Concerts, crazy food, and clichés

While recapping past trips is a time of joyous reflection, recaps from the present are way easier! I recapped the beginning of this past weekend in my Santa Cruz post. The rest of this weekend carried on with the same energy and zeal as the first half. Sunday night we geared up for the Sean Mendes concert. This is one of the girls’ favorite artists, and it worked out great that we were with them this weekend to take them to the show. With the show being at 7:30 in San Jose, we decided to try to find somewhere to eat dinner in that area. DJ put me on find-a-restaurant duty. I had way too much fun scouring Zomato and TV food maps for a one-of-a-kind place. Most people know of Zomato which provides ratings, easy filters to choose what types of food you are in the mood for, and menu options, while TV food maps tends to be less well known. This handy little app has all the restaurants that have been on TV shows like Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives, Unique Eats, Cupcake wars, etc. It also has a road trip option that we constantly checked when we did our road trip cross country. No surprise, but the number of featured eateries in the Bay area are endless. In San Jose, I narrowed in on one pretty quickly. This little mexican restaurant named Mezcal is known for it’s Oaxacan regional cuisine.

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They were featured on Bizarre Foods America- for what you ask? Well this post would be no fun without a little suspense! I made sure there were normal things on the menu that the girls would like too and booked us a table for 5:30. I told the girls that we were going to hide what the “Surprise dish” entailed until it was placed on the table. They were dying to know. They swore they were going to try it no-matter-what. When the waitress came up to greet us she asked if we had been there before. I stupidly said, “No, but we found you on TV Food Maps!”. She responded, “Oh for our _____” and said the item. DJ and I both said the booming, slow motion, “Noooooo!”. And the girls shrieked in realization of what this surprise item consisted of. We ordered and waited patiently for this dish to arrive. In the meantime, one girl knocked over her water and the other lost a tooth. I am beginning to get a glimpse into motherhood (a VERY EASY taste) by seeing the true inability to predict the next moment in time. All our food came at once including a salmon with roasted veggies for the girls to split, scallop ceviche and tacos pastor for DJ, and a prawn salad with avocado and mango for myself.

 

Now the moment of truth…

These delicacies are called chapulines. They are actually grasshoppers and not too bad! I don’t know if I would order them again but we had to at least try them! Also I am not sure where insects fall in the pesca diet?! The girls were not too keen on participating in the taste test 😜.

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This was the spiciest, and best, salsa I have ever had

After making sure the tooth was safe and sound in a paper towel resting in the depths of my purse, and laughing about the hilarity of eating grasshoppers for dinner, we headed to the concert! It was in San Jose’s event center just a quick walk from where we were. Talk about estrogen overload. Not only did the massive number of preteen and teenage girls flash me back to the awkwardness of middle school, but my ear drums took a beating. The concert opener was James TW from London. I was astounded by his talent. Then SM took the stage and the crowd went wild. While DJ sat and tried his best to remain obscured, I had a ball getting into the music with the girls. They seemed to have an absolute blast and that was all that mattered.

We got home super late and hit the hay. The next day was pretty chill. We slept in, I had a beautiful run in the balmy sun, and then we all had fruits and veggies with hummus for lunch.

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For dinner we took the girls to The Counter. I mentioned this scruptious little chain in my New York post if you want to skim the full review. I love it because it has something for absolutely everyone; from the vegan to the carnivore. I ordered their vegan burger with smoked gouda and all the fixins. The girls had basic burgers with ketchup and mustard and DJ ordered the 1/3 lb. burger with a fried egg. Everyone loved their meals and we even had some milkshakes to boot. The girls loved that they could create their own milkshakes and burgers. The milkshakes were runnier than normal which was a bit disappointing as we all love dipping our fries in them, but I think the restaurant was having an off-day. It seemed that things kept going wrong for the staff (like trays dropping, ornery customers, and the general vibe). I know from working in the industry that it’s best to just give them the benefit of the doubt. We also ordered some regular and sweet potato fries. I am convinced that these are the best potato fries I have ever had. IMG_7507

