Dewey’s Gift Card Giveaway

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Dewey's Pizza

We all know how excited I am about the new Dewey’s in Dublin, so to celebrate, our friends at Dewey’s would like to offer readers a chance to win a $25 gift card to any of their 18 locations!

You can enter multiple times by doing the following:

GIVEAWAY IS CLOSED.

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Nashville: Part I

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To take advantage of the long, holiday weekend, my sister and I packed our bags for a quick jaunt to Nashville. To be honest, I wasn’t expecting to adore the city as much as I did. We picked it purely on proximity (it’s only 5 1/2 hours away), and the fact we’d never been there. Now that we have, I wish I had gone sooner! This is an eclectic city with so much to offer.

Nashville

Broads and Birds

After checking into the hotel, we were eager to begin our whirlwind through the city. We started at the most logical place: Arnold’s Country Kitchen.

Arnold's Country Kitchen

I can’t even look at this photo without wanting to lick the screen.

I’m not being hyperbolic when I say this was one of the best things I’ve ever eaten. Don’t be fooled by the cafeteria setting, this is a James Beard awarded institution. The line was nearly out the door, but we didn’t have to wait long. The concept of Arnold’s is you pick your meat from the options on the board (varies by day), your sides, and whatever breads and desserts strike your fancy. If you’re a vegetarian, there’s also a four sides meal. Don’t let the meat scare you away!

I opted for the roast beef, mashed potatoes, and macaroni and cheese. Sister (let’s just call her Becker), wanted meatloaf, but they were sold out. She ended up with a copycat of my meal plus cornbread–lucky her, it was insanely delicious. I wasn’t aware of the concept of “meat and three” (or two in my case) before this trip, but now that I am, Columbus really needs to get with it.

After scraping our plates clean, we hopped into the car to visit the top item on my Nashville to-do list: Third Man Records.

Third Man Records

Jack White is to record stores as Willy Wonky is to chocolate factories. This was easily the most whimsical music store I’ve ever stepped in. Though it was small, every corner was crammed with something interesting, including the infamous recording booth:

Third Man Recording Booth

And this number in a display case:

White Stripes Legos Third Man Records

Fell in Love with a Girl.

Attached to the store is a narrow hallway that separates the retail area from Jack’s studio (I like how I act like we’re on a first-name basis here). Becker and I like to think he was on the other end of that door working.

Third Man Studio

For any White Stripes/Jack White and music fans, Third Man is an absolute must. You know what else is a must? Oh, just being transported to ancient Greece:

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The Parthenon in Nashville is so very random, but it was a nice way to spend the afternoon. The surrounding park is free, but for a mere $6, you can go inside this full-size replica and check out some art. The main attraction is the gargantuan Athena statue inside.

Athena Statue Nashville

After much wandering and photo ops, we were hot, tired, and ready for the pool. But first, we made a genius detour:

Las Paletas

Becker said it best when she called Las Paletas the Jeni’s of popsicles. Enter the store and you are faced with choosing between the traditional to more unusual flavors like hibiscus and creamed corn. We weren’t feeling anything too crazy–I had strawberry and she picked watermelon. Both contained chunks of real, fresh fruit, and were so refreshing and tasty. Honestly, this is a must if you find yourself in Nashville.

Las Paletas Popsicle Strawberry

Before retreating to the hotel, we made one last stop at Local Honey, a vintage shop in the Belmont/Hilsboro area. All of the pieces are carefully curated, and we found so many random treasures. Bonus: If you need your hair did, there’s a hair shop right upstairs.

IMG_0242Sister walked away with a lovely crochet top, and we hightailed it straight to the pool. After some much-needed lounging, we got a second wind for dinner. Everyone insists you try hot chicken when you visit Nashville, and we read so many wonderful things about Hattie B’s that our plans were pretty much made for us.

We had some parking drama, but once we found a spot, we jumped at the end of a long line and waited. And waited. Aaand waited.

