Birthday, Billy Joel, and Bachelorette

Anyone else think, Beets, Bears, Battlestar Galactica? No, just me? Moving on.

The past few weeks have been crazy busy, so I figured I would catch you up on all the fun stuff.

Last week I turned 30! Yikes, Nick and I decided to rent a party bus and have all our family and friends on board so that we could see everyone we wanted and not have a party at our house. Since we will be at a wedding for Nick’s 30th we decided we’d have a party for both of us! Unfortunately, I still didn’t get to spend time with everyone, but I had a wonderful time, even if my stomach was killing me the next day!

vueveI mean you have to start your birthday with champagne, right?

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My sister, some friends, and I pre-bus

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And a group shot of course, missing a few people, but we tried!

After that last photo things started to get messy so I will not share those photos ha! But it was a great time regardless!

For my birthday gift, Nick generously bought me tickets to Billy Joel at Fenway. Billy Joel is in my top 5 favorite musicians of all time, and I saw him, I think 8 years ago, when he came to the Garden. Seeing artists at Fenway is amazing, if you live in the city and an artist you like comes to Fenway, GO! it is so worth it!

Prior to the show Nick and I tried this new Greek place that is in the Fenway area, Gyro City, they have authentic Gyros so we had to try them. They were pretty close to what you will get in Greece, so we were very impressed. If you need someone to go with you to try them you know who to ask!

GyroWe also had some amazing Greek fries. Basically, they are thick cut fries with feta and oregano!

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After food we headed over to Fenway and walked off our dinner before heading into the concert!

Billy Joel at FenwayNick and I & our view

Billy Joel at Fenway

THE man!

Billy, we are on a first name basis, was amazing. He played a lot of the classic songs, but he also played some songs that only some real hardcore fans would be able to recall. He is also a New York man through and through, so while he played the beloved Sweet Caroline, he did not sing, which I found amusing. I did appreciate that he didn’t sing New York State of Mind, instead he had a young girl come out and sing Boston State of Mind as a nod to everything this city has been through and a show of support. After the concert Nick was looking through his twitter feed and saw some complaints about it, you can’t please everyone, and while I love him singing New York State of Mind, the respect that he gave to Boston was amazing, and made me love him even more! My only complaint is that he did not sing We Didn’t Start the Fire, that is my favorite Billy song, but the concert was amazing regardless!

After a crazy whirlwind week, we headed to Connecticut to spend some time with Nick’s family and I had a bachelorette to partake in!

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We went to Mohegan sun to have a wonderful dinner, hit the club, and of course gamble. I was spent and can’t believe I stayed up until 3 am!!! I had so much fun with all the wonderful women that came to the bachelorette and I can’t wait to celebrate the wedding soon!

What have you been up to? Anything fun that I’ve missed?

Summer Bucket List: 90+ Cellars Rosé Party

Officially Summer doesn’t start until my birthday June 21st, but with this fall type weather we have been having I have a summer bucket list for those random days when we have a warm spell.

Luckily, I also have tons of events to look forward to this summer. One of the firsts is the 90+ Cellars Rosé Party Cruise on Saturday, June 7.

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With your ticket you receive three complimentary glasses of rosé alongside snacks from KO Catering and Pies. Of course the dress code is pink, my favorite, even for the gentleman. $5 from every ticket purchased will be donated to Lovin’ Spoonfuls!

rosecruise4If you purchase tickets today and use the code DRINKROSE33, you will get $10 off your ticket.

So are you going to join me for some pink-lovin’ fun? 

MIMM: Concerts Galore

I have had quite the marvelous few weeks instead of writing lengthy posts about each one, I figured I would give you the highlight reel for this Marvelous Monday link up. Thanks for hosting, Katie!

Last weekend, Nick and I were able to go to the Jay Z/Justin Timberlake show at Fenway Park. I won tickets through a radio twitter concert, which was pretty amazing. We were in the second section back and had a sick view.

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our view before the show started

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part of our view during the show. They had a massive set up and huge screens

I loved the show, it was more amazing than I would’ve even imagined, but my hugest issue was the fact that the tickets said the show started at 7, but they had some really annoying dj playing for almost 90 minutes and the show didn’t start until 8:30. My favorite songs of the night were Holy Grail and 99 Problems, Justin playing the part of the cop was amazing.

