Lotsa munchin’ & brunchin’!

Hey hey! How are you? I spent all day long reading countless pages in pathophysiology and watching lectures so I am treating myself to some writing late this evening 🙂 This semester is already kicking my butt. I am gonna have such little free time .. so it’ll be interesting doing an entire move in the middle of it. Even my prof said, “I hope this course is behind you before the move!”… whoops… guess we’ll see how it goes, haha. (It’s an online course for those that are confused about how that will work).

After returning from Hal’s bridal shower, on May 7th, I paid my speeding ticket, unpacked and did laundry. For dinner I made us this curried seafood mix of calamari, shrimp, and scallops with jasmine rice and naan bread.

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On May 8th I started the morning with oatmeal, a Cutie clementine, Shakeology protein powder, and Fage with my coffee.

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For lunch, we didn’t have much in the way of groceries but I whipped up my new favorite omelette combo: egg whites, artichoke hearts, vegan mozzarella cheese, and garlic powder with pink Himalayan sea salt & hummus on the side. YUM!

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And guess what?! Remember how Alexandra and I wanted to go to that Italian restaurant in SF, but they had no openings the evenings we were there? Well— our calendars aligned so we made reservations for that afternoon! Around 2:30 pm we met at my apartment, and I drove us into the city to (finally) try out Cotogna.

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I absolutely loved the interior- it was so warm & cozy and you could see the whole wood fire burning stove.

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So the item on my bucket list was the Raviolo with farm egg & brown butter.

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^^ Yes, that beauty!!! This ravioli was massive & sooo stinkin’ amazing. Did you all ever make buttered Cheerios as a kid? They were the ultimate treat for us growing up! This dish was reminiscent of that in flavor… but the cheese and quality of pasta took that nostalgic flavor to spectacular and exquisite heights. I had to leave a nibble for DJ, so I took a little home for him to try along with a dish of his own- the Agnolotti del plin. He said he preferred the Raviolo, but that both dishes were incredible.

Afterwards, we had to satisfy our sweet tooth. We headed to Mitchell’s, a place on the bucket list. They are known as one of the best places for ice cream in the entire Bay Area!

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I ordered a combo of chocolate caramel crackle per Alexandra’s suggestion & Ube.

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The Chocolate caramel crackle is some of the best darn ice cream flavors I have ever had!!! Gosh. I get why it’s known for being famous- & I was soo glad Alexandra suggested it. The Ube was fine- I haven’t been a huge fan of Ube the couple of times I have tried it– it’s just too plain Jane for me.

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I always so love my time with Alexandra. Can’t wait for her and her hubby to join us in Austin- right, girlfran?! 😉

On the morning of May 9th, I rummaged through the freezer to find a frozen banana, a dragonfruit pack and then threw on some PB and chocolate chips.

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I caught up on e-mails, etc. that I missed over the weekend and got around to some other to-do list items.

For dinner I made us BBQ’d tempeh, peppers, corn, & white rice. It was pretty delish & high in proteins, so very filling!

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In the evening I took a bath to just veg out after such a busy few days.

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on May 10th DJ and I had a fun day leading into a full weekend of us just hanging out! I went for a run in the morning, caught up on some blogging, and then we headed to Shake Shack.

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Neither of us had been before, but we were so pleased with the whole experience!

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You order via an electronic system- introverts rejoice.

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It took a loooooong time for our food to be ready, but they were super busy.

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DJ tried their burger- his thoughts: It is a good, solid burger, but he still way prefers In-n-Out’s.

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I could not resist their limited time Game of Thrones milkshake! It was a peppermint shake with candied toffee that made up “dragon glass”- soooo yummy.

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DJ also loved their chocolate shake. Next time we want to try their mixers- we loved our Culver’s concrete mixers when we lived in IN. The fries were decent- good to dip in the shakes of course- but the best fries are forever from Steak & Shake. In the evening I did some grocery shopping and we finished up Ozark (the second season kinda dragged in my opinion-but still excited for the third).

May 11th, I whipped up some black bean brownies to have for the week. I just finished the last of them today. I actually have been having them with my oatmeal, smoothies, or toast for breakfast to get my little chocolate fix!

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After a morning run, DJ and I headed into the city to try out Nopa in the early afternoon. We lucked out with parking right on the corner!

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This place’s menu changes each month- but they always have one famous item on their menu- the Custard French Toast.

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We ordered that and the brioche cinnamon roll with strawberries, kumquats, and guava cream cheese frosting and a pomegranate mimosa to pair with them.

After ordering, we sat back to enjoy the ambiance of the place- it had almost an industrial feel with a wide open space and two floors, but somehow maintained a warm energy about it.

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First up- the cinnamon roll! The flavor burst in each bite of this was real. The guava cream cheese frosting is something I could eat by the spoonfuls- it was outstanding.

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Now, time for custard french toast! Y’all this lived up to every bit of the hype. I could not get over how delicious this was.

