Tag Archives: j gilberts

Last Friday Night

So excited – my FitFluential Ambassador profile page is up on FitFluential.com! Check it out! ūüėÄ

OK, so this post is about a Friday night that occurred before what was actually last Friday night, but I could not resist the chance to use the title of the Katy Perry song (which I adored until it hit the radio) since I am writing a post here that is completely about, well, a Friday night. A Friday night that happened several weeks ago, but still.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KlyXNRrsk4A&ob=av3e]

I decided after a brief happy hour at a bowling alley with co-workers, in which I had a plastic cup of the grossest Cabernet I’ve ever tasted, to continue my fun evening and skip the gym. I am not one to skip the gym on a day that I have time to go. I know this isn’t typical, but I am still patting myself on the back for making that choice. Too often I feel the need to stick to my workout schedule and never cut myself a break. I completely don’t regret my decision and had a great night – livin’ life!

Avalon Cabernet at J. Gilbert's

No gym meant that for once, I was free to hit up happy hour¬†at my favorite place in CT, J. Gilbert’s, for a glass of wine and some apps. I ended up running into my friends’ mom (who I also consider a friend!) and she was kind enough to buy my wine and let me in on her¬†¬†Smoked Chicken Quesadilla¬†(pineapple mango salsa, pico de gallo,¬†cilantro lime & roasted red pepper, and¬†sour creams), my favorite app on the happy hour menu. Now this Cabernet was WAY better than any bowling alley Cab – but at the same price, which made it even better.

Cupcake Vineyards Red Velvet and a Manhattan.

My next stop was Rooftop 120, by far the classiest place in town (and maybe even the county or state – I haven’t seen it topped yet) to use my Living Social deal. OK, so maybe that part wasn’t as classy, but I made up for that by sticking to the red wine. My third glass of the evening!

Certainly an ample-sized wine glass. Took this photo to show that it’s almost as big as ¬†my head!

My dining partner, Matt, ordered a Rooftop Manhattan. I had a sip, and they definitely were heavy-handed with the alcohol!

The wine really had me craving some bread and cheese, so that’s what we ordered – the Artisanal Cheese Platter complete with crusty bread, truffle honey, raspberries, and local cheeses! Well, the brie was from France, but the Blackledge Bleu (Colchester), Smoked Mozz (New Haven), and Herb Chevre (Lebanon) were all local – awesome!

This was so, so wonderful, but could’ve used more bread. Luckily I’m not shy at restaurants – we asked for more, and got a huge bowl brushed with olive oil in return, hot out of the oven! Not a single scrap of food was left standing. Everything was simply amazing, especially the truffle honey. I loved combining it with the different types of cheeses. It was SO interesting with the mozz because the smoked flavor was very strong in the cheese.

We needed to spend $40 to get full use out of the Living Social deal, meaning it was time for dessert – Mini Indulgences, to be specific! From left to right: chocolate mouse, espresso & Bailey’s mousse, PB mousse, and maple mousse. I honestly can’t pick a favorite. OK, maybe I can – the espresso & Bailey’s. My coffee love just struck me at this moment and inspired me to pick a favorite. But seriously, this was scrumptious.

What a fun Friday! No gym, wine, cheese, and dessert – these are things I don’t often do, and I’m proud of myself for letting some indulgences in and enjoying.

What are your feelings about indulging? Do you feel proud when you break away from your norm, or guilty? Or maybe some combination?

J. Gilbert’s: The New Menu

Thanks for sharing your Birchbox finds on yesterday’s post! Please feel free to keep sharing each month – I love comparing box contents!

I cannot BELIEVE it is Thanksgiving tomorrow! I am so very excited, but not really because of the food. Thanksgiving dinner is tasty, but never really consists of any of my very favorite dishes. I’m more so excited to spend time with my immediate family, as well as close friends that I haven’t seen in awhile. I’m also not travelling (well, I do have to drive 5 minutes…) which I’m pretty ecstatic about. My dad, sister, and I will also be getting our run on in the morning at CT’s biggest race¬†(15,000 registered runners this year, and plenty more don’t register), the Manchester Road Race, a 4.5 mile run that ALSO takes place only 5 minutes from my house! It’s one of those courses filled with runners in crazy costumes and bands playing along the side of the road. Even back when I never exercised, I did this race each year!

