Happy Birthday, Dad!

Friday the 13th is a good day. This one in particular happens to be the birthday of one of my favorite baseball partners. He got me started on the game when I was just a wee little one and has taken me to countless games over the years.

Orioles Dad

He taught me home team first [GO O’S!], and with him being from New York, Yankees second [I might lose some followers over that one..]

He also taught me how to drive stick.. if you consider me being 5 years old and sitting in the passengers seat shifting with all of my strength in both hands to be “driving.” I certainly did! It was the best cruising around, listening to my Sesame Street tape and singing along to Cookie Monster’s theme song. And once in a while turning on 105.7 Rouse & Company for some good oldies. What can I say, we were crazy!

Dad Hora Wedding

He’s the best dad and grandpa we could ask for!

Jilly Bean Dad

And in just 1 1/2 short weeks, we’ll be cheers-ing it up in California, just like last year. I can’t wait to see my parents again and have some good times celebrating!

Buena Vista Cafe Irish Coffee Cheers

Bear Republic Cheers

Happy birthday, Dad! I love you!

And happy Friday, friends. Have a great weekend!

What I Ate Wednesday #100: The Birthday Food

I think birthday food is the perfect way to celebrate 100 WIAW posts, don’t you? I’m glad we agree.

Luckily for me, I had 2 full days of birthday meals—one on my actual birthday, last Thursday, and another on the following Saturday. And let me tell you, it was gooooood!

Thursday

Lunch+
Nathan came home from work to take me out for a sushi lunch. I got the sashimi bento box [no rice, extra salad] and it was wonderful.
Sashimi Bento Box Miso Soup

I had a feeling I’d want to save some room for our favorite ice cream around the corner. I had the lime meringue pie [with graham cracker crust pieces] and Nathan got the cardamom rose pistachio.
Ici Ice Cream

Dinner+
For dinner, we went Kanishka’s, an Indian Neo-Gastro Pub, where we started out with flights of red wine Belgian beer.
Kanishka Syrah Trempranillo Garnacha Wine Flight

Kanishka Belgian Beer Flight

The restaurant offered tapas-style dishes, so we split a few, including the Tandoori-tini,
Kanishka Tandoori-tini

Chef’s 6 ‘O’ Clock Cravings [street-style rolls],
Kanishka Chefs 6 O Clock Craving

Chicken Korma Poutine,
Kanishka Chicken Korma Poutine

and Nicoya Breeze Salad.
Kanishka Nicoya Breeze Salad

And if that wasn’t enough, we topped it off with another brew.
ØL Beercafe & Bottle Shop

But it didn’t end there!

Saturday

Lunch+
We went over to Perdition Smokehouse, a new BBQ joint around the corner from us, and split a 2 meat plate with brisket, pulled pork, coleslaw, and Texas caviar. And beer, of course.
Perdition Smokehouse Brisket Pulled Pork Coleslaw Texas Caviar
The brisket was awesome. The pork was ridiculous.

And then we had to top it off with a slice of peach pie.
Perdition Smokehouse Peach Crumble Pie

Dinner
The big night out to NOPA! We started with a little amuse bouche—apples with honey yogurt and sea salt.
NOPA Amuse Bouche

Next up was the tasso spiced ham with pluots, almonds, and balsamic. We were both hoping for a more flavorful pluot, but the dish was pretty darn tasty.
NOPA Tasso Ham Pluots Smoked Almonds

I ordered the king salmon with creamy corn, trumpet mushrooms, green beans, and roasted cherry tomatoes. The salmon was so perfectly cooked, the mushrooms gave the dish a little extra meatiness, the corn had that little bit of decadence, and the green beans and tomatoes really helped to lighten it up so it didn’t feel too heavy. I loved it!
NOPA Salmon Corn Green Beans Trumpet Mushrooms Cherry Tomatoes

Finally, for dessert [because birthdays require 2 desserts in 1 day], we split the fig and peach tart with cognac cream, walnut crust, and melon sorbet. Totally different than anything I’d typically order, but it was light and flavorful. That said, I’d go for the crumble from Perdition 😉
NOPA Peach Fig Tart Cognac Cream Walnut Crust Melon Sorbet

I’d have to say, it was a pretty successful birthday in the food realm! Couldn’t have asked for anymore.

Food for Thought

What’s your favorite birthday meal and dessert?

A Pretty Sweet Weekend

..in more ways than one!

