when i die, dublin will be written on my heart

November 6- Dublin

Josh and I woke up around 8 am on Monday, got ready, and hit the streets for some donuts. Just a few blocks down from our hostel was a place called Offbeat Donuts. Desserts… donuts…you know there are just some things we never pass up, especially when on vacation. As it was slightly cheaper, we opted for our choice of three donuts- caramel apple, lemon meringue, and bueno bueno. The caramel apple was stuffed with apple pie filling and had a caramel glaze, the lemon meringue was filled with a perfectly tart/sweet lemon custard and topped with toasted meringue, while the bueno bueno was a yeast donut with a nutella glaze and half a Kinder Bueno candy bar on top. My favorite was hands down the lemon meringue because of the wonderful lemon filling and the toasted meringue topping.

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After breakfast, we purchased tickets for the DoDublin hop-on-hop-off bus tour and hopped right on at the O’Connell Street stop. I wish I could remember what these buildings were that we saw at first, but unfortunately I don’t recall at all.   

  

Our first hop-off was at Dublin Castle. We walked through the courtyard to the main entrance to purchase tickets for a self-guided tour.

Originally we had planned to do a guided tour, but would have had to wait nearly another hour for the next one, so we opted for the self-guided instead. If we went back, I would definitely do the guided tour as we missed out on the Viking excavation, medieval section, and the Chapel Royal. The self-guided tour began up the grand staircase and into the state corridor which was gorgeous and elaborate with all its gold accents.

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Off of the state corridor were several rooms that now house exhibitions for the castle, including swords, paintings, furniture, and some amazing plasterwork.

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Next up was the state drawing room, the throne room (lots more gold accents in here), and the portrait gallery (also used as a dining room).  

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The most impressive room to me was St. Patrick’s Hall. It was massive and very grandly decorated with gold accents, painted ceilings, and flags lining the wall. This hall was where the inauguration of the President of Ireland has been held since 1938.

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After we completed the tour inside, we meandered around the gardens (designed as a helicopter landing pad) and happened upon these two fine gentlemen.

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We were close enough to our next stop, Christ Church Cathedral, so we walked the short distance over to snap some pictures. We didn’t pay to take a tour, but just the outside was beautiful enough for me.

Our next hop-off was to St. Patrick’s Cathedral. We opted again to not pay for the guided tour, but instead walked around the grounds outside to take pictures. I loved the gothic architecture and how much history it has having been around for several hundreds of years. It will always be one of my favorite parts of Dublin.

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We ventured on foot to the next stop- Teeling Whiskey Distillery.

Here we did opt for the guided tour and I am very happy we did. Our tour guide was funny and full of knowledge. I was quite impressed the distillery has only been opened since 2015 (and the first new distillery to open in Dublin in over 125 years). We were able to see the actual parts of the process, including the lauter tun, the wort in wooden barrels, and the copper distillation pots.

At the end of our tour, we had a wonderful tasting experience where our tour guide actually sat down and taught us how to properly taste whiskey. We did the Teeling Tasting which included a shot of Teeling Small Batch and a handcrafted whiskey cocktail. While I didn’t love the shot of whiskey (I gave Josh mine), I did love their Winter Spice Tea cocktail (Teeling Small Batch, vanilla liqueur, housemade apple-cinnamon syrup, lemon juice, and Put the Cat Out tea).  Without hesitation, I would recommend this tour and say that it is by far the best distillery/brewery tour I’ve been on.

We hopped back on the bus at Teeling and rode to the Guinness Storehouse. After the whiskey tasting, we decided it might be a good idea to grab something to eat before drinking more alcohol, so we walked over to The Brazen Head for a late lunch. I was really excited to take Josh there for food, as it was one of my favorite places when I had visited previously. It was as good as I remembered. I had an order of Guinness stew and Josh had the bangers and mash with a Smithwick’s.

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After a wonderful lunch, we walked back to the Guinness Storehouse to take the tour there. This tour was quite different than Teeling- it was all self guided through several different levels, each with a different “themes” at each level.

