Tag Archives: summer shack

Marvelously Overwhelmed

I had a marvelous weekend, but it was busy, and left me extremely overwhelmed. Like to the point of sobbing on the phone to my mom and not being able to follow through on Sunday’s plans because I worked myself up to the point of mental and physical exhaustion. I seem to always need to re-learn the same lesson, every few months, about over-exerting myself. This summer has been so fun and as much as I’m dreading the colder weather, I think I need fall to get here so that I’ll start slowing down. (Oh but I’m travelling three weekends in September, I’ll try not to think about that for now.)

Link up with Katie today to share your marvelous!

Still, there is plenty of marvelous about this past weekend in CT (yes, another one) to be thankful for.

Marvelous is…meeting my parents at Mohegan Sun for another overnight stay. The fam can’t seem to get enough of the casino lately and I’m not complaining about it one bit!

Continue reading

Just Marvelous

I finished up my first full Boston weekend since my recent vacation and man it was just marvelous. I’m going home again this Saturday (for Penelope‘s first birthday party!) so to have a weekend with no events to work and just time to do what I enjoy, in the place I love, felt really great.

Be sure to link up with Katie!

Marvelous is…this video. I don’t usually watch YouTube videos but this one is too spot-on not to share. Plus it features two of my favorite things, saying “yaaaaas” and #Hathahate.

Continue reading

Marvelous Mohegan Trip!

Tonight is your last chance to enter my Nancy Rose Performance giveaway for a new workout outfit! Entries close at 11:59PM EST. Seems as if it’s been eons since my last Marvelous In My Monday (MIMM) post. I haven’t taken the time to sit down and write one since before all my holiday travels! But this past Saturday night certainly calls for a recap. My good friend Molly came home (we grew up a few houses away from each other) from Boston so we could spend time together in CT. Turns out my parents planned a spontaneous overnight at Mohegan Sun Casino for that very same evening…and they let us tag along.

Will you be joining Katie’s link-up this week?

We got ready in the hotel room and headed downstairs to grab a snack, since dinner reservations were late. I knew Molly would adore Tuscany and we had a cheese plate craving so we selected that as our first stop of the night. I had the Perfectly Pear Martini (Absolut Pear, Martini & Rossi Asti) which earned its name thanks to the bartender doing a great job of fulfilling my request for just the tiniest splash of sour apple pucker (it was supposed to come with more). Molly was pleased by her Rye Sour…and the prompt bread-and-dips (white bean puree and olive tapenade) service. Continue reading

Mohegan Sun Blogger Girls Weekend!

Remember that the giveaway for a pair of Sprigs Earbags ends tonight at 11:59PM EST! Make sure to enter before cooking time begins 😛

If you follow me on Twitter and/or Instagram, you probably saw bits and pieces of my fabulous girls weekend at Mohegan Sun with other bloggers. My love for this Connecticut casino is well-known to readers of this blog. I’ve written about trips there many a time…

Thankfully, Mohegan is a fan of the blog! PR Manager Michelle Williams invited me and some other lovely ladies to spend time at the casino this past weekend, including overnight accommodations in the hotel – which I’ve always wanted to stay in!

I was in some excellent company! L to R: Me, Maria, Anne, Elizabeth, Theodora, Julie, Tina, Bianca, Beth.

Maria and I arrived Saturday morning in our puffy vests, ready to take on a hike at Mystic, CT’s Bluff Point State Park!

In vests that match our personalities! 😉

Mohegan Sun offered each blogger her choice of activity – hiking, biking, shopping, or a visit to Mystic Aquarium. I’m not the most coordinated biker (gimme a stationary spin bike any day) and I’ve already shopped in Mystic and been to the aquarium, so I thought a hike would be a unique activity and a perfect way to enjoy the beautiful day. You know what else is a perfect way to enjoy a day? A limo ride.

My limo crew – Maria and I hiked, while Bianca and Beth visited the aquarium.

I certainly enjoyed riding to and from Mystic in style, though I felt a bit under-dressed for a limo!

Sadly the limo was devoid of champagne.

I spy a Daybreak coffee cup…and snacks!

Maria and I arrived at Bluff Point and were pleasantly surprised to find that we would have a guide! Kim, the Education Director of the Denison Pequotsepos Nature Center, made the hike so amazing. Without her, Maria and I would have still been enjoying the sights; with her though, we could know WHAT we were looking at and enjoying, as well as some history of the area.

