Tag Archives: italian

Keeping It Classy

Back again from a very short but lovely visit with Ari’s family in Maryland.   Of course I wish Ari could have been there himself, but his parents are warm, welcoming, and put me completely at ease.

As soon as I was picked up from the bus stop we drove to one of their favorite Italian restaurants for dinner.  We split an order of fresh bruschetta (crusty bread topped withtomatoes, mozzarella, basil, and what Ilana claims to be the best tomato sauce on earth).

I ordered freshly-caught Rock Fish from the Chesapeake Bay (with lemon and olive oil sauce on the side)…

… and a side order of linguine marinara.

This was the same restaurant we came to two years ago, when I was meeting Ari’s family for the first time.  Time flies!  After dinner, the girls went to see New Moon (the movie wasn’t quite Ari’s dad’s style).  I’ve only read the first two Twilight books, saw the first movie, and did not have high hopes for this one.  But… I really liked it!  My friends who have read all four books say that Book 2 is the weakest, but I really think Stephanie Meyer nailed Bella’s heartbreak in both the book and the movie.

This morning we all got up early, had breakfast, and got ready for a bridal shower.  The food spread was pretty grand.  We had Beth’s Famous Zucchini-Wrapped Salmon (I helped with the zucchini and dill garnish):

Three different kinds of quiche (spinach, mushroom & cheese), croissants, salad, pasta salad, cheese, crackers, hummus

I ate my fill and then some more.

We had a chocolate fountain with fruit, marshmallows, and pretzels for dipping…

And did I metnion there were Jello shots?

To keep things classy, we also had hot apple cider (warmed in a crock pot) spiked with Goldschlager.

This was my first bridal shower, and it was a lot of fun! I’m sure there will be many more to come.

I ate leftovers on the bus ride back to New York, and feel like I haven’t stopped eating since before the holidays!  It’s kind of nice, since these were all meals I spent with people I love and are thankful for even when it’s not a holiday.  The trip home was very productive… thanks to my good friend Mr. Dramamine, I read Elements of Style in its entirety and moved on to The Guernsey Literary And Potato Peel Pie Society. Nothing really signals that the holidays have arrived like having the time to curl up with a good book.  What’s the best thing you’ve read recently?

As some of you know, I’m headed off to Russia on Monday to spend 10 days with my dad and Sarah.  While I’m gone, are there any burning questions you have about Russian culture, history or food that you’d like me to try to investigate? I’m at your service! Sarah’s informed me that while there will probably be fish available at every restaurant, strictly vegetarian options will be harder to come by.  I’ll let you know how I fare.

Hope your week is off to a great start!

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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:

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

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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:

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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:

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A hot bar:

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Cold salads:

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They even have sushi!

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We both decided to build killer salads.

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Mine had:

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

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I dressed it with a little oil and vinegar.

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

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Our tummies were pleased.

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

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

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

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… but even that is beautiful!

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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).

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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.

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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:

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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.

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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:

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

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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.

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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?

Prep Kitchen

Good evening! How was your day? Mine was okay, but it feels like SO long since I got up this morning! I think I need to oil the bedroom door because it is so squeaky and I don’t need to wake up the whole house at 7 (although I’d like to! Muahahaha).

After much consideration, I made a tutti-frutti bowl of oats.  I made the portion a little bigger because I had five hours between breakfast and lunch…

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  • 2/3 cup oats cooked in water
  • 1 blueberry-flavored nonfat Axelrod yogurt
  • 1 plum

It was a tasty combo, but really filling! I almost couldn’t finish it.

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On the subway ride to work, I started feeling pretty gross.  My throat is pretty scratchy and my voice is on the way out, and my left ear is still plugged up from the plane! GRR. I’m also so used to going up to my parents’ house (which I can still call “mine,” thanks) that I got on the wrong train and went uptown instead of downtown, and was almost late to work. AND I snagged my new pair of stockings. GRR GRR.

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Breakfast ended up holding me over pretty well, but I was ready for lunch when 1:00 rolled around.  I’ve been eying Energy Kitchen as I pass it on the way to the office, and was looking forward to having it for lunch today.  They have burgers, wraps, salads, soups, fries, chili, smoothies, etc., and everything on their menu is under 500 calories.