For Nathan and me, birthday celebrations [and most other celebrations..] are centered a lot around food and drink. It was a very nice celebratory weekend, for sure.

It all started on my actual birthday on Thursday.. a quick lunch, post-lunch ice cream, and dinner/drinks out.

The Kombucha Shop Brewing Kit

Here, take my picture in the middle of a tiny sushi restaurant real quick!

Ici Ice Cream

Nothing goes with sushi like a little birthday ice cream.

ØL Beercafe & Bottle Shop

A little post-dinner brew-ski.

Friday we kept it quiet and stayed in in preparation for Saturday.

Perdition Smokehouse Berkeley

An amazingly flavorful bbq & brew lunch [with dessert, obviously.]

Jilly Bean

Skyping with this sweet little nugget! Can’t wait to get my hands on her soon!

Avery Hog Heaven Barleywine

Pre-dinner drinks at Toronado.

NOPA Kitchen

Scoping out the kitchen at NOPA with my new chef friend who likes to pose for pictures.

NOPA Kitchen View

Best seat in the house [in my opinion!] I couldn’t stop watching them cook.

NOPA Salmon Corn Green Beans Trumpet Mushrooms Cherry Tomatoes

A fabulous salmon dish.

Barrel Head Brewhouse Birthday Cake Shots

And capping off the night with a birthday cake shot. At least now I can say I’ve had one…..?

Yesterday was a lazy day full of packing because we’re headed back to Baltimore today!! I can’t wait to get back home and see everyone again. It’s hard to believe that we’ll be there for a week and a half and are having trouble fitting everything in. Need. More. Time! We’re not only going home for more family time, but for our friends’ wedding! We’re both in the wedding and I’m so excited for all of the festivities that are starting on Friday. This is going to be a really fun trip 🙂

And when we get back, I’ll have a gallon of home-brewed kombucha waiting for me! I might need the whole gallon after so many more celebrations at home 😉 I’d say this is a pretty marvelous Monday, yes?

No meal plan this week.. who knows what we’ll be eating?!

Food for Thought

What did you do over the weekend?
Have you ever brewed your own kombucha?

27 Years

Isn’t it funny how your birthday really just sneaks up on you as you get older? When you’re young, it’s a whole big to-do.. your parents bring Dunkin Donuts munchkins into school, you get a big party with lots of cake, and you get a whole day about you. Well, I decided to take the day off of work today, Nathan’s coming home early to take me to lunch, and Saturday [after work] is all birthday fun! It’s the little things that make me realize how lucky I am.

This birthday is definitely a bit different for me; it’s my first in California so it’s going to be full of all new experiences. Last year, I was lucky enough to be surrounded by a ton of family and I loved it.

Grandpa

This year already kicked off with a great startI skyped with my mom who sang happy birthday to me at 12 am EST. The time difference is still weird sometimes but she is always there to remind me that I was born in Eastern Standard Time 😉 And I’ll be back in Baltimore for more celebrations in just a few days.. I can’t believe it’s here already and I’m so looking forward to it.

My 26th year brought quite a bit of change with the big move across the country. It’s really taught me a lot about my life, myself, my marriage, and so much more than I could have imagined. As someone who isn’t a big fan of change, giving up my career to explore what I think I want to do with my life next has been really scary. And while it’s been difficult, I couldn’t have asked for a more supportive husband to encourage me and cheer me on throughout the process. In the last year, I’ve learned even more that Nathan truly is my best friend; we couldn’t have done this move without each others’ support and I’d say that’s a hell of a lesson to learn.

Stinson Beach Brittany Nathan

I may not be with my family and friends this time around, but I think I’ve got a pretty great group of people to celebrate with out here.

Tone It Up TIU Mission Dolores Park Clueless

Not to mention how special it’s going to be when I get to see the fam again.

Orioles Dad

Orioles Mom

Jilly Bean Smiles

Matt Jilly Melissa

Things seem to really be falling into place and 26 was a hell of a year. I can’t wait to see what 27 will bring!

No questions today, just thoughts 🙂

Liquid Diet

Hi friends! Hope you had a great weekend. We certainly did over here.. it started out a little like this:

Eureka Red Wine Sierra Nevada Porter

Eureka Bear Republic Racer 5 IPA Rye Whiskey

We hit up a new-to-us restaurant for happy hour called Eureka! I planned on sticking with the 1 glass of wine but when I saw they had a Bear Republic Racer 5 with a shot of rye, I couldn’t pass it up. And I’m so glad I didn’t.. what a great combo! After dinner, we made our way over to another bar where a little more beer, a shared slice of pizza, and gelato happened. So much for sticking with 1 glass of wine, huh? 😉 It had been quite some time since Nathan and I went bar hopping and it was a really fun night.

