Weekend Recap (Shamrock 5k)

My big takeaway from this weekend is: I am so ready for warmer weather! Getting the baby all bundled and ready to go out with socks, shoes, and jacket is such a production. I cannot wait for the days where we can just hop outside whenever the mood strikes us. Especially since Maya loves to spot airplanes and every time we hear one overhead she points out the window and says “airpa”!

Aside from spending plenty of time bundling up to leave the house, we did do a few fun things! Saturday morning Maya and I did our grocery shopping before nap time. After nap we went to gymboree for class. Maya clapped along to the songs, played with balls and bubbles, and explored all of the fun stations they had set up for the little ones.

Saturday night, we went out for an early dinner at Clyde’s. They have a surprisingly awesome kids menu so Maya dined on sautéed cod with broccoli and tater tots while I had a Caesar salad with shrimp. The food was good but the highlight of the meal was my guava margarita. It was so nice and refreshing!

Sunday morning we slept in a little bit – thanks daylight savings! – then met a friend for coffee at Mankira Coffee. We had the place mostly to ourselves which was awesome for Maya who enjoyed toddling around the place in between bites of egg, toast and avocado. We sipped pretty lattes and spent a couple hours catching up. It was great!

Sunday afternoon we left Maya with the grandparents and drove into the city for the Shamrock 5k. Jeanette and I ran this race in 2016 and I was excited to run it again. If you’re a casual runner and looking for a good race then I highly recommend this one. It’s a festive atmosphere because it’s run along the route for Baltimore’s St. Patrick’s Day parade and all of the people posted up to watch the parade cheer for the runners. It also starts with an awesome downhill stretch which makes it a pretty fast course. Even though I didn’t feel like I ran particularly well, it was still one of my faster times. Plus this year they gave out race medals for the first time. You know you want that sweet shamrock bling! 😉 After the race we were ready for some lunch and got sandwiches at 101 Deli. Adam got his with roasted Brussels sprouts that were really tasty!

I wrapped up the weekend by seeing A Wrinkle in Time which was awesome. The Reese/Mindy/Oprah trifecta have been hyping this movie A LOT but I think it lives up to it. For fans of the book, it stayed true to the story but having read the book isn’t necessary to understand the movie. I was most enamored with the outfits of the Misses (can I get that Mrs. Whatsit dress please?) and the acting of the little boy who played Charles Wallace.

All in all it was a busy and fun weekend. What were you up to? Have you seen A Wrinkle in Time?

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2017 Year In Review

Okay so it’s mid-February March but I am still cruising along with 2017 recaps! Posting a 2017 year in review mostly so I have a record of the crazy roller coaster of Maya’s first year. Jumping into it….

January

Waiting and waiting and a beautiful baby shower and then more waiting and then…Maya was born! It’s hard to even describe the emotions of having a baby. Sheer exhaustion and happiness and anxiety all at once. Labor was of course painful and exhausting and almost 24 hours and then, Maya was born via C-section just before midnight. We were so excited that Maya shared a birthday with Adam’s grandmother and that she was born on the day of the historic Women’s Marches that took place around the world.

 

February

Maya celebrated her first Valentine’s Day and Adam and I attempted a quick date night with the baby. We went to Brendali for an early dinner and successfully made it through salads and bread before baby started fussing. We changed our pasta order to go and enjoyed the rest of dinner at home. Maya and I also joined my girl friends for our annual Oscars viewing party.

 

March

March was a tough month, probably the toughest of my life. Baby Maya was sick and it took several hospital visits to get a diagnosis. During our third hospital visit they decided to put a central line and a feeding tube in to give her little GI system a rest. We lived in the hospital for three weeks while they tested Maya for everything under the sun. On March 29, Adam and I celebrated our 2nd wedding anniversary in the hospital with carry out from the Rusty Scupper and a cake delivered by my in-laws.

 

April

Thank god the feeding tube/central line gave her system time to repair and Maya was able to successfully digest Elecare, a hypoallergenic amino acid based formula and start to put weight back on. They ultimately diagnosed a milk protein allergy, probably complicated by a virus. On April 11, our new niece was born in DC and Maya was finally released from the hospital! Greatest day ever! Once Maya was out of the hospital, we had an anniversary re-do with dinner at Rasika in DC. The food was all incredible but the stand out by far was the cod.