To get you hyped for the feasts coming your way tomorrow, I want to do a post on a delicious meal I had recently.¬†J. Gilbert’s Wood-fired Steaks & Seafood¬†just might be my favorite restaurant (I do know it’s the home of my favorite dessert, a chocolate velvet cake with banana liquer, as well as my favorite happy hour, which I have often mentioned). They also will be open on Thanksgiving¬†and their special prix fixe menu for that evening (the regular menu will also be available) consists of both traditional and non-traditional foods!

The famous dessert!

Our family has celebrated many a special occasion there.

Enjoying Avalon Cabernet, one of my favorite wines, with my mom at a birthday dinner. Nice one, Mom!

I used to get the same thing every single time: a 60z filet with asparagus and a baked potato. J. Gilbert’s has the best baked potatoes I’ve ever had because the skins come rubbed with plenty of sea salt. Their steaks are always cooked to perfection.

Awkwardly posing (as usual) my typical meal.

I have “revealed” the wonder of J. Gilbert’s to a lot of my friends, including several couples who have held dates there after I suggested it. That includes Jeff and Kim, some of my regular dining partners! I even have an “in” since I know the head hostess and her younger sister, who buses and is also a hostess. Yes, I’m a little smug right now. Sorry I’m not sorry!

Jeff hangin' with the same meal, but he opted for lobster mac n'cheese for his starch.

However, since I started expanding my food horizons, I have taken to trying to order something different each time! I’m now at a foodie stage in which I love trying new things, so I was so happy to learn that J. Gilbert’s updated their menu last Wednesday – and that just so happened to be a day that Jeff, Kim, and another foodie friend, Evan, had a trip planned to use a coupon!

The new menu in all its glory! Sorry for the glare!

It took awhile for me to decide what to get. I knew I had to get a new item, but I also couldn’t deny the craving I was having for my usual filet/asparagus/baked potato. Easy solution: go with a surf n’ turf combo!

My "surf" combo choices.

I’ve had the shrimp before, but it was of the BBQ variety. Now the shrimp on the menu is bourbon maple, which definitely called to me with a fall-feeling. Done and done!

Bad weather led to backed-up reservations and some slow service from the kitchen, but our server Sergio was extremely polite and apologetic, and we had some sourdough bread to hold us over. I opted out this time though, because I wasn’t that hungry yet.

Jeff and Evan also decided to start with an older menu item, but one that was new to them, the Chicken Tortilla Soup. What a fun presentation!

Yes, that is a bowl of broth-less soup fillings.

The food runner set each bowl down, and THEN poured the broth over its contents. Genius!

Sorry for the blur! Trying to quickly catch it.

¬†Evan doesn’t like guac (I know, what?) so he wasn’t a fan of that part of the soup, but other than that both boys seemed to really enjoy it. I’m sure adding the broth last-minute means the ingredients are less soggy and taste more fresh!

When the main portions of food finally made it out, I was ready to chow down.

I also ordered a side of mango salsa for my steak and a side of pico de gallo for my potato skin – free of charge!

How awesome does that baked potato skin look? I always save that for last. I asked for the filet medium rare, and it came back medium, which is rare for J. Gilb (as I so affectionately call it). ¬†However, I usually have filet medium, and went for medium rare today on a whim, so I still loved it as much as usual. But when I do get to have it medium rare, I think I’ll enjoy it more!

The maple bourbon shrimp was just as I’d imagine it’d be. The maple flavor was so pronounced and enhanced the shrimp SO much. 10/10!

Seared Georges Bank Sea Scallops

Jeff went for the scallops with lobster risotto and champagne beurre blanc. He and I have had scallops from J. Gilbert’s before and were blown away, and he said nothing changed this time. Still blown away, still awesome. This was an old menu item, but it never gets old.

Mesquite Plank Salmon

Kim ordered the salmon with yukon smashed potatoes and green beans with pecans (new side items). The older menu had salmon on it of course, but like the shrimp, it was a BBQ flavor. This salmon came on an actual plank of wood! She finished it all up and said the smashed potatoes were just as good as her usual go-to side, the cheddar mashed potatoes.