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One aspect of the tour that was really neat was the tasting room experience. When we entered the room, there were four columns with “fog” rolling out the top, each with a different scent (barley, hops, esters, and malt) from an ingredient of their beer. After the smelling portion of the experience, we moved into another room with small tasting glasses of Guinness where the guide taught everyone how to properly drink Guinness. I thought it was a really nice touch and enjoyed a more hands-on part of the tour.

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Another part of the tour that I enjoyed were the oversize Guinness ad animals.

The last part of the tour and possibly the coolest was the gravity bar on the top floor where they pour you a pint of Guinness and you look out of a 360 degree glass window over all of Dublin city.

After Guinness, it was too late to stop off anywhere else on the tour, so we rode the bus back to Ha’Penny Bridge and headed to eat.

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We had planned to eat at Stag’s Head, but upon arriving and ordering a drink we found out they don’t serve food after 6 pm. It was a real bummer. We enjoyed a pint there anyways and headed back across the river to O’Connell’s Bar to eat.

I had been craving fish and chips and that’s just what I ordered. It also came with mushy peas and coleslaw. Josh had the fish pie which sounds kind of weird, but was actually really delicious- it was full of gooey cheese, bacon, and yummy flaky fish. Of course, we also had to have a side of brown bread with butter.

While we ate, a pretty blonde played the guitar and sang at the front of the restaurant. Note- if you ever eat there, sit downstairs in the main bar if possible because they have several cozy circular booths down there that would have made the experience even better.

To end the night, we stopped back in at Cloud Nine for dessert. I had a nutella crȇpe with crème brȗlée gelato (so creamy and smooth with crystallized sugar pieces, yum!) and Josh had a nutella and strawberry crȇpe with crème brȗlée gelato.  

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My obsession with Irish sheep is real…

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We ended up booking another night at Abigail’s Hostel, but we switched to a private room with an en suite bathroom. While it was cheaper to do the 12 bunk room, I definitely enjoyed having some privacy and not wondering if anyone would be coming into the room in the middle of the night.

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Tip of the day: Purchase tickets for the DoDublin bus- you don’t have to worry about driving and parking, it takes you to the top Dublin attractions, and it’s fun.

Dublin

November 5- Dublin

Once in Dublin, we grabbed our luggage from baggage claim and rode the rental bus to Hertz for our car.

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They were extremely helpful at Hertz, giving us tips about the driving and even places to stay and see. Originally we rented the cheapest car possible (which would have been similar to a Smart Car), but the worker advised upgrading to the next level which would have more room for our luggage as well as save us from having to get gas so much. I was quite nervous to drive as the driver’s side is on the right side of the car and the cars drive on the left side of the road. Both very unusual and daunting aspects for someone who has only driven in the United States. I honestly caught on rather quickly and my nerves dissipated.

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Until we reached the parking garage near our hostel. My gosh, I can’t drive up a spiral parking garage ramp in Ireland to save my life. I ended up curbing it on both sides of the car in one small section of the ramp. When I finally made it to the first level, I got out and made Josh take over. He didn’t have any issues at all. That is until he went to actually park in a parking space. It was quite comical. I had to get out of the car and help him navigate. It took him a few tries in a few different spots before he finally succeeded, but he got it. We’re going to be pros at parking by the end of our 2 weeks here, I just know it. As soon as we parked, we rushed to our brunch reservations at San Lorenzo’s. I had read about San Lorenzo’s in my handy Frommer’s travel guide book for Ireland. We got to the restaurant just in time and were promptly seated. For those of you wondering, our reservations were for 3 pm Dublin time which would have been 11 am Seymour time…and at this point we had just finished a grand total of 31 travel hours! Josh ordered an Americano and avocado toast (thick toast covered with avocado, chargrilled tomato, basil pesto, buffalo mozzarella, and 2 poached eggs). I had the french toast stack (thick cut slices of Brioche with bacon, tomato, watercress, and maple syrup). I thoroughly enjoyed my meal- the french toast was thick and filling and was so tasty with the salty bacon and sweet syrup. Josh’s avocado toast was also super delicious- the creamy avocado was so good with the mozzarella and runny eggs.  