After dinner we had a slumber party at our new place. The girls made themselves right at home in “their room”, which made me very happy. We decided to watch a movie and finally settled on a Walk to Remember. I popped some popcorn and excitedly awaited the start of one of my favorite childhood classics. As it played, I slowly began to watch the film from a whole new perspective. I did not realize how dated that movie had become! I did not realize the complete cheesy, sappy, cliché plot this entire movie was built upon! They were sweet about it though and I think generally enjoyed it.

Now, if you know me you know what Monday means….. BACHELORETTE. Oh I hate to admit it, but yes, I am one of those. So to all my friends out there- no spoilers! My in-laws fly back to San-Fran later today, so we will be watching it Wednesday!

Wishing you many opportunities to try Chapulines,

xo <3

Mack

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New York, New York!

Following the Baltimore trip we decided to hit up one of the greatest cities in America. I have never been to New York, so before we did the big move, we thought it was pretty essential. DJ was a trooper and drove the whole time in his GMC Canyon (pickup truck). He did great, besides getting stuck in the intersection one time. The cars just swerved around him like a rock in a stream without getting upset, like, “Oh there is an Ohioan driving his pickup truck in New York, we won’t even get mad”. We stayed in the beautiful Grand Hyatt right by Grand Central Terminal. It was great to be able to walk among the hustle and bustle of the city as soon as we stepped out our door. I LOVED the fast pace of the city. In the mornings I would walk to Starbucks after my morning workout and get breakfast for DJ and I. I was right among the commuters. For a people-watcher, like myself, New York City is a gold mine.

 

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^ I have a tendency to stand awkward in most photos.

We also spent quite a bit of time in Times Square. I was obsessed. I loved all the hubbub, places to eat, and unique shops. The first evening we were there it absolutely downpoured on us. We stomped through the puddles like a couple of midwesterners while the rest of the people were huddled under canopies, glued to the buildings. Okay we aren’t that good- we may have purchased umbrellas for $5. When we were passing Grand Central we hopped in and grabbed some delicious goodies from a bakery right near the entrance. DJ ordered a flourless chocolate cake and I ordered cheesecake. We may or may not (meaning most definitely) have gotten another cheesecake in the lobby, because the one from Financier just seemed too small to share. We agreed the cheesecake from the Hyett lobby store was actually better. We took them back to the room to watch the Cavs battle it out in game 5. Do not get me started on how proud we are of Bron’ Bron’ and our city. #CLE.

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The next day we made our way to Central Park. OK- call me crazy but I imagined Central Park to literally be a small park including only the area in Home Alone. Man, was I ever wrong. Central Park is MASSIVE and very scenic.

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We found Balto!

After exploring Central Park, we walked around the city a little bit. We went down Sak’s Fifth avenue and down some side streets. Highlights from walking around included:

  • Finding Lindt store. Lindor truffle balls are our obsession. I particularly like their dark chocolate or white chocolate and DJ prefers the milk. When we saw all the flavors, we could not control ourselves. We decided to each get one flavor we have never tried. I am having a hard time remembering what we chose, but I think I got a cookies and cream and DJ tried white finally.
  • We found Carlos’ Bakery. It is not the original, but we HAD to try the famous cannoli and eclair. THEY WERE LIFE CHANGING.
  • More Time Square…Can’t get enough.
  • The following day we decided to do the Empire State Building tour. It was fun to try to find certain landmarks from way up high.

After our adventures of the day, we had worked up an appetite. We found a scrumptious steakhouse. Even though I do not eat meat, I love steakhouses. Mainly because usually they have amazing seafood options and sides. I ordered tuna tartare and DJ got steak (duh). We shared the lobster mac and cheese and creamed spinach to boot. If you are a creamed spinach lover, try putting it on your bread. It is 10291498x better on bread. I do not know why, but it is!   Ben and Jack’s was the name of this delicious jackpot. We ordered dessert consisting of coconut cream pie and more flourless chocolate cake. It was delicious and I highly recommend it if you are looking for a nice night out in New York.

