One Cheesy Birthday Weekend!

Happy Thursday, Everyone! I am pretty stoked to share this post. Last weekend was just so gouda!

Also, this time last week I was super overwhelmed, but I can tell ya I am feeling 100% better this week. Thank you for all your sweet words of encouragement, wisdom, and perspectives. Can’t explain how much they helped & how thankful I am for y’all! Okay onto the fun-filled weekend!!

Thursday the 10th I finished up my last blog post and enjoyed some butternut squash with vegan butter, salt, pepper and a slice of Ezekiel cinnamon raisin bread as a little snack.

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For dinner I made DJ a Bubba burger (his favorite at-home burger) with gruyere cheese & brussels.

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I had my big ole’ salad with Nasoya marinated tofu and all the veggies in the fridge.

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I also sliced up the rest of our cheesecake thingy-ma-bob from New Years to freeze. No way we could finish it all. (I took off the top layer of the cookie to finish off though, lol!).

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Friday the 11th I just cranked out school work- it felt good to make a dent and get a few assignments done.

Saturday the 12th was the The Great Mac ‘N Cheese melt off at Soma StrEat Foodpark in SF. Amy and I had talked about maybe going, but I messaged her the night before unsure if I would be able to go with the school load. However, I got up extra early on Saturday, got my 10-mile training run in, finished my assignments for the day, then texted her since we could make the last couple hours!!! DJ and I hit the road taking beautiful 280 into the City.

MAC AND CHEEEESE TIME!!!!

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I believe they had twelve food trucks all serving their usual food and a special mac ‘n cheese dish at each stop.

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There was a Kevita stand too. I was soo thirsty after my run & the hour-drive, so I made a dash for the tent. The guys there said they weren’t actually selling them, but since they were closing they decided to give me a bottle for free- hey, I’ll take it! The apple cider vinegar is one of my faves.

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The lines were CRAZY long. So the three of us split up to different trucks.

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I stood in line to try the “tex mex mac” from the Grilled Cheez Guy.

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It was oookay. Not the best compared to the others. The best part were the candied jalapeños on top!

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Now for the good stuff! Amy stood in line to get the “almost famous” garlic (your left) and the classic with a crispy fried bacon-gruyere mac n’ cheese ball from Jackrabbit (right). Oh me oh my! They were both delicious- I could have ate that garlic one all day, but DJ’s fave was the bacon-gruyere.

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Here is the inside of it! It really was so good. And that’s coming from someone who doesn’t like bacon! Then again, this may have changed my mind…

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The three of us all joined back up in line with DJ as we ate the dishes Amy and I grabbed. The line DJ was in was the longest at the fest- I think it took about 45 minutes to get to the front to even order. While we waited and passed other food trucks as we moved up, we grabbed a couple more dishes to sample and share.

Below was the favorite of Amy and DJ’s over all! This was probably my second favorite! It is a hot cheeto mac and cheese with corn from sip n’ slurp. Corn in mac n’ cheese is soooo goood- why is that not a common thing?!

img_7314img_7010Then The American Grilled Cheese Kitchen had some BOMB crab mac n’ cheese. Wow oh wow this was good. I loaded it up with hot sauce and that added to it- yummm.

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And for what we waited a loong time for- these mac n’ cheese balls from Chef’s Food truck. These balls were deep friend m n’ cheese with truffle oil and parmesan. All I have to say is worth the wait. One of the greatest bites of anything I have ever had in my whole life. YUMMMMMMMM.

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To end, we had to vote for our faves! It was hard to choose. When you entered the fest you were given a noodle to vote for your favorite dish.

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We voted for Chef’s Truck, Slip n’ Slurp  & Jack Rabbit. The winner when announced were #1. Chef’s Truck (the mac n’ cheese ball- AMEN) #2. The American Grilled Cheese Kitchen (crab mac- I totally get why they placed!) and #3. JackRabbit (absolutely deserved to place, all their mac was out of this woooorld).

DJ wanted to take the long route back home. The views were stunning along the bay.

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On Sunday January 13th it was my 25th bday. Cue the quarter life crisis!!! DJ got up around 5 am to go help set up venue for church, and I woke up around 6 am to join up with the welcome team. It’s such a blessing to have weekends back. I missed serving & spending time with my Church fam.

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But lots of coffee was absolutely necessary!

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After church, we decided to try out one of the best breakfast spots in town for a little bday brunch- Joanie’s.

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This gem is a french restaurant in the heart of Palo Alto. In order to get seated you have to first put your name on the waiting list- I kind of liked this method rather than hunting down the host to put your name on the list.

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We knew we’d have a crazy long wait (about an hour) so we perused the Farmer’s Market right outside for a while.

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It was the most interesting & diverse Farmer’s Market I have ever been to! They had everything from dim sum dishes to avocado toast specialties and german bread. If we weren’t waiting to eat breakfast I could have found plenty to nom down on there. We’ll have to go back!

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Finally time to be seated!

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I ordered a Mimosa, and this is how it came! So cute. And it was less than $10. That is unheard of around here.

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I ordered the Tuscana omelette with zucchini, cherry tomatoes, red onions, provolone cheese, and basil pesto sauce. Goodnessss this was good. Only second behind Bill’s epic omelette. But this was a very close second. The hash-browns were just to die for. And the blueberry muffin was easily the best muffin I have ever had. I’ve raved about it to basically everyone I have come in contact with since.