     

With our bellies full from brunch, we headed back towards River Liffey through Temple Bar to Abigail’s Hostel where we were staying for the night. I had stayed here seven years previously when I came with a group of friends. It was the exact same as I remembered. While it’s not the most clean and tidy, it definitely is inexpensive and a great location to pretty much anything you would want to do in Dublin (walking or via a bus). We checked in and headed to our room which was a 12 person dorm room with one vanity, two showers, and two toilets. I wish I had taken a picture, but it spaced my mind. It was so much like a college dorm room with six sets of bunk beds and cages underneath to store your luggage. When we first arrived, only three other beds were claimed, but throughout the night, every bed filled up. It is quite an experience to go to sleep with 5 people in the room and wake up to 11 more. Before going to bed, we decided to wander around Temple Bar and took Alex up on his recommendation to try out Porterhouse Temple Bar for a drink. We settled in at the main bar to order a Porterhouse Hop Head IPA for Josh and a Disaronno sour for myself.

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We had planned on staying for the start of their live music, but finished our drinks too quickly, so instead we headed on to Gallagher’s Boxty House for dinner. Boxty is a traditional Irish potato pancake. While looking up what boxty is, I came across this funny poem: “Boxty on the griddle, boxty on the pan, if you don’t eat boxty, you’ll never get a man.” I can’t disagree, everyone should eat boxty because it’s so delicious! We first ordered some brown bread with butter to share. Seriously, we’re obsessed with the bread here. I ordered the chicken and smoked bacon boxty (free range Irish chicken fillet in a creamy smoked bacon & leek sauce, wrapped in a traditional Leitrim boxty pancake). Josh ordered the corned beef boxty, but after finishing his meal realized he was actually served the seared corned beef (pan seared corned beef with a carrot puree, Irish cider & mustard sauce, and a purple potato and kale hash). Despite it not being what he ordered, he genuinely enjoyed every bite.

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You all know we don’t travel anywhere without finding a dessert place. Right in the Temple Bar area, we found a great place called Cloud Nine that served Offbeat donuts, crȇpes, gelato, and ice cream. Josh had a banana and nutella crȇpe with a scoop of salted caramel gelato, while I had a scoop of Kinder Bueno gelato in a waffle cone. For anyone who has never been to Europe, Kinder Bueno bars are hazelnut cream filled wafers covered in chocolate. In gelato form- So. Good. Definitely visiting there again if possible.  

We weren’t quite ready to turn in, so we thought why not head to The Auld Dubliner for one last drink for the night. Might not have been our brightest idea as it is one of the most touristy places ever…and it was packed full of young drunk (can’t look you in the eyes or stand up straight in the slightest) “kids”. After we ordered our drinks (Franciscan Well Chieftain IPA for Josh and the most delicious Orchard Thieves cider for me), we found a spot at the bar near where the live music was. Seriously bad idea because one of said young drunk girls puked on the bar top. Literally right in front of us. It was so disgusting. I know I shouldn’t be offended that a super touristy Irish pub had crazy drunk people, but so far everywhere else before this had been very relaxed and nice. We made our way up to a table in a cozy corner away from everyone and enjoyed the rest of our drinks.  

   

We were both quite exhausted at this point, so we went back to the hostel to decide our plans for the next day and to get some sleep.

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Tip of the day: Avoid parking garages at all costs.

#BangersAndMorsh

I’m back! Sorry for the long delay between posts…between traveling in Ireland for 2 weeks and the Thanksgiving holiday weekend, I have had zero time to post. I promise I’ll be making up for it with all kinds of fun Ireland travels 🙂

November 4- Travel Day

Our trip to Ireland began very very early Saturday morning (4 am) with a car ride to the Indianapolis train station. Huge thanks to Josh’s parents for taking us and saving us a ton of money by not having to park our car somewhere up there for 2 weeks! We arrived at the train station a little early, so we had to wait a bit before boarding the train. The little over 5 hour train ride from Indy to Chicago (slightly longer than planned as we got behind a slow moving freight train and had a few delays) was rather boring and uneventful (a little Hallmark movie watching, staring out the window, and a nice little nap).

