When Tuesday Acts Like Monday

 

Yep, it’s been a mustard-in-the-keyboard type of day.

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Tomorrow Starts Today

 

Mornings are just soooo much easier when my breakfast and lunch are prepped and ready to go before bed. Just take the containers out of the fridge, put them in the backpack, and go! :)

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Wild Flower

 

A funny thing happened on the way to a 3-year-old’s birthday party today. The BF picked me up, and when he pulled up to the house and I started walking towards his car, I noticed something in my yard. At some point between last night and this afternoon, someone must have stuck a metal flower in my yard.

I’ve ruled out the BF, and my neighbors are very unlikely candidates – we don’t have much of a relationship at all, much less one where they’d gift me with random lawn ornaments. My parents and grandmas wouldn’t have come to Pittsburgh without trying to meet up, so they’re out… that leaves me with random strangers. I don’t know if there’s some sort of garden gang running around Wilkins Twp, or if my house has been tagged for something, or if someone was just being nice (and totally random). Based on my neighbors and my neighborhood, I’m apt to believe the more sinister options.

Does anyone have any other ideas why someone would stick a random metal flower in a yard?

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Challenge Accepted

 

I’ve known it was coming for several days now, ever since my aunt’s sister nominated her. The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge has been spreading like wildfire on Facebook, so it was only a matter of time before they got to me.

Way back in 2000, just after I graduated high school, my grandfather passed away from ALS. I wasn’t super-close to him, but it was terrible to watch the disease’s progress as he became weaker and weaker, then unable to talk… and then unable to eat. So with such a strong tie to ALS, how could I not spread the word a little more?

I accepted my cousin’s challenge this morning, and in turn nominated three other cousins. And while it’s fun to watch everyone’s videos (everyone’s except my own – I hate videos and audio of myself!), I’m happy this campaign has been so successful in raising the public’s awareness of the disease.

So if you haven’t been challenged already, consider this your official nomination to complete the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, dear readers! :)

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notion

Tonight’s restaurant pick has been on my most-wanted list for YEARS now. When notion first opened in Oakmont, I was working at the country club… ironically, with the chef/owner’s brother. I read up on Dave Racicot and decided that someday I would dine in one of his restaurants… even if it took me years to do it. Fast-forward four years and notion is now in East Liberty, right beside Spoon (and apparently Bar Marco, which, since when?!) After looking at the regular menu, I’ve realized I still can’t afford to dine at notion for their prix-fixe tasting menu, but ’tis the season for Pittsburgh Restaurant Week, so the BF made us a reservation for tonight.

While I was surprised at how sparsely decorated the restaurant is – there’s nothing at all on the walls – the BF liked the minimalist look. The restaurant has a really cool light fixture, though, and I’d like to steal it (but it’s probably too heavy for me). Our table had a direct view into the kitchen, where the chef was directly in my line of sight. Him and… no one else. A table beside us asked if there were other people in the kitchen since they could only see the chef, and their server told them that it’s just the chef and the sous-chef in the kitchen. Mighty impressive for all the perfectly-prepared food that was coming out.

The BF and I both chose options from the PRW menu, and we each got a cocktail. I chose the Raspberry Manhattan, which was delightful and hardly tasted alcoholic at all (trust me, it was pure liquor…); and the BF got the Aperol Negroni. Before our cocktails even arrived, though, we were served a complimentary watermelon soda amuse-bouche. It tasted like a watermelon agua fresca I made last year, minus the mint. We both liked it, but it’s hard not to like a fizzy watermelon drink.

For the first course, I chose the corn soup and the BF chose the tartare. His selections are on the left of the picture above, and mine are on the right (we had the same second course). The corn soup tasted like liquefied corn on the cob – butter, salt, and all. It was a little salty for my taste, but the yogurt in the center cut the saltiness perfectly. Oh, and bonus! There were two perfect shrimp underneath all that yogurt. The pairing of the corn/salt/yogurt/shrimp was ridiculously good, and not something I’d ever think up on my own. The BF seemed to like his tartare, but he said later that if he could chose over, he would have gone with the corn soup. But check out that awesome plate the tartare is on – it looked like a peacock. If the servers weren’t so darn attentive, that plate might’ve gone home with me! (Kidding, kidding… I’ve never stolen from restaurants (or anywhere). I’ve just been tempted to.)

For the second course, we both chose the salmon with cucumbers, dill oil, and horseradish cream sauce. I was surprised by how orange the fish was, and I’d mistakenly thought it was raw based on the color. I was very happy to discover that it was thoroughly cooked, and perfectly – this was possibly the flakiest salmon I’ve ever had. The flakiness made it a little difficult to scoop up onto my fork (the spoon that accompanied the dish makes more sense now), but I put on my big girl pants and I managed just fine.

It was around this time, just after the second course, that I said to the BF, “I think I might still be hungry when we’re done.” The portion sizes seemed on the small side up to that point… but I needn’t have been worried, because the third course was on its way and it was a bit more substantial than the other two.

For the final course, I chose the sous-vide chicken with hazelnuts, onions, and a dijon cream sauce while the BF chose the pork with smashed potatoes and the shellfish sauce. Try saying “shellfish sauce” after you’ve had a cocktail. Ha. Can’t do it, can you?

I’d debated getting the pork as well, but when I saw it arrive, I was glad I’d opted for the chicken. The idea of pork that’s even the teensiest bit pink inside skeeves me out, and while the BF’s pork wasn’t undercooked at all, I still would have had an issue with eating it. The chicken was so juicy that I questioned whether it was done – I’ve never had chicken like this before. It was, of course, fully cooked; I’m just used to lesser-quality fowl. I even ate a few bites of the crispy skin, which I hardly ever do. The onions were delicious; I’d like to put them on my egg white sandwiches every day. Dave Racicot, if you ever see this, could you hook me up with an unlimited supply of these onions for breakfasts?

At this point, we were neither hungry, nor too full – we’d reached a nice food balance in our bellies. We declined dessert, but there was one more surprise waiting for us – when the server brought out the bill, he also gave us two milk chocolate macarons. HELLO. We all know I’m a nutcase for macarons, so I was pretty psyched. These macarons were more cookie-like than any other I’ve ever had – they were almost crumbly, but not in a chewy way. The flavor was good, but the actual texture didn’t seem like that of a traditional macaron. Still, I’m not one to look a gift macaron in the mouth (hey, wait a second…), so I was content with the surprise “happy ending.”

We really enjoyed our meal at notion, and for the PRW pricing of $35.14 for three courses from an award-winning chef, you really can’t go wrong.

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It’s So FLUFFY!

 

Tonight we went to Costco, where I found another version of the fluffiest blanket known to mankind. Once upon a time, I’d bought a similar blanket at Sam’s Club and I loved it, but by the time I made my way back there for another one, they’d sold out. This one isn’t exactly the same, but it’s just as soft and fluffy.

So fluffy that I can’t get the little girl from Despicable Me out of my head- “He’s so FLUFFY I’m gonna die!” :)

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