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Got Babies? October 30, 2007

Posted by smooregasbord in General.
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We wanted to congratulate our friends Mike and Katie on the adoption of their new baby girl, Abigail! Also, my sister-in-law, Ginny, has just received news that she and Raj are pregnant. CONGRATULATIONS to all of these new parents!!

Abigail

UPDATE: Since this post was first “aired”, Raj and Ginny found out that they are having triplets!!! That’s triple the congratulations for triple times the fun.

A 26.2 Mile Success October 28, 2007

Posted by smooregasbord in Around Town, Running.
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Well, Casey and my dad successfully completed the Marine Corps Marathon today! This was their first marathon. They finished in 5:08:18. CONGRATULATIONS to Casey!! CONGRATULATIONS to Daddy!! CONGRATULATIONS to all of the finishers!!

MCM_Mile 22

MCM_Mile 22_2

MCM_Finish

Plumpy’nut…What a Concept October 24, 2007

Posted by smooregasbord in Food, TV/Movies.
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Sunday night I was watching 60 Minutes on CBS and Anderson Cooper was featuring a story regarding a product called Plumpy’nut. This peanut-based paste is currently being used by Doctors Without Borders to save children from dying of malnutrition.  The coolest thing about it is how cheap it is…only $1 for a daily ration!  It was amazing to see something so simple and inexpensive having such a massive effect on famine in parts of Africa. If you’re interested in finding out more about this product and where it is being used, you can check out their website.

Suck It Up and Go Green October 23, 2007

Posted by smooregasbord in Around Town, Eco/Green, Food.
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So this past weekend, Casey and I ate at Ted’s Montana Grill. As an FYI, they have unbelievable onion rings! Anywho, the point of my story is that I don’t normally drink straight from the glass in a restaurant. Generally, I prefer a straw, so Friday night was no different in that regard. I opened the straw and discovered something new and unusual. At first, I thought they must have given me a “dud”…whatever that means in the World of Straws…because the texture was off. It wasn’t your typical plastic. It felt like cardboard….OMG, it was cardboard! Pretty cool. You can check out the Aardvark Paper Drinking Straws here. One other thing I discovered about Ted’s is that it is a “99% plastic free establishment”. Again, pretty cool. We do little things every day to try and make a difference for our environment. It’s nice to see others taking part, too.

Granny Gets Pizzazz October 22, 2007

Posted by smooregasbord in Fashion, Shopping.
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When I think of Naturalizer shoes, I normally think of shoes that my granny would wear. Not anymore! Somebody must have sent them the message, so now we don’t have to sacrifice comfort for style. Check out the Fountain and the Sweeney below. I think those red flats are calling my name!

Naturalizer Fountain Naturalizer Sweeney

Diary of a Travel Guide Junkie: Vol. III October 20, 2007

Posted by smooregasbord in Food, Travel.
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Before our trip to San Diego becomes a distant memory, I thought I would do one more post regarding food…more specifically, our evening dining choices.

The Coronado Brewing Company is likened to other brewing companies like Gordon Biersch. Their sausage platter paired with a home brew is delicious. I was interested in trying the Islander Pale Ale (IPA) which they were out of during our visit.

Napa Valley Grille is located in Horton Plaza. You’re probably saying, “I can’t believe you ate dinner at a mall and are writing about it.” We tried this restaurant only at the recommendation of my Frommer’s guide which stated, “Proving that a shopping mall doesn’t have to be a wasteland when it comes to dining…” Sounded like a good enough reason to give it a try, and I’m glad we did. We started out with their cheese platter because I can’t pass up on cheese…ever! I wasn’t absolutely starving, so I opted for soup and a salad as my entree. I had their soup of the day which was a corn and crab bisque and followed that with one of their specials, Roast Duck Salad. Duck?! Yes, Duck.

Sidebar: I had never eaten duck until a trip to Jaleo. The waiter recommended a duck tapas dish and there began my new affection for duck. If you’ve never tried it, I highly recommend giving it a whirl. If it’s prepared correctly, it will literally melt in your mouth.

Where was I? Oh, yeah, the salad. It was roast duck over mixed greens with goat cheese, nuts, and dried cherries topped with homemade cherry vinaigrette. WOW!

Located in Coronado, the Rhinoceros Café & Grille has the most delicious Lobster Bisque. I’d recommend strolling down Orange Ave for some shopping and then trying this location for lunch.