The following week was crazy, the B man and I headed to Maine with my dad, his wife, her kids, my sister and her boyfriend. Nick was crazy busy at work so unfortunately he couldn’t come. I don’t really have any photos, because we barely had cell or internet so I just ended up leaving my phone in the room the whole time. It was so nice to unplug and relax for a bit.

Friday we had tickets for the John Mayer concert in CT. Front Row.

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view before the show

John Mayer is hands down my favorite artist. I have seen him almost every single tour, and met him almost 10 years ago. I love seeing him live and this show was absolutely amazing. Philip Philips opened up for him and he was also outstanding. I loved him on American Idol, but you could tell that he felt he was in his element on that stage, singing his music.

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Then of course John Mayer. You could tell his voice is still not the same, but you could clearly tell all he wanted to do was sing on stage and he was enjoying every minute.

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His set list for the CT show was awesome. He sang 83 for the first time and hearing the crowd sing along was so moving. This song from his first popular album, it felt like ages since I have heard it live, and everyone in the audience singing together was wonderful.

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He also sang 4 songs from his new album, due out on Tuesday, and my favorite was “Waiting on the Day” and his encore song was a long version of Gravity, then John and the band left. It is definitely one of the best shows I have seen of his and I am glad I got to share it with Nick.

Then today I was looking online and Nick and I are on the webpage for the Hartford Set List show.

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How was your week? What was the best concert you have ever been to?

Celebration Month!

It has been a marvelous 4 weeks indeed! If you have been reading this blog, even for a short amount of time, you might have noticed that it has been an explosion of celebrations.

Let’s just say Nick and I have a very busy beginning of summer. It starts with my birthday in mid-June, our anniversary, B’s birthday, and then ends almost exactly 4 weeks later with Nick’s birthday. True to most years we have had plans for every single one of the weekends during that period.

This past weekend was no exception, but it was all in the name of celebrating Nick’s birthday, and as a wonderful present, his newest Apple app was featured on App Advice (Simple Mic) check it out!

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We were in Connecticut and we were able to spend a few days in Nick’s parents pool

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On Saturday night we gathered a few of our friends and headed to Krust Wood-fired Pizza & Bourbon Bar in Middletown, per the recommendation of Caitlin!

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The birthday boy & Cait

I will be honest, I am not always super pumped for pizza, it’s okay Nick calls me Un-American because of it. However, I knew I would be okay with Krust because their menu has very unique pizzas. I also don’t like bourbon, but don’t worry, everyone else at the table had their fair share of bourbon, especially my husband.

I have to say, I was immediately blown away by Krust’s customer service, while they do not take reservations, we were able to give them a heads up that we had a large party and what time we were planning on coming in, and Kevin (owner and bartender extraordinaire) realized there was enough space for us right before we arrived and they set up a table so we could sit right away. He also came by the table multiple times to see how everything was. Fabulous!

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We obviously started with drinks, Cait had me order the Onyx Apple Pie, it wasn’t listed on their menu so I am not sure exactly what was in it, but it was delicious, a bit to strong as I was driving later in the evening, so I drank about 75% of the drink and Cait finished the rest. I love a friend that will step in for me, ha!

Not long after we started our drinks, we ordered our food. Krust has an everyday menu, but they also post their daily specials on Instagram!

I knew I HAD to have the Brussels pizza, that had fresh garlic, fresh mozzarella, parmesan, roasted brussels sprouts, roasted onion, evoo and salt. Krust is extremely accommodating, I added an egg and the kale medley that was on the special pizza of the day to my Brussels pizza. I don’t think I can eat pizza at another place again.

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This picture doesn’t even begin to do justice to the pizza. I even dipped my krust into Cait’s Gazpacho, which I told Kevin was the best Gazpacho I have ever tasted. I couldn’t finish the entire pizza so I sent my leftovers home with Cait for her and her mom.

I ordered a second during dinner, my traditional margarita.

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Krust is next door to the best cupcakes in CT, NoRA Cupcake Company. Anyone in CT that I have told the name of my blog too has told me that I NEED to get to NoRA ASAP. Krust sells their cupcakes for dessert.

I went with the obvious, the Margarita cupcake.

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Margarita with a side of…margarita. They have an entire cocktail line, I need to get my butt back their and try the Bubbly Cupcake.