Once we arrived in Chicago, we navigated our way through Union Station to the Clinton Street L station for an hour and twenty minute ride to O’Hare Airport. Talk about a lot of traveling. And this was only the beginning! Once we arrived at O’Hare, we found ourselves waiting in line to check our bags and get our boarding passes. We thought it was going to go quickly, but we ended up standing for an hour before anyone came to the KLM desk!!! I was SO frustrated. And hungry. Ok, mostly just hungry as I hadn’t eaten for almost 8 hours. And for anyone who knows me, you know this is just really not normal or acceptable. We finally got our bags checked and our boarding passes and made our way through security. Unfortunately, our flight got delayed 2 hours and 15 minutes, so now we had a grand ole 5 hours and 45 minutes (instead of 3 hours and 15 minutes) to kill before our flight.

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We found a pizza place, Tocco, to eat at and it was actually really good. I needed a drink (I probably shouldn’t have, you know, since I hadn’t eaten for 8 hours), so I ordered a mojito. Josh had a Sam Adams Oktoberfest. For an appetizer, we had gnocco fritto (fried dough squares served with a variety of meats). They were not kidding with the meats. I honestly think there was almost a pound each of freshly sliced turkey, prosciutto, and ham. It was delicious. We also ordered the Casereccia pizza (white pizza with smoked mozzarella, sliced tomatoes, and mushrooms). While it was good, it was obviously wayyy overpriced as it was at the airport. Thankfully, we had both received meal vouchers from KLM due to our delayed flight which we used towards our meal here.

After eating, we walked around the international terminal for a bit trying to kill some time. I had a nice nap at our gate. When I woke up, we still had several hours and were bored, so we walked around some more. We even found a quiet corner and did some ROMWOD (If you’re ever wondering if you can stretch in jeans…American Eagle jeans for the win on this one!). 

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Josh got a coffee to help him stay awake. We decided we should probably get some dinner because we weren’t sure any food would be served during our flight because of the delay. Josh got a Kung Pao chicken and Thai curry chicken bao with a spicy peanut noodle salad from Wow Bao and I had a steak pita with fries from Urban Olive. The baos and pita were actually both really good even with being fast food airport food! Finally (finally! finally! finally!) it was time to board our plane and head to Amsterdam! I have no idea who the kid is that photo-bombed us, but he’s fantastic!

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Almost as soon as we got in the air, the flight attendant announced they would be serving us dinner. I know we had just eaten about an hour before, but who am I to turn down free food? I had the pasta option with a roll, cheddar cheese, a salad with Italian dressing, Club crackers, and a very yummy brownie with peanut butter crumbles on top. Josh had the same thing except with meatballs instead of pasta. One thing I love about international flights are all the movies they offer. I thoroughly enjoyed watching “Girls Night” while eating my dinner. So funny, so very inappropriate. Check it out. After the movie was finished, I fell asleep for a few hours. It wasn’t great sleep, as you know from flying, but it was sleep nonetheless. I woke up with about an hour left until arriving in Amsterdam, so I started “Chips”. What little I got to see, I enjoyed. Who doesn’t love a silly/funny cop movie and that’s just what this is. We arrived in Amsterdam without any issues and made our way to our next gate. Except we couldn’t get into our gate. It was all closed off by glass doors. We could see people already in there, but had no idea how to get in. Since we still had about 2.5 hours before our flight to Dublin, we wandered around and seriously questioned how we were going to get into our gate. After much perplexing, I finally asked a KLM agent. Apparently, the gates are used for people from upstairs (where exactly they’re coming from/going, I have no idea) as well as the main floor and sometimes are closed off. So, no worries, the gate for our flight just hadn’t opened yet. Again, we had lots of time to kill and not a lot to do except walk around and look through the airport shops. We had a very quick (about 45 minute), uneventful plane ride from Amsterdam to Dublin with an intriguing sandwich of organic bread with free range chicken with pumpkin carrot spread. I quite enjoyed that the packaging made a point of describing how well the chickens were cared for and that they even had day quarters and night quarters for spending their time.

