, the most famous of which is the Pergamon Altar.

IMG_7620

Built in the 2nd century BC, the originally open-air altar is over 100-feet wide.  (It was also very comfortable for our travel-weary hero to sit on.)

The Ishtar Gate is also, miraculously, in perfect condition.

IMG_7624

This was built in 575 BC in the city of Babylon.

IMG_7625

Unfortunately, this was all I saw because I got hit in the face with fatigue.  I sat down on a bench and may or may not have fell asleep and head-flopped onto an elderly Spanish man, who asked if I was having a nice dream. Whoops.  I thought food might help, so I had a bite of this dried peach and apricot bar.

IMG_7626

I felt much better afterwards, so we took a long walk to get to dinner.  We passed Humboldt University (very grand, huh?):

IMG_7627

Across from the courtyard, amidst the cobblestones, was a piece of square glass through.  Unfortunately there was too much glare to show you properly what’s inside: a room filled with bookshelves, representing the 20,000 books that were burned by the Nazis before and during World War II.

IMG_7628

On our walk, we also happened upon Guggenheim Berlin, which was having a small but colorful exhibit by Imi Knoebel.

IMG_7633

I used to flap my arms around a lot as a child…

My parents and I had planned on going to a vegetarian restaurant that was written up in our guidebook, but when we got to the address they’d given, something else was there instead that only had one vegetarian option.  Luckily, we’d seen another restaurant on the way that looked promising, so we checked it out.  I’m happy to report that Café Jolesh was far better than we could have hoped.  The menu was creative and reasonably priced, the staff was knowledgeable and attentive, and, most importantly, we enjoyed a lovely evening together.

We started out with a basket of bread that came with a cheesy, herby dip.

IMG_2542

I ordered a glass of White Burgandy to drink.  I was just thinking the other day that I’d never tried it before, so I was glad it was on the menu! (I ended up ordering two glasses, but by the time the end of dinner rolled around I was so full that I finished less than half of the second glass.)

IMG_2545

The pre-fixe menu was a steal, so we couldn’t turn it dow 😀  I started with salmon four ways: two tartares, a piece of a filet (which was perfectly cooked), and a spring roll that had a smokey, almost pork-like taste.  It was all garnished with fresh sour cream (which I’m not usually a fan of, but it perfectly complemented the tartare) and caviar.

IMG_2547

My dad and I split two entrées: saffron-roasted sea bass with a fennel-papaya salad and sesame noodles (these were just, as far as I could tell, angel hair noodles tossed with sesame oil instead of olive… a delicious change, and one I will try at home)

IMG_2551

We also shared the vegetarian special: roasted vegetables, two kinds of chard, mixed greens, elderberry soufflé (it looks a bit like polenta) and a pine nut/wheatberry/raisin garnish.  This was very good,  but pretty rich.  We both would have preferred a bit less sauce.

IMG_2554

The dessert specials all sounded so interesting, so we ordered all three and split them.

Battered, cooked fig with  honey poached white asparagus, chocolate-drizzled cooked strawberry, and a cold, sorbet-like soufflé that we couldn’t quite figure out.

IMG_2555

No, it’s not funnel-cake: battered elderberry flowers with minty rhubarb and fresh raspberry granite.

IMG_2557

Crème brulée made with a stinky cheese, served with golden rhubarb and a light salad.

IMG_2558

All of the desserts were so interesting and unexpected that it was impossible to pick a favorite, although I did dip my spoon into the crème brulée a disproportionate amount of times to my parents.  The salty/sweet combination was just too good!

When I got home, I was pretty sure that my food baby (who goes by Claude, by the way) had multiplied into twins.  We are, however, walking an insane amount, so I’m not worried about it anymore and am just enjoying all of the different tastes.  Because of all the walking, though, the ball of my left foot has started giving me some trouble, and I don’t want to end up like this again…

IMG_2227

It’s a different bone and a different leg, but I’m going to be very, very careful.

In GIVEAWAY news, check out Rosey Rebecca’s Chobani Giveaway for some free Greek yogurt! An Apple A Day Is also giving away coupons for some very cool products.

Anyway, this monster of a post took two hours to write, and I’m still a day behind, so I’m going to get horizontal and finish my book.  Have a great night!

Roadside Rituals

Well friends, after a 1300 mile drive, I’m finally home! New York has never smelled so sweet, in a Riverside Park-meets-trash night kind of way.  There are so many things to do, foods to cook, people to see… but right now curling up in bed with a book is all I want to do.

We didn’t have internet at the B&B we stayed at last night, so this is going to be a pretty long road-journal.  Bear with me!

Yesterday, after sleeping like a rock for a good 8 hours, my aunt made me and my dad a scrumptious breakfast of scrambled eggs, toast with Brummel & Brown (I first learned about this spread from her about 10 years ago)…

IMG_7125

Fresh strawberries and blueberries with whipped cream (which I mostly ate around):

IMG_7126

Lots of coffee but only a sip of the OJ:

IMG_7130

We had excellent dining companions.

IMG_7131

Scotty tried to lick up my whipped cream… I was just a little bit faster.

IMG_7132

When we finally got our booties on the road, we pulled off the highway about two minutes later in search of a Barnes & Noble.  We always try to pick up a book or two to remember our trips by.  I needed a little pick me up so I got a grande no whip mocha light frappuccino.  I never get these, but for some reason I was in the mood.