May

In May I went back to work and adjusted to my new working mom routine. Maya and I also did a mommy-and-me class at the Downtown Baltimore JCC which was a blast. It was great for Maya to be around other babies (and for me to meet other moms!). Another May highlight was the Spirit of Baltimore brunch cruise we did to celebrate Jeanette’s 30th birthday! We had a blast with a buffet lunch, unlimited drinks and a fun DJ. Highly recommend if you’re looking for a fun way to celebrate with something a little different. Also in May, Maya went to her first Orioles game, I celebrated my first Mother’s Day and we had Maya’s baby naming. Toward the end of the month, I flew to Chicago for the wedding of two good friends and former co-workers.

 

June

June was a big month because we bought a house! After several weeks of searching we found a great house in Columbia. As much as we love the city, it was time for life in the ‘burbs! But first we spent the month of June soaking up as much of city life as we could with an infant. Maya had her first swim in the pool at the Royal Sonesta (where I belonged to the gym for the last few years), we went to a birthday at Johnny Rad’s, we took long walks to Federal Hill park and took Maya to Mother Goose story time at the Pratt Street Library. Adam and I also enjoyed a night out at the Science Center’s Summer Solstice celebration. I also spent a couple nights in Chicago for work and went to my first White Sox game.

 

July

We moved the last weekend in June and spent July getting settled into our new home. I think the move and adjusting to suburban life has been softened by the fact that I still work in the city and am up there at least four times a week. Also in July, my aunt visited from South Carolina so we took the family to Sugarloaf Mountain Vineyard for a wine tasting and picnic. It was the perfect activity to do with a little one. I look forward to more winery days this coming spring! Adam and I also had a date night at La Cuchara. We thought our drinks and starters were delicious but were less impressed by the entrees. Maya started crawling this month and we joined Gymboree so she would have a place to explore and interact with other little ones. We also did “Breakfast with the Penguins” at the Maryland Zoo which was a blast!

 

August

In August, I went to North Carolina for work for the PGA Championship and got to meet up with my cousins! The next week, my dad came up to visit and meet Maya. We went to lunch at Himalayan Bistro in Fed Hill and took Maya to Port Discovery which she loved. We also traveled to Pennsylvania for an engagement party. Maya did not love the car ride but we all enjoyed spending time with family and celebrating Anna and Jason.

 

September

September was BUSY. The month started out with the wedding of Zach and Chelsea and the Baltimore Museum of Industry. The weather was perfect for the ceremony on the water! The next week was spent at Bethany Beach with Adam’s family. We had so much fun soaking up some sun and surf and watching Maya explore the new surroundings. Safe to say we are all big fans of family vacation. Mid-month I took my mom to Petite Louis in Columbia to celebrate her birthday and enjoyed a champagne cocktail and a delicious ratatouille with shrimp. The next week Adam and I were off to London! We planned a long weekend away to attend the Ravens game and celebrate my 30th birthday. We left Maya in the loving care of the grandparents and had an amazing trip. We stayed in Paddington and enjoyed long walks through Hyde Park, exploring Portobello Road Market and one of the best meals of my life. I think I need to dedicate an entire post to our London trip. I need to capture the lows of the trip as well…the Ravens got CRUSHED by the Jaguars and I was hit with an AWFUL stomach flu about an hour into our flight home. Imagine the worst stomach flu or food poisoning you’ve ever had, now imagine it trapped on an airplane for the next six hours. It was…rough. To make matters worse, it was my actual birthday. I think next year I need a redo! Two more quick September highlights: seeing Bruno Mars (who was incredible!!) at the Verizon Center and a zoo day with my bffs.

 

October

October kicked off with a baby shower for my cousin Sarah at Black Wall Hitch in Old Town Alexandria. The rest of the month was full of falltivities – We took Maya to the Renaissance Festival, a pumpkin patch and a Gymboree Halloween party. We spent a day in DC at the Air and Space Museum with friends followed by a visit to the new Wharf on the SW waterfront and then headed back up to Baltimore for a distillery tour at Sagamore Spirit and a drink on the water. This is one of my new favorite spots in the city thanks to the gorgeous views and the parking lot- no fun driving around looking for parking when baby is ready to get out of the car. We also brought Maya to campus for the first time for a UMD football tailgate. She looked extra adorable in her Maryland Cheerleader gear. Maya was too small to trick or treat but we dressed up in Beauty and the Beast costumes as a family!

 

November

Adam’s birthday month! We did a birthday dinner at Peter’s Inn (which recently had a fire but is planning on reopening!). We started with the tuna appetizer which was delicious and then Adam had steak and I had scallops with squash risotto – yum. We also did a day date in DC with some shopping at Trunk Club and lunch at Jaleo. We got the potatas bravas (obvs) and some new to me dishes that did not disappoint! We went to a couple of friendsgivings this year and for Thanksgiving made the drive down to South Carolina to spend the holiday with my mom’s family. The trip was definitely tough with a baby and a dog and we ended up breaking up the drive and spending a night on the road on both ends of the trip. It was worth it though for the fabulous food and quality time with my extended family.

