Saturday, June 14, 2014

Date Night

For almost 13 years, Brian and I have tried to keep the weekly 'date night' alive and well in our marriage. While it has certainly been easier for us as DINKs (dual-income, no kids), it can be a challenge to remain creative -- there have been months-long stretches of takeout pizza and Netflix 'date nights' for example. A year ago, we decided to commit to a season's worth of plays at the Unicorn Theater, giving us six solid, Friday night dates together. For a surprisingly low cost, we saw six plays (and in the upcoming season that starts in September, seven plays) that we have never seen before. The Unicorn bills itself as  performing 'BOLD, new plays' and they range from comedy to drama to musical (sometimes all in one night). Prior to the shows, we've been trying out new restaurants, below is the latest find.

Novel will be celebrating it's first birthday this July, so I was excited to eat there while it is still 'new'. Located in Westside, up a little hill and inside an adorable house with a front patio and a back deck, is a gem. It's been awhile since I have been truly impressed with everything at a restaurant but I think they hit it out of the park -- the waitress was friendly and helpful, the craft cocktails were yummy and the food was plate-licking good. I had the carrot soup (with kaffir lime, coconut and charred eggplant), the ricotta gnocchi (with morel, porcini, asparagus and nettle), the green beans (with peanuts, soy sauce and ginger) and the flourless chocolate cake (with warm bourbon caramel sauce, sea salt whipped cream and peanuts). So good and you can make reservations through Yelp's SeatMe service.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Eating San Francisco - Day 2

Although it had been recommended to me as a cocktail spot, it was a working lunch, so I curbed the urge and ordered a basil lemonade and a margherita pizza for lunch at Zero Zero. Both were delicious and not a smell remained when I was done.
After work, we headed to Anchor & Hope to officially wrap up our two-day working session. We ordered three Esprit de Corps and I tried my very first oyster. I had always thought oysters were scary - like jello shots that you're not supposed to chew but somehow manage to block your windpipe (I know, I'm nuts) - but it was actually quite delicious and was easy to manage.
After work, Dynasti picked me up and we headed to the SOMA StrEat Food Park for dinner. I had the JuJu Balls (creamy potato, cream cheese, citrus zest and mint - deep fried), the Eggman (which, I realized after I got it, had some fancy sausage on it that I promptly removed) and a cup of strawberry watermelon sangria. Delicious!
After dinner, Dynasti needed to head home to get some work done so she dropped me off at Per Diem for a nightcap and some dessert. One of my co-workers had recommended the place, describing it as "under the radar." I had the Eva Perron (Fernet-Branca, ginger beer, lime, Domaine de Canton, and Carpano Antica -- I only know what three of those things are) and the pot de chocolate. I rolled out of there and took a stroll around the city to work off at least one of my items from the day but it sure was tasty!

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Eating San Francisco - Day 1

While Kansas City certainly has it's fair share of great food, there are certain things missing or, I'd like to think, yet undiscovered to me. Whenever I travel, I try to fill the culinary gaps in my life with local specialties, and maybe one or two trips to Starbucks to make me feel like I'm back home.

Counterclockwise starting upper, left corner: breakfast - greek yogurt with toasted coconut flakes + raspberry preserves and an iced latte at 'wichcraft; lunch - vegetarian spring rolls (not pictured) and Bun Tom at Tin Vietnamese Cuisine which was so good that I ate my whole meal without a single photo (thanks Foodspotting!); dinner - avocado + shrimp roll, yellowtail sushi and a roll with tempura sweet potato, cucumber and garlic tuna on top at Otoro Sushi - two big thumbs up!

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Starting Off San Francisco

I always love when work travel brings on reunions. Dynasti and I graduated from UMKC last May and hadn't seen each other since last summer, as she'd moved to SF for a new job. As my Facebook friends might recall, Dynasti and I spent the summer of 2012 adventuring around Kansas City, trying everything from trapeze to paintball. Upon arriving in SF last night, we headed to Pier 39 and strolled around looking for dinner (due to the tummy ache I got after, the place shall remain nameless). After a proper catch up on all things work, family, classmates, etc., we got cupcakes from the Cako Bakery. Hoping to hangout again before I leave on Thursday (D mentioned food trucks...).
I'm staying at The Mosser Hotel, right down the street from where our SF office is housed. It makes me think of the apartment I would have if I ever lived in a big city - the place is tiny but expertly furnished, with storage built into everything. I got settled in and crashed around 10, multiple US timezones messing with me a little bit. For now, more SF adventure awaits -- have a great day!

