Archive for August, 2011

August 31, 2011

virgin america all the way

I can’t get over what an awesome in flight experience I’m having on Virgin America. When you walk onto a Virgin America plane it looks like a night club, so fancy! It took a while to take off since it’s O’hare, so Jared and I played a few word games on the screen.

I noticed you could order food from your seat right away so I picked out a half bottle of wine and salted caramel popcorn, both were good and the caramel corn was only 100 calories. I thought I was starting my vacation splurge until I saw those nutritional facts. I took a pic, but can’t share right now since it’s on my phone. After my snack I took a nap, ate more (decent roast beef sandwich), and watched some Bravo.

We have about an hour left then Jared and I have to drive to Napa, which should only take an hour. I can’t wait to get there and start the real vaca even though I feel like a kid in a candy store on this flight. Tomorrow morning we are getting mud baths at Spa Solage and dinner at Bottega Napa Valley, Michael Chiarello’s restaurant. I’m not a fan of him, he was quite the jerk on Top Chef Master’s, but his food looks amazing so my taste buds win. Not sure what we’re doing in between those plans, probably some pool time. Friday and Saturday are our big wine days, but I’m sure there will be plenty tomorrow!

August 31, 2011

next restaurant

1st Course: First course started off with a bunch of tastings; roasted banana, prawn cake, sweet shrimp, fermented sausage, and steamed bun. They were all 1-2 bites and very delicious. I loved them all, but if I had to pick one favorite I think it would be the prawn cake. It was like a crispy hash brown but with shrimp. I’d love to eat it with a poached egg.

2nd Course: For the second course a large grill was brought over that had a strawberry, chicken heart, and squid on skewers. I was a little nervous about the chicken heart, but it ended up being my favorite of the three. I’m still not a fan of squid, but when you’re eating at Grant Achatz’s new restaurant you better just give everything a shot.

3rd Course: Crab and green papaya salad with peanut chili. Everyone absolutely loved this course, but it was a tab bit spicy. Ok, super spicy. Jared was sweating like crazy and Katie couldn’t finish it, but we all agreed it tasted awesome.

4th Course: Pad Thai. I know what you’re thinking, how lame, anyone can make pad thai, but this pad thai was different. It wasn’t a dense dish of noodles with a ball of carrots and crushed nuts on top. It was a lighter, fresher, and much appreciated version by all at the table.

5th Course: The fifth couse was a tom yum soup with big pieces of pork belly. It was simple and tasty. You can’t go wrong with pork belly. I would have liked to see a few more veggies though.

6th Course: I knew a few people that have been to the Thailand menu so I asked them if I should go easy on a course or two so I can be sure to get through the whole meal. I asked this because during the Paris 1906 menu we were given mini rolls mid meal and I had a couple right before the 2 largest dishes, the lamb and duck. I also swore I liked lamb better so I housed that dish and sadly realized the duck was better and couldn’t eat as much as I would have liked. This time I was warned about the white rice course. It came with a variety of sauces so you could have easily gotten carried away. I kept my rice portion small, sampled all sauces, and then picked my favs and ate a little bit more. One of my favorites was the salted duck egg with green mango and white radish.

7th Course: Next dish up was the wild catfish braised in caramel sauce with celery and coriander root. It was a nice light fish. I wouldn’t say anything special, so I ended up putting a little bit of one of my fav sauces on it.

8th Course: The next dish was the best one of the night – braised beef cheek in a curry of peanut, nutmeg, coconut, and lemongrass. OMG the meat was so tender and fell right apart. The sauce had the perfect amount of spice. Wow, just wow. I wasn’t super full after this dish so I had a little more rice to mop up the rest of the sauce. I couldn’t leave a single bite of this dish on the plate.

By the way, not sure if you can tell but we were so excited about this course that we forgot to take a pic so it’s a little messy looking.


