Our Third Year Anniversary!

Hey everyone 🙂 I am starting grad school tomorrow (Monday), although I’m not entirely sure when this will be published! I am soo very excited, but I’m soaking up this last night to try to catch up with blogging best I can before the craziness ensues.

To pick right up where we left off, on the evening of August 8th, DJ and I made a spontaneous trip to San Pedro square to pre- celebrate our anniversary. How have three years passed already? It has truly been the my favorite three years of my life. Although this past year was the hardest single year of my life, I would not have made it through without DJ nor would I have traded it for the world. It was a year of challenge, growth, but the most reward- it shaped me, shaped us. Year three we grew more as a couple more than our first two years combined, and I just love love love this man more than I could ever have imagined possible. He is my rock. Sorry for the sap, but if any day warrants it it’s an anniversary, yahhhhh? Plus we both missed the obligatory social media post, so making up for it here. Hahah.

This anniversary we didn’t think DJ would be able to do anything the actual day of August 8th with work, but he miraculously was able to leave pretty early. We went to the mall together to pick him up a new phone since his entirely bit the dust then went down the road to dinner.

We had a gift-card we had been saving for a special occasion to district in San Jose, and this seemed like no better time than our anniversary day!

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This place is just so darn snazzy. It was dimly lit so it was hard to get great pictures of the unique bar that went directly through the middle of the restaurant. It also had a lounge area with fun adieus to our favorite classic games- Twister, Darts, Billard’s, etc. It’s a contemporary age type cocktail/tapas bar and a fantastic social environment if you are meeting with friends too!! I would love to come back here with my girlfriends someday.

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I’m working on getting DJ to enjoy oysters like I do, so we ordered some scrumptious ones on the half shell. He said they weren’t bad! Baby steps!

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Then we tried my personal favorite dish- seared squash blossoms. Whatever tomato sauce these were in was magical. I sopped up every bit. Even the waiter came over trying to take the plate and I politely asked if I could keep it to dip a bit longer. He said, “I respect that!”. Lol.

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We then tried a true gastronomical delight (thank you, Linda, for the new addition my lexicon 🙂 ). DJ and I had bone marrow for the first time at Orchard City Kitchen, and we were blown away by it. This was just as savory as we remembered! It just melts right off the bone. Heaven. This was DJ’s favorite.

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We then tried a gnocchi dish that was a close second favorite for both of us. It was very unique compared to what we usually have in terms of gnocchi, but gosh every bite was terrific!

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We were so full in our regular stomachs- but there is always the dessert stomach! DJ had been wanting to try a Pizookie from BJ’s Brewhouse for a while, so I decided to surprise him with a trip to try um’ out! I pulled up the maps app, and guided him to the restaurant. It’s not often that you have the chance to surprise each other in marriage- so this was a fun little spontaneous treat.

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He was stoked when we pulled up! I swore that I was too full to eat a bunch of dessert, but when these came, we equally contributed to the pizookie demolition.

We opted for the flight which and chose cookies n’ cream…

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salted caramel…

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and chocolate chunk…

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We couldn’t decide on a favorite. They were all sooo yummy. They were way better than I ever expected. Considering we have a BJ’s 2 miles away from us this could be dangerous. I think they’ll be something I crave.

The next day DJ and I had our “official” anniversary celebrations, although we both agreed the night before would have sufficed! Since we had reservations and the time set aside already, we went through with the staycation, and boy, am I glad we did.

The restaurant we went to was a big one on my bucket list. I have been PUMPED for the past month to share this with you all. I’m sitting here spazzing out because I don’t even know where to begin.

Cafe Jacqueline is a little, teeny tiny hole-in-the-wall place in SF that serves essentially only soufflés. They do have a french onion soup that is supposed to be unmatched and a couple other little items- but their thing is soufflés!

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It’s super intimate- I think they only have a total of about twelve tables. It is a perfect date and romantic dinner night restaurant. I will warn- it is extremely hard to get a reservation, so we booked about a month and a half in advance for this particular Thursday night. Weekends are rough trying to get a spot. There was hardly anyone there when we arrived, but quickly the place filled up.

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A little more history about this place- Jacqueline herself is a chef from France who started this restaurant in San Francisco. She makes every single soufflé herself to this day. When I went to the bathroom, I had to cross through the kitchen, and there she was soufflé-ing away! She is so cute- she’s in her 80s, tiny, and jovial as can be. She looked up at me with a big smile and said, “Bonjour!”. I hope I am half as cool as she is when I’m her age.