That night that subsequently resulted in a nice, quiet Saturday morning.

Protein Egg Oatmeal Almond Macadamia Cashew Butter

Got myself all snuggled up on the couch before hitting up the farmers’ market, wandering Berkeley, and having a relaxing Saturday that ended in our favorite Indian food.

Viks Chaat Tandoori Chicken

And if we didn’t get enough on Friday, we had a nice Sunday Funday. We made our way into the city and grabbed brunch at Pork Store Cafe.

Pork Store Cafe

Pork Store Cafe Eggs Benedict Grilled Tomato Avocado

The mimosa was a surprise.. Nathan decided to order them and I put up no fight at all. Besides, it paired perfectly with the fabulous benedict with avocado and grilled tomato. Yesssss! We took to some more relaxing, this time in Dolores Park.

Dolores Park

Never forgetting our sunglasses again! Haha. The day started a bit gray, as usual these days, but turned out to be perfect weather. It was so nice to just sit in a park and enjoy the day and people watch. It was a really great weekend and I’m sorry to see it end. But it just means we’re that much closer to heading home again! 🙂

Weekly Meal Plan

Sunday – Grilled balsamic chicken thighs, roasted brussels sprouts, & balsamic basil heirloom tomato salad
MondaySmokey Peruvian chicken with roasted carrots
TuesdayChar siu pork bowl
WednesdayGreek chicken souvlaki with side salad
Thursday – My birthday! Going out!
Friday – Leftovers
Saturday – Big birthday dinner at NOPA!

Food for Thought

What fun things did you do over the weekend?

A Weekend in Instagram

Happy birthday, Mom!!

Mom Hora Wedding

She’s a party animal 😉

Soon enough, my parents will be out here visiting us and we’ll be having just as much fun, right? 😉

This past weekend was nutso! Our furniture was delivered early Friday afternoon and after spending a full 2 days of unpacking, I still decided it was a good idea to go run the Hot Chocolate 5K. Obviously I’m glad I did though! So for you, I have lots of pictures to recap an otherwise uneventful weekend.

Almond Milk Latte Peets

Started my weekend with a large almond milk latte. READY TO UNPACK!

Pliny the Elder Russian River

Obviously the first beer we bought in California had to be the first beer we drank in our new place!

Salmon Melt The Bureau 510

Salmon melt on ACME bread at The Bureau 510. Had to refuel big time after a long day!

Breakfast of Champions Liba Falafel

Breakfast of Champions from Liba Falafel at the farmers’ market. There’s a poached egg in there.. and the rosemary peanuts and brussels slaw were ridiculous.

Kale Cabbage Sugar Snap Peas Tomatoes Carrots Roasted Corn Hemp Seed Sriracha Avocado Honey Mustard

I was entirely too excited to finally get some dino kale from the farmers’ market. And this salad was crazy good! I missed my big bowls.

Spicy Pork Bibimbop Spoon Korean Cafe

Spicy Pork Bibimbop, no rice, extra veg at Spoon. Definitely getting it this way every time.

Banana Oatmeal Justins Maple Almond Butter

Oh, you don’t eat oatmeal in your car before a race?

Hot Chocolate 5K

FINISHER! Time to eat entirely too much sugar. Worth it. It was no PR, but having not run in a few weeks, I’ll take a sub-25 min 5K.

San Francisco Tone It Up TIU Hot Chocolate 5K

Love meeting up with the SF Tone It Up girls! Great run yesterday 🙂

Kale Roasted Corn Sugar Snap Peas Tomatoes Kidney Beans Hemp Seeds Sriracha Mustard

Ingested 100 lbs of sugar? Let’s have some veggies for lunch..

At this point, we’re almost totally unpacked and trying to make everything fit. If you have any creative storage tips, PLEASE share! I’ve been Pinterest-ing like a mad woman and am always open to more suggestions.

Food for Thought

Have you ever run a Hot Chocolate race?
What are your favorite creative storage tips?

What I Ate Wednesday #13 – Birthday Edition!

It’s my birthday!

Or, at least it was yesterday. And what better way to celebrate then with some of my favorite foods and sharing them with you today.