Hattie B's

An hour later, we were tearing into the spiciest, most succulent chicken we’ve ever had. WORTH WAITING FOR. What sets hot chicken apart is not only the spice in the breading, but the spices rubbed directly onto the chicken. Between hot chicken, meat and three, and gourmet popsicles, I’m willing to declare Nashville my current favorite food scene. Luckily, with HCT in Columbus, my hot chicken cravings will be satiated.
Hattie B's Hot Chicken

I needed some ice cream to offset all of the spice, so I dragged poor, sleepy Becker to Pied Piper Creamery for a nightcap.

Pied Piper Creamery Ice Cream

The Oatmeal Raisin in the Sun was a DELIGHT. Cinnamon ice cream with chunks of soft, oatmeal raisin cookie was just what I needed before falling into a food-induced coma. Luckily, we had another 24 hours to consume all of Nashville. More on that later! (Pt. II lives here).

San Diego Successes and Failures

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Did you miss me? Well, I’m back! We spent most of last week in San Diego before moving on to Las Vegas for a mere 36 hours. Truthfully, it wasn’t our best trip. Both husband and I have been so busy, we weren’t able to spend a lot of time researching like we usually do. (For our Italy vacation, we had it planned down to the hour — I scheduled in a siesta every day!) To save some cash, we also booked insane travel plans. We flew into LA (via Phoenix) and planned to catch the 5 o’clock train to San Diego from their Union Station. The Pacific Surfliner trails the coast for much of the journey, and we were both excited to see the sea.

But that’s not what happened. Instead, we sat on the runway at LAX long enough to miss our train out of Union Station. We waited till the 7:30 train pulled in the station, and that was another half an hour delayed in its departure. By the time we got to the coast, it was pitch black outside. We drowned our sorrows in bloody mary’s from the cafe car and did our best to enjoy the trip.

The other awesome thing we did was wait until the absolute last minute to book our hotel room. We used the Hotel Tonight app and booked a room at the Declan Suites while waiting for our train in Los Angeles. We were exhausted when our taxi finally dropped us off at the hotel. Unfortunately for us, they had overbooked the hotel, and were sending us OUTSIDE of San Diego to a hotel on Coronado Island. The Marriott resort was lovely, but it had been a long day.

NOT EXACTLY AN AUSPICIOUS START. The next day, we got back into San Diego to our hotel for the remainder of our stay, the Bristol Hotel. I won’t bore you with the details of our room-switching dance there, but soon we were ready to go out and enjoy the city. We quickly met up with some of husband’s friends (we were all in town for a conference) at Karl Strauss Brewery. We ordered beers and settled in for a good time.

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The serving staff was superb. We must have looked bedraggled, because they took pity on us and offered many samples of their brews. We must have tried every one they had. My favorite was the Red Trolley Ale — full of flavor, but not bitter or heavy. They even gave our friend a pint glass for his birthday! So nice.

We ate our fill and hopped in a cab to continue our tour of San Diego’s brewery. (You can tell where our priorities are.) We ended up out by the airport at Stone Brewing Company. Husband was already a big fan of their IPAs, and another member of our party insisted they made one of the best beers of all time (that would be the Ruination). I went for the fruitier, more summery Saison, which I enjoyed.

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The space was HUGE, and so neat! Bocce ball courts and several sections of indoor and outdoor dining. We took trips to the bathroom to wig out at the missing mirror over the sinks. For a few terrifying moments, husband was convince he was a vampire.

On Tuesday, a girlfriend and I headed out to the San Diego Zoo to do a bit of comparing, but mostly to see the panda bears. You guys, they’re just as cute as you want them to be!

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See! The first one is the momma bear, and the sleepy one on the bottom is the baby. He was just snoozing away in the sun! Not a bad life! The zoo was beautiful. The climate is obviously more appealing, and we wandered our way through twisting, jungle trails, full of plants, birds and beautiful flowers. We cruised our way through and hopped back in the car to make our way to La Jolla.

La Jolla was my absolute favorite part. My girlfriend took me right to the cove, and the views were breathtaking.

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The water! Those cliffs! I couldn’t believe it. I can see why people love California. Below you’ll see the cove, and a harem of seals.

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I plan entire trips around views like this, and I was not disappointed. I could barely pull myself away.