I ordered the seared Ahi tuna salad:

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It wasn’t huge, but it was hugely expensive… $10.99 for a salad to-go! Granted, it was good quality tuna and the mandarin oranges and toasted almonds were a nice touch, but still.

It was too cold to sit outside, so I went to Starbucks to get a hot drink and eat my lunch.  I also took Ellie and Sarah‘s advice and bought a Starbucks card… no more $8 WiFi sessions!

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I got a Grande Skim Chai… and I know this is going to sound so silly, and so much like a commercial, but I have so many good memories of coming in from the cold to meet a friend and ordering this and it really made me feel a lot better.  I didn’t feel as sick, or irritated about the weather being bad (which you’d think I’d have gotten over after having lived in minnesota for 4 years) or ripping my stockings.

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I went back to work and spent the rest of the afternoon doing some reading…

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I dug into my snack bag aroune 3.  I picked up these “Energy Balls” in Berlin:

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They’re sort of like little round Larabars, but in addition to nuts and dried fruits like dates, apricots and raisins, they’re also stuffed with seeds and topped with coconut. Yum!

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I didn’t end up eating the orange, but the Energy Ball was really good!

Around 5:30, I left the office and went literally right next door to my gym.  It couldn’t be more convenient! It was a little disorienting at first… the StairMaster seemed to be twice as tall (and I almost fell off it a few times) and I didn’t know where all the weight machines were, but it was nice to get back into it again.  Cardio, how I missed you!

I didn’t bring my heart rate monitor, but I did 20 minutes on the stairs, 1.10 miles on the treadmill and two arm machines before I met up with my mama for dinner.  Another perk of this internship is I’m close enough to her office that we can have lovely and spontaneous get-togethers!

We wandered around for a little before finding a trendy Italian place.  It was really loud and the tables were pretty squished together… I probably would have enjoyed it a lot more if I was feeling better.  The company was great, though!

I had a piece of bread with olive oil:

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For my dinner, I ordered a grilled calamari salad with peppers, capers and olives.  This was technically an appetizer size, but there was a lot of squid! It was really good, but drowning in a ridiculous amount of garlic and oil 😦

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My mom and I shared a side of spinach… I’d thought this would be steamed, but it was in a butter bath.  It was good, obviously, but so rich that although I ate a lot of it I didn’t enjoy it as much as I would have had it been a little milder.

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After we parted ways, I came home and made a cup of Gypsy Cold Care tea to try to stave off this stupid cold.

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I also did a little cooking for tomorrow’s lunch.  Since I got home from college, I really haven’t been cooking as much as I’d like and as a result, I’m  spending an exorbitant amount of money on things I don’t always enjoy. So… back to the kitchen!  I made Lindsay‘s Spicy Thai Coconut Corn Soup, which I’ve been wanting to make for months.

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If you haven’t checked out Happy Herbivore before, get your tuchus over there! Lindsay and her husband Scott specialize in low-fat and fat-free vegan recipes that are so creative and flavorful that it doesn’t feel like you’re depriving yourself at all.  From what I (and a taste-tester) sampled, this soup did not disappoint. It was light but complex; with lime, cilantro, coconut and curry how can you go wrong?

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I got pretty hungry from all those cooking smells, so I made a yogurt mess:

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  • 1 vanilla-flavored Nonfat Axelrod yogurt
  • 1/2 banana
  • cinnamon
  • PB

It’s going to be an early night over at the LVP headquarters… I have to work tomorrow night and I want to squish out this cold!

I’ll leave you with some things to warm your heart: Anna is giving away some fabulous home-baked goodies to celebrate her 100th post.  I can vouch that her treats are mighty fine, so don’t miss out!  An Apple A Day is also giving away customizable Element Bars!

Have a nice night 🙂

Tag und Nacht

Guten Morgen!  It’s another beautiful (if gray) day in East Berlin. I’m about to go to KaDeWe, Berlin’s biggest department store, so I’m going to make this speedy! Fashion waits for no woman 😉

Yesterday morning I woke up at the uncomfortable hour of 6 AM.  Blegh.  I finally dragged myself out of bed to make some hot muesli:

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  • 2/3 cup muesli cooked in 2/3 cup water
  • milk
  • 1 banana
  • 1/2 Justin’s Squeeze Pack honey PB

It needed a little something extra, so I added a scoop of mixed berry jam and more peanut butter.