Tip of the day: Buy direct flights, so that you don’t have to sit around in airports for hours on end. Unless, you want to save lots of money.

the best things in life are sweet

After a (mentally) rough start to our lifting last Saturday morning and a long laundry list of chores to accomplish, Josh and I decided to cut out early and grab some sweet treats from Donut Central on our way home. I have been following Donut Central on Facebook, constantly seeing their specials and awesomely decorated creations. And so many friends have recommended them to us, we finally just had to give them a try. We’ve been burned in the past with high expectations of specialty donut shops only to be let down when they tasted like cheap, stale gas station donuts, so we came in with our guard up. For no reason. Donut Central was so delightful! They have a wide array of choices ranging from classic cake and yeast donuts to cream or custard filled long johns to specialty donuts. And they’re very reasonably priced, so you won’t break the bank enjoying all these goodies. It was hard to pick just two each, but we limited ourselves. I ordered a blueberry cake donut with lemon glaze and a lemon cream filled doughnut, while Josh went with a coconut cream filled donut and a specialty caramel apple cake donut.

The blueberry cake donut was so moist, the lemon glaze just enough pop to the sweet.

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I was pleasantly surprised with how much cream was actually in the lemon cream doughnut- it was stuffed full!

The coconut cream filled donut was also yummy, full of cream with a sweet crunch from the toasted coconut on top.

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The caramel apple cake donut is quite possibly the best donut available here. I mean, we’ve only tried the 4 mentioned, but hot dang this caramel apple donut was ah-mazing. You know how some cake donuts can be dry and therefore require lots of glaze. Not the case for this donut. The glaze and caramel icing only added to the ooey gooey deliciousness. And the chopped peanuts and apple slice on top added the perfect texture and crunch to this donut.

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I can’t wait to head back soon and try some more new flavors. Don’t wait as long as we did to try Donut Central out!

We headed home to knock out our list of chores, so that we could forget all responsibilities and dance the night away at our dear friends’ Hambling Halloween party. Of course, I had to make time to snuggle on the couch with our sweet Rocko in between meal prep and doing laundry. You try to ignore that sweet face, it won’t happen.  

With a little bit of free time before the party, Josh made up these scrumptious triple layer peanut butter + chocolate chip cookie + cookie dough stuffed cups from the Half Baked Harvest blog (PS do yourselves a favor and check out this blog. She has some amazing dishes and recipes that are well worth trying). These cups were a lot of work, but they were oh so yummy!

Hambling Halloween was even more spectacular than the year before! There was a dragon bouncy house and a trampoline outside. The barn was decorated with skeletons, lights, cobwebs, tombstones, and there were music videos displayed on screens above the dance floor. There was tons of food, savory and sweet, and lots to drink. I ate to my stomach’s content, sang and laughed so hard I started to lose my voice, and danced my booty off! My favorite part was the homemade confetti gun that shot confetti onto everyone dancing on the dance floor throughout the night. It was such a great, great night with some of my favorite friends! PS how cute were we as the Powerpuff Girls and Professor Utonium?  

Sunday was a day for recovering from all the fun we had at the Halloween party. We drank hot tea while relaxing on the couch and watching tv. Josh made a delicious spinach, onion, and green pepper quiche with zucchini crust (thank you, Ambitious Kitchen, for the inspiration) along with some amazing chocolate chip pumpkin scones with a cinnamon maple glaze adapted from the Half Baked Harvest blog. The original scone recipe called for white chocolate chips and an espresso glaze, but I accidentally used all the white chocolate chips in my funfetti cake batter blondies with rainbow chip icing for the Halloween party. So we substituted semi-sweet chocolate chips. And we added cinnamon to the glaze instead of the espresso as I’m not a huge fan of coffee. I would like it to be known that I made the glaze all by myself. And drizzled all the scones. Just check out those mad skills. The semi-sweet chocolate chips ended up being so delicious and the perfect counter to the really sweet glaze.

