Booch Beer + Sledgehammer

Hi there, friends! Sorry to leave you high and dry last week. Seems like my crazy schedule from the past 2 weeks finally caught up to me and my brain just said “no more!” Luckily, I had a nice, relaxing weekend to recoop [before another crazy week.. such is life!] First things first, congrats to Brittney for winning my She’s Losing It! giveaway!

Our weekend mostly began on Friday; Nathan took the day off and I only had a 7 a.m. client. It was amazing to be done by 8 a.m., be able to hit the gym, run a few errands, and then just kick back. We had to make a Costco run and thought it would be a much better idea to do that on a Friday afternoon than Saturday. When we first moved out here, someone said to me “people in San Francisco have jobs, but no one ever works.” Man, did that ring true. Costco was still crazy! Luckily, we had gone out to lunch before and had a little liquid stress-relief.

Citrus Ginger Kombucha Sierra Nevada Kellerweis

Mine came in the form of 50/50 citrus ginger kombucha & Sierra Nevada Kellerweis. I’m not sure why I’ve never thought of mixing my own kombucha with beer at home but it’s definitely going to happen now! Easiest way to make beer healthy, right?

We had a few quiet nights including a little wine + movie night action.

Sledgehammer El Gaucho

I’ve been singing Sledgehammer since I got the bottle..

We watched Nightcrawler on Friday and Birdman on Saturday. I’d definitely recommend both.

Sunday was for work and meal prep. I’ve been having a hell of a time trying to figure out how to create a meal plan that can work for both of us. This vegan thing is totally throwing me through a loop, but I’m hoping this week goes a little smoother. That said, Nathan took some of it into his own hands and made a beautiful porchetta.

Porchetta

I’m making him save me some 😉 In the meantime, I have a few vegan options planned out for myself this week.

Weekly Meal Plan

SundayRoasted potato and asparagus lentil salad with tangy mustard-lemon dressing
Oh She Glows Roasted Potato Asparagus Lentil Salad Tangy Mustard Dressing
MondayMushroom, lemon, & lentil salad
TuesdayPlantain bean salad
WednesdaySweet potato & lentil salad
ThursdayVegan cuban bowl
FridayLentils + roasted acorn squash & mushrooms
Saturday – Valentine’s Day!

Food for Thought

Did you do anything exciting over the weekend?

Foodie Friday: All the Pork

A few weeks ago, I went to the store and bought 10 lbs of pork. For Nathan and me. Yep, all the pork.

It was pretty comical at the butcher’s counter. I told them I wanted to make a porchetta and would need pork tenderloin and enough pork belly to wrap around the tenderloin. They honestly looked at me like I was nuts. I pulled up the recipe on my phone and walked through the whole process with one of the butchers. There were text messages going back and forth with Nathan. There was a whole lot of “good lord, that’s a lot of pork!” I bit the bullet and bought the pork. I also promised pictures to the butcher the next time I was in the store.

In the end, it was absolutely worth all of the investment of time and money work that went into it. Not to mention we had tons of leftovers to enjoy over the past couple weeks. Don’t worry, it freezes well!

There were toasted and crushed spices.

Toasted Fennel Red Pepper

Mortar Pestle

There was scoring, rubbing, and wrapping.

Porchetta Wrapped

We let it sit uncovered in the fridge for about 24 hours. And then there was the cooking and slicing.

Porchetta Cooked

Porchetta

Porchetta Sliced

And after all of that, we finally dug in! We had it with porcini pasta the first night and Nathan has since made many, many sandwiches with the leftovers.

Porchetta Porcini Pasta

Porchetta Sandwich

He says the sandwich is definitely the way to go. He also made a rosemary garlic salt and garlic and crushed red pepper infused olive oil to drizzle and sprinkle on top. It’s legit. This was his baby and he did me proud!

We’ll definitely be trying this out again, possibly next time with a picnic roast. One thing I will note that is very important to follow in the recipe is to tenderize the pork belly. We didn’t have a tenderizer and unfortunately much of that delicious-looking skin was too tough to eat. Live and learn, right? Now go make some porchetta!

Sprint 2 the Table

Food for Thought

What has been your biggest food investment at home?