Look how clean and clear this water is!

Cheesy as it sounds, I felt completely inspired by the fact hidden gems like Bluff Point exist right in my own backyard. It makes me wonder what other beautiful sights are out there that I still haven’t seen!

Saltwater cord grass! (See, I never would have known that without Kim on the hike.)

New opportunities await…

This incredible quiet beach is just a mile from the park entrance – a completely manageable walk for someone who wants to avoid the typical beach crowds!

Upon reaching the top of Bluff Point, Maria and I just had to stop and take a moment to take in the beauty. I can tell Kim enjoyed seeing our reactions.

Me and the big world!

I obviously had to get silly.

Kim led us on a speedy walk back to the entrance to meet the limo (we were running a bit behind) and Maria and I departed with huge smiles on our faces! Thank you Kim!

Me and Kim!

Mohegan Sun was kind enough to provide us boxed lunches, but they were not too plant-heavy and Maria and I both had a hankering for salads. And seafood. To Summer Shack we go!

May or may not have also had a tequila craving.

I ordered a Crab Cobb Salad (no bacon). It was wonderful! I ate every last bite, along with some Summer Shack cornbread.

Look at all that crab!

After lunch (and some shopping…THANKS Maria for getting me into Lush) I was super-excited to check into our room. Why? Three letters. V-I-P!

Michelle arranged for all of us bloggers to check in at the casino’s Aquai VIP Lounge. This was my first time as a VIP and I was not very good at hiding it. For example, when asked if we wanted water or champagne, Maria and I stood dumbfounded. Finally Maria said, “Can we have water AND champagne?”

Balance, exemplified.

The answer, clearly, was OF COURSE!

People who are used to VIP treatment probably don’t ask for pictures of themselves being treated like VIPs.

On our way up to our room (32nd floor, baby!) Maria and I stopped by the indoor pool to scope it out. Um, hello?! How did I not know this beautiful thing existed?! I’ll be back! Look, there’s a bar!

Mohegan Sun totally hooked us up with a room with a view! Completely gorgeous.

The inside of the room was certainly not shabby either. I adored the purple accents throughout! Felt totally perfect for a girls weekend.

Isn’t the tile around the mirror beautiful? The bathroom floor had a matching design!

Makeup mirror and brocade purple shower curtain!

Our toilet came equipped with its own door so its user could have privacy while someone else used the bathroom sink/mirror. It also came equipped with…a phone!

As my grandpa used to say…I was having “a shitty conversation”.

Maria and I spent the rest of the afternoon pampering and getting ready for dinner. As I sat at my laptop uploading photos, letting my nails and hair dry, and sipping champagne, I could hardly believe…my life! I felt so very special and honored that Mohegan Sun was hosting me. You like me, you really like me!

And man oh man, the fun doesn’t stop there. Stay tuned for my recap of our fabulous dinner at Todd English’s Tuscanyto come after Thanksgiving. Which, by the way, is TOMORROW! Really?!

I hope you all have a beautiful Turkey Day and if you don’t celebrate, a fabulous Thursday.

When was the last time you went on a hike?

What’s the most glamorous hotel experience you’ve ever had?

Do you have any casinos in your area?

Disclaimer: Though I received my stay at Mohegan Sun free of charge, all thoughts and opinions are my own.

New Friends – One of Blogging’s Infinity Benefits

Please take a moment to vote for me (up to 10 times…a day…) in round one of the Hartford Courant 2012 Websters for CT’s Best Blogs! I’m nominated for Best Overall Blog, Best Health Blog, Best Food Blog, and Best Social Media Account! Thank you to those who nominated me, and voting for round one closes this Friday 3/30 at 11:59PM EST.

I have been feeling so grateful lately for the friends that this blog has brought me. I tried out Tisane on Monday night with a found-through-Twitter friend Olivia, and am going to Cuvee this Thursday for drinks with Amanda, who I met through Twitter after I started mentioning La Petite France on the blog (she does PR for them). I’ve hung out with Bethany several times, both at her adorable apartment and at some amazing Corey Wry restaurants in Manchester. This sounds cheesy, but it’s SO hard to meet new people after graduating college and starting work. My co-workers are great, but I work at a small company. I’ve met everyone – in fact, I met them all within my first week! And I am always up for meeting NEW people. The problem is that I can only meet so many at work, and even at class.