That night, husband and I made our way into Little Italy and found a newly opened, local winery. We love drinking wine, but we don’t know much about it. The great staff at San Diego Cellars didn’t judge us at all, and gave us a crash course on wine tasting. My favorite was the petite syrah. Fun was had by all!

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Later on, I dragged everyone out to a hidden wine bar in the Gaslamp Quarter. I had read the door to Vin de Syrah was hidden, and I couldn’t wait to try my hand at finding it! Apparently, I got myself too excited because I found the door in about ten seconds flat. (Hint: THERE’S A DOOR HANDLE.) Once inside though, my delight resurfaced. The whole place was Alice in Wonderland themed! Pitchers with wings floated from the ceiling, next to umbrellas and flowers from floor to ceiling.

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I know it’s hard to see in these, but it was so neat. Alicia would have loved it!

That was our last night on the town in San Diego. We wanted to fill up before our flight to Vegas (didn’t plan much time for meals, either), so we headed to Cafe 21. We had a beautiful table on the patio, and ordered FAR too much food. I went for the feta omelet, which comes with spinach, pesto, and artichokes.

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I loved it! It could have used more pesto (what couldn’t?), but it was outstanding. Husband went for the short rib omelet, and we split and order of the strawberry french toast.

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I know you want a better look at that french toast. I’ve got you covered.

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In the center there is agave cream cheese. I’ll never campaign for fruit, but this was so delicious. I wish we hadn’t shared it!

A few hours later, we boarded our flight to Las Vegas. San Diego was lovely, but truly we were hoping for more sea, and more sun. If we had done our research, we would have known we needed a car to get to the good beaches, but we didn’t. The Gaslamp Quarter was fun, but you only need a few nights there. Definitely get yourself a car, and get yourself to La Jolla and beyond. That ocean. It was everything.

Dewey’s Dublin

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This week, the kind folks at Dewey’s invited me to a sneak preview lunch at their newest location in Dublin. I was excited for a multitude of reasons: 1) A Dewey’s is opening down the street from me. Enough said. 2) Getting out of the office for lunch? What is this sorcery. My lunch usually consists of eating at my desk and wistfully staring out a window. 3) Dewey’s is delicious.

The Dublin location is on Perimeter Drive, right off of Avery-Muirfield. Now, I know this part of town pretty well. I’m a frequent visitor to the Five Guys and Baskin Robbins right across the way. So, I cannot explain why I lost my sense of direction upon getting there–maybe I was overcome at the thought of amazing pizza? It happens.

Dewey's Dublin

After parking, I wandered to the wrong side of the building and stood there, mystified. Thom, who is Lexi’s proxy while she is out of town, watched as I moseyed away, blissfully unaware of him calling for me. After a bout of text tag, I bumbled back to the actual storefront. Whoops. Trust me, you will not make this mistake. The parking lot and building are straightforward. I’m just slipping in my old age.

No matter! There was pizza to be had! We walked into a lively crowd and took a seat at the bar.

Dewey's Bar

Then came the daunting task of making decisions. Not an easy feat when I want the entire menu.

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Our server promptly greeted us and rattled off their seasonal items: a strawberry macadamia nut salad (um, yes, give to me), and The Tito Santana: a pizza with taco sauce, chihuahua cheese, cheddar cheese, taco meat, red onions and corn chips with shredded lettuce. A chipotle ranch drizzle and diced tomatoes are added after the bake. Is this real life?

When it comes to customization, Dewey’s philosophy is anything goes (as long as it’s on the menu). This means you can personalize halves, even if the sauces on both sides are different. We ended up picking two specialty pie halves (the Meatball and the Killer Veggie), and I started with the aforementioned seasonal salad.

Dewey's Strawberry Macadamia Nut Salad

Field greens with strawberries, toasted macadamia nuts, and Maytag bleu cheese (I omitted), tossed with raspberry poppy seed vinaigrette.

Thom went with the House salad (minus the goat cheese), and we got into a big debate over whose salad was better. Mine was clearly the winner. I want vats of the raspberry poppyseed vinagrette to douse on everything.