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After breakfast, I promptly went right back to sleep for almost three hours.  When I woke up my tummy was starting to rumble, so I grabbed some dried fruit.

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After doing a little window shopping, my mom and I met up with Daddy-o for lunch at a Mexican restaurant called Frida Kahlo (as my dad said, “When in Germany, eat like the Germans!”).  I had half of two different wheat rolls:

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I ordered a mixed green salad with tuna, corn, feta, tomatoes, onions, cilantro, and a side of guacamole. I ate almost all of it (and maybe 1/4 of the guac), when I discovered a worm nestled in one of the lettuce leaves.  I didn’t make a big deal about it (too much thought probably would have made me sick) but threw in the towel instead.

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The mango spritzer, however, was delicious to the very last drop.  Fresh mango juice can be too thick and sweet on its own, but with seltzer, c’est parfait.

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I went back to the apartment to get some work done and left my parents to make some mischief.  I had about three cups of coffee (with a melty square of dark chocolate hidden on the bottom).

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I also snacked on an apple.  I don’t know why, but I was hungry all afternoon!

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When my parents got back, we headed out to an Italian restaurant called Maccharoni that we’d passed several  times on our walks.

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The restaurant looked very rustic; those wires hanging from the ceiling are kebab sticks.  If you order something from the “spitfire grill,” they hang it over the table!

My mom loved this chandelier. It was made out of milk bottles!

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The wine list was entirely Italian. I had two glasses of Montepulciano throughout the meal.

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We ordered a Roma salata for the table to split:

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It’s basically a Caesar salad, but without Caesar dressing (which I don’t much care for). Delicious! This dressing was sweet… I think it was made with honey and mustard. The bread was also divine… by now I’d expect nothing less!

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My dad and I split two entrées: Dorado stuffed with herbs, with sides of root vegetables (SO good) and rosemary potatoes:

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Seafood pasta in a spicy, herbed tomato sauce:

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I was stuffed to the gils (pun intended)!

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But never too hungry for an almond Magnum ice cream bar. (Magnum is the Haagen-Dazs of Europe.)

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It was another fabulous day of eats.  Now, my mom and I are off to do some shopping while we wait for my dad to finish his workday.  Have a great Tuesday!

Whaddya think, you’re on vacation or something?

x-men-origins-wolverine

Hi lovepies! I’m so sorry for slacking on my duties yesterday, but Ari and I were having such a nice time enjoying the sunshine (and admiring Mr. Jackman) that there just wasn’t an extra minute! So, without further ado, I’ll backtrack to Saturday night.

We celebrated with a little Robert Mondavi Cabernet before heading out to dinner.

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We wanted to have a nice dinner, so we headed over to Basta Pasta.  The restaurant is Japanese Italian fusion, and the best meal you’ll get for under $20 in New York. This is, honestly, some of the best pasta I’ve ever had. Every time I go there I get the same thing, but each bite is pure heaven. The pasta is handmade, and the kitchens (one for savory, one for dessert) are exposed so you can watch the magic happen (and salivate).

I ordered the handkerchief pasta with mushrooms and ricotta.

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It’s light, fluffy, and even after finishing every scrap, I didn’t feel stuffed or bloated.

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After dinner, we headed home so I could raid the freezer.  I found some Breyer’s Vanilla Carb Smart ice cream, which I topped with a nice hunk of peanut butter.

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We were both so tired from not having slept very well the night before (and I’m sure the vino helped) that we went to bed really early and slept in late.  For some reason, when I’ve gone more than 12 hours without eating, I either get really hungry, or I feel like I don’t need to eat anything for a while.  We didn’t end up eating until 3, but I felt fine!

We got some iced coffee to kill time while we waited for our table to be ready at Alice’s Tea Cup.  This was Ari’s first time having it… he put his qualms with drinking coffee cold aside, but refused to use a straw.

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We were in that weird limbo between “brunch” and “lunch,” and because I always have to get the same thing, we waited an additional 20 minutes after we sat down so that I could get my usual “Light Fare.” It’s a little pathetic that I always order the same thing here, but why mess with a good thing?

The Light Fare comes with 1/2 sandwich or salad and a bowl of soup (chickpea artichoke) and a light and fluffy hunk of herbed bread.

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I ordered the warm pear and endive salad; the pears and onions are carmelized and topped with a soft, crumbly stilton.  I dream about this salad.

