enjoy life, it’s delicious.

It is finally officially fall (even though it’s still been 80 degrees here ugh)! Fall is quite literally my most favorite season of all the seasons! I mean, who doesn’t love the crisp autumn air, snuggling up around a campfire making s’mores, and the crunch of golden yellow and crimson leaves under your cute new boots?? I also love fall because it seems to be a time when Josh likes to cook and bake even more than usual for us. There’s just something about a fresh home-cooked meal that is sooo cozy. Lately, Josh and I have been completely obsessed with our Half Baked Harvest cookbook. This most beloved cookbook delivers across the board- fantastic recipes ranging across all skill levels, fun flavors you would not think of combining on your own but absolutely just work, and the most scrumptious pictures that make you want to eat the page right out of the book! And if you don’t feel like purchasing the cookbook (but, really you should purchase it!), Half Baked Harvest also has a blog full of free recipes that is equally amazing.

Here are some of our favorite recipes from the cookbook:

Earl Grey Blueberry Muffins with Cinnamon Streusel

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Croque Madame Breakfast Pizza

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Nonnie’s Dutch Baby

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This Dutch Baby is by far one of our favorites and so easy to do! We’ve probably made this at least a half dozen times in the past 6 months!

Salted Brioche Cinnamon Rolls

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We ate the whole {16} servings by ourselves…whoopsies!

PB & J Grilled Cheese

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We made this for dinner and again for lunch the next day, it’s really that good!

Pumpkin and Oregano-Butter Gnocchi

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So rich and the ultimate comfort food.

Korean Beef, Sweet Potato, and Quinoa Bibimbap

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One of my favorite mouthfuls of food ever!

BBQ Short Ribs

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The juiciest, sauciest, most fall-off-the-bone ribs ever.

Better than Takeout 20 Minute Peanut Noodles

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The takeout noodles are another one of our faves that we’ve made multiple times…and the best news is, this recipe is available for free on the blog!

My pictures most definitely do not do these recipes justice, but it’s been the best cookbook we’ve ever purchased and the only one we’ve actually made multiple recipes out of multiple times. So, go out and getcha one now!

to neverland and back

Y’all, it seems like it has been forever since I last posted. Let me tell you, it sure has been a whirlwind these past few months! As you know, we found a condo in Ohio and moved the majority of our stuff over back in July. But, Josh and I didn’t actually move over because we were both still working at our previous jobs. Let me tell you, it’s loads of fun moving back in with your parents after being independent for so many years! Real talk- it was stressful at times because everyone has their own quirks and routines and ways of living, but we both felt really thankful that we had a stable, safe, and rent-free place to stay while transitioning through everything. I started applying for jobs as soon as we had our condo in hopes of getting hired somewhere in Ohio before Josh started school. Weeelllll, fast forward to the middle of August, to having applied for at least 50+ jobs at as many places as I could think of and I still don’t have a job and Josh is moving away so he can start classes. You guys, that was SO hard for me. Josh and I have done everything together since we started dating- working together, working out together, eating all our meals together, you name it, we were together. It had already been a huge transition for me commuting to my job in Louisville, but at least we spent our mornings and evenings together. I cried. A lot. Even when I would come stay with him at our condo every weekend, I cried when I had to leave to go back to my parents. I thought it would get easier, but it really didn’t. I know some couples have it way harder and have to live apart for way longer. My heart goes out to them, now I understand how difficult it is! Thank God, we only had to live apart for a month before I finally received a job offer at another pharmaceutical company! I’ve been working there for almost two weeks now and I really like it! The people are all amazing and I’m slowly but surely learning my way around and working through my training. Mostly, I’m just really happy that Josh and I are living together again!!!

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Through all this new and unknown, I was super excited to be a part of throwing a baby shower for my sister-in-law this past weekend! My sister worked so hard on coming up with a theme and making all the decorations, while my mom and I bring her vision to life. The baby shower turned out so cute and makes me even more excited to be a boy auntie again soon!

