Congrats…

HIS: Hi, it’s been awhile.  What have I been up to?  Well in short, I’ve been criss crossing the country attending weddings & charity functions.  While it was fun & certainly had wayyyy too many vodka tonics, it is good to be home and have absolutely nothing to do (other than food shopping of course) for awhile; and not eating dinners at a round table for a change.

To recap, I went to a couple of fun weddings.  One in particular was the nuptial of one of my best friends who I’ve known since 9th grade.  The wedding was in Williamsburg VA, on a championship golf course/resort.  The facility was fantastic.  It had two courses by the James River and 10 clay tennis courts (being a complete tennis geek, I loved it!)  From the check-in, everyone were so friendly and they give you one of these personal ID cards, of which you can charge everything around the resort on it, a very dangerous proposition.

And the wedding itself was asolutely great, perfect weather, perfect venue, complete with an awesome Photobooth that the GF and I definitely took way too much advantage of.

All in all, I’m so so happy for the Bride and Groom and for everything they and their families have endured this past year, it was truly a magnificent event and was an incredible honor to be a part of it.  On the “sappy” side, it’s great to to see someone who you’ve grown up with, who had gone thru some good and tough moments, to not only becoming a great friend but also a happy man with good morals and high ethical standards.  MS, just one advice buddy: “Happy Wife, Happy Life”.

Now onto the food.  One of the treats of being in the wedding party is the rehearsal dinner.  And this one certainly didn’t disappoint.  The restaurant, Blue Talon Bistro (http://bluetalonbistro.com) was in old-town Williamsburg with a French influenced American menu.  Everything had a simple presentation yet were very flavorful.  A classic Charcuterie Plate full of cured meats and foie gras pates kick started our night, then it was followed by an aged Prime Rib cooked to perfect medium rare (is there another temperature to eat Prime Rib?).  The dessert was – well, a classic favorite of mine, Creme Bulee with a cup of Illy coffee.  Simply Perfect.

As if that wasn’t enough, the Sunday brunch was just the icing on the cake.  I’ll let the pictures below do the talking…  MS and SS, you certainly threw a hell of a party and sent everyone home on VERY FULL STOMACHS.

An endless line of food...

Another weddings we went to was of the GF’s cousin down in Orange County, CA.  This one was a beautiful beach ceremony complete with raucous reception with a ton of alcohol.  I can’t even do a food review because honestly all we did were throwing back shots and margaritas… Like I said earlier, wayyy too much drinking.

In the end, I have to say that I loved all of the weddings.  In addition to the celebrations, they also provided great opportunities to catch up with friends and family which I so appreciate these days.  I am extremely happy for all of the happy couples and wish them nothing but the happiest futures.

“Hi, may I enter your apartment? No I’m not a creep.”

HIS: Like the GF mentioned, we’ve been on the road for quite some time.  First it was SF (hilarious story ensues), then it was Orange County (getting up @ 5AM to go to work after a night of wedding toasts and shots, not recommended), with the last being across the country to participate in one of my best friend’s wedding in Williamsburg VA (Congrats again Matt & Sarah).  All the while, we ate, we drank, and scaled a few buildings here and there in between.  WTF you ask?  Well let me explain.

In SF, we had the luxury of staying in my roommate’s GF’s place in the marina.  It was one of those beautiful 3 1/2 story row-homes/duplexes that you see all over the city.  The best feature of this place was that it had an amazing rooftop view of the city and the golden gate bridge.  And being the romantics that we are, we gladly took up the view with a few bruskis immediately upon our arrival.

the view...

Well, there was just this o-n-e little problem, (did you guess it yet?), the roof access door can only be opened from the inside, in other words, YEP, WE LOCKED OURSELVES OUT ON THE ROOF.

Yeah, it only opens from the inside...

As first, the situation didn’t seem so daunting to us, or me at least.  First thought, Jump.  Well, that was quickly eliminated.  2nd thought, call the fire department. That too was quickly crossed out as an option as I didn’t want the embarrassment (‘Tourists trapped on a Rooftop’… didn’t want the newspaper headline).  As our options become limited and all the while panic slowly takes the GF hostage, I realized I had the apartment keys and only if I can somehow get down to the streets, then we’ll be ok.  Thus after some surveying of the adjacent roofs, I saw our solution – a fire escape ladder a few adjacent buildings down in the distance.

wondering how to get down...