It was nice and fluffy, the cake was moist and full of flavor, not dry at all. The frosting had salt sprinkles and it tasted just like a margarita. The sweet and savory hit the spot. I can’t wait to go back and try another flavor or four.

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Cait & I. Bloggers in crime.

Again, I want to say a huge thanks to Kevin (and the entire staff at Krust) for being awesome and making sure our party was always happy. The staff at Krust was awesome and I would suggest you all make your way to Middletown for great pizza, bourbon, and cupcakes!

While this month has been extremely busy (and felt like I was constantly on the go), I wouldn’t change a thing. I was able to spend our special moments with our amazing friends and families, and our friends who are just like family. This past month has helped me realize it’s about having quality friends in my life and not quantity. Thank you all for being a part of our special days.

Max Downtown: Celebrating 5 Years

I’m still crying over the fact that my baby is two years old.

In an effort to feel better I want to share my WIAW or WIAF(Friday), the lovely meal that Nick and I shared for our 5 year wedding anniversary.


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Awkward hands!

We ended up choosing Max Downtown, one because we love the Max Restaurant Group (they own Max Fish where I had my birthday dinner)

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Two, it was a recommendation from my favorite drink chooser, Cait.

It was pretty much fate that we picked Max Downtown, because it was right next to the hotel Nick and I spent our wedding night, The Goodwin, which is no longer in business, but it was nice to have that memory.

Not the best photo, sorry!

Not the best photo, sorry!

The place was all but deserted when we walked in, I mean Hartford isn’t exactly the bustling city that Boston is, especially during a holiday weekend, but it was weird that there were only two other tables seated when we walked in.

Nick and I started with drinks, a glass of champagne for me and the Kentucky Lemonade for Nick.

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We started with apps, but since Nick and I have some very different taste buds we each had our own appetizer.

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Caesar Salad for Nick, I see fishies…

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I went for the amazing option, the Wok seared Ahi Tuna. I loved my Tuna Tartare at Max Fish and this is a completely different dish and just as wonderful. The Tuna was seared to perfection and I loved the crust, just enough kick for me to notice, but not to ruin my dinner.

I didn’t grab a photo of Nick’s dinner, but he ended up getting the Sirloin Special which came with Beer Battered Onion Rings.

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I went with the Filet Mignon Oscar Style. It came with Jumbo Crab, Parmesan Crusted Asparagus, Sour Cream and Chive Potato Puree, and Bernaise sauce.

The steak was cooked to a beautiful medium rare, and the crab was sweet and full of flavor, however the sauce completely overwhelmed the dish, I wish it had a drizzle instead of what seemed like a heavy-handed ladle pour. I could only eat about half and boxed the rest to send home. Those potatoes though, heaven on a plate.

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For dessert we had the S’mores Brûlée (this meal is looking a lot like mine at Max Fish, huh?). Creme Brûlée is one of my favorite desserts and I love seeing a twist on a classic. The marshmallow was easy to eat with the brûlée, my only complaint was that the crackers were not crispy, they were chewy, not stale, but I was definitely missing that crunch factor.

The waitress also served us each a glass of sweet champagne, on the house.

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Nick and I leisurely worked our way through dessert and then headed home at the late hour of 8 pm, (party animals!).

I enjoyed our time at Max Downtown, and loved our entire meal. While pricy, it is definitely worth it for a special occasion, and I am glad I got to spend it with my main squeeze.

What would you order at Max Downtown?

WIAW: A Birthday Dinner!

Don’t forget to check out the healthy recipes I wrote up yesterday before you delve into the indulgences I had for my birthday!

Saturday was spent celebrating my birthday with my friends and family! Nick made reservations at a great restaurant, Max Fish in Glastonbury, CT.

Caitlin joined us for a drink and texted me on her way, she said she already picked out my first drink.

On the left (or front) Cait’s Drink – Coup d’etat {Diplomatico rum, Amaro Ramazotti, mole bitters, citrus, mint and notes of vanilla, with crushed ice}.

My drink is on the right, and the drink I was eyeing before Cait surprise ordered for me. The Silver Lining {Avion Silver tequila, St Germain, cinnamon syrup, grapefruit and lime juices, smoked cinnamon stick}. It came fancy, the glass was upside down getting the smoke from the cinnamon stick, and the waiter poured it table side.I though it would be to spicy with all the cinnamon, but it was perfect and went down easy, too easy. I was feeling it before our appetizers even arrived.