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Tell me that isn’t one of the most adorable Peter Pan themed baby showers you’ve ever seen!!! Hurry up and get here, baby boy! 

it’s my 5 year crossfitiversary!

I canNOT believe that I have been doing CrossFit for five (5!) whole years as of yesterday! I have never ever stuck with any kind of workout regimen/program for that long… I usually lose interest before a year. So this is a big freaking deal! I was thinking it might be fun to talk about 5 things I’ve learned from doing 5 years of CF.

  1. Being strong is beautiful! Before CF, I was super hesitant to wear certain clothes (ie shorts, bathing suits, tank tops, you know what I’m talking about). Now, I feel so confident in my own skin, especially since I have (slightly) visible muscles! Show off those muscles! Show off that hard work! You are investing in your own body and you should be proud…I promise it won’t make you bulky or huge, but it will make you healthy, strong, and confident (read: beautiful).   
  2. You CAN do it- mind over matter. A few weeks ago, I woke up and looked at the workout programmed for the day. I instantly had the worst attitude when I saw that “Fran” was programmed. Fran is a super yucky workout of 21-15-9 thrusters and pull-ups and I struggle mentally with it every time. I thought to myself “Fran is too hard. Maybe I’ll just skip today. I ate awful over the weekend, I’m tired, there’s no way I’ll do well.” All those negative thoughts in a matter of seconds. And then I thought to myself “No! There is absolutely no reason for this negativity. There is no reason for you not to go and just do your best.” I did grumble about it in my head still and when I stumbled on my first thruster, I really questioned if I would do well. But, I just kept my breathing controlled. I kept moving slow, but steady. And I got 14 seconds faster! I was so happy! Not only because I’m a little bit fitter, but mostly because my attitude and mental health have improved more than I realized. So, yeah, give yourself those few seconds or minutes to get all the negative and doubts in your life out, but then fill your mind right back up with encouraging, positive, “I CAN do this” thoughts! Choose your ‘tude!!!
  3. You get out what you put in. CF is one of those programs that is exactly how easy or how hard you make it. If you want, you can mosey about and just get the bare minimum done. And believe me, I have those days. But, if you push your limit to the max, you will be sooo rewarded. You might PR a max lift. You might get a faster time on a benchmark workout. You might do a gymnastics movement you never dreamed you were capable of. If you don’t put in the work, you will never know how much your mind and body are capable of. When you push your boundaries (in CF and in life), you just might be surprised what happens!    
  4. There is no better community than a CF community. You can push yourself harder/faster/further than you ever imagined you could with the help and support of your CF family. And don’t laugh- I really mean it when I say family. You spend a decent amount of time with this group of amazing people and every day they pick you up when you’re down and they push you to be your most healthy and best self every workout. You sweat together, you hurt during a hard workout together, you laugh together, and you’ll always be welcome no matter what gym you step into anywhere in the world.
  5. You are not your fitness level/ 6-pack abs/ backsquat weight/etc. I used to believe that I was only as good as the weight I could lift on the barbell. I used to believe that people would like me more if I had 6-pack abs. I used to believe I would only be accepted if I did the workout as prescribed. My gosh, I used to believe some really silly things! My mindset has changed since I started CF five years ago. Previously, I would be at the gym 5-6 times a week for 2-3 hrs every day. Now, I’m lucky to make it to the gym 4-5 times a week for 1 hr a day. The crazy thing is, I’m still getting PR’s in my workouts and I’m still improving every day. And guess what? Even if I wasn’t, my friends and family would still love me and support me just the same. They could not care less if I didn’t PR my Fran time or if my stomach isn’t ripped like a physique model. How awesome is that?! You are worth sooo much more! Embrace where you are in life, embrace your beautiful, strong, amazing body, and go out in this great, big, awesome world and live your best dang life!!!