Mishima Ranch Wagyu Burger

Last but not least, Evan ordered the wagyu (another word for kobe beef) burger with sweet potato fries. This selection is completely new to the menu and looked quite delicious, but Evan said the pretzel bun was too much for the beef and too overpowering. He’s also not the biggest sweet potato fry fan (I KNOW, first no guac, now no sweet potatoes, who is this guy?!) but Kim, Jeff, and I polished them off for him no problem.

After reading this post, or just looking at its photos, I’m sure you’re more than ready for Thanksgiving dinner tomorrow night (if you celebrate). Or just any dinner! If any CT residents out there try J. Gilbert’s, please let me know what you think – and I highly recommend a reservation!

Which dish in this post would you most want to order?

Josie’s West and a Relaxing Sunday

Hey guys! I’m a bit late asking this but…how was your weekend?! In case you missed it, Sunday I recapped the Cafes do Brasil brunch I attended in NYC on Saturday in honor of Brazilian Coffee Week in NYC. Highly recommend that you check out the recap if you’re interested in coffee and/or brunch!

Ready to head into the city.

I had such an amazing day in the city the rest of Saturday. After the brunch, I met up with an old friend from high school to seeJ. Edgar, which I HIGHLY recommend. It was a bit long but if you go in prepared for that, I think you’ll really enjoy it. Everyone’s performances were wonderful (except Naomi Watts, who I felt was just kind of there, but she was still OK).

I drove in by myself and spent some time alone shopping as well at Urban Outfitters. 50% off all sale prices – how could I resist?!

Please ignore the feet of my stuffed bear in the upper right.

Everything was just $10 each!

My grandmother often makes trips by herself, and now I see why. I loved being on my own schedule, taking things at my own pace, and being able to listen to my audio book on the drive there/back. It would take a lot of bravery for me to take on an international cruise alone, like she often has for up to a week, but solo day trips definitely have new appeal to me for their lack of stress involved.

After seeing the movie, I had the opportunity to meet up with two bloggers I have been following for awhile, Katy and Danielle, at Josie’s¬†for dinner. The place came recommended to me by Kathleen of the Elvis Duran Show, and Katy and Danielle confirmed for me when we were originally making these plans that the place was worth visiting. And they were certainly right – I LOVED Josie’s and already want to go back!

I arrived and was totally starving. I polished off the above cornbread and focaccia bread, which was accompanied by a hummus that was either pumpkin or squash flavored – I never did completely figure it out. But as soon as I saw that there was hummus paired with the bread, I knew this was my kind of place.

Boo flash.

It was a tough decision, and one of those times when I wished I had about 10 stomachs, but I decided on the Grilled Scottish Salmon¬†with mango-roasted pepper salsa, pinto beans, and grilled asparagus. It was fabulous!! I finished every last bite, and Katy’s veggie meatloaf and Danielle’s butternut squash ravioli were amazing as well (we sampled each other’s dishes).

Me, Danielle, and Katy.

What a great time! I so enjoyed meeting the girls who write these blogs that I have been reading for so long, since way before I started blogging. Thank you ladies for a tasty meal with great conversation!

Though I had a great time on Saturday, it was nice to spend my Sunday around town and have a relaxing Sunday. I went to spin very early and wore my new Old Navy workout top, which served me well (and even has a little zipper pocket built in Рnice!) in a sweaty class. Also got HW done at Daybreak (accompanied by coconut coffee of course) and did some chores at home.

Sunday's lunch, eaten while doing some reading.

I ended my weekend with a trip to happy hour at J. Gilbert’s with a couple of friends I’ve known since high school. We were there for over two hours and had a great time! OK, I had a little too good of a time after drinking two glasses of Avalon Cab…on an empty stomach. Mistake!

Back to the grind this week…but I had a great dinner out last night and got to attend my favorite Step class, so I’d say it’s starting out well!

Have you ever gotten the chance to meet a blog friend in person? Have you ever taken a solo trip?

Bertucci’s: Awesome Customer Service!

Hey guys! Happy Hump Day – my week is flying by – how about yours? If it’s not, I apologize for saying mine is. Forget I ever did?