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Appetizer. My sister (also Cait) and I shared the Ahi Tuna Tartare with capers, two hour egg, grilled baguette, American sturgeon caviar.

The tartar was creamy and melted in my mouth, the grilled baguette contrasted wonderfully in texture. The perfect bite.

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Double the tuna, double the fun. Right?

For my entree I went with the Grilled Yellowfin Tuna with black forbidden rice, sesame carrots and Vietnamese caramel. I ordered my tuna rare, and it was grilled to perfection. I had never had black rice before and I thought it was great, I would order it again! The caramel however made it a bit too sweet for me, but overall this dish was one of the best seafood dishes I have ever had.

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A lot of the table ordered the special, Lobster Cobb salad. This is my kind of Cobb salad, and check out those chunks of lobster meat!

I also snagged a bit of my sister’s Blackened Mahi Mahi with Guava-papaya coulis, coconut rice, plantain chips. For me personally, it was too spicy, but I have a really low tolerance for spice. (My sister looked at me like I had 5 heads when I said it was spicy)

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You have to end your birthday dinner with a decadent dessert right? I chose the Warm Chocolate S’Mores – Flourless chocolate cake, toasted homemade marshmallow, graham cracker, caramel sauce they added a birthday candle and embarrassing singing.

This dessert was phenomenal, flourless chocolate cake is one of my favorite desserts and this did not disappoint, it was a bit dense, so I could only have a small portion, but I wish I could’ve had the whole thing!

After dinner we moved to Plan B Burger Bar in Glastonbury to have drinks and watch the bruins game.

If you follow me on Instagram you probably have already seen the photos from Saturday night…my brother-in-law started with buying a few of us shots.

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Cafe Patron. Delicious

I then decided to keep up with my “little” brother (aka Nick’s younger brother) and we did some shots together, and I did some shots with Nick’s cousin. I also had a few beers. Yikes.

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Not the prettiest collage, oh well.

Soon after that shot the DJ started blasting some tunes from, uh 1995? We had to go. We headed upstairs to Rooftop 120, and I will be honest, I was disappointed.

The bartender was awesome, but our friends drink still had stickers on the fruit, when you are charging $12 for a drink, I expect you to clean the fruit.

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The drink.

We sat on the patio which was gorgeous, but the waitress was incredibly rude. I ordered one drink and she brought a different one, and gave us attitude when we asked for a bunch of waters. At that point I really didn’t need to be drinking, so I just left it, but I was pissed. Can’t win em all I guess!

After Rooftop we headed home and I went to sleep at the very late hour of 1 am. I had an amazing birthday and I am so grateful for the wonderful family and friends, my life and heart are incredibly full.

Check out more meals and recipes at Jenn’s blog for the WIAW link-up!


Cranky Kelly

I can’t believe it’s June. We are officially in my birthday month and a little over a month away from B’s second birthday! Woah.

Crank Kelly. That doesn’t have as a great ring to it as Cupcake Kelly’s. With the plans I had this weekend, I had planned a spectacular Marvelous in my Monday (MIMM) link up post planned. Then Sunday came and it was an all around lousy day. I couldn’t find the marvelous in ANYTHING. Just ask Nick, I am sure he will be able to tell you what a joy I was to be around.

As most of the East Coasters are aware, this weekend was HOT and HUMID. It was not pleasant to be outside, I am pretty sure I was sweating just standing still. So it was super fun to realize at 10 pm on THursday night that our air conditioning was not working. Since the unit is still under warranty through the builder I pretty much knew I would not have AC Friday.

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Luckily we were set to leave for CT for the weekend around noon, so I wouldn’t need to be in the house for too long. Luckily, getting the little one fed and packing/cleaning took the majority of our morning hours and before I knew it, it was time to hit the road.

Friday was spent with my favorite CT blend, we all had lawn tickets to see Luke Bryan at the Meadows, we met in the parking lot to tailgate and I got to meet a lot of Cait’s friends.

stolen from Cait!

stolen from Cait!

Obviously, the whiskey lovers drank whiskey. I stuck to one Thomas Hooker Watermelon Ale at the beginning of the night since I was driving and anything else would make me fall asleep.

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Also stolen from Cait.