Monday, June 9, 2014

Wedding Weekend - The Rest of Day 3 + 4

My brief post yesterday was partially due to time (clean-up from the night before waits for no one) and partially due to how simple I wanted my thoughts on the wedding to be in that moment. But, just so I don't leave you hanging completely, here are some more highlights from the day (with all the crazy dance-face photos of me purposefully absent).

Clockwise from top left: getting ready in the robin's egg-blue room, one of Jessica and Brian's friend, Bo, did Jessica's hair; the morning morning was spent setting up, decorating and prepping everything for later in the day; my placecard; the bride's bouquet; Jessica's parents snuck in kisses before the wedding dress went on; fresh wildflowers hung in mason jars from each chair on the aisle; wedding programs; Paul, the father-of-the-bride, walking her down the aisle to the groom, Brian (yes, there were three Brian's at the wedding); and bridal photos before the wedding inside.
The morning after the wedding, there was a brunch for everyone still in town featuring fresh pastries piled high, breakfast burrito fixings, more homemade granola, fresh strawberries and yogurt. It was a great way to end a wonderful weekend that ended up feeling a little more like summer camp than a wedding.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Wedding Weekend - Day 3

The wedding was exquisite, as was the bride. Two lives were entwined as we looked on -- the ceremony filled with gratitude, love and joy. We ate and danced and laughed together as a family of strangers and friends. All in all an amazing night, not soon forgotten.

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Wedding Weekend - Day 2

The only bad thing about today was that I didn't get to have a donut for National Donut Day, other than that, it was pretty perfect. The day was filled with wedding prep, lounging next to the pond and lots of eating. Here are the highlights:
Breakfast consisted of coffee, homemade granola, yogurt, fruit, frittata (bottom right), cheddar biscuits, homemade jam, toast and bacon.
We potted herbs for the centerpieces, picked up flowers for the ceremony, ate fancy finger sandwiches, set up chairs, sunk in tiki torches and had a rehearsal.
The rehearsal dinner was awesome - make your own taco bar with slow roasted pork shoulder, beans, roasted squash and zucchini and all the fixings. And, of course, signature cocktails, champagne, wine and bourbon.
Taken from the swimming dock, looking up the hill.
The pond and the wedding tent, all ready for the big day tomorrow.

Friday, June 6, 2014

Wedding Weekend - Day 1

We arrived at Windrift Hall yesterday for the wedding weekend (you have to check out the photos). It's a perfect setting for an outdoor wedding and the weather is perfect - there's even a pond with a swimming dock. There are four couples staying at the house, along with two chefs who are cooking all weekend. We spent the afternoon putting things together for the wedding with the bride and grooms' parents. After a run to Wal-mart and the grocery store, we grilled dinner and giant marshmallows (like the ones Jessica and I are holding in the photo above).
Our bedroom is in the attic with a little trap door to the bathroom.
Every detail in the house is casual and elegant; flowers from the backyard.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

5 Trips in 50 Days

After some time at home, I am getting back out into the world with a bang - five trips in 50 days, to be exact. Typically, people that I don't work with, and therefore have more normal travel schedules, often ask me if I ever get tired of traveling. I always answer "no." There is really nothing more fun to me than packing up a suitcase and heading off into the world.

Two of my upcoming trips are work-related (San Francisco and Italy), two are family-related (Sedona and Maine) and one is a wedding weekend (Albany). I would never have figured out I had five trips in 50 days had it not been for my trusty TripIt account that likes to send me little alerts and updates. It's one of my favorite things for travel because it's so easy to use. I just email all my reservations to it and then organizes it accordingly, populating confirmation number fields, addresses and phone numbers I might need later. It even keeps track of my dinner reservations and frequent flier accounts -- totally perfect for an organized, nerd/traveler like me.

My favorite thing about everything coming up, of course, is that I finally have a good reason to get back to blogging. Although I think breaks from things can be good, I am excited to be back! I hope you have all been well and that our paths will cross soon!