Seriously, Harney Sushi may top my list for best sushi restaurant EVAH! I was perusing a dining guide that was in our hotel room and saw a review on Harney’s. It sounded great, so we checked out their website and menu and were totally sold on the fact that we needed to give it a try. (Note: Their location is relatively small, so I suggest making a reservation.) Their restaurant is a hidden gem located in Old Town with a very charming patio and a wonderful (and knowledgeable) wait staff. If you’re eating sushi, how can you pass up on edamame as an appetizer?! The menu is HUGE. So many things looked good; it was extremely hard not to let your eyes be bigger than your stomach. We probably tried six different rolls and were NOT disappointed. My absolute favorite was the Andy II roll…a spicy tuna roll topped with fresh salmon and lemon. The small wedges of lemon gently placed atop each piece were heaven in my mouth. I’ve never had such wonderful sushi!

Located above a liquor store in Old Town, El Agave Tequilaria has over 850 different tequilas available. We stuck with their house margarita which was very authentic and not too frou-frou. They are very well known for their moles. We tried the Mole Poblano Don Julio (w/ chicken) and the Mole Verde (w/ pork). HoLy SmOkEs! They definitely earned their reputation fair and square. Both moles were unbelievably delicious!

In case it has not been mentioned before, The Fish Market in San Diego is my all time, cream of the crop, favorite restaurant on the planet. I love seafood and they have great seafood…very simply prepared and fresh! They are located right on the water, so not only do they have great food, the views are also hard to beat. When we are in San Diego, we usually eat dinner at The Fish Market twice…at the beginning of the trip and as a “last meal”. They smoke their own fish, so we never pass up on the smoked fish sampler as an appetizer. On the first trip, I usually order one of their fresh fish of the day grilled with my choice of sauce. On the last trip, I ALWAYS order the Duckett’s Buckett with pasta. It’s an assortment of shellfish steamed in the most delicious buttery garlic broth….to die for….and served to you in the steam pot.

Now with two locations in the San Diego area, Extraordinary Desserts is romance personified. The physical place is absolutely beautiful reminiscent of an enchanted garden…and, trust me, their desserts are equally wonderful. One look at their menu and you’ll understand why this place is so unique and why it’s hard to just pick one item. On this most recent visit, I tried the Roasted Coconut Cream Torte…YOW-ZAA!

A Lovely Little Cottage October 19, 2007

Posted by smooregasbord in Shopping.
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Aren’t these totes absolutely adorable? As a matter of fact, all of Lori Marie’s items are absolutely adorable. Check out her Etsy shop, Pretty Little Things, and her blog. She also makes these “fancy face” zippered pouches that are ridiculously cute.

Pretty Lil Things

Mt. Vernon Fall Wine Festival October 18, 2007

Posted by smooregasbord in Around Town, Food.
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We attended the Mt. Vernon Fall Wine Festival a few weekends back and walked away with some delicious wine options. Below is a summary of our favorites even though I’m sure I may have left a few out!

Bright Meadows Farm features a specialty called B.A.G. Wine (Blackberry, Apple, Grape). It’s a deliciously unique, not too sweet, option.

Chateau Morrisette was featured in this month’s Southern Living special Holiday Entertaining edition. They had three wines that we enjoyed: Sweet Mountain Laurel (sweet, white); Red Mountain Laurel (sweet, red); and Liberty (dry, red) – part of their service dog wines which support dogs4acause.org.

Hartwood Winery which is located in Fredericksburg surprised us with their Rappahannock Red which is a “light, fruity, blended red wine in the Beaujolais style”…I couldn’t have said it better myself.

Horton Vineyards must have had over 25 different wines available for tasting. I’m a big fan of sweeter wines, so their Eclipse and Niagara were at the top of my list. They also have an extensive listing of fruit wines with Peach being my favorite.

Mediterranean Cellars’ Sweet Romance Reserve pairs wonderfully with dark chocolate (which they included as part of the tasting).

LeeluQ October 17, 2007

Posted by smooregasbord in Fashion, Shopping.
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I cannot get enough of the vintage flower necklaces that Casey (of LeeluQ) creates. They are just so striking and original. My previous purchase from her Etsy store was a birthday gift, but the one below was a gift to myself.

