Friday Five (things I’m looking forward to this spring)

Ahh 80 degree temperatures. You’re finally here! How I’ve missed you!

Here are five things I’m looking forward to this spring:

1. Baltimore 10 Miler – Okay to say I’m *looking forward* to this is a bit of a stretch, but I have been training with two of my friends at work and will be running this race on June 2! This will be the farthest distance I’ve ever run and I’ve heard it’s a hilly course so wish me luck and hope that June 2 will be cool and windy. The best part about the race is that it’s on Wear Orange Day so I can call attention to gun violence awareness and the need for sensible gun reform.

img_16072. A winery day – I have been waiting for consistently nice weather to plan a leisurely afternoon at a local winery. I love checking out local wineries that let you bring food with you so I can pack a tasty assortment of cheese, crackers and charcuterie that doesn’t break the bank. Set out a blanket, buy a bottle of wine and relax all afternoon. Bonus that this is a toddler friendly activity! Maya loves being outside and I think a winery day would be perfect for her as long as we brought plenty of snacks and entertainment.

img_73063. Dinner and drinks on the water – Outdoor dining is one of the things I look forward to most every spring. Grilling, picnics and restaurants with outdoor seating and a view of the water. Hoping to return to have dinner at Rye Street Tavern, crushes at Boathouse and crabs at Nick’s Fish House. This is the view from the lawn outside Rye Street Tavern – isn’t it great?

 

 

img_17854. Orioles Games – The team has been *struggling* a little bit lately, but that doesn’t mean going to a game isn’t still super fun! Check out our post on how to save money at Camden Yards. It’s from a previous season though so it doesn’t include the O’s awesome new kids cheer free policy where the purchase of an adult upper deck ticket gets two kids under 9 in for free!

 

 

 

 

 

img_02685. Kid Friendly Activities – Now that we have a toddler on our hands, it seems like the opportunities for kid friendly summer fun are endless!  We recently went to the Maryland Zoo and  Clark’s Elioak Farm, but Maya has never been to the aquarium or the science center and she hasn’t been to Port Discovery since she could walk. Last weekend we made the trek to Sesame Place which was amazing! I feel like that could use a recap post of its own…

 

 

 

What are you looking forward to this spring? 

 

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Weekend Recap: lights and animals!

This was a busy weekend. I thought last weekend was busy but this one might have it beat. It was a great mix of adult fun and kiddo fun and spending time with friends and family.

Friday night I picked up carry out from Samos on my way home from work. We had gyro salads with my mom and Maya and then once Maya went to bed, Adam and I returned to Baltimore to check out Light City! We are big fans of the light and arts festival and loved strolling over to check it out when we lived just a couple blocks away. This year it took a bit more planning but we made it! We walked around with Jeanette and K, tried the signature whiskey cocktail and took in the cool exhibits and festive atmosphere. It is so nice to see crowds in the Inner Harbor on a Friday night: families, dogs, young people and old all having a good time. Hooray for Baltimore!

Saturday morning we all slept in a bit before dashing out of the house for a morning gymboree class. Maya was 15 months old yesterday and just moved up to level 4 at gymbo (16-22mos). She’s a super active and comfortable walker and fit in great with the other little girls in class.

My mom stuck around on Saturday which meant I could get my grocery shopping done during Maya’s nap. Once she was back up and we’d eaten lunch, we visited Clark’s Elioak Farm. The farm was awesome! It was a beautiful day and Maya loved seeing all the animals! Entry was $6/person for anyone over one year old and that got you access to the grounds to see all the animals – feed and pet the goats – and see pigs, donkey, emu, horses, turkeys, rabbits etc. Big Red Barn is one of Maya’s favorite books and she loves all animals so she was very interested in everything…and also interested in picking up sticks and hay of course. There is also tons of little playground areas on the farm and Maya spent some time climbing and going down a fast slide shaped like a mouse and cheese. You can also pay a little extra to go on a hay ride or train ride.

Saturday night we took my mom to dinner at Woodberry Kitchen. She had been wanting to try it and we wanted to show are appreciate for everything she does for Maya! The food was outstanding but our waiter had a little too much personality and the kitchen was backed up all night. We were enjoying the food, drink and company but they ended up comping our dessert and we noticed them doing damage control with a few nearby tables as well. I guess even the best restaurants can have an off night! But anyway, back to the delicious food…

After sipping on a fruity vodka cocktail, we started with the meatballs and the fried oysters both of which were delicious. The oysters were cooked perfectly- plenty of soft and gooey oyster flavor and not overwhelmed by the breading. My mom and Adam also shared the chicken liver spread which Adam raved about.