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I tried to get some syrup pouring pics, but the distance of the food on my portrait mode messed with my spatial perception, and I ended up pouring it on the table instead. We had a good laugh at it after my initial embarrassment.

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In the evening, we were craving Mexican, but nowhere around us serves crunchy tacos (the kind DJ prefers)- so I whipped us up a whole spread! I haven’t done this since my mom and Pete were here back in August, although you know I make the tacos alone all time.

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I put out salsa con queso and regular salsa with hint of lime tortilla chips and plantain chips, DJ’s regular tacos, and my vegan tacos (in the bowl) with lettuce wraps (I LOVE the refreshing crunch of a lettuce wraps for tacos topped with tons of Tabasco and Fage as “sour cream”). I also made my mom’s marg. recipe. Such a winning meal.

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On the morning of May 12th, we brunched round 2 at Stein’s! This was my last free weekend before being buried in school work, so we took full advantage, can ya tell?

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I ordered their vegan hash with mushrooms, tofu, tons of seasoning, and potatoes. It definitely needed salt- but with salt & enough hot sauce it was pretty good. Don’t think I’d order it again because I could probably make this at home, but it was worth the try. The little baguette pieces were yummy- but they could have maybe given a couple more.

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Now, this was the star of brunch! This stack of pancakes consisted of blueberry pancakes with mascarpone cheese & some delicious syrup.

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Aaaand I got that syrup pour picture to redeem myself from the prior day’s fiasco 😉

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Personally, these are my favorite pancakes I have ever tried in the area. The mascarpone cheese cuts the sweetness perfectly. They were the perfect balance of fluffy without being too dense and heavy.

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After doing some chores in the afternoon, we decided to take a late afternoon hike at one of our BL hike places- Sanborn County Park.

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^ Take note. hahah.

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This is such a little gem of a spot. There were so many families enjoying the sunny afternoon and campers galore.

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The forest was so quiet and serene.

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Going into my most intense semester yet, this was the perfect type of balanced weekend to explore, rest, eat fantastic foods and spend some great quality time with DJ.

Question for you:

  • Where do you go to get your favorite burger/fries?

xo <3

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Kaya Toast & Angel Island!

**I wrote this last Thursday and forgot to publish it- so here it is now!**

Hey friends! I am writing this post from about a million miles in the air. I’m not going to try to estimate exactly how many miles…I have a weirdly comical inability to estimate distance/measurement of any kind. One time I ordered wedding portraits our first year of marriage for a Christmas gift for my in-laws and accidentally ordered a portrait the size of a fireplace. Not. Exaggerating. It was the same size as the fireplace. I cannot be trusted when it comes to numbers.

So, yeah, I’m in an airplane and on Cloud 9- quite literally! I have everything checked off my what seemed endless “to-do” list leading up to this weekend & just caught up on reading posts! A little behind the scenes: I opened up all the new posts to read while I had WIFI on the ground and then am writing my comments in a Word document. When I land & have WIFI again I’ll just copy and paste um’ to the comment section. My favorite way to pass the time on flights 🙂

I downloaded episodes of The OA to get started on, but am in the mood to write at the moment. Traveling makes me extremely productive. I love that there is nothing else vying for your attention- especially when you’re in the air and disconnected from the world- you literally cannot do anything else except what you have right in front of you! And on this flight where I’m squeezed in the middle of two strangers I literally hope I don’t sneeze because I will elbow the person next to me on accident. Also, I hope they aren’t reading this because that’d be awkward?! Oh well!

So after our wonderful Easter (the last one in SF- hard to believe!), the following Monday April 22nd I reset for the week. Since my semester was officially done I had to get to those “back burner” items … you know, the ones that can wait but need to be done at some point: I called our prospective apartment complex to get on a wait-list, worked on stuff for the shower, made lists of what we need to do before moving, cleaned out my car, tried to sign up for the Boston Marathon (I’m having such an issue figuring out the application process- if someone has done it please let me know! It’s so confusing & I can’t seem to actually find a formal registration place or someone I can get in touch with—their customer service line doesn’t lead anywhere and I only get automated e-mails back)… anyways you get the picture.

In the afternoon of the 22nd I went on a little walk (my favorite way to just clear my head as of late- maybe even more than running *gasps from the crowd in the back*). I just loved these beautiful truly vibrant blooms!

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These ones are practically neon!

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Let’s see.. On Tuesday April 23rd, I made DJ some pepper jack stuffed chicken with jasmine rice and corn. I made some vegetarian Indian for myself with jasmine rice and tandoori naan from TJs. DJ had some, but said he preferred his chicken (fine– more veggie curry for me 🙂 ). He also is used to my chicken curry I make for him, so I promised I’d make it sometime soon!

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Wednesday April 24th …. well, I have no pictures, so either I was busy with hum- drum things or I disappeared into a black hole. Who knows.

Thursday April 25th was eventful though!! I woke up around 8, ran outside (it was a glorious morning). Then around 10:30 am my friend Alexandra from my nursing cohort met at our apartment. We took my car into the City (ya know I love driving into the City like a real weirdo)… First stop was BreadBelly. They have a few menu items I discovered through the ol’ I-G that I was itchin’ to try.