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Everything on the menu was making us salivate. We actually spent the car ride driving into the city trying to figure out what to order, but had no idea what to expect since we had never tried a soufflé before. Each soufflé can serve multiple people (savory ones they say serve 2-3 and dessert serve 3-4). Oh, also, since Jacqueline makes every soufflé to order, it takes about an hour or more for each to come out, so be prepared to wait! We didn’t mind, I treasure time just to spend with DJ with undivided attentive discussion together.

We decided on their white corn ginger garlic one. You. guys.  I cannot find the words to describe how tremendous this was. Seriously one of my favorite- if not MY FAVORITE food item I have ever had. DJ and I kept saying this could not be real- it surpassed every inkling of expectation we may have had- was so light, fluffy, yet full of perfect flavor. It was out of this world. I want to cry thinking about it. Does a food ever make you want to cry? (not talking onions) Like it’s so delicious it just evokes emotion? Just me? Ok

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We ate every little nibble so fast. The authentically amazing french waiter with a handle bar mustache came back and looked at us with wide eyes saying, “We either starved you for too long, or that was really good”. I said, “definitely the latter!”.

For dessert we tried the chocolate soufflé. It was *insert crying sniffle* perfection. Excuse me, I need tissues. I have never felt this way toward a food item before. why. Why did it have to be so good?!?!

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Here is a video of us scooping into it! It is a semi- ok shot, until the end where it all falls off my spoon. Haha. Smoooooth.

We had to walk a looong time to get back to our car but we probably needed it after not leaving a bite of our 3-4 person soufflés. Lol 3-4. No chance!

When getting into our car we had this radiant view of the bridge.

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We stayed at Hotel Vitale for the evening- probably our favorite hotel in SF that we have been to once before. Their theme is lavender. Breathe innnn the relaxation. Even the rooms have lavender coming out of the room numbers.

img_2623The service here is phenomenal. Something I have learned in my twenties is “it doesn’t hurt to ask”. I received a text from the staff a few days before our stay and they said if you have any additional requests please let us know. I asked if it would be possible to have any champagne or anything to celebrate our anniversary (the worst they can say is no, right?).

When we arrived we had this lovely note addressed to us…

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And complimentary champagne and chocolate <3 <3 <3 It was so kind!!!

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They even complimentarily upgraded our room for our anniversary. I was so touched, like what?!?! We went from an interior room to an exterior with a view of the Ferry building and the Bay Bridge.

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After dropping off our luggage, we went up to the roof area. (They have several rooftop areas you can take in stunning views of the city). I was so excited and thought the Bay Bridge was in this picture. When it wasn’t DJ said, “Uh, Kenz, you may want to put your hand the other way.” LOL. Whoops!

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Too funny not to share.

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And here is that lovely bridge..

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It was an unforgettable evening! Truly one of my favorite date nights and anniversaries for all time.

img_2621Alas, this post is so long I will wait to recap our brunch experience in the next post. I can’t wait!!! One of the best! Stay tuned…

Questions for you:

  • Have you ever had a soufflé?
  • What is one life lesson you have had in your twenties if you have one?!

xo <3

Majestic Monterey, CA!

This past week has been a hodge-podge of different events! We spent most of the weekend keeping it low-key. We had a few things on the agenda to knock out to get ready for law school and more house stuff. I am so excited for the house to get finished up so I can share some pictures with you all 🙂

One of the weekend nights we went to Lyfe Kitchen in Downtown Cupertino. We love this eatery. It has all organic, fresh ingredients and it’s great for vegetarians, vegans, and meat-eaters alike. They even have fresh herbs growing right in the lobby.

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Main Street Cupertino is a happenin’ place. There are so many new places going up all the time. I can’t wait for Oren’s Hummus Shop to open!

I had been feeling lethargic for a couple days over the weekend. I think the move is finally catching up with me! The adrenaline rush has been helping with the continual discovering, running around, and exploring, but my body wanted a down-day. After having a nice, relaxing weekend, I had an awesome insanity workout with Shaun T. Anyone else do insanity out there? I love it! I have been doing it for six years now.I went through the full schedule twice, but now I just do my favorites about two or three times a week in between running or elliptical days. I can tell when my body has running fatigue, and that’s when I wake it up with an insanity interval!

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Procrastinating with Harry Potter Snapchat filter

One of the nights we felt so lazy we didn’t even want to order takeout. I was determined to find something in our cupboard to whip up. Welp, ya’ll, I’m pretty proud of this one (this was made with all ingredients that traveled all the way from Indiana with us).

Thai Coconut Tofu Bombay soup: Made with extra firm tofu, Amy’s Thai Coconut Soup, and bombay spice chickpeas. I also added a little red curry powder, cayenne, and chili powder for some extra spice and dazzle! DJ LOVED it. I took a picture of his starkly white empty bowl below once he gobbled it all up;).