Foodshots

Happy Memorial Day and many, many thanks to all of the amazing men and women who are serving and have served our country. I hope everyone is able to take the day off and spend some time with family and friends today! We had a great weekend filled with lots of delicious food [for a change..] so I thought I’d share some tasty shots.

Friday

Cheese Crackers Wine

Cheese [aged gouda & cream cheese], crackers, balsamic jelly [from Italy], and white wine. Glad I remembered to take a picture before we dug in. We needed a little something to hold us over while this baby was in the oven..

Porchetta

Holy porchetta!

Porchetta Porcini Pasta

With porcini pasta & roasted tomato sauce.

Saturday

Old Fashioned

A pair of old-fashioneds to kick off the night. While trying to figure out where to go for dinner, in the middle of Little Italy and Chinatown, I said “I don’t care, I just don’t want pizza.” So we got asparagus.

Il Casaro Asparagus Parmesan

Oh..

Il Casaro Pizza Broccoli Italian Sausage

.. and pizza. Same place that we went for Nathan’s birthday. Best pizza since Italy. Though the margherita was better than this one.

The Saloon

Wrapped up the night with Einstein and a little live music 😉

Sunday

The best Indian food we’ve ever had for lunch..
Chicken Kathi Kebab Viks Chaat

Chicken Kathi Kebab

Lamb Biriyani Viks Chaat

Lamb Biriyani

Aloo Tikki Viks Chaat

Aloo Tikki – potatoes surrounded by chickpeas and chutneys. The flavors in all of the dishes were so complex and absolutely incredible. Especially this aloo tikki; the mixture of the chutneys gave a variety of sweet and spicy and the chickpeas and potatoes were nice and creamy. We’re definitely going back.

Spiralized Beets Turnips Kale Egg Yolk

I really just wanted veggies by the end of the weekend so I broke out my spiralizer and went to town on some golden beets and turnips. I added some kale and, of course, an egg on top.

Weekly Meal Plan

Sunday – Throw together
Monday – Chipotle cherry chicken & roasted carrot salad
Tuesday – Orange rosemary roast chicken thighs w/ brown rice arugula salad
Wednesday – Leftovers
ThursdayPan Seared Brussels Sprouts w/ porchetta and mushrooms
Friday – Out!
Saturday – Leftovers

Food for Thought

How did you spend your weekend?
Are you enjoying Monday off?

Five Things Friday

Friday! Long weekend! I have to work tomorrow and Monday, but such is the life of a retail store employee, right? Oh well, we’re still going to have fun this weekend.

  1. Yesterday was quite the exciting day! I had some errands to run so I dropped Nathan off at work and on my way back, maybe 1/4 mile from my apartment, I almost got into a huge accident [not my fault at all]. It was one of those times where as I slammed on my brakes and horn, the thoughts going through my mind were along the lines of “I wonder how bad this accident is going to be.” Thankfully my brakes are [maybe were, now] amazing and I stopped about 1 foot away from t-boning the the guy that decided to swerve and do a u-turn right in front of me. All is well, but I was definitely shaken up! If that didn’t wake me up, I don’t know what would.
  2. Once I did get around to my errands, I went to the store to stock up on ingredients for a homemade porchetta. Nathan’s been talking about making one at home since we had it in Italy. We currently have 10 lbs of pork in the fridge. No, we’re definitely not vegetarians!Porchetta

    Porchetta
    Oooooh this is gonna be good!

  3. With my crazy morning I decided I needed a nice treat for lunch. I’d been eyeing the freshly-made sushi at Berkeley Bowl since the first day we went and I finally got some. Salmon with avocado in brown rice and edamame. I also made my own spicy sriracha “mayo” [aka greek yogurt] for dipping. I’m not a soy sauce-dipper.. never have been!
    Salmon Avocado Brown Rice Sushi Edamame Sriracha Berkeley Bowl
  4. I mentioned the other day that my peanut butter was dwindling. Nothing a little Vitamix action can’t fix! And because I can’t leave well enough alone, there’s a little chia seed in the mix this time. That also means licking the Vitamix was my afternoon snack haha!
    Homemade Chia Peanut Butter
  5. Tomorrow we’re heading into the city for dinner, drinks, and live music. When Nathan came out to SF last year, he went to The Saloon with a friend of his. He said it was basically SF’s equivalent to our favorite live music bar in Baltimore, Cat’s Eye. We used to head over for some music after a little bit of this..
    Maxs Taphouse Broadway Big Ass Draft

    Max’s special Big Ass Draft.. every Friday $5 for 32 oz!