goodbye, house

This week has been way more emotional than I ever expected. I really didn’t think I would be so attached to a house, it’s just some We have finally finished moving everything out of our house and into our new condo/ my parents’ house. Yep, you read that right…we’ve moved into my parents’ house until Josh starts school and I can find a job in Columbus. My parents have been really wonderful to let us move in with them, but it’s been an adjustment for all of us. We all have of our own time-tables and routines and doubling the number of people and dogs living under one roof has been interesting/kind of uncomfortable/weird. It’s only (hopefully) for a little bit longer and it’s going to be a great lesson in patience and adjusting to uncontrollable situations. It’s funny how God always has a plan in place and a lesson to teach us.

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I was very excited to FINALLY make it back to CF Ripcord for the first time in 3 weeks and see all my friends! We had a fun workout with all the wall ball shots, rope climbs, pull-ups, and running you could ever want. It was actually a super hard workout, but it felt so good to be back with everybody I didn’t care!

Saturday afternoon was spent getting all our meal prep for the week done. We’ve kind of been on a crazy schedule with running back and forth to Ohio these past few weekends, so it was really great to actually just be back in a somewhat normal routine. After meal prepping, it was time for us to get ready for one of my best friend’s birthday dinner. We had decided that we were coming down to Louisville, but weren’t sure where to eat. I had been recommended to Mayan Cafe by my coworker and none of us had ever eaten there (although I have heard several good things about it), so we thought why not give it a try? Josh and I had the salbutes of the day for our starter. The daily salbutes was a flash fried corn tortilla with a black bean purée, chorizo, slaw, and a jalapeño cream sauce. I was hesitant about the purée because I really dislike any kind of beans, but the salbutes were surprisingly delicious! The tortilla was crispy crunchy and the jalapeño cream sauce had the perfect slow heat to complement the chorizo and black bean purée.

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For an entreé, I had the chilaquiles. They were the best dish of everything ordered, in my opinion. The chilaquiles were pieces of housemade tortillas smothered in a tomato casera sauce with chunks of potatoes, cactus, eggplant, cauliflower, and grilled poblano peppers, sprinkled with queso fresco, and drizzled with jalapeño sauce and sour cream. So. Good. I will definitely be ordering these again!

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Josh ordered the rabbit for his entreé. I’ve always heard mixed reviews about rabbit, but again I was pleasantly surprised that it was really tasty. The rabbit was oven-roasted with a pumpkin seed mole and grilled cactus over a beans and cheese stuffed tortilla.

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You know how we do while in Louisville…a trip just isn’t complete without stopping in to Louisville Cream for dessert! I had an ice cream cookie sandwich. I know, I know, the same thing I ALWAYS get. I really tried to switch it up, but it got me again. I went with a salted chocolate chip cookie, a Reese piece cookie, and the Vanilla 2-ways ice cream. Simple, yet soooo satisfying!

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Josh had the Haute Fudge sundae with the Bourbon Smoked Pecan ice cream. I might have snuck a couple bites of that thick fudgy gooey brownie with hot fudge. I just couldn’t help myself.

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We finished up the evening with a few of our Ripcord friends enjoying a backyard fireworks show and the yummiest s’mores (they were the yummiest because they had the most jumbo marshmallows and Hershey’s dark chocolate squares *drool*). It was such a fantastic end to our wonderful Saturday!