We haven’t done a ton of grocery shopping since we have been so on-the-go, but we did take a nice walk to our favorite grocery store, Sprouts, to get some essentials. It’s about a mile and a half away, but with this weather, why not walk to the store! We forgot our bags, once again, and had to to the walk of shame with our brown purchased ones.

IMG_7643Something I absolutely cannot keep to myself is this rug that came in the mail. *INSERT HEART-EYES EMOJI*. Most of our apartment is neutral tones, but I couldn’t help add a little pizzazz on our balcony. People that know me know I have always been fascinated with India and Indian culture. This pattern just drew me in and reminded me of the beautiful, bright patterns and colors I witnessed in Chennai and Madurai. Oh, how I miss it. The good news is there is a boundless amount of authentic Indian cuisine spots to choose from within a three mile radius of our apartment. There is also an Indian grocery store. I cannot wait to try cooking Indian food with all the authentic ingredients. I’ll let you all know how that goes! IMG_7717

Now comes the highlight of our week. Our anniversary is August 8th, but that is right around the date DJ begins orientation for law school. In order to avoid weekend traffic we decided to celebrate our anniversary yesterday (Wednesday).

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He knows me well!

We went to Monterey, California for dinner and to stay the night in the most darling little Inn. It is about an hour and a half drive, but we were stuck in some serious traffic making it about a two hour drive. Let me tell ya, I was starvin’ marvin’. THE HANGER WAS REAL. Here is the progression of my snapchat photos to prove it. Gotta’ love the crazy filters.

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The downtown area of Monterey was a typical tourist trap; the type of place I always have sensory-overload-excitement attacks. I loved soaking in the unique shops and window shopping as we drove through the pier.

IMG_7786All we wanted was some phenomenal seafood for our anniversary dinner. What better place to go than this?! DJ booked us a reservation at the Chart House restaurant which overlooks the whimsical bay. We had a blast watching little otters play while we ate. I had a good view across the table from me as well 😉

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For an appetizer we tried the Ssamjang Shrimp (not sure how to pronounce the double “s” there- I just used the point method for that one). This included grilled shrimp with cajun spices, asian and indian dipping sauces, herb-marinated cucumber, red onion and heirloom tomato salad. The diverse flavors made this appetizer come to life. We savored every.single.nibble.

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For dinner we both decided to try Swordfish. We have never had it, but man, was it tasty. DJ had simply grilled with avocado, jalapeño, tomato, cilantro, and lime. I ordered the citrus ginger spiced swordfish with passion fruit sauce, hearts of palm salad, and a tropical fruit salsa. Swordfish resembles chicken pretty closely! It is a thick fish compared to most, and absolutely fantastic.

What is that amazing creation in the middle you ask? Creamed spinach, of course! Ya’ll know our obsession. If a place has it, we are guaranteed to try it. This made it on our “favorites list”. My all-time favorite still to-date is Ben and Jack’s creamed spinach in New York. I also weirdly put the spinach on my rolls to eat it. It was made to go on bread, trust me. I make sure we have plenty of the carby morsels before dinner arrives, or ask for another basket!IMG_7787IMG_7794

After the meal was over, we decided to forgo dessert (although they did look pretty dang good). The ONLY reason we passed it up was because we decided splitting some Ben and Jerry’s half baked froyo in our room sounded too good to pass up. The waitress still brought out a Mississippi mudpie for our anniversary. It was too sweet! The service and foot at Chart house is phenomenal. I highly recommend it to anyone.

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This was jus’ something else. I have never tried Mississippi mudpie before, but it had a coffee flavor to it that I couldn’t resist. But don’t worry we still got our Ben and Jerry’s Froyo!

The views from the Tickle Pink Inn, where we stayed the night, were nothing short of magical. When we arrived in Monterey, there was a dark, somber gray over the water. It was so different than the last four weeks of sunshine we have been experiencing, but a pleasant change. I love gray skies. I think there is something enchanting about the green of foliage surrounded by the deep, billowy clouds. The views around us were simply majestic. I felt as though I was in a storybook.

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The inn greeted us with a lovely bottle of Champagne and a box of chocolates. It’s like they knew I was coming or something 😉 There were also two spoons placed in clear view near our complimentary coffee station; serendipitous considering we needed two spoons for our froyo??! I think so!

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This Inn was the definition of quaint. It was the most perfect place to celebrate an anniversary. (Great choice, Deej!) In the morning we had breakfast while overlooking the somber, peaceful waters.

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Greek yogurt on whole wheat toast with granola and blueberries and a fantastic view

The next week brings DJ’s orientation for law school, me finally doing a full grocery trip and getting back to cooking and studying for the NCLEX.

Wishing you lots of magical moments,

xo <3

Mack