Category Archives: Eating Out

Cincinnati Food

So while I was in Cincinnati, I had some great food!  One night we went to TGIFridays with a huge gang of people.  I can’t even remember the last time all four of my dad’s kids were together with my stepmom’s family.

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Somehow we ended up at Graeter’s TWICE!  The first time was as a reward to Matt, my dad, and little brother for going to the tux rental place.  The second time was simply an excuse to also go to get some allergy medicine.

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I ventured away from a chip flavor and got their strawberry.  MMMM!!  Please ignore my crazy eye.  Have I mentioned that I am allergic to cats?  My dad has one and the second day my right eye suddenly turned bright red and watery.  I took some Claritin before the wheezing really started!! UGH!  I felt like I had the Bubonic plague!  Even the pastor asked me if my eye was okay.

We also ended up at Skyline twice.  Matt begged me for a third trip, but I declined to go three days in a row!

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Chili spaghetti (with beans and onions) and cheese coneys!  Chili spaghetti reminds me of when I was little.  Everyone else had chili spaghetti in the high school cafeteria, right?

And finally, I met Beckey downtown for lunch.  We went to this AWESOME place called It’s Just Crepes.  I’ve always associated crepes with French class and sweet fillings like strawberries and whipped cream, but they had incredible savory ones as well.  Here is the guy making the crepe:

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He said that pictures were $5.  I told him that the check was in the mail.  After making the crepe, they are filled and folded:

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And then SCARFED DOWN!  I got the Hawaiian one with mozzarella, cheddar, ham, pineapple, and brown sugar.

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Beckey got the special Ultimate Veggie Pizza crepe:  Goat Cheese, Mozzarella Cheese, Spinach, Artichokes, Mushrooms, Red Peppers, Pizza Sauce and Pesto

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Oh were they amazing.  It was like a sweet pita.  Mmmmmm . . . .  what is your favorite crepe filling?  Have you ever made them? I made them a few times in high school.  Maybe they will be making a return.

Golden Birthdays

Well, I made it to Knoxville just fine!  I flew out at 5am on December 26th (just before the blizzard), and despite two hours on the tarmac in Charlotte awaiting de-icing, I got to Knoxville about 12:45pm.  My original flight (leaving at 5am on Monday, December 27th) was canceled, so I’m glad I made it.  I wonder how much snow will be left when we return to Boston.  April, who is staying with my mom, is enjoying the snow immensely!  My mom and stepdad swear that she is part husky.

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Today is Matt’s (and his twin sister, Diana’s) GOLDEN birthday.  They are 28 on the 28th!  WOO HOO!!  We celebrated by checking out the new Brazilian steakhouse in Knoxville.  What an experience.  I had heard of the concept, but didn’t know exactly how it worked.  You are given a chip.  Red means “No, thank you”, and green means “MORE PLEASE!”

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We started with a salad course.  Delicious cheesey poufs (little muffins) were also consumed.

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Then came the meat.  Now I am not a big red meat fan, so I had to say “No thank you” to all of the guys with their many cuts of beef.

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But yes to chicken legs, chicken breast wrapped in bacon, and pork sausage.

We were stuffed when all was said and done.  It was a fun experience, and highly recommended if you are a carnivore.

This evening we opened presents:

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And ate cookie cake!

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I gave Matt a digital camera.  He kept stealing mine to go to site visits, so I got him one of his very own!  Good thing, too.  I appear to have forgotten my camera.  I swear I checked that I had packed it, but I can’t find it!  ARGH!  It had better be sitting somewhere in our house.  I guess the fact that I stayed up all night until the taxi arrived at 3am caused me to be forgetful.  Speaking of which, my cab ride to the airport was $39 (plus tip), and I only gave the driver $27!  Luckily I figured it out and called him back to hand him another $20.  I wonder what he bad words he was saying when he saw that I had shorted him.

Anyway, happy birthday to Matt and Diana!  We are off to Cincinnati in the morning for LOTS OF WEDDING STUFFS!

Not Your Average Customer Service

It’s no secret that one of my favorite restaurants is Not Your Average Joe’s, which is conveniently located within walking distance of our house.  If you join their email list, you get an email certificate for free entree and dessert for your birthday.  I was so excited to get mine this year (especially when you’re on a budget!).  But I never received it.  I found a link on their website named “If you didn’t receive your birthday email”.  I filled out the form.  Ten days after my birthday, I ended up finding my birthday email.  I received it when I was on vacation and must have missed it.  I was so bummed.  Luckily, that night I received another email from NYAJ apologizing for me having issues with my birthday certificate (nope I’m actually just an idiot).  And I got another certificate!  YAY!!  NYAJ seriously has the best customer service (not only with this but with special requests for your food at the restaurant.)