Salted edamame, edamame hummus, veggies, and wonton chips that Oliva and I enjoyed at Tisane!

I’ve met Jasper White, the founder and owner of a restaurant that I love, the Summer Shack. I’ve been shown the hottest spots in Boston by Ken of Pete & Gerry’s after finding out about their heirloom eggs and sampling custard that used them at the Mohegan Sun WineFest.

And of course on that Boston trip I also met Heather for the first time! She has proven to be a true friend (who shares my brain) and even came to stay with me a couple of weeks ago for an evening. I can’t wait to visit her next!

FitFluential Ambassadors ready for dinner – in lace tops, totally unplanned.

Lovely lady after our walk/run through my town. She adored my favorite cafe, Daybreak!

You can read Heather’s two recaps of our time together here and here!

Heather elected to sip on black Snickerdoodle coffee with her Wildflour vegan spinach and mushroom scone.

I went for coffee with a splash of steamed skim and a rosemary and caramelized onion scone that Heather’s manfriend, Matty, was nice enough to pick out for me!

Yup, definitely two peas in a pod. We couldn’t let our time together go by without getting our sweat on either! I reintroduced Heather to a machine she hadn’t done in awhile, my go-to StepMill.

Because taking phone pics in the gym is completely normal.

Another blogger I’ve found a lot in common with is Kelly B. of Cupcake Kelly’s! She and her family play music in and volunteer at the same Greek Festival that my best friend Lidia and I attend every single summer. She married into a Greek family and, just like me, adores their food (well, except the moussaka – Kelly, let’s work on that! ;-)) and especially their desserts (she is Cupcake Kelly after all).

Where am I going with this? Well, a Greek baptism took place in Kelly’s family, and she generously offered to send me some of the leftover Greek desserts from the baptismal celebrations! I was blown away by her generosity. It means so much to me when someone offers to do something for me that I know they understand I will appreciate. People being thoughtful just makes me happy 🙂

These photos don’t do the treats justice because they’re still in their labeled bags, but I wanted you all to see the names written out! Most of the desserts were new to me, which made me very psyched. The melomakarona (above left) tasted similar to gingerbread. I used good old Wikipedia to discover that it’s usually made with cinnamon, which explained the gingerbread-like taste! The kourabiethes (above right) were covered in powdered sugar! They’re made with almonds and even sometimes brandy 😉

I bet a lot of you are familiar with baklava, a very rich but very amazing dessert that is made with layers of filo pastry and chopped nuts. It’s often sweetened with honey, and even my ridiculously pickly little brother, who usually won’t even touch anything that looks the least bit interesting (that’s my wording, not his), really liked it. I shared some with my dad too, the newfound Greek food fan.

The cookie above tasted similar to shortbread cookies to me. More specifically, Girl Scout shortbread!

Yup, as you can see, I ‘m pretty damn lucky to have not only started this blog, but met so many amazing people as a result. I’m feeling particularly grateful for that today, so I wanted to share those feelings with all of you, and ask this:

What is an unexpected benefit that blogging or reading blogs has brought you?

Mohegan Sun WineFest: The Oyster Open

Finally, we’ve got the last recap of the Mohegan Sun WineFest! In case you missed it, I’ve already recapped both the food and the drinks I tried.

More specifically, this post is about an event I mentioned in my lead-up post, the 8th Annual Mohegan Sun Oyster Open. I was fortunate enough to meet Chef Jasper White of Jasper White’s Summer Shack during my last trip to Mohegan, and he told me this event was one that I would not want to miss. I found him at the WineFest, and he was kind enough to help me out by telling me more about the competition. He also helped me get as close as possible to the stage – and even ON the stage at one point – so that I could get some great photos!

Jasper kicked off the event and thanked everyone for coming out. I had no idea that so much went into just getting a chance to compete in the Oyster Open – after all, first prize was $5,000! All competitors (a couple were from Mohegan’s Summer Shack restaurant location) had to qualify and have a history of winning past, smaller competitions.

The MC explained to us that oyster shucking competitions are not just about speed – presentation also matters! Competitors could gain or lose points based on of the quality of the shucking job, which was demonstrated when the judges performed tests like checking to see how easily the oyster meat disconnected from the shell.