    The Cats Eye Pub

    We’ve been meaning to go to The Saloon since we moved out here and I’m psyched to finally head over!

Well, I hope you all have a great Memorial Day weekend.. enjoy all of the cookouts, sunshine, and time with friends and family!

Food for Thought

What are your big plans for the weekend?

Scenes From the Weekend and Meal Plan Updates

This whole weekly meal plan thing is fun! Ok, maybe I’m a little nuts, but what can I say? It’s been fun to actually try out some of the recipes I’ve been pinning. As suspected, I ended up planning on too much last week and had to adjust a bit, but before getting into that I have to share some weekend fun!

Friday night, we decided to hit the town for a quick happy hour and a movie. Not long after we moved out here, I found a LivingSocial deal for The New Parkway. Nathan convinced me to go with him to see The Hobbit and we finally got to use the deal. I love this movie theater! They have some pretty awesome looking food, drinks, and sitting on a love seat is so much more comfortable than normal seats!

The New Parkway Oakland California CA

My new favorite movie theater.. the love seat is the way to go!

Saturday morning, we went into San Francisco for the farmers’ market at the Ferry Building. We hadn’t been since we moved out here and we had to get Nathan a porchetta sandwich. While he ate his awesome pork, I opted for the spicy avocado veggie lettuce wrap from the vegan stand. Ha what a pair!

Alive Vegan Restaurant Ferry Building San Francisco Farmers Market

Spicy Avocado Veggie Wrap.. very tasty but I found myself hungry after about an hour.

RoliRoti Porchetta Sandwich San Francisco

Porchetta sandwich with crispy crunchies!

After the market, we decided to go get some of our favorite bread and take a hike up the hundreds of stairs to Coit Tower. We did it, I just don’t have photographic evidence.. but I swear it happened! And as always, it isn’t a trip for us if we don’t stop for a beer. Mikkeller has some pretty wonderful beer and it was the perfect refreshment after our hike 😉

Mikkeller Brewery

On the right is my Santa’s Little Helper and Nathan had Anchorage Galaxy White IPA.

Finally it was time for lunch. We decided on HRD Coffee Shop which isn’t actually a coffee shop, but an incredible Asian fusion dive. We went on our vacation in May 2012 and it was such a great experience and the food was so good, we were psyched to go back!

Mongolian Beef Cheesesteak HRD Coffee Shop

Nathan’s Mongolian Beef Cheesesteak

Bulgogi Korean BBQ Rice Bowl HRD Coffee Shop

My Bulgogi Rice Bowl.. I housed that baby!

Not only was the food as amazing as we remembered, the owner, David, remembered us! He sat down and talked with us for a few minutes even though they were mobbed; it’s that kind of experience that will keep us coming back time and again. Not to mention we have to try more food 😉

Meal Planning

Our favorite meal of the week?

Half Baked Harvest Jerk Chicken Fried Plantains Coconut Quinoa Macadamia Nuts

Jamaican jerk chicken, fried plantain, & coconut fried quinoa with macadamia nuts.
– Half Baked Harvest

We ended up having the leftover pretzel crusted chicken for dinner on Saturday and made the cauliflower pizza crust for dinner last night. So good!

Cauliflower Pizza Crust

Cheesed up a ready to go!

Cauliflower Pizza Crust Homemade Sauce

And topped with Nathan’s homemade pizza sauce.

MondayThai Chicken Quinoa Bowl [using leftover rotisserie chicken]
TuesdayPaleo Spaghetti Squash Casserole
WednesdayHealthier Crockpot Butter Chicken with Homemade Naan
Thursday – Mango Beef Stir-Fry [using leftover ginger orange beef]
Friday – Going out!

I think this week will be better in the leftovers department and I’m always happy to use up the rest of our leftovers for something new. I’m especially looking forward to trying the spaghetti squash casserole that everyone has been raving about and I know Nathan is psyched for the homemade naan.. oh and the butter chicken 😉 If you’re looking for help with weekly meal plans, send me an email!

Food for Thought

Have you ever been to a movie theater like The New Parkway?
What’s your go-to recipe for a quick, healthy meal during the week?