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the big move

Well, guys, the time has begun for our big move! Or at least the start of it! Josh and I sold our first house (so bittersweet!) the end of May. We didn’t even have time to officially put our house on the market when we got an offer on it only 2-3 hours after meeting with our realtor about listing it. Since then, we have hit the ground running on the hunt for a condo or apartment in Columbus, OH. We hooked up with a realtor over there because it is near impossible to condo hunt when working full time and living about 3.5 hours away. Our realtor has been great and searched out several suburbs and areas all around Columbus to find us one that will work for the immediate future. We went over two weekends ago to drive around a lot of neighborhoods. We found a condo that can work for us and we went ahead with signing a rental agreement. It’s definitely going to be an adjustment, moving from our own home with a huge yard and lots of space into a second story condo with a little less space and shared outdoor areas. It’s not forever though and I keep reminding myself that as long as Josh and I have each other (and Rocko, of course!) that it’ll be a fun new adventure for us! We have to be out of our house by the end of June, so this past weekend, Josh’s dad helped us load up part of our stuff to move over to Ohio. We still have quite a bit to move (it’s seriously insane the amount of stuff you accumulate over a few years), but getting part of it out of the house makes me feel a little better.

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After we got everything unloaded, we headed to a really cute little Mexican restaurant called Local Cantina.

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The restaurant was decorated with lots of bright colors and decor hanging all over the walls and from the ceiling. One of my favorite parts was the little cart of “serve yourself” chips and salsa. And it was good salsa. We shared an order of fresh guacamole (topped with queso fresco and pico) that was yumm-o! I had two tacos- a roasted carnitas with pineapple mango salsa and a carne asada with chimichurri, queso fresco, and pickled onions. I liked both, but the carne asada was especially good with the chimichurri sauce and pickled onions. Josh had two tacos also- the crispy pork belly with pickled onions, pico, candied jalapeños, and guajillo crema and the Tinga chicken with cabbage, pico, avocado crema, queso fresco, and cilantro. I think the Tinga chicken was the best taco we had there. There was just something about the crunch of the cabbage with the juicy chicken and the smooth crema that made it amazing. Local Cantina is definitely going to be a spot we frequent and a great place to bring our visitors to!

We were super excited to find that there is an AMC theater just a few miles from our condo. After all the moving activities, Josh and I just wanted to relax and enjoy a movie, so we went to see Incredibles 2. We loved it! I laughed, I teared up, I gasped, I was entertained the whole time! Y’all have to do yourselves a favor and see it soon! Another perk of our condo’s location is that there is a Handel’s Homemade Ice Cream and Yogurt nearby as well. I’m sure you can see where this is leading to…a stop for dessert after the movie! I always peruse the menu and think to myself that I’ll try something new, but I couldn’t help myself and I went with my tried and true favorite- a waffle bowl with Oree-dough (Oreo + chocolate chip cookie dough). Yes, please!

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Josh had a really delicious looking sundae with their Monkey Business ice cream (banana cake batter with swirls of caramel and brownie bits), caramel sauce, whipped cream, crushed peanuts, and a cherry.

Since we live close enough, we took our treats back with us to spend time with Rocko. And Handel’s is the best because they have pup cups, so Rocko was able to have dessert with us. He absolutely loved it! I didn’t want him to get sick from eating too much, so I took it away from him after it was about half gone…that little monster dug in and didn’t want to give it up for anything! It’s a good thing he’s so cute.

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As scared as I am of all the upcoming changes, I’m equally as excited to find new places to eat, drink, have fun, and explore! The next few years will be full of lots of faith and prayers and I know God will provide exactly what we need…so, bring on the new adventures, Columbus!!!

Memorial Day Weekend

What a wonderfully “long” Memorial Day weekend we just had! I don’t know about you all, but it was very much needed for me. My new job has about half the paid time off that I used to get, so I hadn’t had a day off since the beginning of March. I definitely took advantage of all that free time of an extra day off.

Saturday morning I woke up early to work out at home in our garage. I re-did a CF Open workout (17.1- lots of dumbbell snatches and burpee box jump overs) and it was even more awful than the first time! Our garage is pretty clean, but by the end I was completely covered in dirt from all the burpees. See proof below. Despite struggling through the workout, I was so happy I made myself get up and get moving. I felt so much better starting the day off being active and just feeling energized.