 

 

whiskey

Saturday, Nick played in the band at the Greek Festival. He usually plays Thursday – Sunday every year, but because of the concert and his new job he ended up only playing Saturday. I went and enjoyed some delicious gyros, loukamades, and conversation. The place was packed all night, so I think it ended up being pretty successful, but man was it hot under those tents with lots of people and all the food being cooked.

Originally, I was supposed to stay in CT to go to an event with Caitlin last night, but it was cancelled so Nick and I decided to come home. BAD DECISION.

We got home and the guy we hired to cut our lawn had not come, they were supposed to come Friday. So I was already annoyed, they were supposed to come yesterday, but they still haven’t showed…

Our AC was obviously still out and we thought it would cool that evening, I’l just sum it up and say we were wrong and I was miserable and cranky. To top it all off our well water is acting up again and B did not go to sleep until 11 PM!

Luckily our air was fixed yesterday, and hopefully the plumber and lawn guys can do their thing today. Here’s to a marvelous…Tuesday?

Craft New York

First, Happy Birthday Sister!

 

I want to preface this post with the fact that all photos were taken with my iPhone camera, I didn’t have my DSLR with me, but I loved this meal and needed to share with all of you, but the pictures do not do the food justice.

For Christmas, my Dad and his significant other gifted Nick and I a nice dinner in New York City during our visit. I decided on Craft

We made our reservation for Sunday night, we arrived a few minutes early and were still seated right away. The restaurant was full but not packed and not too loud. The restaurant had that perfect romance lighting, darkish but you could still read your menu.

Our waiter was at our table right away to take our drink orders.

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Paloma – Tequila, Combier Pampelmousse Rose, and Grapefruit Bitters

It was delicious but very strong. I loved that they poured it table side. Nick ordered the Bee Sting (Bourbon, Fresh Ginger, Cardamom Honey, Regans Orange Bitters) right up Cait’s alley.

They also delivered bread with the drinks and we had a bunch of different choices.

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Then the chef sent out an amuse bouche, beef tartar, Nick usually never touches this type of food. I made him try it, and he actually liked it. It was seasoned well and fresh.

For our meals we decided to share 2 appetizers, 2 side dishes and to pick our own entrees.

Appetizers:
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I picked Wild Arugula & Lemon Salad, that also had pine nuts. Nick chose the Pork Ravioli & Steens Cane Syrup.

My favorite was definitely the salad, I ate almost the entire thing, it was lightly massaged with the lemon and neither flavor took over the dish. The ravioli was good, but it was too sweet for my preference.

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Clockwise from the left: Roasted red snapper with a sun dried tomato sauce (my entree), American Wagyu Coulotte (Nick’s entree), Spring Garlic Risotto, and Sautéed Swiss Chard.

At first when the brought the sides (the risotto & swiss chard) the dishes were small and I was like hmm that’s kinda pricy for that size, but I was FULL after a small portion of each. We ended up leaving almost half the risotto at the table we were so stuffed.

The fish was amazing. I LOVE red snapper and it was perfectly cooked with crispy skin. I even spread some of the sauce on the swiss chard because I didn’t want to waste it.

The wagyu Nick ordered medium rare, and it was cooked to perfection, it melted in our mouths, I am drooling thinking about it.

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How cute are these dishes that our meals were served in? Every piece came in a different one.

We obviously had to have dessert.
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Nick’s Chocolate Pretzel Tart. Served with peanut butter & vanilla ice cream. I actually don’t like pretzels so I didn’t want this one, but it did not have that over-salted taste I associate with pretzels.

The best dessert on the planet!
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Chocolate Soufflé with caramel cream. This takes a little extra time to prepare so we savored our drinks while we waited. When the waiter delivered this gem you had the option to pour the cream on the soufflé yourself or have the waiter do it. I let the waiter do the honors and I let the cake sit for a minute before diving in. OH MY WORD. This was amazing, the cake was moist and their was a balance between the chocolate and the cream. I wanted to finish it but I had no room, I barely had room for half. I would go back for this dessert alone.

Since my dad called in advance, we didn’t get the bill, but with the bill they deliver you vanilla Madeline’s. We each had a bite and they were great, not dry at all and the flavor was phenomenal.
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As we were leaving, the maiter d handed us banana chocolate chip muffins, for breakfast he said. Wow, that is some amazing customer service.
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We did eat them the next morning since we missed the hotel breakfast, and they were impressed that after the evening the muffins were still full of flavor and were not dried out.