 

December

December was extra festive this year with our little girl!. Work highlights included a lunch at Rec Pier Chophouse at the new Pendry hotel, a trip to Philadelphia for a Flyers game and a day trip to a Bulls game in Chicago. We hosted a Hanukkah get together with friends and celebrated with family. On Christmas Eve we came into the city for an early dinner at Brendali. Christmas Day we wore matching pajamas and went to a family friends’ for an early dinner. Between Christmas and New Years we squeezed in a quick trip to NYC and made it back in time to attend the Ravens game on New Years Eve (a painful loss that knocked us out of the playoffs).

 

And yes, for those keeping score, I’m sorry, we’re not so young and we’re not so Baltimore anymore though Jeanette, my silent blog partner, does still live there. I thought about changing the name but eh, most of the content will still be about Baltimore(area) things and we’re still young(ish), right? Jay-Z told me that 30’s the new 20 and he doesn’t lie.

Alma Cocina Latina

Saturday night, Adam and I headed into the city for a much needed date night (thanks Bubby for babysitting)! After hearing many good reviews, we were eager to finally try Alma Cocina Latina. We walked in for an early(ish) reservation and were told our table wasn’t quite ready which is usually a big pet peeve of ours. We grabbed drinks at the bar while we waited and I got a refreshing margarita with salt and red pepper on the rim. When our table was finally ready the host was very apologetic which I appreciated. I know restaurants get busy and can’t always anticipate when a table will turn over, but there is nothing worse than getting seated 30 minutes late without even an acknowledgement. Thank you for NOT being like that Alma Cocina!

Once we were seated we game planned our order. Everyone talks up the arepas (which are delish), but we were delighted to see the menu has so much more that just arepas. Our waiter also gave some helpful recommendations that we took into account. He did ask us to order our whole meal at once, which also usually bothers me, but the restaurant paced everything perfectly.

We tried a dish from each section of the menu which was fun! We started with the tostones del diablo – crispy, savory plantains with cheese and sauces. These were very tasty and plated beautifully. Per our waiter’s recommendation, these came out with the tartar del mar. The tartar was probably my favorite thing we ate. It was half salmon and half tuna with crispy quinoa and mango and pineapple purees. The mango flavor really came out and paired perfectly with the fresh, cool, raw fish.

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For our next course we had to try an arepa, the signature doughy Venezuelan dish, sort of a cross between a pita and a pancake, baked at Alma Cocina on a special cooktop behind a back bar. I was bummed to hear that they were out of the short rib option that evening but we decided instead to get one with chicken, steak, chorizo and egg. It was so good! Not as photogenic as some of the other dishes and you have to accept that it will be a little messy but it is well worth it.

Next, we shared two entrees: the crispy octopus and the polenta. I feel like it’s a sign that everyone is enjoying themselves when your entrees arrive and the guests at the tables on either side of you all lean in and ask what you ordered. I mean, look at that presentation, I get it. By this point in the meal, I was super full and couldn’t manage more than a bite or two of the entrees. Both were really good and unique. Adam brought the leftover polenta home and had it for breakfast the next morning!

If I had to rank the dishes I’d say:

Tartar

Arepa

Tostones

Polenta

Octopus

All were delicious and beautifully plated and I hope to make a return trip and try even more of their offerings!

Weekend Recap: Dinner Date and Costco

Ahh a relaxing weekend with the right amount of time spent out and about and chilling at home. Friday night we had sushi and chicken teriyaki from Sushi Sono. Maya has been going to be a little later lately (7:30pm rather than the 6:30-7pm that had been her bedtime for months) so now we’ve started having dinner as a family before putting her down to sleep. Maya loved the chicken and rice along with some broccoli and oranges. We loved the salmon avocado roll and a chef’s special roll with tempura shrimp, Japanese squash, spicy tuna and tempura flakes.

Saturday morning the whole fam headed to Wegmans for breakfast, coffee and grocery shopping. If you’re going to Wegmans, you gotta go early – the place turns into a zoo later in the day on weekends. The store was already much more crowded by the time we wrapped up. We got our shopping for the week and Maya picked out a book with a lion on the cover…her favorite word right now is “Yion!!”

Once we were back home, Maya went down for a nap and I set to work making nachos. We had friends over around noon to watch the Maryland basketball game and munched on nachos with all the fixings – cheese, salsa, sour cream, corn, black beans, tomatoes, onion, shredded lettuce, and avocado + ground turkey taco meat. The game was awful, but the nachos were delicious and Maya was very entertaining. After Maryland lost and our guests left, we took Maya for a walk around the neighborhood stopping to point out airplanes and to keep her from picking up sticks and putting them in her mouth.