Dewey's House Salad

Field greens with toasted pine nuts, sun-dried cranberries and goat cheese tossed with balsamic vinaigrette.

Although the pies are cooked to order (no frozen ingredients allowed), it didn’t take very long for our piping hot pizza to make an appearance.

Dewey's Meatball and Killer Veggie Pizza

Here’s a word to the wise. A small, 11-inch pizza is the perfect size for two people (and a few bucks cheaper!). We ordered the medium (13-inch), and couldn’t finish it. I know, we were ashamed of ourselves. Don’t judge us too harshly, we were saving room for dessert.

Dewey's Chocolate Kahlua Cake

Chocolate Kahlua Cake.

This cake was the stuff of dreams–a rich, enormous slab of confectionary delight filled with a ganachey/truffley filling (you can tell I’m not a baker). The other dessert option was a banana cream cheesecake. My only regret is that we didn’t spring for both, but with Dewey’s now conveniently in my backyard, I know I’ll be back soon.

Dewey’s Dublin opens Monday, May 26 and is located at 6540 Perimeter Drive. Hours are Monday through Thursday 11:00 am – 10:00 pm, Friday and Saturday from 11:00 am – 11:00 pm, and Sunday from 4:00 pm – 10:00 pm.

A Mental Detox

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Happy Monday! (I know, that’s a bit of an oxymoron. Just go with it). With Alexis in San Diego this week, I’m holding down the fort. I have quite a bit of material from the past couple weeks, so this post is going to be a bit of a mishmash.

Lately, life has been chaotic. You know how they say things happen in threes? I’m starting to buy it. In the past month, my husband has shattered an iPhone screen, my washing machine has died, and the contractors who installed the new washing machine caused a slow leak that flooded my bedroom. Blah.

I’ve been surprising zen about the matter (after a meltdown or two), and we are still living in a state of disarray while we wait for the company to process our claim and fix what they’ve ruined. My current mantra is “it could be worse,” and it’s helping me put things in perspective. We’re all healthy, with a roof over our heads, and lot of life to look forward to, like delightful dinners with family.

The Black Orchid at Ocean Club. Made from St. Germain Elderflower Liquor.

My favorite cocktail ever.

Can someone help a girl out and tell me where I can acquire St. Germain Elderflower Liquor in Ohio? The Black Orchid at Ocean Club is my jam, but at $12 a pop, I’d rather consume glasses of this on my patio for a fraction of the price. Though, in order to have drinks on my porch, it needs to warm up again. This spring has been such a tease, hasn’t it?

Work has also been kicking my ass, but I’ve been able to work from home here and there. It’s made for long, but super productive days, and I’ve managed to knock  some big projects off my to-do list. Lunching at home is another bonus.

Piada cannoli gelato

The epitome of a mouthgasm.

Oh, and when I say lunching I mean eating desserts. I saw that Piada added gelato to the menu, and all of my good intentions went right out the window. Worth it though. The chocolate cannoli marble gelato was out of control. Now I need to go back and try the strawberry marble version (vanilla bean gelato spun with strawberries, granola, and strawberry syrup), but there’s a salty caramel version as well–ahh, the struggle.

What they need is a gelato sampler, so that gluttons like me can have it all. Sort of like this awesome bento box lunch I ordered from Akai Hana this past weekend:

Akai Hana Bento Box LunchThis was the bento box of the day ($11) and almost way too much food for me (I said almost). Unpictured is the miso soup and salad that comes with the meal. Thom went with something a bit less compartamentalized.

Spicy shrimp roll and eel cucumber roll.

Spicy shrimp roll and eel cucumber roll.

Afterwards, we went next door to Belle’s Bread where I almost had a panic attack over the sheer amount of goodness. I WANTED ALL THE THINGS. I have more to say about this place, but I’m going to save it for a separate post.

My spoils.

To the victors go the spoils.

We walked away with a cream puff, chocolate croissant, and a slice of strawberry cake. All were demolished in less then five minutes.

After the wonder at Belle’s, we stopped by another wonder. Samba FRESH, a relatively new pressed juice bar that I have been curious about.