If you are looking for a place to eat in NYC, I highly recommend Craft. In fact I am trying to convince Nick that we have to go back soon.

Join Jenn’s WIAW party and see other great eats around the interwebs.


Agave NYC

Nick and I went to NYC a few weekends ago, the real intent was because I got him tickets to Eric Clapton’s Crossroads Festival, we decided to make a whole weekend out of it. I will say if you ever have the opportunity to see Crossroads the next time Clapton has the festival, DO IT.

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Nick & Eric

I made reservations for brunch at Agave the next day. I first heard of Agave through Cait, and one of mine and Nick’s good friends actually went for brunch the previous weekend. Cait’s review (for drinks) was great, our friends (for brunch) not so much. I went in with zero expectations thinking it could go either way.

When we got there for our 12 o’clock reservation the patio area was packed and the front part of the restaurant was as well. We were brought into the back and it was EMPTY. It was so weird, we felt a little uncomfortable but just decided to enjoy our time together. Our waiter had a very thick accent so it was a bit hard to decipher what he was saying sometimes, but he came to our table right away and answered all my questions. +1 for service so far.

Nick and I both went with the pre-fixe eggs menu which was $24.95 for one of the egg entries and 2 hours of bottomless mimosa, wine or traditional Agave margarita (note the menu said blended margarita). You can get the egg items without the bottomless drinks for a lower price.

We started with some coffee, necessary after being out until almost 1 am

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We both picked the house margarita but we were able to get them on the rocks.

For my meal, I ordered the Southwestern Eggs Benedict

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with avocado, tomato and chipotle hollandaise, served with a side of potatoes and grapes…not together

The egg was cooked perfectly and the avocado and tomato were ripe, the hollandaise wasn’t too spicy (which I prefer) but the english muffin was a bit over toasted making it a little difficult to cut.

Nick ordered a Three Egg Omelette with cheese, chorizo and spinach.

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However he received a Three Egg Scramble with chorizo, ham and mushrooms. Unfortunately, we realized it after he ate a decent amount and said it was good so he wasn’t going to say anything.

By this time we had finished our marts, but they were strong and I was already feeling the first one so we switched to mimosas. The wait staff were walking around with pitchers filled with mimosa and kept re-filling our glasses. To say we were tipsy was an understatement.

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my favorite breakfast beverage

When we got the bill it had 20% SrvChg, and at this point I could not find our waiter. I ended up flagging down a waitress and she told us it was the gratuity so we didn’t need to leave a tip. I have never seen this before, and I don’t want to be that person that doesn’t leave a tip.

I will note that our section slowly started filling up 20 minutes after we arrived and was packed when we left at 1 pm.

After brunch we decided to take a long walk, because it was a gorgeous day, and also because we were buzzing. Thanks for a great brunch Agave, I most certainly will be back!

Link up with Jenn for more wonderful eats!


Taste of the Nation Hartford

I was honored and excited to attend Taste of the Nation in Hartford almost two weeks ago now (sorry for the delay in posting, I needed a breather).

Taste of the Nation cost $75 for general admission and $125 for VIP, and those proceeds as well as those from the silent auction and wall of wine benefited local grantees to fight hunger in the Hartford area. Grantees included No Kid Hungry CT, Foodshare, Hartford Food System, and End Hunger Connecticut.

I was able to attend with Caitlin and Kaitlin and since Cait had a plus one she graciously brought my hubby.

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Blend Love

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Husband Love

Since the three of us were new to this (and the crowd was kind of overwhelming) we followed Cait’s lead.

Points of note: Next time bring a large tote to stuff things in and bring water.

Caitlin usually tries the beverages first and then hits up the food. I tried that method but new early on that this method wouldn’t work for me. My other tactic was to have one or two sips of each drink and one bite of each food item. This allowed me to try as many items as possible and if I loved something I indulged with no regrets, but if I disliked something, I didn’t feel rude.

Our first stop was at Agave where we indulged in Margarita’s which is appropriate since the first time Cait and I met in person we were celebrating meeting, obviously, and the fact that I just became a FitFluential Ambassador, with margaritas.

After we chatted for a bit, Nick, Kaitlin and I picked up this delicious treat. From Costa Del Sol – Chocolate Truffle with Caramelized Orange Crisps.

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Hands down my favorite dessert of the entire night. The truffle was creamy and light while the crisps were not to hard and the flavors blended together wonderfully.