Guess where we went for our Friday night date?

One of the best parts of NYAJ is the bread and dipping oil.  Sometimes we ask for a second basket:

I'm such a dip!

My entree was a sweet potato cannelloni.  I need to figure out how to make these, they were deliciouso!

Enchiladas? No! Cannellonis!

And dessert (for free) was peanut butter thing.  It is supposed to come with caramel and hot fudge, but we asked for double hot fudge.  Our server agreed that it sounded like a good choice.

We like PB & Chocolate

YAY!!  I love that place.

Saturday afternoon we headed to Chestnut Hill to see Clemson take on Boston College.  We couldn’t believe how much purple and orange there was.  Even the band was there.

C-L-E-M-S-O------N!

The game didn’t really go so well.  Clemson (or Clemsoooon as they are usually called in our house) doesn’t know how to succeed or beat team’s that are 2-5.  Saturday night we spent some time training April.  Guess who knows how to shake now!?!

And finally the biggest wedding news of the day:  MY DRESS IS IN!  I will be going down to Priscilla’s in the next few weeks to check on it, but won’t start fittings until February/March.

Girls Weekend in MSP

This past weekend, I flew to MSP (Minneapolis-St. Paul) to visit with three of my bridesmaids.  Two of my bridesmaids actually live in MSP, and Kathleen, my maid of honor, also came to visit.

Friday night and Saturday morning, I stayed with Jan, her husband, Erik, and twin two year olds, R and J.  We had a great time Friday night drinking some wine and chatting.  Jan and I have known each other since first grade (surprisingly not the bridesmaid that I’ve known the longest).  My mom always called her “that cute little red-headed girl”.  She moved to the twin cities after 9th grade.  Saturday morning her friend, Keri, and her mom came over for brunch.  Two year old boys are certainly a handful!

Reece just wanted to climb.

Where's Jensen?

We then met Jen, Kathleen, and Jen’s three month old daughter for lunch at a bar showing the Purdue game (we won’t talk about the score).  Kathleen is my maid of honor and college roommate.  Jen lived two doors down freshman year.  We shared a sorority, a major, and many places to sleep.

A new little Boilermaker!

Saturday night we headed out to Chino Latino for a great girls night.  First, two pitchers of Sangria:

Complete with plastic giraffe

And lots and lots of food:

Chicken Enchiladas

Beef Empanadas

Tempura Shrimp

Cuban Pork Roast with plantains

Sushi Sampler

After dinner, I made my way to the bathrooms.  It was a tile doorway marked “banos”.  Now I don’t speak Spanish, but I knew it said bathroom.  However, when I walked in, all I saw were three guys washing their hands.  WHAT?!!  I started to walk out, but was told no, this is the right place.  Apparently the men and women share sinks, but there are two separate toilet areas.  I was convinced that I was going to see a man at a urinal when I turned the corner.  Jan said that she likes to accompany people when they go to the bathrooms for the first time and Chino Latino.  I guess my reaction isn’t so abnormal.

What a great night with great ladies!

Horrible picture of me

Perhaps we should have taken the picture BEFORE we stuffed ourselves.

Living up to the standards

Another weekend without plans.  So nice, but weird.

Friday night we went to Chili’s, since Matt has been drooling over their new cheeseburgers.  I got make your own fajitas, mostly just to get some guacamole.  :)

The before:

The after:

Pretty tasty, although the chicken was a bit charred.  But the service was outstanding!  A+!

Saturday we made our way to cheap housewares Mecca:

Matt has never actually been to IKEA!  I was looking for some candles and vases for a centerpiece mockup.  But of course we had to start at the cafeteria.

Matt got some spaghetti and meatballs. I wasn’t so hungry, so I got some veggie soup and a chocolate chip cookie.  Of course, something happened to my chocolate chip cookie while I went to refill my drink:

SOMEONE TOOK A BITE OF MY COOKIE!  Matt wiped the chocolate off of his face and gave me an innocent look, before going to get a piece of chocolate cake.

Anyway, the weekend started on a bit of a sad note.  My great aunt Jane passed away Saturday morning.  She was almost 85.  I can’t begin to tell you how close my family is, so this was very sad.  She was an amazing woman.  I am always so proud of the accomplishments of the women in my family.  Born in 1925, she went to school to be a registered nurse and work with the Army Nurse Corps during WWII.  She received a bachelors and masters in nursing.  She went to Purdue for her masters and lived near there for most of her life.  So she loved the fact that I (and her daughter and granddaughter) went there!  I heard a story last Thanks giving about how Aunt Jane was instrumental in helping all of the cousins (my mom’s generation) during their weddings.  At my mom’s (or aunt’s, I forget) wedding, the wedding topper fell over and broke the night before.  Aunt Jane to the rescue!  She fixed it and saved the day!  Our family will surely miss her.  Unfortunately, I won’t be able to make it to Indiana for the calling and funeral.  But I will go there in a few weeks for my grandmother’s 80th birthday.