Before the first round got going, the newest judge, William “Chopper” Young, who has dominated the last several competitions, accepted a Hall of Fame Award for his achievements in oyster shucking. Chopper won the World Championship in Ireland two years ago. This is the most prestigious oyster shucking event in the entire world!

Soon it was time for the competition to get under way. The competitors stood poised, hands up, ready to be told they could start.


At this point, Jasper helped me out by getting me close enough to get some great shots of one of his restaurants’ oyster shucking chefs in action. It’s amazing what these guys can do!

The chef pictured above is Eladio Jadiria, a Boston Summer Shack shucker. He ended up placing 4th, but has been winning every Boston competition for the last several years!

Once time was up (some finished before that), all candidates raised their hands in the air again, and the judges took the trays away to be analyzed for shucking quality.

Another kind of competition took place while the judges did their work – a beer shucking contest! That’s right, who can open a case of beer the quickest? Best of all, the audience received the opened bottles after the contest was over!

Jasper and I were rooting for one of Mohegan Sun’s own, a bartender at Ultra 88 nightclub. Unfortunately she did not win, but the competition was sure fun to watch. The energy was great!

The judging was certainly thorough! There was still one more round to go, but the first round scores were still crucial.

At this point, I realized it was 4:47PM (the Fest closed at 5PM) and I had about 10 food tokens left. I bid Jasper goodbye and went off in search of places to spend them, so I did not catch the next round.

However, I found out that the winner ended up being George “Hannibal” Hastings of Virginia. He is a national champion at least two times over, and has competed at the World Championship in Ireland!

The Sun WineFest Facebook page has more great photos up from the entire weekend, including photos from the last round of the competition that I missed out on.

It was a fantastic way to end my trip to the Sun WineFest. Thank you so much to Jasper White for helping me make this the best post possible!

Have you ever heard of oyster shucking competitions? I honestly had no idea this sport existed until I read about it before the WineFest!

Mohegan Sun WineFest: The Food

In case you didn’t see, fellow FitFluential Ambassador Christine of Oatmeal in my Bowl made a pretty exciting announcement on Saturday that has a little something to do with me, so I suggest you check it out!

I am going to have to split my recap of this event into several posts – that’s how much fun I have to share with you all. Without further ado, please read on to find out what I ATE at Mohegan Sun WineFest 2012!

EDIT: I completed my Sun WineFest recaps, and you can also read about what I drank and the Oyster Open competition.

Oh my goodness. WHAT a day it was at the 2012 Mohegan SunWine Fest. It was totally worth all the build up. This morning I woke up nice and early (went to bed at about 9:30 or 10 last night…it felt so fantastic), went to Step (where I felt like I was going to die, for some reason), and got homework done at Daybreak with some Toasted Butternut coffee. Once home, I laid out all my “equipment” to ensure that I was prepared.

Purse, vendor list, notebook with pen, waters, cam, and IBUPROFEN.

Elliott of Sonoma Wines & Spirits was kind enough to mark up my lists of wine, beer, and spirits vendors to give me hints on where I should concentrate my “tasting efforts”. He highlighted in pink the “must-tries”, but I did end up getting to try everything he marked, even those that weren’t highlighted (and were only starred).

See the pink "must-try" highlighting?

 I was SO glad that I brought my own large bag with me – it was so useful during the tasting to hold all of the business cards, fliers, and pamphlets I received, along with my camera case and purse.

This dork is ready to roll.

I arrived, parked seemingly the farthest I could possibly park from the Convention Center, and made a beeline for the food token line once I was through the doors.

I was super hungry for lunch and knew I should get some food in my stomach before I started drinking! The line was a bit long but I had plenty to look at while I waited.

Gorgeous chandelier!

The food tickets were only $1/token and the proceeds were going to charity, so I didn’t mind paying $20 for 20 tokens. I only ended up not using three of them (I know, I was surprised I had any left over too).

Wine glasses, ready for the taking.

The wine glasses were very generously sized and the programs provided for guests were very helpful, with maps of numbered booths for both floors (beers were upstairs). There were also pens free for the taking.

I strolled inside and gravitated to the first food booth I saw! I was pleased to see it was from a local vendor.