IMG_7133

After an irritating look around McDonald’s, we realized that unless I wanted a mini Fruit ‘n Yogurt Parfait for lunch, there wasn’t going to be anything I could eat there.  So we went back to Subway for the second lunch in a row; I got a tuna with one slice of pepper jack, all the veggies, and fat free honey mustard on honey oat bread. I also got a Light & Fit yogurt (which has an unbelievably long ingredients list) but no soda this time.

IMG_7134

I snacked on a Chocolate Peanut Clif Mojo Dipped bar in the car, while listening to our book on tape.  This was so good! It tasted just like a candy bar (which, I guess, it kind of is).  I would definitely buy this again.

IMG_7135

We stopped in Knox, Pennsylvania for the night.  We always stay at the same Bed & Breakfast, go to the same restaurant for dinner and the same drive-in for ice cream…

At the Allegheny Grille, we started out with dinner rolls (I split two minis with my dad: one onion herb, one whole wheat).

IMG_7138

We both got a mixed spring greens salad with walnuts, blue cheese, and dried cranberries, with strawberry vinaigrette on the side:

IMG_7137

There was an absurd amount of cheese; I left most of it but still enjoyed the full blue cheese experience.

IMG_7139

For my entrée, I ordered grilled salmon with sesame teriyaki sauce on the side, steamed asparagus, and rice pilaf.  I ate all the asparagus, 2/3 of the salmon, and 1/2 of the rice

IMG_7140

We saved room for dessert.

IMG_7142

I got a cup of sugar-free vanilla yogurt with hot fudge and Reese’s PB cups:

IMG_7143

My dad got a banana split.

IMG_7144

We look forward to this all year, and it never disappoints!

IMG_7145

We got in to the B&B around 9:30.  It’s a beautiful old farmhouse that’s been converted into rooms… we always get the same ones, in a barn.  It’s so cozy inside!

IMG_7148

We watched In The Company of Men in the living room.  The writer/director is one of my favorites, but I can promise that you will never be comfortable during or after watching any of his films or plays.

I had the best of intentions this morning to get up and go for a nice run.  (The most exercise I’ve gotten in the last three days is changing gears or unwrapping gum. It’s also a really beautiful part of Pennsylvania, and it’s a pretty rural area so there’s almost no one on the road.)  I woke up, put on my workout clothes and HRM, but then, somehow, I woke up two hours later. Whoops!

IMG_7149

The woman who runs the B&B knows how much we love her pumpkin pancakes, so she makes them for us every time we stay.

IMG_7151

Nothing beats real maple syrup.

IMG_7152

Again, I had a lot of coffee, but I’ve found that juice is just too sweet for me in the morning.

IMG_7153

After breakfast, I finished my book while lounging in the great outdoors.

IMG_7155

My dad and I took a walk and explored.

IMG_7159

We saw a lot of cows:

IMG_7167

Can you imagine hauling that around with you? Poor mama!

IMG_7169

But without mamas, we wouldn’t have these cuties.

IMG_7171

Once again, as soon as we finally got a move on and started driving, we decided we were hungry again and went to Perkin’s for lunch. I’d had too much coffee (which has the adverse affect and puts me to sleep), so I got an unsweetened iced tea instead.

IMG_7172

They don’t have veggie burgers or salads, so I decided to go with more breakfast food.  The waitress was very nice and let me substitute the hash browns and muffin for a side salad (which I ate dry)…

IMG_7174

…and a small bowl of fruit.

IMG_7176

I ordered an Egg Beater omelet with broccoli, onions, green pepper and cheddar.

IMG_7175

The cheddar turned out to be “cheese product,” which I did my best to scrape off.

IMG_7177

A couple hours later, the Golden Arches called our names… once you go Mickey D’s soft-serve, I don’t know if you can go back.

IMG_7178

I snacked on a banana when we were stuck in traffic, which was 100% out of boredom.

IMG_7179

We got home around 8:30 and unpacked the car and were at our favorite Japanese restaurant by 9:15.  I was starving, so I ordered my usual Bento Box.  It comes with miso soup:

IMG_7180

Salad, shrimp & veggie tempurah, tuna & salmon sashimi, California rolls.

IMG_7182

I swapped one of my salmon sashimi pieces for this little bite of heaven.  I think it’s yellowtail, and is stuffed with a leaf that tastes like a combination of mint + cilantro.

IMG_7184

After dinner, I really wanted to want ice cream.  I tried so hard that both I and my dad picked up different kinds of fro-yo… but I think I may have over ice-creamed in the last few days.  I’d bought this fruit salad to have for tomorrow, but it was all the sweet I wanted tonight.

IMG_7188

When I finally got a chance to go through the mail, I found a package from Erica.  A few weeks ago I won the PETA Vegan College Cookbook from a contest she was hosting.  It’s gotten mixed reviews in the blogosphere, but some recipes look pretty interesting (Boozy Beer Bread, Ice Cream Frizzle Drizzle, PB&C No-Bake Cookies).  Erica also snuck in two of my favorite Larabars… she’s the best.  Thanks again, Erica!

IMG_7187

By the time I am now finishing, two hours after I started, the book-in-bed scenario seems far less likely than the crash-in-bed-with-contacts-in-and-makeup-on alternative.

Before you go, check out Pretty Green Girl’s Whole Soy giveaway.

I hope you’ve had a very happy humpday! See you tomorrow 🙂