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I really am so spoiled to have a husband that loves baking and cooking. Not only did he make me scones and quiche for brunch, but for dinner he also spent a significant amount of time making shakshuka and homemade naan. The naan didn’t turn out like naan should, but rather turned into what tasted like a yummy pizza dough. I’m not sure what happened, but it worked really with the shakshuka. Guys, the shakshuka was so very good. It was full of tomatoes, green peppers, and onions and topped with feta cheese (so salty and just yum) and a gooey runny egg. Seriously, is there much better than breaking an egg yolk and having it ooze out all over your dish? I really don’t think there is.

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If Josh keeps up all this amazing cooking and baking, he’s soon going to have to start rolling me around everywhere! 😛

taste of louisville

After work last Friday, Josh and I were just not feeling like going to the gym as we had originally planned. After a really stressful week of work, we just needed a few hours away from everything to just relax. So, we pulled up my list of places to eat in Louisville on Google Sheets and started checking out all the menus. We finally decided on Migo (because it was at the top of the list which obviously means we have been wanting to go there for some time…plus this saves us from the usual “I don’t care where we go, you pick” back and forth we sometimes fall into). Migo is located slightly off Bardstown Road in the Highlands Neighborhood. There is so much to see and do in that area and so many choices for great food and drinks. We chose to sit outside because the weather was perfect- there was a light breeze, it was the ideal cool fall weather temperature, and the sun was just setting below the horizon!

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For our appetizer we chose the Puerto Rican mofongo (with grilled shrimp and gravy) off of their special menu supporting hurricane relief in Puerto Rico. The mofongo was delicious- there was a nice acid to the dish which balanced well with the gravy and the shrimp.  

The main menu boasts several different options for tacos. There are options for vegetarian, surf, or turf tacos, as well as the style you would like them served. Korean style comes dressed with red kimchi, basil, and bulgogi while Mexican style comes with pico de gallo, pickled onion, cotija, tomatillo-lemon aioli, and cilantro. After much debate, we finally decided on the seared pork belly Korean style, the crispy lobster Mexican style with avocado, the local roasted duck Mexican style, and the local beef short rib Korean style. And what are tacos without a side of cilantro rice? And citrus basil broccoli? And elote? There were just too many good options to not try!

The rice was exactly what I hoped for- covered in pico de gallo, fresh cilantro, and cotija cheese. Salty cheese, crunchy veggies, just perfect. And the broccoli was even better- it came out roasted (you know how yummy broccoli is when it gets that barely burnt flavor) in a small cast iron skillet with toasted pepitas, cotija cheese, and fresh cilantro. I loved the texture and crunch the pepitas added to the broccoli.   

Neither of us had ever tried elote, so we were both really excited to see what it was all about. For someone who doesn’t love corn, I thought the elote was amazing! It was fried then covered in a tomatillo-lemon aioli, fresh cilantro, and cotija cheese. The order came with four small cobs and we were both sad to see them go so fast.

Now, for the tacos. The pork belly was both of our favorite, hands down. The meat was tender, juicy, and so fatty…how else would you want pork belly?? The kimchi added a really nice flavor and crunch to the taco too.

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Both the roasted duck and beef short rib were so moist and tender, the meat just melted in your mouth. With the crispy corn tortilla and all the toppings, it was so yummy.

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The lobster was deep fried to a golden brown and worked so well with all that creamy sliced avocado on top.

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We couldn’t possibly make a trip down to Louisville and not stop at Louisville Cream, our favorite little scoop shop down there. I know, I know, we were just down there last weekend, but it is really that good! I was craving fall flavors, so I opted for a scoop of the Autumn Apple (caramelized bourbon and duck fat oatmeal cookies) with salted caramel sauce and a snickerdoodle cookie on top. Josh got a scoop of the Coffee and Chocolate Ganache (Quills Coffee Blacksmith Espresso cold steeped in cream and speckled with salted chocolate ganache) in a pretzel cone dipped in the house made magic shell with a giant animal cracker cookie on the side. My ice cream was so creamy and I loved the chunks of apple and oatmeal cookie throughout especially with the gooey hot salted caramel sauce. Josh’s ice cream was really yummy too- the salt from the pretzel cone worked so good with the creaminess of the ice cream and the chocolate magic shell.  