What I Ate Wednesday #67: Beaches and Salmon and Noodles, OH MY!

Happy New Year! I’ll be recapping our crazy night soon, but until then..

It wouldn’t be a Brittany and Nathan weekend without a road trip. And while they’re usually perfectly planned out, this trip took a bit of a turn and we just had to roll with the punches. Did you know that people will park 1.5+ miles away from Muir Woods to get in?! Yea.. we didn’t. Apparently we should have gotten there at the break of dawn. Luckily, we had planned on heading to Stinson Beach after Muir Woods so we just went straight to the beach! [Tough life, I know.]

We did make a couple stops along the way to check out the incredible views.

Bay View

Stunning pull off from the highway.

Muir Beach Lookout

I liked the view here too 😉

After a breathtaking [nerve wracking] drive on the cliff’s edge, we made it to Stinson Beach and broke out our lunch that we picked up from Berkeley Bowl [<– that place is awesome!!]. They had so many options and we will definitely be going back there for quick lunches on the go!

Hers

Berkeley Bowl Kale Salad Lemon Salmon

Kale and cabbage salad with baked lemon salmon and sesame dressing.

His

Berkeley Bowl Porchetta Sandwich

Porchetta and pesto sandwich on foccacia.

Perfect beach lunch followed by a nice walk. I know that whenever I go anywhere with Nathan, we’re going to be doing a ton of walking!

Stinson Beach

Oh hey there city!

We decided to give Muir Woods another shot on our way back, but unfortunately it was still a no-go. Change of plans.. off to Tiburon and time for a brew 😉

Anchor Steam Sams Anchor Cafe Tiburon

We’ve dubbed this the “West Coast Yuengling”

Heading back, we hit a bit of traffic so we decided to hit up a new dinner spot. Anything that involves chopsticks is always Nathan-approved and Ramen Shop has gotten some awesome reviews. And for good reason!

Ramen Shop Kitchen

Bar seats with open kitchens are the best!

Ramen Shop Pickles

Pickles: Sansho cabbage, namasu, turmeric daikon, eggplant chutney,
and black Spanish radish with kombu.

The pickle plate was a great, light way to start. The eggplant chutney and turmeric daikon were my favorites. I loved the curry flavors on the eggplant and the daikon had a light sweetness.. and anything sweet is good in my book 😉

Neither of us had ever had ramen before.. except the out of a styrofoam bowl, and we will definitely be back for more!

Hers

Ramen Shop Veggie Shoyu Meyer Lemon

Veggie shoyu meyer lemon ramen with maitake mushrooms, salt-cured egg, romanesco, cauliflower, squash, broccoli di ciccio, and mizuna.

His

Ramen Shop Black Sesame Miso Pork

Kogashi miso ramen with ground pork belly, shoyu-marinated egg,
King Richard leeks, and red cabbage.

I totally won this one. The flavors were light and refreshing but perfect for a chilly night. Plus there was squash and a soft-boiled egg. How could that be bad?! Nathan’s ramen bowl was delicious too but definitely had a heavier, fuller flavor. Neither of us were able to finish our dinners, but leftovers are always welcome in our home.

Even though we had to adjust our plans on the go, I’d say this turned out to be a wonderfully successful day. And a tasty way to kick off the new year!

Stinson Beach Brittany Nathan

Happy New Year!!

Food for Thought

How did you spend your New Years Eve?

We Took a Little Trip

Well, maybe we didn’t take a trip for real, but we tried our hardest to have a honeymoon-style date night. And I’d say it was a huge success!

We’ve been wanting to try Cinghiale, a Cindy Wolf restaurant, since we got back from Italy. Hearing repeatedly that it is the best Italian restaurant around, it sounded like we couldn’t pass up the opportunity to taste-test and compare to the real deal we experienced just a few months ago. Luckily for us, restaurant week was coming up; reservations were made and we had a date night upon us!

About two hours before our reservation, we decided go big or go home. Cocktails before dinner at Wit & Wisdom, another restaurant we had yet to check out, and these drinks definitely did not disappoint!

Pisco Punch Wit Wisdom Tavern Four Seasons Baltimore Maryland MD

Pisco Punch – pisco porton, pineapple, fresh lemon, sage syrup

I started with the Pisco Punch. It was perfect for a summer night; the pineapple gave it a little bit of sweetness and the sage syrup gave it just the right amount of savory. Nathan ordered a classic Old Fashioned. It had the perfect mix of ingredients and was possibly the tastiest Old Fashioned he and I ever had.

