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Posted on Jan 7, 2013 in Dear Diary, Food | 11 comments

Early Anniversary

Happy (or, well, whatever emotion it is you feel today) Monday, everybody! I hope you all had restful and relaxing weekends. I had a particularly great one! Friday night kicked off with an epic hangout with my good friend Lara, her friend (who is now also my friend, heh) Sabrina. In involved a delicious recipe for LASAGNA SOUP (it was amazing), some homemade ice cream with my new ice cream maker, and a glorious re-watching of Pitch Perfect, which is seriously so hilarious it actively hurts (aca-SCUSE ME?!).

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So, yeah. Pretty awesome weekend kickoff, if I say so myself. Saturday Sean took me out for a surprise mystery date. He’d been hinting all week that we were going somewhere Saturday night, but wouldn’t give me any hints or clues as to where. Weeeell, it turns out the sneaky guy is kind of amazing, because he took me back to Nostos, the fantastic Greek restaurant where we had our first date!

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And UNLIKE on our first date, where I was on my very best behavior, this time I didn’t feel ashamed to take a zillion pictures, hehe.

We even ended up at the same table, though that was due entirely to coincidence and not to Sean’s planning skillz, hahaha. Our anniversary technically isn’t for another few weeks, so I was totally caught off guard. It turns out there was a very specific reason for the early celebration, but I’ll get to that in a minute. First, FOOD!

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Tzatziki and pita

Nostos offers both regular-sized entrees and a selection of mezze, or small plates. Being the food sharer that I am, of course I opted for the mezze! I did this on our first date, too, and was very pleasantly surprised to find out that Sean is A-OK with food sharing. That gave him a definite check in the “Pros” column that night, hee. Of course, had I KNOWN we were going to this place, I would have brought my REAL camera with me, and had actual, good photos to share. But I’m pretty sure that me leaving the DSLR at home was part of Sean’s plan all along, haha.

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An eggplant tomato dish

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Dolmades – rice and beef stuffed grape leaves

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Filet skewers (these were AMAZING)

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Yes, that is flaming cheese.

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Which naturally turned into ooey-gooey, melty, delicious cheese.

We got almost all different things than we got the last time we were here, so it was really nice to sample more of the menu. I kinda missed the octopus though, no kidding! Back when Sean set up our first date, I looked up Nostos on Yelp and saw that everyone recommended the grilled octopus. I asked Sean if we could get it, and he complied (oh, the willingness that we all have to do things we don’t want to do when we first start out dating someone, hahaha) but it turned out to be ABSOLUTELY AMAZING. If anyone in the area goes to Nostos, the things I absolutely, 100% recommend are the tzatziki, the flaming cheese, and the octopus.

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For dessert, we shared a creme caramel which was drenched in orange liquor sauce. Mmmm.

As if dinner wasn’t enough, Sean also had tickets to the Ari Hest show at the Barns at Wolf Trap, which is exactly what we did on our first date, too. So yeah, he recreated that entire evening, except this time there was far less nervousness and a lot more casual handholding. 😀

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If you like folksy, acoustic-y music, by the way, you totally need to give Ari Hest a listen. He’s like Joshua Radin (my loooove!) but a little bit deeper, a little more rhythm… and he is just the BEST performer. Seriously. I’d never heard of him before Sean took me to see him on our first date, and I’m usually not someone who likes to go to concerts of artists I don’t know. But I LOVED him. Right down my alley, and such an entertaining performer. My favorites songs are Dead End Driving, The Weight, and Business in America, if you need a place to start. <3 The weekend had a pretty anticlimactic ending, with the Redskins losing their playoff game to the Seattle Seahawks. (Yes, I watched the game, and yes, I actually paid attention to most of it. WHO AM I?!?) But the rest of it more than made up for the slightly melancholy ending. Are you an anniversary celebrator? I used to go a little bit overboard and insist that every relatively long length of time needed to be celebrated — 3 months, 6 months, first dates, first kiss, etc, etc. But I think I’m pretty good with the single annual thing now. I’m sure we’ll still be doing a little second celebration (probably just a gift exchange or something) on our actual day (January 26th), but this was really the perfect way to ring in a year with my love.