Saturday night, Bubby came over to babysit and Adam and I went to Alma Cocina Latina for date night.   We had a fabulous time and I’ll recap our meal in a post later this week! There’s a sneak peak of the tuna and salmon tartare that tasted so fresh and incredible.

Sunday morning started with an early, rainy run followed by a much needed shower. Once Maya was up we had eggs and hash browns for breakfast before settling in for an episode of Sesame Street. During Maya’s morning nap, I meal prepped for the week by cooking up a big batch of chicken thighs and chopping onion, cabbage and portobello mushrooms. For lunch I had a chicken salad platter and a iced vanilla latte from Mad City.

Our big plan for Sunday afternoon was a trip to Costco to get a membership. After reading a lengthy discussion in one of the mom facebook groups I am in, it seemed like the general consensus was that if you have enough storage space to stock up on cleaning supplies and non-perishables, then Costco was worth it. Since our new house has a great bit of storage in the laundry room, we decided it was worth it to fully live our best suburban life and become members. Of course Costco was packed but we manage to navigate the huge store and grab a few before heading back home. Anyone have tips on best things to buy at Costco?

Maya looks so tiny in the giant cart!

Friday Five (Fave Local Meals of 2017)

Not to harp on the fact that we just had a baby, but we did. So 2017 was not a big year for leisurely dinners out with cocktails, wine and many courses. Typically convenience and quality time with babe trumped everything else. We did have a few memorable dinners though and I wanted to share them today….

Samos

Okay, nothing too glamorous to kick off this list, but Samos is delicious and was the last meal we had before becoming a family of three. Friday evening we went out to Samos at McHenry Row and devoured the amazing gyro, rice and Greek salad. By the wee hours of Saturday morning I was in labor and by 5 am we were heading to the hospital! After almost 24 hours of labor and nothing to eat or drink (thanks epidural!), that Samos felt like a way too distant memory. It was also our favorite carry out food to request when our friends generously offered to bring food by when Maya was an infant.

 

Rasika

Adam and I had a belated anniversary celebration with dinner in DC at Rasika. It had been on our list for years but we had somehow never ended up there so we were super excited to try it. We love Tom Sietsema, the Washington Post food critic and so were sure to check out his review before we went. Following Tom’s recommendation, we started with the malai palak – incredibly flavorful and delicious crispy spinach. For our entrees we had the chicken tikka masala and the black cod. The chicken is my go to Indian meal order and it was of course fabulous but the real star was the cod. It. was. so. so. so. good.

 

Peter’s Inn

Currently closed after a late December fire (but with plans to reopen!), Peter’s Inn has been a favorite of Adam’s family for years. We ventured in for a birthday dinner last November and started things off with a tasty ahi tuna and seaweed salad appetizer. For our entrees Adam had the filet with mashed potatoes and root vegetables and I had scallops with butternut squash risotto and applewood smoke bacon. This was such a wonderfully rich dish full of fall flavors. We love that the small menu at Peter’s is always changing but consistently full of creative and appealing options.

 

Jaleo

Another DC standout, I have been going to Jaleo since high school for the amazing Spanish tapas by Chef Jose Andres (my favorite outspoken liberal chef who is working tirelessly to feed the people of Puerto Rico after the hurricane). I shared about our amazing meal at his restaurant The Bazaar in Miami a few years ago. We headed to Jaleo for an early lunch which meant a mimosa and bloody mary were out drinks of choice. We had the patatas bravas because I can’t go to Jaleo and not get these perfectly cooked potatoes with a spicy tomato sauce and aioli. From there we tried several new-to-me dishes: a sandwich of ibérico ham and Manchego cheese, stewed vegetables topped with quail eggs and, per the recommendation of the table next to us, rabbit confit with apricot puree. Everything was fabulous and I might include the egg dish as part of my usual rotation going forward (along with the sauteed spinach and chicken with green sauce).

 

Brendali

My family has a long-lasting tradition of eating Italian food on Christmas Eve. This year we took a walk through the festive holiday market in the Inner Harbor before walking into Fed Hill for an early dinner at Brendali. We knew that this no frills spot would be perfect for dinner out with an eleven month old! We started by splitting a house salad and fried calamari and for my entree I had the fettucine bianco – a filling dish with old bay cream sauce, shrimp and scallops. There were A LOT of leftovers. Maya loved being out for dinner and ate her share of penne with marinara. After dinner we popped into Berries by Quicha for a sweet treat before heading home. It was a great Christmas Eve!