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DJ had their breakfast medley and said it was one of the best brunch meals he has had in the Bay.

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We LOVED Joanie’s. I would say it is a contender for the best brunch spot in the bay, yes, even up against Bill’s.

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After brunch we decided to go the mall to look around. I grabbed a lolli from See’s candy of course!

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When we came home I picked up the mail and found the best treat ever in it! Cyranny from Cyranny’s Cove sent the sweetest holiday greetings & it arrived right on my bday- serendipitous? I think so! It made my day! She even incorporated a little inside joke to the postage, hehe <3

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In the evening I whipped up a Bubba burger for DJ & alll I wanted for my bday was mushroom & black truffle flatbread from TJ’s. I had been saving it in the freezer for my bday for a couple weeks now! I told Deej all I wanted to do was eat this flatbread, sip on some red wine, and blog for my birthday. So that is what we did!

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I added some crushed red pepper and tabasco to the flatbread, and it was so yummy. Then we just opened up some cards & gifts- It was a perfect birthday & I felt so loved!!

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Monday the 14th it was back to school full force and all I’ve done is school the last couples days since. We are gearing up for our marathon this weekend though. My mom and Pete are joining us in San Diego!

Questions for you:

  • Peak of your week so far?
  • Pit of your week so far?

xo <3

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There’s No Place Like Home: Part Two

Here we goooo, Part Dos! This one is a bit shorter, gotta give y’all some breathing room, hehe.

We left off the night of Monday the 2nd. In the morning of Tuesday the 3rd I met my friend Rachel at First Watch– my all time FAVORITE breakfast spot. It’s something we don’t have here in the West, so I was salivating as I walked through the door.

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And I guess you can take the girl out of California, but you can’t take the California out of the girl…. naturally I went for their avocado toast. (I also love their coffee). My other favorites here are their tri-athlete and their massive pancakes!

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Rach ordered their famous pesto chicken quinoa bowl with protein-packed quinoa mixed with kale, shredded carrots and house-roasted tomatoes topped with grilled all-natural lemon chicken breast, basil pesto sauce, feta crumbles and fresh herbs.

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After breakfast, I snuck in a workout at the local gym then decided to go to Earth Fare- my main reason for coming home (jk jk … kinda)…. My last meal would include the taters from Burntwood and tofu nuggets from EarthFare. This is one of the food items I miss the absolute most and a must when I go home.

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They didn’t have them in the main display and I started to panic. I asked the lady if she had any and she said none were made but she would be happy to whip some up. It was so kind, and I was willing to wait the extra twenty minutes to get some nuggs.

img_7274img_7275I grabbed some big salads for me and Clair before going to her childhood home to visit her mom and sister.

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This is a picture of their gorgeous backyard. Countless of my own memories growing up were held here too.

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For dinner I met with another close friend from high school, Kylie, at Pub Bricco. I hadn’t been here in forever, and forgot how doggone delicious their food was.

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Kylie had their salmon sandwich and I tried a bite- heaven. Anything with sun-dried tomatoes is pure gold.

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I savored every single bite of their veggie burger with tzatziki sauce.

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We talked, barely stopping to take a breath for almost three hours, and yet it never seems like enough time! We have been sending cards back and forth this past year though which has been such a great way to stay in touch. Who doesn’t love still getting snail mail nowadays?!

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In the morning of the fourth I woke up super early and headed to Lakeside, OH to join DJ’s family for a day on the lake!

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This place is very dear to DJ and I. DJ grew up here in the summers and this was actually where he told me he loved me for the first time (fun facts all around). When you are here it feels like all is right in the world.

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The girls! (Although we missed Amy- DJ’s twin).

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A ceremony was held to dedicate the Park to DJ’s Grandma and Grandpa- it was a beautiful and wonderful ceremony. Truly an unforgettable day. Love this family and honored to call myself part of it <3

After the ceremony I zoomed back to Cleveland to return the rental car. I was stuck in some serious bouts of rain- I do NOT miss that!!! Rain rain go away, come back when I am on my plane….. back to CA.. where there is a whole lot less precipitation.

BUT fighting the H2O was so worth it because I was able to attend my family’s fourth of July barbecue! My brother and his amazing wife Maura picked me up from the rental place and we drove to my cousin’s home for the evening.

I seriously hope I am half the parents they are!

This is Baby Kate- can’t handle her cuteness. Our little all American girl!

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And this is Jack- my nephew who literally melts my heart and soul every time he says, “Aunt Kenzie”.

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Kate loooved my sunnies.

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And my shoes! She got into those on her own. We just turned around and she was standing there in them with a big smile on her face. It was so stinking cute.

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Time for sparklers!!!

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BE STILL MY SOUL. This face <3

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Jack loved the sparklers and really loved the pop-its! Fearless little man.

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After an incredible family day, I tried to catch some serious snoozes before having to get up at 4 am for my flight (which would be 1 am Pacific time). Eek! I was surprisingly hungry when I got to the airport, so I found a yummy chia seed pudding with berries and nuts and had a coffee before boarding.

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And now that brings us back to good ole’ Northern Cali. Thanks for letting me share my home with you all- such a special place with such special people. Where is your home home?

xo <3

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