Okay, stopping the cheesiness here. Except, you know, I’ll never stop the cheese-y-ness. Especially the flaming kind.

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Posted on Oct 24, 2011 in Food | 27 comments

Early Birthday

Birthday Man

Happy almost-birthday to my papa!

Parentals
Aren’t my parents adorable?

After all, when did it ever hurt to be a bit early?

Famiry

Our family celebrated his “29th” birthday last night at Clyde’s in Tysons Corner, since both my parents and I will be in Ottawa on his actual birthday later this week.

Clyde'sGourds
LilyErrrr.

The food was good, though the decor was a little awkward (see the statue above) and the service was unfortunately super slow. We were seated right next to two other big parties, and there was only one server covering all three tables. It didn’t end up being too big of a deal since we weren’t in a rush or anything, but just a word to the wise that Sunday nights might not be the best time to schedule a big group dinner there.

Balloons

But back to that whole food thing…

Vino GrigioBreaded
ShrimpiesClaw

We started with some wine (pinot grigio, my favorite!) and the non-oyster selections from the oyster menu. My dad’s allergic to oysters, and I’ve never even had a raw one (though I had Oysters Rockefeller at the beach wedding I went to last month – delicious!) Shrimp and crab claws, on the other hand…

Love
Mad shrimp cocktail love.

Crabby
Herro Friend
Herro friend.

For my starter, I got a salad with apples, goat cheese, pancetta, and walnuts. It originally came with arugula but I haven’t been vibing that particular green lately (who says stuff like that?) so I asked them to substitute romaine instead. It was a great decision. The salad also came with a crostini with even MORE goat cheese smeared on top!

Would you like some salad with that goat cheese?
Goat cheese HEAVEN.

My entree was the pumpernickel crusted salmon, served with potatoes and this AWESOME pickled red cabbage. The cabbage was so, so good — I must find a recipe. I also pilfered some broccoli from my bro-in-law’s plate for some green (which was clearly cooked in butter, but we all have to make sacrifices. Ahahaha.) I practiced some highly uncharacteristic self-restraint and actually only ate half my plate! Needless to say, I’m looking forward to lunch tomorrow.

Rock Lobstah!
One guess as to what my mom ordered, haha.

In between our starters and entrees, my dad opened up his presents which is obviously the best part of any b-day celebration! (Does it come as any surprise that I can’t wait for my own birthday?)

Birthday GiftsBirthday Onlooker

I got him the Game of Thrones book set — does anyone watch the HBO show? I’ve only heard vague (but good!) things about it, so I’m wondering if it’s worth getting into. Maybe after reading the books, my dad can give me some insight?

Prezzie

Naturally, we couldn’t leave the restaurant without cake!

Chocolate Birthday

My mom picked up a small pumpkin mousse cake (yes, as awesome as it sounds) from Natalia’s, a local Falls Church bakery.

Candles & Cake
Make a Wish!

It was light, fluffy, pumpkin-y, and delicious! And for my second uncharacteristic food-act of the night, I didn’t even go for the remaining piece. Well, I did make a move for some of the extra chocolate shavings on top. I’m only human, after all.

Pumpkin Cake

It was a fantastic way to cap off the weekend!

Other weekend POPIs (Points of Potential Interest): I did, in fact, make it to just short of 4 miles with my pops Saturday morning. Race training forges ahead! I also FINALLY got around to donating four full trashbags of too-big clothing to a thrift store, and I took Daxter to check out Shirlington Dog Park as well. It was great! It’s long and fairly narrow, with lots of trees and TONS of dogs, including lots of small ones for Daxy to play with. The only thing is that it’s relatively far away compared to the dog park I usually go to (which is walkable from my house) so I hope that I can motivate myself to drive my crazy pups out there more often.

What’s your favorite kind of cake? For your birthday or otherwise? I really dug the pumpkin mousse cake that we had for its lightness, and I’m a lover of strawberry as a flavor. But what really takes the cake (ZING!) is the almond-pistachio cake that I had at Icebox Cafe in Miami. Seriously. That cake. Changed. My life.

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