Barr & Table Chocolate Protein Coach's Oats Earth Balance Coconut Peanut Spread Fig Tone It Up TIU Bombshell Spell

[Breakfast]
For such an important day, I had to make sure to have my most favorite breakfast. Chocolate protein Coach’s Oats, topped with Earth Balance Coconut Peanut Spread and a fig, plus my Bombshell Spell on the side!

And no worries, I would never keep something so delicious from you. The recipe is coming soon 🙂

[Snack]
Grapefruit (not pictured)

Barr & Table Brio Wood Grilled Salmon Salad Chicken Tomatoes Feta Crispy Onions Mixed Greens

[Lunch]
My lovely friend, Jessie, offered to take me out to lunch for my birthday. I decided to check out Brio, which happens to be right around the corner from both of our offices. I’d never made it over there, but I will definitely be going back! I got the Wood Grilled Salmon Salad, exchanging grilled chicken for the salmon. I was shocked when it came out; so many times I’m disappointed in the size of “entree” salads at restaurants, but this salad was huge! And super delicious. And the steaming hot sourdough bread to start out didn’t hurt either!

Barr & Table Vega One Chocolate Nutritional Shake GNC Shaker Blender Bottle

[Snack]
Vega One Chocolate Nutritional Shake. I have to say, I was quite impressed with the flavor of this shake. It was my first time trying this brand, and really any vegan brand of protein for that matter, and I’m looking forward to trying the other flavors!

Barr & Table Birthday Flowers!

[Birthday Flowers!]
He done good. Real good 🙂 Nathan definitely knows me well enough by now (almost 9 years!) to know that I’m not interested in a bouquet of roses. I just love all of the colors!

[Dinner]
Oh heyyyy awesome birthday dinner!

In the spirit of trying new things, we went to Dogwood for dinner last night. Neither of us had ever been there before, but we’ve heard so many good things about it over the years and I’m so glad we finally made it!

Barr & Table Dogwood Restaurant Baltimore Maryland MD Summertime Squeeze Irish Bread Mango Butter Grilled Summer Ratatouille

The meal started with a deliciously dense homemade bread served with mango butter; a little bit of sweet and a little bit of savory. I ordered the Summer Squeeze, a cocktail of watermelon juice, lemon juice, basil, and house-infused citron vodka. I’m a sucker for any kind of watermelon or cucumber cocktail so I had this one picked out before we even sat down!

For my first course, I chose the Grilled Summer Ratatouille.

Local summer squashes, eggplant & tomato, fresh basil

Nathan described this as a “hug in a bowl.” It was so fresh and flavorful; it was really the perfect comfort dish for a summer evening. Not to mention, it is vegan and gluten-free. For those of you Baltimorian’s out there that are vegan, vegetarian, or gluten-free, I would highly recommend Dogwood; everything on their menu is noted, and they even have an entire vegan prix-fixe menu!

Barr & Table Dogwood Restaurant Baltimore Maryland MD Pan-seared Wild-caught Swordfish Coconut Cake Prosecco

For my entree, I was between a few options, but landed on the Pan-seared Wild-caught Swordfish per our waiter’s suggestion.

North Carolina swordfish served with ruby grapefruit, jicama and avocado salad, baby arugula and yukon gold potatoes

He definitely did not steer me wrong! The fish was cooked perfectly, the salad was light and fresh, and the potatoes were creamy and flavorful. And those sauces were divine. I topped off my entree with a glass of white wine recommended, again, by the waiter; a little sweet to play off of the sweetness of the fish.

Dessert was an amazing coconut cake. And if you’re like Nathan or me, you immediately just thought of the coconut cake episode of Good Eats. I will be trying Alton Brown’s recipe very soon.. I couldn’t get enough of the cake!

Oh, and that glass of prosecco? On the house.

As if the food wasn’t wonderful enough, the service at Dogwood was the icing on the (coconut) cake! They were all very attentive and friendly, and always willing to share a recommendation. This restuarant gets a huge Barr & Table seal of approval. I can’t wait to go back!

[Summer Staples]
FIGS!

Barr & Table Chocolate Protein Coach's Oats Earth Balance Coconut Peanut Spread Fig

I completely forgot how much I love fresh figs and have reminded myself in the past week. I could have eaten the entire box in one sitting, but instead I decided to space them out and savor them. Oh, and Nathan doesn’t like them. Darn.. more for me!

Speak Up!

What is a food for which you’ve recently re-discovered your love?