9th Course: Clear juice of watermelon and lemongrass. I wasn’t the biggest fan, but it’s because it reminded me of the cucumber vodka drink I had too much of recently. My fault, not Grant’s.

10th Course: This course I was sort of dreading. I mean it was coconut, corn, egg, and licorice with a side of iced coconut. It didn’t sound appealing to me since I absolutely hate most things coconut. Sometimes I get luckily though and I don’t think things taste like coconut and this was one of those times. This dessert was a-m-a-z-i-n-g! I definitely could have had 10 more, at least!!

11th Course: Last dessert course was dragon fruit. It was good, but I like to end my meals with something chocolatey. I would have preferred ending with the chocolate souffle from the Paris 1906 menu.

The dragon fruit also came with a rose. The instructions were to smell the rose while you eat the dragon fruit and you’ll taste less of the rose flavor in the dish, weird right? We all got a kick out of Adi trying to smell and eat at the same time. It was very difficult.

And finally we ended our dinner with tea in a bag. Very tasty!

Another amazing experience with amazing foodie friends at Next Restaurant. We think there was a small hint during the last course, it reminded Grant of his childhood and I’ve recently read that could be the next theme. We’re all very excited for next time already!

Since the meal was so light and no one was stuffed we decided to go next door and check out Aviary. I’ll post about it soon!

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August 29, 2011

double workout monday!

Oh yes, I did it! 1 body strength class and 3 miles of walking at a varied incline. And the only reason I did it is because I put it in my calendar. I didn’t want to have to update the calendar and say I failed to do it. It’s only Monday, I shouldn’t be backing out of workouts even if it was a double workout day. I’m workin it cause vacation starts Wednesday night! I am so excited to relax with Jared, drink too much wine, eat some amazing food, get my first mud bath, and see some amazing friends! I don’t think I’ve been this excited for a vaca yet. It has everything I like all rolled into one vacation.

Tonight’s dinner was keeping with the super healthy theme till vaca. A giant crab cake and fresh corn/tomato salad. I love this one! Jared makes the best crab cakes.

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August 27, 2011

feelin good

It’s been a great week for being healthy! It feels really good since I’ve had lots of splurging the past few weeks. Today made 5 days in a row of eating healthy and exercising. I was supposed to take Body Pump this morning, but was in the mood to zone out and take spin. It was nice to change things up with a new instructor and she made it a 60 min class instead of the usual 45 min. With all this being healthy I’m happy to say tonight was an amazing splurge night. Jared and I went to dinner at Next Restaurant with a few of our friends. We sat at the kitchen table and ate around 12 courses. The menu this time was Tour of Thailand, so it wasn’t heavy like the Paris 1906 menu (butter, butter, and more butter for French cuisine, right?). We also got 1 non-alcoholic drink pairing and stopped by The Aviary after dinner. The juices were to die for. Here’s a teaser…one of everyone’s fav courses, the coconut, corn, egg, and licorice dessert. Lots more to come when I get a chance to write about it!

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August 25, 2011

smelly spin

This mornings spin class was a good one. I haven’t been able to wear spin shoes for the last week since I cut my feet while wearing heels, so I was happy to get back into my routine. The only down fall was realizing I sat right near a smelly guy. I already set up my bike and clipped in so I wasn’t going to go across the room. I prefer to get settled fast so I don’t start stressing out when the lights go out. Ugh, it was terrible. I don’t know if he wore the same shirt from yesterdays workout or what, but he should have realized how bad it was for the people around him. Anyways, spin went well and my feet felt great.

Last night’s grilling night was fun! We always have a good time with Scott and Gina. I couldn’t believe we hadn’t seen them since our Lobster Party in June. It’s always so hard to make plans in the summer. Jared made an excellent meal using most of our CSA items. We even had a purple pepper, which taste just like green peppers but they’re way cooler looking. I went over on my 10 ounces of wine with a total of 15 ounces, but whatevs. I just can’t help how much I love wine!