The next table had a bottle of Josh Cabernet Sauvignon, which Caitlin told me I had to try. It was the perfect pairing after the truffle dessert.

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The next table had a gorgeous display, from Mystic Oyster Club

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I have had two experiences with Oysters, one was amazing and one was terrible, I passed on the oysters this time but I will definitely visit next time we get together with our friends that live in Mystic.

The next table was amazing, it had a great line up of foods from Mill Restaurant Group, Kaitlin and I had this delicious Ahi Tuna on a wonton chip with corn salsa. One of my favorites, and of course I ate the whole dang thing.

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Nick then tried both the following dishes:

prosciuttoliver

It was cranberry bread with prosciutto and roasted duck (I think)

peasoupshooters

Chilled pea soup, you ate the cracker, which is topped with crab and then drank the soup out of the shooter.

Photos from Caitlin

Then Caitlin, Kaitlin, Nick and I all tried (separately) the Durigutti Reserva 2007 Malbec, one of my favorite wines of the night.

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The next stop for Nick and I was Plan B Burger. I have actually been here once, a long time ago, and my sister-in-law, her husband and my brother-in-law have been before so I wanted to try. The burger was juicy and flavorful but nothing I haven’t had before (although after looking at their menu there are other burgers I want to try). The real standout was the hot dog. It was a mini hot dog topped with chili, cheese and green onions, it was amazing.

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I took a really awesome photo of Cait enjoying hers.

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I’m lucky she loves me, ha!

We went and looked at the Silent Auction and bid on a signed UCONN 2012-2013 Women’s autographed basketball. Sadly, we did not win it, the bids got pretty high towards the end.

After we digested for a bit we made our way into the next room. Our first stop was Thomas Hooker Brewing Company, Nick has actually been on the tour of the brewery for his good friends birthday, I however couldn’t go because I was pregnant, so this was actually my first tasting.

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I love a nice, light and fresh summer beer, and this fits the bill. Don’t be surprised if you see one next to me in a month.

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Of course these two had to get a picture with the Alaska Outlaw Whiskey. These two love their whiskey, and talk about it often. I love that they had it poured in their wine glasses, always classy.

The next stop was Joey Garlic’s, my in-laws actually get pizza from here frequently, and it’s okay (I prefer thick pizza) but these sandwiches changed my opinion completely.

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Prime Rib on crusty bread with arugula and cheese. Delicious, the perfect bread to meat ratio and the Prime Rib was perfectly seasoned.

Rizzutto’s was hands-down my favorite table of the night, in fact we went twice. No regrets.

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That in fact is a steaming meatball on a crusty bun, it was delicious. The meatball was full of flavor and juicy, I also love the sauce wasn’t super oily, which is my biggest issue with restaurant sauces.

Not only was the food delicious, but the 2 men running the table were super nice. I dragged Cait and Kaitlin back with us the second time since they didn’t go to the table on their first round and they were starting to put their things away. Luckily we each snagged a meatball and Cait noticed a kitchen tub of some chocolate looking thing.

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Peanut Butter, Banana, and Chocolate Cheesecake. They also had homemade marshmallow to go on top but we were all almost through our dessert and passed.

I went on to try Layer Cake Pinot Noir, I have always seen this wine but I hate spending money on new drinks because I fear I won’t like it. Nick had the Shiraz but I wasn’t a fan, I definitely preferred the Pinot Noir.

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Our next stop was City Steam Brewery. I’ve actually had their beer before, and I enjoy it so I decided to dabble in a little tasting. I haven’t had the Naughty Nurse before so I decided to try it. Side-note: check out their beer page, the have hilarious names like Czars & Girls.

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It had a little bit of a bite, which was seemingly appropriate with the title, and I enjoyed the bittersweet finish.

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I loved that they gave us beer cups, a lot of the liquors were being poured in the wine glass and I don’t like mixing.

We ended up meeting up with ladies at our next stop, Cavey’s. Cavey’s is a unique restaurant because it has both an Italian side and a French side. They had food from both sides.

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Smoked Trout on crispy bread. I’ve never had smoked trout before and this was amazing and the perfect bite.

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Whipped ricotta and ratatouille. The combination was amazing, my only complaint? Not enough chip for the dish. It’s okay Nick used some crusty bread to eat the rest of the dish.