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The reason I got up early to workout at home was because my friend, Andie, and I were headed to Cincinnati for a girls’ day of shopping at Ikea and Jungle Jim’s. These are two of my favorite stores and I could easily spend a full day at each. We stopped off at Ikea first. And because we were meeting another friend at Jungle Jim’s after lunch, we were total crazy people and sped through Ikea in a little over 2 hours. I don’t know how we did it, but seriously major props to us for purchasing only the things on Andie’s list and not being side-tracked by all the gloriousness that is Ikea.

After our shopping spree at Ikea, we headed over to Jungle Jim’s for even more fun. Jungle Jim’s is just the coolest grocery store ever. It is around 200,000 square feet of food and drink heaven. They have whole sections full of just different wine or honey or beer or butter or cheese, etc. There is an olive bar, a bakery (with the most wonderful pretzel breads and croissants and cake pops and cheesecakes and more), a deli, a kombucha bar, and tons of fresh fruit and vegetables. They have things as simple as whole carrots and tomatoes to cactus leaves and rambutan. One of my favorite parts of the store (besides the cheese section and bakery) is the international section. There are aisles upon aisles dedicated to different regions around the world, including Asian, Hispanic, Indian, European, Eastern European, African, and Middle Eastern. I love seeing all the products from around the world! If you have a free day, I highly recommend heading over to Cinci and exploring all that Jungle Jim’s has to offer.

Sunday was such a chill day for Josh and I. I got up before Josh and did all our meal prep for the week. There’s just something about prepping our food that helps me get ready for the week, that helps me feel prepared for whatever might come up. I might not be in control of everything, but I can at least be in control of what I eat. When Josh got up, we enjoyed our cups of coffee (tea for me) and watched some episodes of Good Mythical Morning on YouTube. It’s such a great show and they always keep us entertained with all the weird, random stuff they do.

When we started getting kind of hungry, we headed down to Louisville for brunch at Garage on Market.

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We had eaten there once before for dinner and loved it, so I was excited to see what their brunch was like. The weather was really nice outside, so we were able to sit out on their patio and enjoy the sunshine and cool summer breeze. I had to order the housemade red cream soda again, it’s just too darn good to pass up! Josh was adventurous (it seemed adventurous to me, at least lol) and ordered the A.M. Shandy which was PBR with orange juice and ginger. Totally not a normal drink for him, but he said it was pretty good.

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We shared an order of beignets for an appetizer. They were covered in powdered sugar and served with local preserves. I don’t know what flavor the preserves were, but I really enjoyed them.

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For our meal, we ordered the Monte Cristo pizza. I absolutely love that their pizza is made in the brick oven. The crust was bubbly and the toppings were soooo good! The Monte Cristo was everything we ever wanted from a breakfast/brunch pizza, covered in a garlic puree, country ham, sorghum, Gouda cheese, and sunny side up eggs. And it came with a side of the preserves to dip into! So. Good.

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We walked around Market Street for a little bit after brunch. It was fun to peruse a few of the local boutiques and shops. Josh even found a concrete shave bowl that he had been in search of for forever at Scout, the cutest shop full of books, women’s clothing, jewelry, men’s grooming accessories, kitchenware, and more. I loved so many of their items and hope to shop there again soon.

When we were finished looking around, we made our way back down Market Street to Louisville Cream. You know we weren’t leaving a food date without stopping there for dessert. Josh had the Haute Fudge sundae with Bourbon Smoked Pecan and Mint Julep Chip ice cream. The brownie in the bottom is so gooey and fudgy, I could have eaten a bowl of just those brownies. Add ice cream, fresh whipped cream, and hot fudge and it’s a done deal.

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I opted for the Salted Butter Caramel ice cream nestled between a Reese’s peanut butter cookie (full of Reese’s Pieces and peanut butter cups) and a salted chocolate chip cookie. It was just so delicious. No matter how hard I try to try something different there, I always get sucked into an ice cream sandwich. And I’m never disappointed.  