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We went to see Wolverine (thumbs up!) then home to pick up some of my things (like my laptop) and have dinner.  We’ve been so naughty about eating out, but it’s only been two days and obviously this can’t continue forever.  I’m really craving a home-cooked meal, though… I haven’t had one in almost two weeks!

I snacked on some radishes while waiting for our delivery.

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We ordered from a new local Thai restaurant: “Virgin” Summer Rolls with tofu, mint, carrots, rice noodles, lettuce, and a peanut plum dipping sauce:

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We split two entrées: black pepper grilled whirmp with water chestnuts and romaine:

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And three mushroom stir-fry with silken tofu.

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I had it with a little brown rice (and a lot of Sriracha):

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A few hours later I had a bowl of heaven: Haagen Dazs low-fat Vanilla Raspberry frozen yogurt with hot fudge and one of Anna‘s PB&C cookies.

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Well, now it’s morning and I’m thinking about either going back to sleep or getting some breakfast.  Touch choice.  Have a great Memorial Day!

Whaddya think, you're on vacation or something?

x-men-origins-wolverine

Hi lovepies! I’m so sorry for slacking on my duties yesterday, but Ari and I were having such a nice time enjoying the sunshine (and admiring Mr. Jackman) that there just wasn’t an extra minute! So, without further ado, I’ll backtrack to Saturday night.

We celebrated with a little Robert Mondavi Cabernet before heading out to dinner.

IMG_7246

We wanted to have a nice dinner, so we headed over to Basta Pasta.  The restaurant is Japanese Italian fusion, and the best meal you’ll get for under $20 in New York. This is, honestly, some of the best pasta I’ve ever had. Every time I go there I get the same thing, but each bite is pure heaven. The pasta is handmade, and the kitchens (one for savory, one for dessert) are exposed so you can watch the magic happen (and salivate).

I ordered the handkerchief pasta with mushrooms and ricotta.

IMG_7247

It’s light, fluffy, and even after finishing every scrap, I didn’t feel stuffed or bloated.

IMG_7248

After dinner, we headed home so I could raid the freezer.  I found some Breyer’s Vanilla Carb Smart ice cream, which I topped with a nice hunk of peanut butter.

IMG_7249

We were both so tired from not having slept very well the night before (and I’m sure the vino helped) that we went to bed really early and slept in late.  For some reason, when I’ve gone more than 12 hours without eating, I either get really hungry, or I feel like I don’t need to eat anything for a while.  We didn’t end up eating until 3, but I felt fine!

We got some iced coffee to kill time while we waited for our table to be ready at Alice’s Tea Cup.  This was Ari’s first time having it… he put his qualms with drinking coffee cold aside, but refused to use a straw.

IMG_7250

We were in that weird limbo between “brunch” and “lunch,” and because I always have to get the same thing, we waited an additional 20 minutes after we sat down so that I could get my usual “Light Fare.” It’s a little pathetic that I always order the same thing here, but why mess with a good thing?

The Light Fare comes with 1/2 sandwich or salad and a bowl of soup (chickpea artichoke) and a light and fluffy hunk of herbed bread.

IMG_7253

I ordered the warm pear and endive salad; the pears and onions are carmelized and topped with a soft, crumbly stilton.  I dream about this salad.

IMG_7254

We went to see Wolverine (thumbs up!) then home to pick up some of my things (like my laptop) and have dinner.  We’ve been so naughty about eating out, but it’s only been two days and obviously this can’t continue forever.  I’m really craving a home-cooked meal, though… I haven’t had one in almost two weeks!

I snacked on some radishes while waiting for our delivery.

IMG_7255

We ordered from a new local Thai restaurant: “Virgin” Summer Rolls with tofu, mint, carrots, rice noodles, lettuce, and a peanut plum dipping sauce:

IMG_7259

We split two entrées: black pepper grilled whirmp with water chestnuts and romaine:

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And three mushroom stir-fry with silken tofu.

IMG_7261

I had it with a little brown rice (and a lot of Sriracha):

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A few hours later I had a bowl of heaven: Haagen Dazs low-fat Vanilla Raspberry frozen yogurt with hot fudge and one of Anna‘s PB&C cookies.

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Well, now it’s morning and I’m thinking about either going back to sleep or getting some breakfast.  Touch choice.  Have a great Memorial Day!