Nick mentioned to us that he heard whisperings of a Lobster Burger, none of us heard anything, but lo and behold we wandered into the hallway on our way upstairs and we found a booth with an Edamame burger, a Veggie burg and you guessed it – a Lobster burger.

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I tasted just the lobster, it was delicious. Not a lot of dressing and full of juicy pieces of lobster.

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I had the edamame burger, I’ll be honest it tasted a bit under seasoned, I think with a pinch of salt it could be amazing.

Caitlin then led us to Firebox, her friend Kat said it was a must try.

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Fluke crudo

Nick’s super picky about raw fish so he passed on this one, but I thought it was delicious, fresh and packed with flavor. They also had ONE of their drinks left. I forgot to write down exactly what was in it, but it had tequila and NO pre-made mixer, so it was a win.

After we walked around a bit we made our way upstairs to some of Caitlin’s favorite hangouts. The first stop was Millwrights Tavern, a place I’ve been telling Nick we need to go to.

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Chilled pea soup, smoked salmon rillettes, and shoots

They were literally picking the herbs from the plants (that they brought in) right there, talk about fresh. I loved the smoky flavor with cold soup, there were a ton of textures and flavors brought out and just reaffirmed that I need to visit them.

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The bartender was making a drink, the aviation, and served it in cute little glasses. It was made with gin, creme de violette, and citrus. It was a bit strong considering I was driving home soon, so I had one sip and passed it back, but I can see myself enjoying one of these in their bar.

The next stop was a place that I have been meaning to go to forever, Barcelona Wine Bar & Restaurant

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Whipped Goat Cheese, Pistachio, Smoked Paprika, Tuna and Tomato

I wish this had been a one bite type of thing because there was so much food, I couldn’t try it all together. It was delicious, and now I am planning a visit so Caitlin and I can go to one of their wine dinners!

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They also had some type of sangria, it was light and fresh and didn’t taste like it had any fake syrupy mixes, and that’s because it doesn’t!

While Caitlin was chatting with her friends, Kaitlin, Nick and I headed to Black Bamboo which is a Chinese Restaurant in West Hartford.

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Spring Roll and Vegan BBQ Boneless Ribs

Sorry for the poor quality photo it was DARK in some of the areas upstairs. I contemplated not telling Nick that the ribs were vegan, he is a MEAT guy, but I did because I’m a nice wife. He decided to try them anyway.

We all agreed that we could have been fooled, the sauce was seemingly identical to boneless ribs you’d get anywhere, the only thing that was a bit off was the texture. Honestly, I preferred these to “real” boneless ribs, because the meat is usually stringy and tough.

The spring roll was also delicious, it wasn’t greasy and it was packed with veggies. I think I found a new favorite chinese restaurant!

My last beverage was from Grants!

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Wild Hibiscus Punch: Avion Silver Tequila, Hibiscus & Ginger Liqueur, Cilantro Syrup, Fresh Grapefruit juice, and Rhubarb bitters

It was a bit too spicy for me, honestly I think it would be awesome without the ginger and cilantro, but I am not a bartender. The bartender also gave me advice to find the best cupcakes in the area!

We also hit up the sushi at Feng Ginza Group while upstairs, but that booth was packed so I didn’t get a picture. I’ve actually been to Ginza a bunch of times. I got to Nick to get out of his comfort zone and try sushi that had slices of fish on top of the roll and he liked it!

Our last dinner stop was Tisane Euro Asian Cafe

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They had a delicious steak with noodles and veggies

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And the cutest presentation. I am not usually a fan of asian style noodles but these didn’t have a ton of sauce and the beef was cooked to perfection.

Our last food stop was cupcakes, obviously. We went to Frosted Couture Cupcakes

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Look how nicely they matched my outfit

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I’ll be honest, they weren’t anything out of the ordinary, the frosting was decent and the cake was a bit dry.

Our very last stop was the Wall of Wine

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For $10 you could pick any bottle and and all bottles were priced at $10-$50 and all bottles were donated.

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Rinaldone dell’Osa, Morellino di Scansano

A tuscan wine that has notes of berries and anise. I am not sure I will like it (I don’t typically like anise flavors) but it was all for a good cause!

I was given the opportunity to visit Hartford’s Taste of the Nation event, but I would gladly pay the $75 General Admission ticket price, we are even contemplating going to the New Haven event.


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Have you ever been to an event like this?
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