Sticky Wicket Wit Wisdom Tavern Four Seasons Baltimore Maryland MD

Sticky Wicket – jim beam, fernet branca, smoked maple syrup, soda

Nathan’s drink inspired my next decision to go with the Sticky Wicket. I wanted something with a little more punch and this drink was perfectly balanced with the punch of whiskey, bitters, and smokey syrup. The soda added a little fizz to lighten it up. A definite repeat next time we go!

We saddled up and made our way over to dinner. When we walked in, we immediately noticed the charcuterie and cheese station over to the right. I loved seeing that right as we walked in; if we even questioned ordering a plate of charcuterie, that settled it! As far as atmosphere goes, it was definitely a far cry from the tiny restaurants we experienced on the honeymoon, though it was nice to not be seated on top of other people!

I joked that I hoped the bread would be better here than in Italy; thank goodness it was! We tore through the first little basket of bread while figuring out our orders. I went with the 3-course restaurant week menu and Nathan opted for a pasta dish, knowing that we would be sharing the charcuterie and cheese, my first course, and dessert.

Cinghiale Italian Baltimore Maryland MD Sourdough Foccacia

Fresh focciacia and grilled bread

Cinghiale 75 Cocktail Italian Baltimore Maryland MD

Cinghiale 75 – Hendricks gin, prosecco, fresh cucumber

I rarely get cocktails, but I was really feeling them the other night! [Maybe it’s all of Caitlin‘s fun cocktails I’ve been reading about..] I couldn’t say not to this one; I’ve recently discovered that I love gin. And anything with prosecco and cucumber is alright in my books! The bubbles hit the spot 😉

Cinghiale Italian Baltimore Maryland MD Porchetta Fontina Toma Malga

Porchetta, Fontina, & Toma Malga

Nathan’s quest to find the best porchetta in the states has continued and I’m pleased to say that this was definitely a hit! It didn’t look like much, but it packed a flavorful punch full of rosemary and other herbs. The cheese was great too; the fontina was nice a creamy and the toma malga was a bit firmer. Both had great flavor and complimented the porchetta nicely.

Cinghiale Italian Heirloom Tomato Salad Baltimore Maryland MD

Local heirloom tomato salad, gorgonzola, basil, arugula, Sportoletti extra virgin olive oil

And this is what happens when all the sudden you realize you’ve forgotten to snap a pic.. whoops! I just couldn’t wait to dig in. I love the vibrant colors of heirloom tomatoes and they’re nice and sweet right now. The accoutrements perfectly complimented the tomatoes and I was glad to see that the portion size was just right. I didn’t want to fill up on salad before my entree!

Tagliatelle Lamb Bolognese Cinghiale Italian Baltimore Maryland MD

Hand cut tagliatelle, lamb bolognese, & pecorino

Along with the porchetta, we’ve been on the lookout for fresh, homemade pasta. In Italy, the pasta melted in your mouth; there’s nothing like it and this came pretty darn close! Nathan’s lamb bolognese was more of what we learned to be a ragu, which was just what he was hoping to find.

Bronzino Eggplant Tomato Mushroom Cinghiale Italian Baltimore Maryland MD

Grilled bronzino, eggplant purée, hen of the woods mushrooms, & tomato vinaigrette

My grilled bronzino took me right back to our first dinner in Italy. It was a nice, full portion and was perfectly seasoned and cooked. I love a good, crispy skin! The pairing of the earthy flavor of the mushrooms with the sweetness of the tomato, and the creaminess of the eggplant was right on par.

Panna Cotta Fresh Fruit Cinghiale Italian Baltimore Maryland MD

Vanilla panna cotta with fresh local fruit

Finally, we finished with a vanilla panna cotta. I’m usually one to go for a richer dessert, but when I asked the server for her suggestion, she didn’t miss a beat and I was happy to have a lighter end to the meal. I, of course, stole all of the figs and Nathan all of the nectarines.. at least we know what we like! The fruit was a great addition to the creamy panna cotta and we left feeling satisfied but not overly full.

All in all, it was a great night; the service at Cinghiale left a bit to be desired, but the food was on point. I would definitely make my way back to try some more dishes.