I quickly scaled over like Jackie Chan and went down the ladder, but only to find out that it led to a dead-end narrow alley and an enclosed 10 ft high fenced-in backyard.  Now I’m completely stuck – sandwiched between two buildings and in someone’s backyard with no where to go.  To make the matters worse, it was getting dark and who knows what people might think if they saw me poking around on their property.

I am surrounded. Let me out!

Finally I saw a light lit up the 2nd floor balcony.  It probably wasn’t the best or the smartest decision but I decided to climb up and knock on the window.  Creepy? Yes.  But here’s my thought process: 1.) SF is the most liberal city in US, odds are most people don’t own a gun here.  2.) They might call the police and I might get arrested for trespassing… but given the circumstances, it’s worth it.  So back to the balcony, right after I knocked, a guy pop opened the window immediately and was like “What the hell are you doing?  I saw you in my backyard! What are you doing here?!?”  Me: “um, ugh, I am stuck, I came down from the roof… I’m locked out.  Can I walk through your apartment?” Maybe it’s because I look fairly unassuming and non-threatening, after my gibberish description of my situation, he relented and allowed me to walk through his apartment out on to the street.  ALAS!  Freedom!

So what’s the lesson here?  ALWAYS check the lock before you go on to a roof.

oh em gee

HER:  well, well, well.  We’ve been quite the busy bees these days – don’t you worry, we have preparing and planning many of blog posts but have not had a second of spare time. We’re currently en route from a wonderful wedding – Jason’s best friend Matt & his beautiful wife Sarah – but we’ll get to that in a few posts.  It’s time to back track and I hate to do that but this is so worth it.

As you read from our last posts, J & I went to San Francisco two weekends ago for a little getaway.  I have to tell you – our meals were phenomenal.  SF – you win.

What were our eats?  Prepare yourself.  Make sure to read this on a full stomach because you will be hungry after reading this.  And jealous.  I’m jealous of my past self.

Meal One: Sunflower Restaurant in the Mission.  We didn’t hear of this place, we didn’t read a single review, but the smell that erupted from this place…it begged us to explore further.

Vietnamese coffee & fresh shrimp spring rolls

The main course

For him: the best pho we’ve ever had. ever.  For her: the lemongrass tofu special: came w/ hot & sour soup, vegetable roll, and the most delicious green beans I’ve ever had. ever.

All in all, the prices were great + the flavors were unique & delectable.  This is a must eat if you find yourself in the hipster district.  But don’t try on hipster jeans. Because they just may not fit and your dreams of being a true hipster will forever be crushed. (eh hem – sensitive subject to a certain someone).

Moving on, meal #2: SPQR, a  little Italian spot on Fillmore.  A friend recommended this & we did make reservations.  The mood lighting was dark & romantic…and the bottle of valpolicella was the perfect third wheel.

The appetizers stole the show:

carne cruda chopped wagyu beef, smoked egg, fingerling potato, fried oyster

I took a walk on the wild side and agreed to the next appetizer when J immediately started drooling the second he saw it on the menu.

fegato grasso duck liver terrine, almond milk, dried cherry, quince saba

Wow oh wow.  This blew us away – such a perfect & unique combination of flavors.

Main course didn’t photograph so well – as pasta isn’t the prettiest.

L: squid ink pasta w/calamari; R: pasta with sea urchin, pancetta and quail egg.

Both were great but I surprisingly loved the sea urchin one more.  Conclusion: highly recommend. Delicious! It was a typical SF restaurant in that it was pretty pricey but if you wanted a nice night out w/out going too crazy, I would recommend a glass of wine & an app or two – they were by far my favorite. We’re not really pasta people but I liked that they were small portions.

Meal Three: Delarosa on the adorable Chesnut street in the Marina.  The weather was beautiful, I had just bought a beautiful new pair of jeans, and we strolled into this little joint. We were walking on clouds…heaven on earth.

L: Swiss chard,chickpea puree,pecorino chips; R: beer steamed mussels

Ok, this swiss chard dish was INSANE.  I immediately bought pecorino cheese with hopes of recreating this at some point…don’t hold your breath.

Then, one of the prettiest salads was delivered.  It was so pretty I almost felt like I couldn’t eat it.  Almost.

Carpaccio of sliced gold and red beets, shaved ricotta salata, truffle

As if we weren’t on a big enough ‘food high’, we spent the weekend with this view:

All thanks to our dear friend Christa, who let us stay at her adorable apartment in the Marina district while she was out of town.  amazing. picture perfect. best. ever.

ok, ok – I’ll stop.  But do me a favor…the next time your in San Fran, try one of these places out and then attempt to not sound like a blabbering idiot that is just way too obsessed with food. I dare you.