The rest of the night we spent in the room to watch Bachelorette. Yes, yes, I know it is pathetic. We were whipped by this point, and while we probably could have found something to do (It’s New York, hello), cozying up with a glass of wine, our stock pile of desserts, and watching our bae JoJo slayyy sounded so inviting.

The next day we decided to walk to South Manhattan. It was about a 10 mile walk roundtrip. I also stopped us every few miles to reapply sunscreen- WEAR YOUR SUNSCREEN BOYS AND GIRLS. We saw the Statue of Liberty, Ground Zero, and the Brooklyn Bridge (sort of).

Story time.

Once upon a time Mack and DJ had plans to go to Broadway to see Wicked. They did not have a hotel for said night of Wicked and had to carry around their clothes with them all day before the show. This bookbag contained not only Mack’s favorite dress and DJ’s favorite pants, but a new watch DJ had gotten Mack for her birthday, all Mack’s makeup, and her passport. Yes, passport. They stopped at a small little convenient store to grab snacks and use the restroom (which is tricky  to find in New York!). They casually walked all along Wall Street and then headed to the notorious Brooklyn Bridge. While entering Brooklyn Bridge, Mack looked to DJ and realized there was no precious bookbag upon her hubby’s shoulders. “Where is the book bag, sweet husband”, she said calmly (NOT). “Gone” hubby replied. (Really- that is how he responded, in a monotone voice). *INSERT MACK HAVING A MAJOR TEMPER TANTRUM*. They did not fully complete the Brooklyn Bridge but turned back and between the tears and angry outburst and each realization of what was in this bag, they brainstormed where the bag could possibly be. After retracing their steps they found that darn little convenient store and sure enough- right in the chair they had been in- was their precious little bag. (This is crazy considering there were five times more people there than when they were there about two hours prior). Mack has never felt such great relief in her whole life. DJ was still glad to have his life. The happy, relieved couple maneuvered New York happily ever after after that.

**Side note: I felt horrible about freaking out to such an extreme. Many apologies were exchanged after. Good learning experience, am I right? We just said it will be an excuse to go back to New York in the future so we can actually complete the Brooklyn Bridge.

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We tried to get a picture with the famous Lady, but no luck. Also just realized there is something in my tooth lol.
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Lady Liberty looking mighty fine

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Incredibly relieved after finding the bag

I also have to mention the profound experience we had at Ground Zero. Seeing the memorial opened my eyes to the exponential number of people personally touched. I know it affected our entire country, but when you see each of those names, it pulls on the depths of your heart. My thoughts and prayers continue to be with those that lost loved ones.

After the New York walk, we went to a delicious burger joint called the Counter. GOSH DARNIT, we got caught in the chain trap. Once again we did not know this was a chain either, but holy moly was it good. The way The Counter works is you design your burger. They have endless options of breads, toppings, sauces, etc. We discovered it was chain when we saw one right down the road from us in Cupertino. LOLZ. I ordered the most epic vegan patty burger with smoked gouda and tons of veggies. DJ had the famous burger with a fried egg. Lastly, we split their perfectly made coleslaw and delved into their heavenly sweet potato fries. Oh and their milkshakes are to.die.for.

Now it was time to get ready for Broadway. We went to a little cafe where I ordered a decaf coffee just so we could use their restroom. There was not much I could do about the hair situation, so we just bunned it hardcore. Broadway blew us away. The talent was indescribable. Wicked will keep you fascinated and enchanted for the entire length of the production. If you find yourself in New York, make sure you carve out a chunk of time to see it.

Next stop: HOME.

Wishing you lots of juicy burgers,

xo <3

Mack