Last night I had class, which dragged on, but it also happened to be a rest day from the gym. It was actually my first rest day in almost two weeks after looking back through my Daily Mile feed, so probably a good thing, but I still felt a bit restless!

I woke up this morning way before my alarm, at about 5:45am, and was quite awake. I took advantage of this and went to the gym to get my workout in – now I won’t have to go in the evening, and I’ll be home today around 6:45pm! That’s unheard of for me. I did 30 minutes of intervals on the Stair Master – each time I do this, it never ceases to amaze me how hard it is. Another instance in which I was trying to tell myself that quality > quantity! I followed it up with about 10 minutes of abs with a 10 pound medicine ball (to try to get some arms in), 30 regular push-ups, 30 tricep push-ups, and 30 tricep presses with the med ball. Abs and upper body, done!

Thanks womenshealth.com for the image!

It seems that whenever I try to set an alarm to get up and work out before work, I always wake up feeling like death and can barely drag myself out of bed. So I always plan to work out in the evening on weekdays, but if I happen to wake up early in the morning (because I go to bed fairly early), I try to get my workout in then. It just works for me! Another reason I work out at night is because I love group fitness classes, and the morning classes at my gym all start at 5am or 5:4am. It’s just TOO early! So, I opt for the night classes.

Work continues to be crazy busy. I was also lucky enough to have a chance to finally start on all the saved episodes of “Hart of Dixie” on my DVR. It’s a cute show! Rachel Bilson’s clothes are gorgeous. Sure the show is cheesy, but I was always more of a Summer fan than a Marissa fan (I miss “The OC”) and can’t help but enjoy it. I hope the show makes it! Anyone else into this show?

Image courtesy of Boomtron.com

This past weekend was the end of my week off from work, and full of tasty food. Weekends often are – isn’t that one of the many reasons why they are so wonderful?

My mom and I kicked things off Friday afternoon with manicures and then glasses of Avalon Cabernet at J. Gilbert’s during happy hour. Best happy hour in town!

My mom and I each had 1.5 glasses (we split her last one) and I was feeling SO buzzed. Good thing she was driving!

Did NOT plan to get my nails done to match my wine ūüėČ

We headed home, picked up my little brother, and went out to dinner at Bertucci’s. I have to share a great customer service example here!

I went there for dinner before I started blogging more regularly, in early October (hence why there’s no post about that particular meal to reference). The next day, Bertucci’s posted on their Facebook that they would be giving anyone who dined there in October a coupon for a free birthday dessert to use during the next visit.

The dessert choices.

I was confused – I’d just eaten there, it had been October, but I was coupon-less! Being the coupon queen (and probably a bit obnoxious) person that I am, I wrote on their post, asking why I hadn’t received a coupon. Someone from Bertucci’s reached out to me right away and asked for my mailing info. Within a week of providing it, I received my missing coupon¬†in the mail! I was so impressed that they would take the time to send me a coupon and show me they care about each customer. I already love Bertucci’s, but now I have even more good things to say about them!

So I insisted we go there Friday night to use my reclaimed coupon. Another satisfying meal. I got my favorite Venetian Spinach Salad with Grilled Salmon and Goat Cheese. I ate every last bite, as usual.

My brother Michael got a Cheese Pizza with Chicken. Lucky for me he didn’t eat his crusts, so I had some. The tomato sauce remnants that were left on each crust were SO fresh and delicious. Bertucci’s may have my favorite pizza sauce. I know, a bold statement!

My mom ordered the Grilled Chicken Chopped Salad with Goat Cheese and also polished it off.

I was going to give Michael my dessert coupon, but it wasn’t necessary. Our waitress was awesome and let us have two free desserts¬†for one coupon! Michael went with chocolate cake while I chose one of my favorites – tiramisu.

Then, the cherry on top: our waitress ALSO let me use a Facebook coupon I’d gotten for “liking” Bertucci’s.

So THANK YOU Bertucci’s for an amazing coupon experience!

Are you a morning, afternoon, or evening workout person (or a mix)? Are you sick of seeing me write about Bertucci’s? Do you have any awesome restaurant customer service experiences to share?