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We walked in and to our surprise there was no line, even though it was close to lunch time when we arrived. The place was immaculate. I’m trying to get that YELP elite status, so I wrote a review and will just share it here to give ya the low down. Definitely am going back ASAP!

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I couldn’t finish all the Kaya Toast so I saved it to have again in the morning (and had a cooler with me like I do every time I do when I go into the city so nothing goes to waste)!

We took the Ferry over on the Blue & Gold Fleet located at Pier 41. It was easy-peasy lemon squeezy finding it all. Important note: they do have a specific departure schedule, so it’s important to plan out your day rather than try to catch a Ferry last minute. I was glad we did a bit of research before rather than just winging it.

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The ride over was a bit bumpy, but the views were sooo incredible along the way. We saw some huge homes perched onto an Island in the distance and tried to figure out how they would get their groceries there or what they would do if they ran out of toilet paper.

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When we arrived we could not stop talking about how absolutely gorgeous this island was!! I honestly had no idea what to expect with it; I only knew it was a place on the bucket list I made months ago that we decided would be a fun spot to cross out for the day. Mainly this island is known for its nod to history & awesome hiking.

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Being a couple of nurses, something we both found incredibly fascinating was the fact that it was used to quarantine those with contagious diseases like smallpox, plague, and cholera.

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We went inside the tourist area and read up on some more history. All so interesante!

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Then we took off for our hike! It’s so nice because the hiking begins as soon as you step foot off the Ferry. You don’t have to take a cab or taxi to any spots- you just choose your path and get going!

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The views, the views, the views! This might be one of the most beautiful places you could go in the Bay. We couldn’t stop talking about how breathtaking it was at every turn. Of course, the pictures cannot do justice.

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As we walked along we noticed a little path that lead to some homes. We took it down and realized they were the homes we saw from the Ferry!! They were actually not homes at all, but abandoned barracks. So I guess no one was too concerned how they were gonna get that roll of Cottonelle. There was a baking house too that had literal smoke coming from the chimney! We stepped inside to check it out and walked right into a guided tour- WHOOPS! They were nice about it though and let us snoop around, haha.

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The Ferry ride back was much more smooth, but took longer since we stopped to drop people off at Sausalito and Tiburon.

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Peek of Alcatraz on the way back!

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We had SUCH a blast exploring Angel Island. It’s easily one of my favorite things I have ever done in the city. It’s a cheap activity too- all you have to do is pay for the Ferry. It’d be fun to pack a lunch and take the earlier Ferry out to make a day out of it! But the time we spent there for our festivities was just perfect–We got our history and our hike!

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So you know I don’t do a trip to the city without a food stop 😉 We were going to go to Cotogna, one of Alexandra’s favorites and a place I’ve been dyin’ to try (they have a famous giant ravioli). When we walked in they said the wait was at least 1.5 hours to sit at the bar or would be over three for a table. Thank you, next. We walked along Little Italy and Alexandra got a front row to my indecisiveness in full force, lol. There are SO many good restaurants in Little Italy. We finally settled on Tony’s Pizza… a place some consider the best pizza joint in the City.

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We told our hubs that we’d bring them home dinner, so we ordered three pies that we knew they’d enjoy too! The first was a marg, the second a New Yorker, and the third the Diavola. First up, the Margherita.. this is not just any marg… it  is a world-renowned, award-winning margarita pizza. I gotta say, we were both incredibly underwhelmed. It was extremely doughy and kinda luke-warm (we were sitting out in the freezing cold – the temp dropped quickly, so that may have been part of it!). I asked the waiter if that was normal for it to be like that… he explained the “soupy” doughy nature is a sign of a very authentic marg. Interesting. I absolutely prefer Pizza Antica’s  marg over this ANY day. But different strokes for different folks!

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The second famous one I saw all over the place was their New Yorker. This is one I knew DJ would love cause he loves a meat lovers pizza. I tried one bite with the meat so I could give an objective review before taking the rest of the meat off.. it was great! The crust was nice and crispy on this one. Still don’t prefer meat on my ‘za, but this was DJ’s favorite when I took it home for him.

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Last up was the Diavola. Both Alexandra and I agreed this was the best one of the three!! I tried a bite, and it was tremendous. Their hot sauce is already added to the Diavola, which I think is the main reason it’s such a winner in our books. I’m surprised it didn’t win any actual awards though. After our three slices a piece we tapped out and took the rest to go for our guys.

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And that wraps up one of my favorite days ever in the city. It was soo much fun hanging with Alexandra- we get each other on a kindred level. We’ve been through a lot of similar challenges in life & that first year of nursing bonded us in such a way where she feels like a sister to me. I’m gonna miss this one something fierce. Trying to convince her to move to Austin too 😉

I know this one was wordy,  but I just don’t wanna forget these special details. Thanks for reading!!

Question for you:

  • Do you prefer your pizza crust crispy or doughy?

xo <3

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