For my main dish I had the lamb shank which I loved. I really enjoy the taste of lamb and never make it at home so it is something I frequently try at nice restaurants. It came with a wheat berry side dish that I could take or leave but the meat itself was excellent.

For dessert we shared the peach cobbler which came with a small scoop of ice cream. It was the perfect sweet and juicy dessert!

Sunday afternoon Adam went to the O’s game and Maya and I met a friend at Sweetgreen in Bethesda. The weather was perfect so we followed up lunch with a long walk and a stop at a nearby playground.

Now I am watching the Wizards win their playoff game and getting ready for the week ahead!

How was your weekend?

DC Day

Adam and I haven’t had the best wedding anniversary celebrations. We went to Azumi for our first anniversary and had a memorably bad experience. We spent our second anniversary in the hospital last year when Maya was sick. The bar was low this year for our third anniversary but I’m happy to report we had an amazing day in DC to celebrate.

We dropped Maya at my in-laws and headed to the Georgetown waterfront where we parked our car for the day (only $13 in a garage). We started our day with brunch at Fiola Mare. After a couple of incredible meals at the original Fiola, we were very excited to try this location. We did the fixed price brunch – three courses + a brunch cocktail + fresh baked croissants. It was more food than necessary but so so good.

I’m not sure what was up but the service was really slow. Like insanely slow – people were complaining (rightly so). But we had nowhere to be and just relaxed and enjoyed.

I had a Bellini and burrata for my first course and Adam had a Bloody Mary and a smoked salmon dish. Then they brought out the croissants, warm, freshly baked with honey in the center. They were probably the best thing I put in my mouth all day and one of the best croissants I’ve ever had.

For our main courses, Adam had the crab spaghetti and I had a succulent crab roll on brioche bread. I wouldn’t expect a restaurant like that to have outstanding baked goods but they do!

By that point we were super full but managed to have a couple bites of dessert: zeppoli with a maple dipping sauce.

After that enormous meal, we needed to walk it off! We strolled through the main drag of Georgetown before walking up 30th Street to Tudor Place. We paid $3 to tour the gardens of the historic home and spent some time walking around the property. Georgetown has so many hidden gems and it was fun to explore the beautiful grounds.

From there we walked down Embassy Row to Dupont and visited the Phillips collection. We arrived at the museum thirty minutes before they closed and were delighted to learn that for the last half hour museum entry is free! We started on the top floor with the visiting Klee exhibit but preferred the impressionists on the second floor. They have some famous paintings (Renoir’s Luncheon of the Boating Party) and some beautiful paintings by Van Gogh, Matisse and Kandinsky.

After plenty of walking and exploring, it was almost time to eat again! We walked through Dupont Circle, popped into Gap and then made our way to Iron Gate for dinner. I had a fantastic whiskey cocktail and we started with the feta chili spread with fennel crackers and an odd selection of crudités.

For out main meal we shared the mixed grill: quail, bison steak, ground lamb, cheese burger and pork sausage with pistachios. The meats were accompanied by smashed potatoes and sweet potatoes with raisins. Everything was delicious and we loved our cozy table in the back room by the fireplace.

After dinner we took a cab back to our car and made our way home after an exhausting but wonderful day in DC!

Weekend Recap (Spring has sort of sprung)

Hooray for a beautiful warm spring weekend! Even if temperatures are going to dip back down, it was so nice to have a warm(ish) Passover/Easter weekend. I’m going to say our weekend started Thursday afternoon since I work from home on Thursdays and Adam ended up working from home too due to a computer outage at his work. Plus it was our third wedding anniversary and Orioles opening day! Once we were done working, we took Maya to the nearby playground and then ordered Indian food for dinner.

I took a vacation day on Friday and Maya and I started the morning with a walk to Dunkin’. Maya’s bffs the Count and baby girl came with us too. After our breakfast date, Maya went down for an unsuccessful nap. After an hour of babbling in her crib, a diaper change and reading a couple books we tried nap time again and she ended up sleeping for an hour and a half. Success!

Friday evening my mom came by and we all hopped in the car for the ride to Adam’s parents for a Seder to celebrate the first night of Passover. Maya and her cousin Emmy wore matching outfits that were extra adorable. With three kiddos and lots of family and friends, Seder was a blast and we all loved the matzah ball soup and brisket (especially Maya).