This picture is from her granddaughter’s bridal shower.  She’s modeling the lingerie that the bride received.  This picture makes me laugh!

Here is a picture of her granddaughters (and me) at the bridal shower.  Aunt Jane, I can only hope to live up the standards that you and your mother and sisters have set for us.  Your granddaughters are already well on their way!

Taste of Cincinnati

Isn’t it going away that makes you miss your hometown?  We had a great weekend in Cincinnati.  Saturday we went to lunch with a photographer then to the Museum Center for a venue meeting.  If you ever go to Cincinnati, one of my recommendations is heading the to  Museum Center.  It’s in the old train station at Union Terminal and is a beautiful, old Art Deco building.

If we had our reception there, it would be in the Grand Rotunda (this is where we had prom senior year). There are huge mosaics there.

The catering manager was great and let us go into the museum itself.  I haven’t been in at least ten years, and had fond memories of the cave in the Natural History Museum.  It’s obviously fake, but I swear it was better than I remembered.

There are multi-story water drips and stalagtites (or stalagmites, I forget).

After exploring the museum, we headed to see my brother, future sister-in-law, and dad.  Then on to dinner with my mom at the Montgomery Inn Boathouse.  This is a restaurant famous for their BBQ ribs.  The sauce is nice and sweet, and has ruined me for all other BBQ sauces.  We were supposed to wait for 30-45 minutes for our 8:00pm reservation, so we got some appetizers to share.  Of course the minute you do that your table’s ready, right?  Anyway, we enjoyed some onion strings

And fried mozzarella for those of us who DON’T like onions (*cough* Matt *cough*)

I, of course, got the ribs (and a not-so-great sweet potato)

Matt got the Big Ted’s plate:  ribs, brisket, and pulled pork with Saratoga chips:

Obviously the restaurant might not be the greatest for a vegetarian.  But delicious nonetheless.

As far as the wedding goes, it was a very productive weekend.  We saw four venues, met with two photographers, and picked out bridesmaid dresses.  I really can’t decide between the two photographers.  I change my mind every minute or two.    How did you choose a wedding photographer?

Three Days Weeks Gone Amok

Last week I worked three days (after working 10 straight days).  This week, I worked three days.  After the stressful day that was Tuesday, we got our calculations out and I realized that I didn’t have much to do.  Since the PE is next Friday, and I had my required work commitment, I asked my boss if I could take Thursday and Friday off to study.  He was nice enough to say yes!!  And next week I’m working three days before taking Thursday off and the test on Friday.  WOO HOO!

Since I was at home studying, Matt and I decided to meet for a lunch date at Casa De Pedro’s.  They have this incredible chicken dish that is only available at lunch time, Pollo en Brasa

Mmmm . . . the chicken is marinated for 24 hours in some sort of marinade made of orange juice, lemon juice, and annatto spice.  And of course the best part of Pedro’s is the sides . . . YUCCA!! (Matt loves the plantains)

This evening we decided to head up to the Burlington Mall for Chick-Fil-A (the only one in the entire state) which is very necessary every few months.  After supper we shopped for a new phone for Matt and then I looked for sunglasses for our upcoming cruise.  I’m very particular with my sunglasses.  First it has to be made of plastic, so it won’t get stuck in my hair when I put it on my head.  Second, I can’t look like a bug (sorry if you like that style).  Third, I won’t pay more than $15, since I lose them.  Found two pairs.  Here’s my fancy-schmancy Ralph Lauren pair from Sears that was $15 and blue!!

How do I look?

After our exhausting shopping, Matt needed some ice cream.  So we tried the new place called Shotcakes.  They take cupcakes and “shoot” a bit of ice cream into the middle.

(Tiny picture from the internet).  We got a peanut butter cup cupcake with chocolate ice cream.  Matt loved it.  I thought that the frosting was too sugary.  Interesting though . .

Nice Thursday multiple-date night!

In case those of you were concerned with the reception drama (thanks for all of your encouragement), we decided to put the deposit down, but keep our minds open.  I won’t go into the hours of discussion with my mom (and the five minute discussion with Matt), but yes, we could lose $1,000.  AHHH!!

P.S.  Check out my friend’s new blog More to Love Running.  RUN, GIRL, RUN!