SambaFRESH pressed juice

Full disclosure: I know nothing about juicing, but it turned out to be a non-issue. The proprietors were extremely knowledgeable, and we were offered endless samples once it was clear we were newbies. We started with fruity juices before moving onto green juice and finishing with a protein version. The Proteina Plus was actually one of my favorites–it legit tasted like Cinnamon Toast Crunch cereal milk.

Thom’s favorites were of the fruit juice persuasion, and after deliberating between Hidrate and Sol, he went with the brighter option.

Thom's juice.

Thom’s juice.

Despite my affinity for the protein drink, I looked towards a compromise between fruits and vegetables, and found it in Belo. I recommend this one for those who aren’t huge fans of “green” tasting drinks.

My juice.

My juice.

After the weeks we’ve had, a detox is sorely needed, not just in diet but mentally as well. This is why my sister and I are going to take a road trip to Nashville next weekend. I can’t wait to skip around the different neighborhoods, drink coffee, stalk Jack White, and eat all the things. First, I need to get through this week. Let’s make it a positive one!

Summer Movie Preview

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One of my favorite summer pastimes is watching movies. This can be in the form of the Drive In, at home, or settling in with an enormous Icee at the cinema. Whatever the case, there are always a few films that I’m inordinately excited about. Here is a short list of what I have my eye on this summer:

Days of Future Past (5.23) x-men-days-of-future-past-posterI’m picky when it comes to comic book movies (Marvel triumphs over DC any day), so I’m blindly optimistic whenever an X-Men film is released–minus those Wolverine films. Let us never speak of them. The concept of Days of Future Past is gimmicky, but I can turn a blind eye because I love the components. The combination of time travel and past X-Men actors joining forces in a single movie blows my mind. There’s also the chance it will be convoluted and nonsensical, but I don’t go to these things expecting an Oscar-caliber script (though we do have Oscar-caliber actors involved!). We know what we’re getting into here, guys.

Maleficent (5.30)

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Sleeping Beauty was a staple in my adolescent film repertoire, and quite frankly, Maleficent scared the crap out of my six-year-old self (to be fair, I am was afraid of everything). I like the idea of a character study from the bad guy’s perspective. It worked for Gregory Maguire (Wicked and Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister), so surely this bit of revisionist villainy will work out? If not, we’ll still have interesting scenery and costumes to admire, right?

The Fault In Our Stars (6.6) fault-in-our-stars-poster-large Josh Boone, please don’t screw this up. I can’t even think about this book without tears springing to my eyes. I brought it on vacation for some “light reading,” and by the end, I was weeping in a lounge chair and muttering “Oh, so sad! Whyyy!” before texting everyone to hurry and read it. As always, books being made into film is dicey–I’m wary, but I still intend on seeing it on a day when I want to have all the feelings. For those of you who haven’t read it, it’s about young love, cancer, and the inevitability of death. Yeah. Feels.

The Giver (8.15) The-GiverI think I screamed when I heard one of my favorite childhood books was being made into a film. It was assigned to us in middle school, and was one of the first thought-provoking books I had ever encountered (Animal Farm was soon to follow). My hopes are high, to say the least, but I’m feeling good about it. Lois Lowry was involved in the production, and it was partly shot in black and white (fans of the book will remember why this is important). And with names like Skarsgaard, Streep, and Bridges attached, one can’t help but have ridiculous expectations. It sounds as though the director intends on being true to the original work, so fingers crossed the book is done justice.

Of course, If you’d rather watch movies from the comfort of your home, here are some of my favorite films to fritter away those lazy summer days:

Birthday Continues at the Farmer’s Market and Harvest Pizza

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How is my birthday over a week in the past already? Given my last post, with its dual cakes and fantastic dinner, you’d think I was done celebrating. Not so!

For my actual birthday on Saturday, I forced Alicia and Megan to meet me at the Worthington Farmer’s Market. I suppose I was inspired after our culinary adventure the previous night, and thought I could recreate a masterpiece with the freshest of ingredients. Don’t worry, that didn’t happen, but we did have a lovely morning!

