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Monday, November 14, 2011

necessary necessities: date nights & friends.

If it were up to Mr P and myself, we would come home, cook dinner, and sit on the couch and watch TV (laptops/handheld video game device in hand)  until bedtime.... everyday.  It's nice, we get to be together doing something we love (cooking and eating), and we get to do our own thing while sitting next to each other afterwards.  Wow, yes, that's lame.  But, we feel that way because we are always working (living an hour from the office give us 11 hours away from home on a normal day, not counting getting in a good workout, doing laundry, grocery shopping, etc.), or we are on the road seeing friends and family in far-away places, leaving little time for just ourselves.

In the 3+ years that we have been together, there have only been a handful of times we have actually taken time out for ourselves and had a real "date", even though we cook "date"-like food on a daily basis, and frequently have wine with our meals.  There's just something different about "going out" on a real "date".  We take the time to look a bit nicer, speak to each other in a more loving way, and look at each other in a different light (as cheese-ball-y as it sounds). 

Last Thursday we went on a "date" to Eataly in Manhattan.  Eataly is an Italian marketplace with open restaurants inside.  You can buy anything from produce, meats, and freshly-baked breads to cooking utensils, olive oils, and freshly-made pastas.  It's a great place because there is something there for everyone.  While specialty items will make your jaw drop to the floor (a 4 oz. bottle of balsamic vinegar was $300), the produce is surprisingly reasonably priced (limes for $0.20/ea), and loaves of spelt flour bread (you can watch them make them behind the counter) are just $5.

After eating a wonderful dinner of pan-crusted whole flounder with grilled apples and fried sage, and grilled shrimp with creamy polenta and grilled squash, we made our way to the gelato counter.  What's a date without some ice cream gelato anyways, right?  We got a cup with vanilla and pistachio.  You know how pistachio pudding just sort of tastes like pistachios, but mostly tastes like weird sweetness we equate to "pistachio pudding" but doesn't really taste like pistachios?  That's what I was expecting with this gelato.  Boy was I wrong!  It actually tasted like I was biting into a pistachio (except in creamy form). 

mmmm... pistachios pistachio gelato

I wish we would have taken pictures of the dinner, because it was honestly some of the best food we have had since moving here, but I didn't want to spoil the moment by breaking out my camera (sorry folks, you'll just have to trust me on this one, it was goooood).

Mr P and I had such a great time that we have decided that we need to do this more often.  We always say "we should go {here}" and "we should try {this} food" but we get caught up in projects with the apartment and foods we want to try cooking that we forget that it's been 4 months since we have had a real date!

Our wonderful date night was followed by a weekend with friends in Philly.  A last minute bus-ticket-booking by my best friend in DC made this an even better weekend!  Friday night was fun-filled with lots of friends and lots of rum.  Well, it was fun for all of us except Mr P ;)  And Saturday, the gorgeous 55-degrees-and-sunny weather prompted us to go out playing tourists all day, strolling all throughout the city and making stops at the art museum, Liberty Bell, Independence Hall, and Old City seeing more friends and drinking even more (I swear we aren't alcoholics, we just like to have a little fun with our fraaannns).

strolling through the park

cheeseball picture that took 3 tries

beautiful view of Philly from the top of the "Rocky"
steps at the art museum

We grabbed some handmade ice cream and soda that was featured on the Food Network at The Franklin Fountain, had a wonderful time with friends in Old City (apparently there's a 3-shot minimum in their house, so we all were pretty "fun" by around 5pm), then had an amazing dinner at Taqueria Veracruzana.

my cake ice cream (and by cake I don't mean cake batter
this had cooked cake with icing in it!! yum)

Nicole's mint choco-chip... "just as" good as ours we

Mr P's super lime-y limeade and Zack's
"Japanese Thirst Killer" (aka black cherry deliciousness)


ha... I like the 'stache



my pork and pineapple tacos

Mr P's beef tacos

"Mexican" Coke (apparently when it's made in Mexico
it tastes better??  I wouldn't know, I don't drink much soda)

$6 for 3 amazing tacos and all you can eat chips and homemade red and (my fave) green salsa?  Yes, please!  The green salsa tasted so fresh, with a spicy kick of an aftertaste, and each taco came with a lime wedge and 2 white corn tortillas, filled with nothing but seasoned meat, onions, and fresh cilantro.  As simple as it was, the tacos needed nothing more to fulfill my Mexican-food-starved palate.

Mr P and I crashed last night after such an eventful weekend (plus a 4-hour drive home that was supposed to take just less than 2 hours... thank goodness for car chargers, a car with an auxilliary outlet for endless good Pandora music, and a smart phone with Skype so I could video chat with my mom for the 2 hours I was driving in stop-and-go traffic while Mr P slept in the passenger seat). 

Round 2 of 3 starts next weekend in CHI-TOWN!!  This time we'll get to stay with Mr P's brother who lives in Lakeview!! 

Cheers for having family and friends in fun places :D

Toodles.
J&H

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