April Fool's Date

I have had a wonderful two days off from the office!  (WOOHOO!!)  Yesterday my only accomplishments were a load of laundry and I actually went to the gym for the first time in two weeks.  I actually started to become giddy as I pulled into the parking lot.  My muscles were ready for some good hard lifting!

Matt has to go out of town this weekend, so we moved our usual Friday night date to Thursday.  After ready Kelly’s post on TCBY in Belmont, we went on an adventure to find it.  I’ve looked for it MULTIPLE times, but couldn’t see it while driving. But we found it last night!  Unfortunately, the food choices around Belmont center were not that great.  We ended up at a Thai restaurant.  The food was okay, but the service was V E  R  Y    S L O   O  O     O    W.

I got a shrimp and vegetable dish:

Isn’t that the greatest picture ever . . . NOT!

Then we headed down to TCBY.  I think I figured out why it’s closing soon.  It was being run by three “punk kids” (as we call them) with no uniforms and a backwards hat . . . GASP!  I got a vanilla sundae with hot fudge and reese’s pieces . . . mmmm!

Today I spent watching more trashy TV (did anyone else see the Kardashian’s where Scott gets SH**FACED!?! in Vegas?), tackling my incredible mound of laundry from the past two-three weeks:

Yes, that’s my messy “closet” (it’s the tiny third bedroom that I made into a closet).

I also accomplished 17 steel practice problems!  And was researching wedding photograhers (aka sat on my butt for a while).

Tomorrow I’m studying and then heading to my mom’s for Easter and the final four (and of course wedding will be discussed).  What are your plans for the holiday weekend?

SWEET SIXTEEN!!

So, quick recap of the weekend:

Friday night we went to dinner with Matt’s coworker and her fiance.  Lots of sweet potato fries!  I broke the news that we were engaged (Matt had yet to tell them).

Woke up at 3:30am to take some friends to the airport, then slept in until 11am!  Had dress rehearsal for our dance recital.  Studied a little bit before heading downtown to meet a friend for dinner on Newbury Street.

The weather in Boston was absolutely AHH-MAZING this weekend.  It was 70 degrees both days.  It felt like June in Boston.  Newbury Street was hopping!!  We dined “al fresco” at Stephanie’s on Newbury.

Really bad picture, I know.

So in going veggie for Lent, I gave myself special dispensation for dining out;  I was allowed to eat fish when out to eat every once in a while.  The veggie choices at the restaurant were not so great, so I had swordfish with mashed potatoes and butternut squash.

The potatoes and squash were great.  The swordfish was a bit overcooked.

I came home and watched “Up in the Air” with Matt.  It was pretty good.  Not what I was expecting.

Sunday I had bells all day, so I missed the basketball games, but I came home to good news:

PURDUE IS IN THE SWEET SIXTEEN!  Take that Mr. President!  Now we’re playing Duke Friday night.  And my bracket isn’t totally busted.  I had Kansas losing to Ohio State in the Elite Eight!  HA!

That’s about it.  Late night date with Matt at Joe’s, and The Amazing Race.  A pretty great Sunday night!

Paddling our way to dinner

Last night we braved the monsoon to try a new restaurant (to us) in Watertown:  Porcini’s.

From the name, you probably guessed that it’s an Italian restaurant.  It’s a quaint little place with EXCELLENT service, and pretty good food.  I was looking for a place for supper, and while the prices were a bit high, the Gnocchi on the menu sounded just right for me:

Gnocchi with peas, butternut squash, and fresh Parmesan cheese!  Mmmmmm . . . so good!  I had half at dinner, and broke out the second half for an evening snack . . . :-)

Matt ordered Chicken Parm, but didn’t eat all of the accompanying fettuccine.  We boxed it up, and I had it for dinner tonight, along with some falafel balls!

I’ve never had falafel before, but this was okay.  Definitely not the spaghetti and meatballs that they look like, but still pretty tasty.

Buying a car?

So my “check engine” light came on this morning, along with a bit of a shudder while the engine was trying to shift.   My car is a 1999 Honda Accord with 150,900 miles on it.  I took my last Honda to 205,000 miles, and want this one to go as far.  I’m hoping that fixing it won’t be too expensive.  I was thinking about how I could afford buying a new car, but Matt and I just spent some time doing research, and I realized it wouldn’t be too bad.  I thought I would have to put like $10,000 on it, which would make a serious dent in my savings (currently earmarked for the wedding!), but I could put only $5,000 down, and the payments might only be $500 per month or something . . . hmmm . . . thinking about it more seriously.  I did just buy new tires in September, though!  Come on Honder, you can do it!

Have you ever bought a car?  Advice?  What’s the most you’ve “driven a car into the ground”?

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