Saturday we dropped Maya back at the grandparents and Adam and I spent the day in DC. I’ll recap our day later this week but here’s a preview:

Still baby free Sunday morning, Adam and I ran some errands including going to Lowe’s to pick out blinds. Our house is desperately in need of new blinds and I can’t wait until they get installed!

We picked up Maya midday Sunday and went to the Maryland Zoo. They also had ton of festivities for Easter which it seemed like families were really enjoying. Since we arrived on the later side we skipped that part and beelined straight to the zoo. We saw penguins, kudu, zebras, ostriches, giraffes and chimps. Maya seemed to really enjoy it and got as much of a kick out of seeing all the other kids as seeing the animals.

The best meal of my life

This past September Adam and I left Maya with her grandparents and traveled to London for a few nights across the pond. When the Ravens first announced they were going to play in London, we joked that it would be fun to go. Then we found out they were playing on my 30th birthday weekend and one of the weekends where Adam has Friday off and everything fell into place – how could we NOT go, right?

I always thought the UK had a reputation for not having the best food, I mean, how much fish and chips can you eat? But Adam showed me several articles about London being a foodie destination and was able to convince me of the merits of the British food scene. He made two reservations for us at Michelin starred restaurants – Chez Bruce and the Ledbury. Chez Bruce was great, but the Ledbury was literally the best meal of my life.

We went for lunch as that was the only reservation we could get and I think that added to the experience – and meant we had the whole afternoon to walk off the multi-course meal!

We both had four courses – with Adam going with the chef’s daily recommendation and me picking one from each course section of the menu. Of course, we ended up eating so much more than those four courses. First, they brought out three beautiful amuse bouche – one was best described as a deer hush puppy, one was a parmesan crisp with a deer jelly and one was a seafood mousse on a seaweed crisp with roe. All three was served beautifully, tasted incredible and were a sure sign we were in for an incredible meal.

Next, they brought us chantilly of oyster with tartare of sea bream and frozen English wasabi. This was a first course option we were both considering and asked the waiter about but ultimately chose something else. They brought it out to us anyway because they wanted us to try it. What a treat! It was, of course, amazing and such a unique flavor: creamy, salty, seafood-y and ice cold. Such a delight and one of my favorite parts of the meal.

Then came our actual first courses: I had the white beetroot with English caviar and smoked eel. The beets were super delicious – shaved thin and a wonderful slightly crisp texture. I had a bite with the eel in it which was way too smokey for me, but the dish was an ample size so I had plenty non-eel parts to eat and just gave the eel bites to Adam and he enjoyed. Adam had yellow tomato soup with sorbet.

For our second course, I had warm bantam’s egg with dried ham and truffle. I at least partly chose it because I read the Big Red Barn to Maya every morning and there are bantam hens in the book. I slightly regret that I didn’t get the scallops with roast cauliflower which are more of a “me” dish. However, the bantam’s egg was delicious and probably lighter than the scallops which was good because there was so. much. food. Adam’s second course was cod with zucchini (or courgette as they call it in England – we had to google many of the menu items). The cod was, once again, beautifully presented and delicious.

For our third – main – course, I had lamb with tea-crusted eggplant. The flavor of the eggplant was a bit overwhelming, but the lamb was absolutely outstanding. Soft and perfectly cooked melt in your mouth meat. Adam had the fallow deer that was served with deer sausage. Not my kind of dish, but he really enjoyed it.

After our savory dishes came the sweets. I can’t remember exactly what this pre-dessert little bonus taste was  – something like cream and lavender sorbet and plum donuts. Light and yummy. Then, I had the raspberries with violet ice cream and Adam had fig ice cream with meringue. Both were incredible and just look at how gorgeous that raspberry dish is! Finally, they brought some little candies and truffles to finish off the meal.

Wow recapping it reminds me just how many wonderful and different flavors we enjoyed. Not mentioned were the bread and virgin cow’s butter (yes apparently that’s a thing). Adam had a beer, but I had been feeling a little under the weather so just had some orange juice and a hot tea. We were focused on the food – not the drinks! All in all, such an amazing experience and definitely worth the money for a special and memorable meal.

What’s the best meal you have ever had? Some of our best meals in Baltimore have been at Charleston and Sotto Sopra