Weekly Tradition

Like a Shabbat dinner, the Mister and I have adapted a weekly tradition of a nice meal; we prepare, we expect, we enjoy.

It’s never a full meal, nor is it eaten at the table. It’s almost always involves Brie.

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Every Sunday, we prepare an appetizer-like assortment of finger foods. Cheese and crackers, vegetables and hummus, pastries have all made appearances.

This weekend we seemed to have perfected our newly installed tradition. Creamy Brie was layers on baguette slices, topped with juicy pears. These delectable bites were alternated with sips of wine and forkfuls of cake from Crisan bakery.

There wasn’t an overflowing gluttony, it was a few bites between sentences while watching our favorite show. It has no deep seated meaning and is usually served on a paper plate, this week we even shared a fork.

But it’s our tradition, something to expect and look forward to; our moment to treat ourselves in a small edible luxury before another week arrives.

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Lack of Impression

Mister and I went to El Loco restaurant on Madison Avenue for an early dinner.

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The decor was interesting at first, slightly overwhelming by the end of dinner. The other aspect that felt strange was the large number of staff in such a small space.

Woman #1 greeted us at the door and got our menus, Man #2 took our drink order and brought our drinks, woman #3 took our food order and brought out food. Then Woman #4 checked on us after food arrived, Woman #1 checked on us again. At this point I can’t even remember which one of the waitresses brought the check, it was quite possibly a fifth person.

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Maybe I had a long day, maybe it was my contacts but the menu was hard to read. The lamination was lifting away from the paper just enough that everything was blurry unless you ran your finger along the words. I’m nitpicking and quite possibly crazy, I’m just going to blame the overwhelming decor. (There were three different types of lighting over our table alone)

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We settled on a carafe of sangria, an order of chips with guacamole, and then split an entree of one beef and bean chimichanga and one beef and bean enchilada.

It was standard, totally acceptable Tex-Mex (which the waitress actually called LA-Mex when explaining a dish. I’ve never heard this phrase before….is this a thing? Is it different?)

The beef was tender and shredded versus ground which I appreciated. The enchilada lacked textural contrast and was just on the side of dry. That might be because Mister got most of the sour cream topping though.

I personally liked the chimichanga much more; crunchy, spicy, goodness. While the sangria was just enough fruity goodness (although weak for sure), the guacamole and chips could be skipped. The guac was cold, which to me indicated premade and in this case meant muted flavors. The disproportionately large amount of chips was surprising for sure, but they were thick and had the mouthfeel of being stale even thought I don’t think they were.

Wow, that was a whole lot of negative. It wasn’t that bad, but it was American Mexican food, which is pretty standard and predictable. Maybe it’s even baseline of taste and textures should be comforting; like McDonalds, “Tex-Mex” varies little in this region. It’s a safe, easy choice.

Just Sandwiches

Lately I’ve been on a sandwich kick. I’ve had a turkey sandwich for breakfast most days this week, and a grilled cheese will almost always be my late night snack of choice.

Peanut butter and banana. Turkey and cheese. Egg and tomato. Sandwiches can be fancy or elaborate but those usually taste better when someone else makes them for you.

This morning I went for a cold run. I signed up for the Troy Turkey Trot 5k and have never really run much, especially outside in November. I’m doing it though, any advice appreciated!

Post run I was hangry. I stretched and showered and wanted to eat everything I could think of; breakfast is the best meal after all. So I went for a sandwich.

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Boars head low sodium turkey, a smashed avocado, Munster cheese, a fried egg, and a dash of horseradish mayo. Grilled to crispy levels of hunger satisfying goodness. Proteins, healthy fats, carbohydrates.

I’ve been loving this bread lately:

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It’s not artisan, local, or fancy. But it’s pretty great.

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This sandwich isn’t anything special. It’s probably not even worth writing about. But doesn’t that describe most of our meals?

Jake Moon Brunch

After registering for the Troy Turkey Trot, I decided to try and run more; at least attempt some form of training for what will be my third 5k this year.

This mornings run taught me the importance of sweat wicking material, and left me very, very hungry. I consulted a few Yelp reviews and a handful of blogs, settling on Jake Moon in Clarksville, about a 25 minute drive from Center Square.

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It’s a small building, just on the verge of feeling like the middle of nowhere. Walking in I knew I was to love brunch. A banjo player sat in the entrance, the music creating a rousing friendliness without overwhelming the noise level. Between the lively music and the small lights around the ceiling, the room was warm; the feeling you get walking into the dining room for thanksgiving.

We had a hard time deciding what to get, every description on the menu made me hungrier. I settled on the Montana Sausage Gravy, made with their house made sausage. It had such a depth of savory flavors, I could have easily eaten a bowl of that alone. The biscuits, over easy eggs, and perfectly crisped potatoes were just a bonus.

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Mister got the Eggs Benedict Trio, which was eggs Benedict as you would expect, with three eggs stacks (what would be the proper term there..?) one each with bacon, candian bacon, and their fantastic sausage.

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We could have stopped there. Easily.

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But fresh sticky buns had just come out of the oven. So one bun to share with a hot chocolate on the side.

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This was actually the only hiccup of brunch, maybe we should have stopped before we hit such a glutinous level. While the bun itself was fine enough, the sticky topping was burnt.

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That bitter, almost sour flavor of burnt sugar coated the entire bun. The overall meal and service was so great, that I would easily give this a second chance. We might even try again next weekend.

We tried to run errands after brunch, which was short lived before we both succumbed to an afternoon nap. Perfect Sunday in my book.

Sweet Potato and Sausage Soup

I had two sweet potatoes in the pantry and an overwhelming cold.
So I started looking up recipes: soup, sweet potatoes, spicy.

I found a recipe for “Sweet Potato and Sausage Soup” on Epicurious and decided to grab the rest of the ingredients while at the supermarket.

I followed the recipe like a guideline, using two peeled sweet potatoes, half a dozen unpeeled red potatoes, a package of linguica, chicken broth, spinach, onion, garlic.

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I brought it to a boil, then simmer, before popping the whole pot in the fridge while I picked mister up from work and then we ran an errand. Once back home I brought it back up to temp, added the cooked sausage, and a handful of spinach.

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After one or two stirs it was done.

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This stew like soup is perfect; the spicy the sausage, the broth steeped with garlic and onion. I added thyme, parsley, and a bit of ginger on a whim. It was exactly what I wanted.

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Topped with a sprinkle of sea salt, I had three bowls before I remembered self control.