Food for Thought

Are there restaurants around you that you’ve been dying to try?

What is your drink of choice when going out?

A Marvelous Weekend

Don’t forget to enter my Chobani giveaway!

I’m definitely sad to see my 4-day weekend go, but it ended on the right note. This past weekend was just what I needed!

After running a few errands on Saturday, we decided to hit up the movie theater to see This Is The End but not before a little lunch. Nathan has been raving about porchetta since we went to Italy so I did a little googling and found Isabella’s in Little Italy. Everything I read about this place from the amazing porchetta sandwich, to the tiny area to eat [all of 4 tables], to the super friendly service was on point. And while the porchetta sandwich wasn’t the same as Italy, Nathan was still quite pleased. I, of course, went for the Greek Salad with grilled chicken and it was awesome! The homemade feta was my favorite part.

Isabellas Little Italy Baltimore Maryland MD Greek Salad Grilled Chicken Homemade Feta

Greek salad with grilled chicken and homemade feta

Off to the movies! One of my favorite things about our theater downtown is that they have a full bar. It comes in handy when you go to see a movie like This Is The End.. not recommended. But at least it got us out of the house and out of the sun on a scorcher of a day! And I had a super tasty cocktail. Check out that top-notch pic! 😉

Landmark Theaters St Germain White Cranberry Soda Berries

St. Germain Elderflower Liquer, blueberries, strawberries, white cranberry juice, and soda water

After a quick run to Whole Foods for sparkling water and figs [the essentials], we vegged at home and watched The Amazing Spiderman on demand. Another winner.. though, it was definitely better than the movie that we paid for! We got lazy and I whipped up a little egg white scramble for dinner which turned out to be pretty awesome! Awesome enough that I repeated it yesterday for lunch.

Eggs Scramble Broccoli Corn Kale Cheddar Cheese Avocado Tomatillo Salsa

Egg whites, broccoli, corn, kale, cheddar cheese, avocado, tomatillo salsa, and a little sriracha

Sunday ended up being a bit of later start for us.. I got up and did one of my favorite Tone It Up cardio routines, Bikini Cardio. We were going to head to the farmers’ market, but I needed some food in my belly so I chowed down on my go-to breakfast—oats with egg whites & TVP, topped with Sunbutter, coconut peanut spread, and my homemade pumpkin seed butter.

Tone It Up TIU Bikini Cardio

Protein TVP Oats Sunbutter Earth Balance Coconut Peanut Spread Pumpkin Seed Butter Teavola Matcha Green Tea Smoothie Egg White Scramble

By the time we got ourselves together to head out, it was 10:30. On our walk over, we decided it was hot, late [for the market], and there would be tons of people there, so we detoured over to Teavolve. Nathan grabbed a bite to eat and I got a delicious matcha green tea smoothie. I had only tried it once before, but it was just as marvelous as I remembered. Matcha powder is so pricey though, I just can’t bring myself to bite the bullet and get some to have at home.

We found ourselves around the corner from Whole Foods again, so we ran in to pick up a few things for some serious food prep when we got home, including these gorgeous beets!

Beets Whole Foods

How cool are these beets?!

We got down to business and Nathan was cooking up a storm!

Sunday Food Prep Beets Tuscan Ragu Eating Bird Food Kimchi Flank Steak Israeli Salad Buffalo Tofu Chicken

He’s really been jonesing for some good Italian food like we had on the honeymoon, so he made a Tuscan-style ragu. It’s delicious and perfect to serve over pasta, quinoa, salad.. anything really! He also grilled up a flank steak which is going to be great  for sandwiches and salads all week. I roasted my beets which, unfortunately, were not as gorgeous as they were raw. I also made some easy kimchi that I found from Brittany [can’t wait to taste it later this week!], Israeli salad [cucumber, tomato, red onion, lemon, EVOO, & dill], grilled buffalo tofu for my salads, and for dinner I grilled some chicken with buffalo sauce.. plenty of leftovers there too.

We’re set for the week! Lunches and dinners are going to be so quick and easy. It really does wonders to set aside a few hours on Sunday to cook up some food for the week. Hope you have a marvelous Monday!

Food for Thought

Did you do any food prep over the weekend?

Are there any foods that you love but you won’t buy because of the price tag?