Another fantastic relish, like my fave Mariah’s Chow Chow Relish, to add to my grocery list! Webber’s Original Pepper Relish is offered in mild, medium, and hot varieties. I tried the medium on a Tostitos Scoop chip. Looking back, I wish I’d bought a jar! It’d be easy to do so though, since Warren’s Foods is located in West Hartford. The relishes are gluten free, and just fifteen calories per tablespoon, making them a great option for flavoring meats or dipping crackers or chips at parties.

I next sampled extra virgin olive oil on crusty Italian bread at Aralia Olive Oils and was very impressed. The EVOO’s flavor was really something to appreciate and savor. I could definitely tell this was a higher quality EVOO than the stuff in my pantry at home!

The next booth was one of my favorites of the entire WineFestBrix Chocolate and their chocolate-and-wine pairings. Yes, that’s right, chocolate and wine! The chocolate was lined up from milk to extra dark, and each was listed with recommended pairings for types of wines. The nice girls at the booth told me that I was supposed to eat the chocolate, swallow it, and then sip the wine. Each pairing was sooo good, but my favorite was the extra dark chocolate.

Milk chocolate with Pinot Noir.

The suggested pairings were as follows:

  • Milk chocolate (40% cacao), pairs with: port, ice wine, rose, pinot noir
  • Smooth dark chocolate (54% cacao), pairs with: champagne, riesling, pinot noir, vintage port
  • Medium dark chocolate (60% cacao), pairs with: zinfandel, merlot, shiraz
  • Extra dark chocolate (70% cacao, my fave), pairs with: cabernet sauvignon, bordeaux, barola

And I officially want to spend Valentine’s Day holding a gourmet chocolate-and-wine tasting now. Single ladies, join me?

I always enjoy Cabot Creamery’s samples when I have the chance to try them at events. Their cheese is so wonderful!

A Classic Cheddar and a Pepper Jack.

My favorite cheeses from Cabot were actually those not pictured – Chipotle Cheddar and Hot Habenero. Both had the perfect amount of kick!

igourmet.com also had some delicious cheese offerings! The Aged Cheddar pictured below was fantastic. I also sampled a gentle, young Bleu Cheese. igourmet.com was a big part of the Sun WineFest – they sponsored the special Seminar Series that I mentioned in my lead-up post to the festival.

Even vendors not typically in the business of food were giving out food! A company giving away (and selling) Cayman Islands vacation packages had authentic rum bread. It was quite sweet (just one piece was enough for me) but a delicious new food that I was excited to try!

I used my first three food tokens at Pete & Gerry’s Organic Eggs of Monroe, NH. Their booth was very well set-up and I loved the addition of cracked eggs in the little bowls below, so that visitors could see just how high-quality the yolks of Pete & Gerry’s heirloom eggs are. The hens are all Certified Humane (the first farm in the country with this status, in fact) and every egg is shipped the morning after it is gathered, and remains chilled at 45 degrees from farm to dairy case. These particular eggs contain high levels of omega-3 fatty acids, since the hens are fed organic flax seeds as part of their diet. Even the egg cartons are made from 100% recycled materials! Something I didn’t know – the white eggs come from Ameraucana hens and the brown come from Marans hens!

I want those bowls!

Pete & Gerry’s food offering was well worth those three tokens – a raspberry egg custard made from their eggs, topped with homemade whipped cream and a raspberry garnish. This custard was out of this world. Not too sweet, with a pure flavor. I could tell that this custard was made from some pretty special eggs! I wasn’t a big fan of the raspberry jelly on the bottom of the cup, but was glad that it stuck to the bottom so that I could enjoy the custard (and whipped cream…) in its own glory. You can find recipes on the Pete & Gerry’s website, including one for a chocolate version of the custard!

You can tell that whipped cream is homemade!

Jasper White’s Summer Shack had quite an impressive raw bar line-up! I didn’t get anything from this booth because I’m actually attending an event tonight at Max Fish in which oysters are the stars, but the presentation was very nice and perfect for photos!

Oh yum!

I saw many plates in the ballroom filled with oysters – they seemed to be a hit!

Love their motto – "food is love".

One of the Mohegan Sun Summer Shack’s shuckers was multi-tasking by shucking oysters for guests AND practicing for the soon-to-come 8th Annual Oyster Open.

Next I headed over to the booth of Esca Wine Bar of Middletown, where I saw and tasted by far the most unique food offering of the entire WineFest – a lobster cappuccino!