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Memorial Day was quite the day. I woke up with an upset stomach and just not feeling the best, but we had our annual “Murph” community workout at CF Ripcord to honor Navy Lieutenant Michael Murphy who was killed in Afghanistan. It’s a “hero” workout and while it’s very long and mentally challenging, it’s nothing compared to all the men and women who have sacrificed their lives for our country. So even though I didn’t feel great, I knew I had to push that aside and still try my hardest at this workout to honor everyone. Doing these “hero” workouts is one of the things I enjoy most about CrossFit- even though these people aren’t here with us anymore, we still have a way to honor them and keep their memory alive.

After the community workout was over, we all headed over to one of the gym member’s house for a cookout and pool party. It was so great to just relax and enjoy great food and hanging out with friends for the afternoon. Until I got the worst headache from having no caffeine the entire day. I don’t know why I didn’t think about it, but I usually have tea in the morning and sometimes a pop for lunch. And I had had nothing all day. Rookie mistake, right? By this time, Josh was feeling really exhausted too, so we came home and crashed hard. We both took a nap for about an hour and then forced ourselves to move to the couch for a few hours before bedtime. Not quite the way I imagined spending my last glorious hours of a long weekend, but it is what it is. If nothing else, it was really nice to just snuggle up on the couch with Josh and Rocko with no plans for the whole night. It’s moments like these lately that have helped to remind me to find happiness/beauty/joy in even the simplest things.

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HammerHeads & LC

I know recently I haven’t been keeping up with my posts like normal. I’ve just really been lacking any motivation with being gone so many hours with my commute/work. When I get home, all I want to do is eat dinner and sit on the couch watching Food Network with Josh. I’m hoping things will turn around soon with this amazing warm weather we’re getting!

I do not know how I haven’t written a post about HammerHeads before. It is hands down my most favorite restaurant ever! I first ate there with some girlfriends a few years ago and honestly I have no idea how we found out about it. HammerHeads is located in the Germantown neighborhood of Louisville. The restaurant itself is in the basement of a two-story house and is not at all what I expected- it’s a small/cozy space with a low ceiling and very eclectic decor and music. There is ALWAYS a line, even when we have shown up at opening time. It’s really that good. I honestly don’t know why we don’t eat there every weekend.

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We arrived slightly before they opened and thankfully (even though there was already a line) we were “early” enough to get a seat at the bar right away. For an appetizer we shared the crispy mushroom medley which is a mix of shiitake and portobello mushrooms with a sun-dried tomato aioli. The mushrooms are always so big and the breading is delicious. You don’t even need the aioli, but really neither one of us is turning down some “fancy” mayo.

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I usually always gravitate towards their dishes with pork belly, but I decided to switch it up a little and try the duck tacos. I’m so glad I did! The duck was fatty and juicy. The pico gave it a nice crunch and the jalapeño-lime aioli added a spicy element that was just right. And it was all wrapped in double corn tortillas which is the only way to eat a taco!

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Josh was adventurous too and went with the BBQ lamb ribs for dinner. The ribs were so tender and fell right off the bone.

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We couldn’t come to HammerHeads and not order some fries to share for dinner too. Of course, we had to order the Grippo fries…fried in duck fat. There really is no other way to get fries there. The Grippo seasoning is BBQy and tangy and the duck fat makes them all the more irresistible to eat.

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I know it sounds like we already ate a lot of food, but we had plenty of room to make a trip to Louisville Cream for dessert. I was super excited to try one of their newest flavors- Milk Chocolate Coffee Crunch. Even though I don’t drink coffee, this ice cream was amazing. Especially stuffed between two huge fresh chocolate chip cookies. The espresso enhanced the milk chocolate flavor and I loved the house-made dark chocolate crunch throughout. Josh had a scoop of the Coffee Crunch covered in hot fudge and vanilla bean whipped cream. Delish!

I’m already dreaming of when we can have a repeat date of this night!