LeeluQ 2

Masticator Extraordinaire: Favorite Dining Spots Near Home October 17, 2007

Posted by smooregasbord in Around Town, Food.
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masticate: to grind or crush (food) with or as if with the teeth : CHEW
(Source: Merriam Webster Dictionary)

…and I bet you thought I was being dirty!
Because I love food and eating out so much, I thought I’d give a rundown of my favorite local dining spots (in no particular order).

Mike’s American Grill
Love, love, love their crab & corn chowder. Make sure you time your visit accordingly because they only serve this soup on specific days. Salads typically sound so drab, but I just can’t get enough of the Mike’s Roast Chicken Salad and Monterey Salad with Spiced Pecans…don’t forget to add goat cheese! Casey loves their Virginia Trout and orders it at almost every visit. I can also vouch for their Jambalaya Pasta and the Sauteed Filet Mignon Tips (w/ tequila lime cream). Mike’s has call ahead seating of which you should definitely take advantage. Call ahead and they’ll tell you what time to arrive saving you the agony of standing around for over an hour!

Faccia Luna
There are several locations, but we prefer the one in Old Town. I highly recommend the Fettucine alla Bolognese. The Cycles Gladiator Pinot Noir pairs nicely with this dish. Their pizza is pretty kickin’, too.

Del Merei Grille
If you go for no other reason than to eat the Frickles, it’s well worth it. Not to mention, their sweet tea ain’t too shabby.

Evening Star Café
We go here for brunch almost every Sunday. My recommendations are the eggs benedict, cinnamon-apple french toast, or bacon/egg/cheese sandwich. Never pass up on the garlic cheddar grits.

Café Deluxe
There are multiple locations, but we frequent the Tysons Corner locale. I’ve never tried anything that I didn’t like. The pan-roasted shrimp and sea scallops as well as the pan-roasted seabass rank as two of our favorites. Their fire-roasted tomato soup and tilapia BLT sandwich also please the palate. I also recommend trying a side of their Gruyere Mac & Cheese. If you like red wine, I highly recommend their Penfolds Cabernet/Shiraz blend. They have a good selection of beers and Monday nights all of their bottles of wine are half price.

Rustico
This is a great hangout! They have over 30 beers on tap and 250 bottled selections. The food is equally spectacular! They serve Mosaics which are three small entrees of food within the same family but focusing on different flavors. Sounds confusing, I know, but, trust me, they are delicious. I’m a fan of the Mac & Cheese Trio: (1) lobster & brandy cream with pennette, (2) house cured pancetta and peas with elbows, and (3) shiitake and sherry with cavatelli. You just can’t get a better mac & cheese!! Check out their website for other yummy options and a more thorough description of their Mosaics!

Vermilion
This is one of our slightly “fancy pants” picks. We usually eat here on semi-special occasions. Their menu changes seasonally and, generally, doesn’t disappoint.

Tuscorora Mill
Located in historic Leesburg, Tusccorora Mill occupies an old grain mill. Trust me, it is WORTH THE DRIVE! Again, their menu changes seasonally and NEVER disappoints. Recently, I tried the shrimp and grits and it was so good that I wanted to lick the plate! Reservations are definitely recommended. Make a day of your trip and hit up the Leesburg Corner Premium Outlets before wrapping up your day with dinner at Tuscorora Mill.

Indigo Landing
This place has the most spectacular views of the river, the city, and the airport. They have an awesome outdoor bar/deck that is open during the warmer months. The menu is a little pricey, but the food is good. I recommend the Sweet Corn Glazed Rockfish.

Stardust
The food is good, but the calamari ROCKS! It’s not always listed on the menu, so you may have to ask for it. It is typically fried in a light, tempura batter and served with a plum dipping sauce.

Bonefish Grill
I know, I know…it’s a chain restaurant, but a very good chain restaurant. Start out with the bang bang shrimp which are very tasty with just the right amount of spice. As for entrees, I’m a big fan of the pistachio parmesan crusted rainbow trout, and Casey usually opts for something from their specialty menu which changes seasonally. Did I mention how awesome their martinis are? I’m usually not a fan of martinis because they are too “alcohol-y”, but not at Bonefish. Their specialty martinis are extremely tasty and I suggest trying the Hypnotiq Breeze (which comes with a mini glow stick)!