A Birthday Surprise

HER: Here we are. Hanging out in the San Carlos Sky Kitchen awaiting our flight lesson over San Francisco. Yes, I am flying a plane.

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Don’t worry, I’ve done this once before. J surprised me for my last birthday. I was terrified. But it wasn’t scary at all. It was beautiful and amazing and such a unique way to view the city we live in.

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Just as I was starting to feel brave, our pilot asked us if we wanted to do a ‘zero G’ drop. ‘of course!’ Jason gleefully exclaimed. I was close to shoving him out of the airplane to experience this drop but I thought I would suck it up and live on the wild side. The pilot shut off the engine and we took a nose dive. It was one of the most surreal feelings I’ve ever had.

After that, I was feeling pretty proud of myself and laughed and took pictures as the pilot rocked us from side to side over Dodger stadium.

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And then, it hit me. This wasn’t going to end well. I quietly found the little white bag the pilot jokingly showed us before we took off. My motion sickness took over and I proceeded to puke my life away in that little bag. Happy birthday to me.

And now, we embark on round two. Cheers!

Who do I think I am?

HER: So I’ve been a bit of a jet setter lately.  In the past month, I’ve woken up at 4am for a beautiful sunrise hike…

Masada, in Israel - a yoga pose sets the mood, doesn't it?

slept in a Bedouin tent with my group of 40+ as we were all gently awoken at 7am the next morning with a greeting of “uh, hey guys – if you want to get up, you have a camel ride scheduled in ten minutes.”  of course we do.

up & at em'

I’ve traveled to New York to spend time with family that I don’t get to see often enough.

My aunt & uncle's newest addition: Teddy

How cute is he? …looks can be deceiving.

I’ve gone back to the town that will always feel like home – the good ole’ ATL.  I spent time with my sisters, college friends, and basked in the sweet victory that I was in the South the one weekend of the year that it was 70 degrees and no humidity.  Hair = love.

My sisters (stephanie, allie) & one of my best friends Claire

Finished off with a week in Boston for an Internet/Tech conference (how nerdy am I?).  It was my first time in Boston so I was especially excited when two of my friends from my Israel trip picked me up and took me to all of the ‘must see eats’ in under two hours.  We delighted on

Stuffed clam & bacon-wrapped scallops

and I couldn’t leave without getting

mmm oysters

and of course

LOBSTER! (sorry a little blurry)

For now, my feet have been firmly planted on the ground.  That is…until this weekend. Stay tuned.

Almost Home

HER:  Hello, friends!  I have arrived in the US after spending 10 days in Israel.  Well, technically I touched down Wednesday evening but was pretty much a hot mess upon arrival and 24 hours after that…end of trip sickness + 12 hour flight + 10 hour time change will do that to you.  Now that I’m feeling more like a human, I wanted to check in and say hello.

I’m in New York until Saturday, visiting family and attempting to catch up on the extraordinary amount of emails that came through my inbox in the past 10 days.  That being said, I don’t have my home computer with me so have not uploaded any pictures. I will try to curtail this post as a ‘brief check-in’ and not a ‘re-cap’ post as I know no one wants to read my ramblings without some pics.

To sum it up in a few words and googled images, my days in Israel were filled with lots of…

Falafel

Shawarma

and one of my favorites: fresh veggies at EVERY.MEAL! (sans kale + broccoli but I dealt with it).

Alas my journey to the Holy Land was much more than food, if that can even be possible. It was one of those whirlwind trips that may take me a while to really sink my teeth into and be able to accurately portray the humbleness of Israel’s people, the beauty of its lands, and the amazing energy that surrounds it.

For now, I’m excited about American plugs, ice, and finally seeing a certain someone. I will be back with a more official ‘re-cap’ post and pictures but for now, I will leave you with one key take-away from my trip:

Last Friday night and Saturday day, we celebrated the Sabbath.  We celebrated a morning of sleeping in, a day of nowhere to be, a day of rest.  We washed our hands of the previous week, the good, the bad, the random memories, and started anew. It was refreshing, invigorating, and after 5+ days of intense hiking, crazy schedules, insanely hot weather (+ ugly hair), it was soooo necessary.  I’m sure your week has been filled with to-dos that were not met, unexpected annoyances, and hopefully some memorable moments in between.  But guess what?  It’s over.  You have a new week. So, as my friends in Israel would say – Shabbat Shalom.

And no, I did not go to Israel to become a Rabbi.  It’s good to be back.