After arriving a bit late (I was literally TRAPPED in German Village due to the Cap City Marathon), we had only an hour to peruse the wares. We started with the brightest produce I’ve ever seen, though Megan and I gravitated toward the green tomatoes.

IMG_9879Alicia, true to form, went straight for the baked goods, and we made our first bakery stop at Sassafras Bakery, where she picked up a giant, soft cookie.

IMG_9882Each with a parcel, we kept strolling. Worthington is so charming, and it is so nice to see all the foot traffic that the farmer’s market brings. I’m jealous of all the folks that can actually walk in from the neighborhood (in fact, we’re looking for a house here! SELL ME YOUR HOUSE!).

So we kept wandering (no whining, at this point), and made a few friends along the way. We were predictably waylaid by Jenn’s Cupcakes and Confections. Her free samples (teeny cupcakes!) were outrageously delicious, and the chocolate-covered Oreos you see below are just too cute for words.

IMG_9883Aren’t they perfect? They look like they’d be great shower or wedding favors. Jenn herself was very kind, and spent a few minutes sharing some information about her business. I’ll definitely be keeping this in mind for future parties and events!

We pressed on, reading boards and familiarizing ourselves with the offerings of the market. I sampled some delicious pickles, while Alicia made a beeline for the Pattycake Bakery stand. She quickly selected the jauntily monocled cookie you see below.

IMG_9942The other cookie is the one she picked up from Sassafras Bakery. At least she went for a variety!

Having made the whole loop around the market, we decided to take our snacks to the car, and go on to the main event: lunch. Husband met us for my birthday meal, and we headed South to Harvest’s new location in Clintonville.

We waited about twenty minutes for a table — this place is not large. It is, however, charming! We slid into the quilted booths and carefully decided on unique combinations for our lunch special orders. Megan went for the fried pickle chips.

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So good. Thick slices made for crunchier chips, and the dipping sauces were delightful and tangy.

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Husband went for the house chop (and a healthy spackling of pepper). Look at those peppers!IMG_9920

Alicia’s Mean Green salad had a healthy helping of avocado. In the back you’ll see my kale ceasar, and you’ll also see my impatient hand trying to eat it. We were all big fans, and I loved my kale; it’s so crunchy and satisfying to eat.

Because we are selfish, we each got our own pizzas, no repeats allowed. Also no sharing allowed.

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Here’s Meg’s pineapple and ham. I’m not one for fruit, but put pineapple on all the pizzas and I am more than happy.

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In the back right, you’ll see husband’s Geary Street selection. Yes, he went for the clam pizza! Actually, garlic pizza is more accurate — it had a strong garlic flavor, and wasn’t too overly seafood-y. To the left, you’ll see my mushroom pizza. A winner in every way. This is my favorite kind of pizza — thin, crispy, and more about the toppings than bread. And the crushed red pepper.

In the foreground, you’ll see Alicia’s Spicy Yuma. Gouda on pizza! And bring on the hot peppers! I’ve had this before and know from experience that it’s a success. As I said, we all dug in and kept the sharing (and talking) to a minimum. We had four pizzas to eat!

After finishing our respective pies, the lovely waitress came by and offered a complimentary dessert for my birthday, which I gladly accepted. Enter the Butterscotch Budino.

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Here I am not sharing again. This was a delightful surprise. I’m generally not a fan of custards or puddings, but this got better as the time went on. The hazelnuts on top were BOMB, and the caramel-streaked butterscotch inside made for a rich, satisfying dessert. Instead of building in sweetness, it built in flavor; literally every bite was better than the last. I wasn’t expecting to enjoy it so much, but enjoy it I did!

Later in the evening, husband and I headed back to 16-Bit Bar + Arcade to cap off the birthday celebrations. I button-mashed on Street Fighter, and beat the living daylights out of him in the hunting game (who knew I was a dead-eye?). We even enjoyed a few sips of Darth Vaderade — it was May the Fourth weekend after all!

It was a wonderful birthday, full of food of all types, and good friends. I’m a lucky kid, aren’t I? Consider yourselves all invited to next year’s festivities; you may as well put it on your calendar now!