I had a chance to talk with its creator and find out exactly what the lobster cappuccino was made of – a lot of you were curious when I was tweeting about it! It turns out it’s made with fortified lobster stocklecithin, 2% milk, and heavy cream, among other ingredients. The orange mix above went in the bottom of a little cup, and then was topped with the white foam. The flavor was amazing! I could not believe that the foamy drink I was about to consume would taste like lobster, but then it did – it was EXACTLY the flavor one would expect from a lobster dish. My compliments to the chef for creating such a unique dish!


Esca is really a diamond in the rough, located on the recently-revived Main Street of Middletown, CT. That area continues to impress me with its restaurant and nightlife offerings – first Mondo, and now a sophisticated wine bar with excellent food, an endless wine list, classy cocktails, and Thursday Happy Hour til 10pm! You may have seen me tweeting up a storm about it when I was there this past Thursday. I can’t wait to go back again soon with my mom. I know she’d LOVE it there.

Flavored cheesecakes, and some very classy napkins!

At this point I started sampling beverages…but that’s going to come in Wednesday’s post. For now, I’m skipping to my next food experience, which was much needed as I started feeling the alcohol’s effects! If I was going to drive home safely, I needed to take a break and get some food in my belly. Enter Plan B

Ah, the Leaning Tower of Burger!

I wasn’t sure what that cornucopia of veggies on the table display was all about. It didn’t really fit well with the burger theme (burger tower, ketchup, mustard…) and when I go to Plan B, veggies are the last thing on my mind. In fact, I know that even if they were the first thing on my mind, I couldn’t get much of them. I’m honestly not a big fan of Plan B, unlike the rest of the CT-burger-enthusiasts out there. I think that for the quality you get, and the options for sides you are given, the food is very overpriced. I do, however, respect their cocktails, spirits, and beer list. I certainly enjoy sipping on some fig-and-vanilla-infused bourbon, don’t get me wrong.

That being said, I did enjoy the cheeseburger slider I purchased for three tokens at Plan B’s booth. My beef with sliders (ha..ha..had to do it) is that the buns are always way too big on them and overpower the meat. These were no different, with a puffy, plain bun that was nothing remarkable. The meat was, however, cooked very well and the cheese was excellent. Still didn’t make me want to go have dinner at Plan B though.

Something that did impress me? The sushi by Feng Asian Bistro. I’ve heard this place has the best sushi in CT, and wanted to try the most creative roll they offered. I’m seriously SO glad I like sushi now!

I thought 6 tokens was a little steep, but the Feng Chef Roll was extremely delicious! If only it had been made with brown rice, which I find to be so much more flavorful AND healthier. The spicy mayo and eel sauce was excellent and I enjoyed my roll with fresh ginger.


Not done with food yet, nope nope nope. After sampling some more beverages and watching the oyster shucking contest (that’ll be another separate post), I ventured back to the food vendors to use the last of my tokens. Unfortunately, it was 4:45pm and most were closing up or out of many offerings! No worries, I managed.

SolToro Tequila Grill had a lovely booth (employees were wearing sombreros with stripes that matched the tablecloth) but only had chicken tacos left. I was hoping for pork, but chicken was my next choice, and I definitely LOVED this taco. First of all, SolToro used a corn tortilla – LOVE it! Corn tortillas are to brown rice as flour tortillas are to white rice for me – so much more hearty and satisfying (and healthier). It may not look like it from the photo, but the portion of shredded chicken was pretty generous and I also loved that it was shredded, as opposed to chunks of grilled chicken, which never work as well in tacos for me. The onions were great too, and at just 2 tokens, this taco was a steal! I want to go and eat at SolToro again!

Next came a porchetta slider from Mohegan’s newest restaurant, Ballo, which I already and now DEFINITELY want to try. The menu offers a full-size version of this oven-roasted sandwich of pork, broccoli rabe, and provolone. I got my pork fix in after all (who needs it on a taco?) and was very impressed! Once again, too much bread on this slider, but its fillings were fresh enough to stand out.

Last but not least for the food…this may not be the prettiest photo in the world, but trust me when I say that this brisket with buttermilk biscuit (it’s  under there somewhere) from Esca was out of this world. I am a HUGE biscuit fan, so I ate that first, and it was so delicious soaked in all those brisket-y juices. The brisket itself was cooked perfectly and was very rich. I got such a generous portion from the kind chef there that I didn’t have room to finish it all! I wouldn’t expect awesome brisket-and-biscuits from a wine bar, but it looks like Esca can do it all!

Gonna say oh my goodness again just like I did in the beginning of this post. What a day, and that was JUST the food! I cannot wait to share the beverage portion of my experience with you all on Wednesday. I have to say though, today it feels pretty good to get back into my usual “weekday routine” after a weekend of imbibing. I am so psyched for today’s salad beast at lunch. That’s what happens after an indulgence – I tend to crave more “clean” stuff. But don’t get me wrong – I DEFINITELY enjoyed the food I ate yesterday. Mmmm.

Which of the items I sampled would you have most liked to try?

Winter Storm Alfred

Hey guys! New responsibilities at work have me busy busy busy. Not sure how long I’ll be able to keep up this one-post-a-day thing but we’ll see!

Last night I was running super late after a doctor’s appointment, and so unfortunately missed a trip to Group Power. I was so bummed because I have a hard time motivating myself enough to get in a truly challenging weights workout solo, but spent some time on the elliptical, doing 3.5 miles, and finished two magazines that I’d previously started. I will be solo at the gym again tomorrow and I really want to just do a nice cardio/circuit weight workout that will get me nice and sweaty and sore. Any suggestions?

I have a lot of food photos to share from last week, when I was work-less and partially power-less, so let’s get to it!

For any New Englanders out there, I’m sure you felt at least a little bit of an effect from good old Winter Storm Alfred. I was one of the lucky ones – we lost power for only a few days, and since we don’t use a well, we never were without hot, running water. My office was not as lucky, but I can’t lie, the week off of work and class was, well, nice.

After one heat-less night of shivering in a ball in front of the fireplace though, wide awake at 4am, I knew that I would not be able to handle another night without power. That’s why we spent our last night with no electricity in a cozy hotel by the Mohegan Sun Casino. It was fun to have our own little “winter storm party”. We even headed over to the casino to have dinner at the Summer Shack!

I’ve eaten here once before at another night out to the casino with my parents. I love how many options their menu has. The seafood is so fresh! Most is local!

I did not partake in the bread basket, because though the Summer Shack has great seafood, the bread is nothing to write home about. There were a couple of plain rolls (my mom devoured them before the camera came out) and the above soft, Northern, sweet corn bread. Boo – bring on the crispy, Southern style! What kind of corn bread do you prefer?

My dad started with a gumbo special. It came with the most adorable side that I can only call a mini English muffin. I think my dad wanted crackers, but I was entranced by the cuteness!

Action shot!

He selected the breaded baked cod special, paired with jasmine rice. The fish was very well cooked and the tomato sauce it was baked in was so flavorful!

My mom ordered the swordfish special with broccoli and roasted acorn squash on the side. The tomato chutney sitting on top of the fish was out of this world. It was basically like eating a pile of the juiciest, freshest tomato I’ve ever tasted. She and I shared the squash and could not get over how good it was. It fit the Snowtober vibe perfectly.

I selected the cider glazed scallops appetizer with mixed greens and broccoli. Holy yum, the scallops were AMAZING! The broccoli was your typical steamed broc, nothing special, but the scallops stole the show.

As I’ve mentioned, I spent my days off during the post-storm-week working on the blog and writing my paper at Whole Foods. This meant some delicious $12 salads.

Edamame, many bean salads, falafel, green beans, pineapple, roasted veggies, a million other things.

I also spent some time at the Starbucks on Uconn’s campus, studying with Joe. I helped myself to their spinach feta egg white wrap, which I hadn’t had in forever, and forgot how much I loved!

Our first night with power back, my family celebrated by…using the grill, something that requires no power, to make dinner. Ha, oh well.

Broc, baked potato with Mariah's relish, turkey burger, grilled chicken

The next night, we made use of the newly powered freezer and had another delicious Newman’s Own Thin n’ Crispy pizza! My mom added grilled chicken to the veggie pie, just like last time. SO crispy and satisfying.

Paired mine with some leftover broc and black beans from Moe’s. I LOVE their black beans.

Had another slice after – couldn’t resist!

Were you affected by Alfred, in any positive and/or negative ways? Have you ever tried Newman’s Own frozen pizza, or Starbucks breakfast sandwiches?