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While we were making our way back to the car, I noticed a cute little shop called Macaron Bar across the street from where we were standing. You know we couldn’t pass that up, especially since Josh had never had a macaron before! When you walk in, all the bright, colorful macarons are on display for you to choose from. And there were so many great flavors! We finally narrowed it down to our top 6 choices- salted chocolate bourbon, spiced pumpkin, Earl Grey tea, amaretto cheesecake, black raspberry chocolate, and lemon lavender. We had so much fun trying each one of these flavors! The first flavor we tried was the Earl Grey tea which tasted surprisingly like Fruit Loops! Next, was the black raspberry chocolate which had a quick burst of raspberry flavor followed by the taste of sweet chocolate from the shell itself. The amaretto cheesecake was hands down both of our favorites. It was so rich and full of that wonderful almond flavor from the amaretto. I could have eaten at least ten more. Next up was the spiced pumpkin which was so “fall”, full of flavors of pumpkin and nutmeg. The salted chocolate bourbon had a wonderful fudgy chocolate brownie texture and flavor with just a hint of bourbon on the back end. The last flavor we tried was the lemon lavender which was fresh, citrusy, and very lemony (which I love) with just a slight flowery lavender flavor.    

 

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We had the best date for our 2 year wedding anniversary! One of our favorite restaurants in downtown Columbus (Indiana) is Henry Social Club. Henry’s is just so much fun! The menu is constantly rotating with the seasons and with what is available. When you walk into Henry’s, you feel as if you’ve entered a 1920s upscale bar. One wall features the bar area with all the alcohol visible on open shelving. The other wall is covered in beautiful wooden planks lined with cozy booths which draws your attention down the length of the restaurant back to the kitchen and community seating. I love everything about the decor- from the bronze features to the wood covered wall to the deep blue paint- the whole vibe is very intimate and swanky (perfect for a date night!).

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After being seated in a quiet booth towards the back, we started off our evening with a cocktail for Josh and a Diet Coke for me. I persuaded Josh to try the Bartender’s Folly which is their special cocktail of the day. I cannot remember what it was called or even what all was in it (besides Mezcal and some form of ancho chili), but it was actually very interesting with a just a hint of sweetness and a slow heat. Josh’s next drink was The Preacher’s Wife featuring Buffalo Trace bourbon, King’s ginger liqueur, house pickled peach nectar, and mint. According to Josh, this cocktail was very delicious and would be highly recommended by him to anyone with a love for bourbon.

We were both quite hungry, so it didn’t take any convincing to try something off the Shareables portion of the menu. We opted for the goat cheese custard with flatbread. It did not disappoint. The flatbread was warm and the perfect vessel for the creamy, tangy goat cheese. When we ran out of flatbread, I didn’t hesitate to eat the remaining goat cheese with a spoon.

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For the entrees, I was torn between three different Large Plate options. I ended up ordering the Filet Mignon Korean Style and Josh chose the Rack of Lamb. These dishes are very different from what we normally each gravitate towards (filet for Josh and pasta for myself), but it was well worth moving away from our usuals. The filet came out medium rare garnished with cilantro and microgreens atop homemade pasta, mushrooms, bok choy, and julienned carrots in a spicy sauce. The filet was so tender and juicy, the vegetables crispy in contrast, the sauce just spicy enough. It was one of my favorite dishes I’ve ever ordered from Henry’s. The lamb was served medium rare atop a rutabaga purée with onions, carrots, and potato gratin. I didn’t taste much (Josh surely wouldn’t appreciate me eating both of our meals), but the small bites I had were amazing. The lamb was very tender. The potato gratin was creamy, cheesy, and brought me back to memories of home-cooked meals growing up. I even enjoyed the rutabaga purée which reminded me taste wise of mashed cauliflower.  

If you haven’t already abandoned this blog post to make your way to Henry Social Club for lunch or dinner or just a cocktail, do so at this very moment. You surely won’t regret it.

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Here’s to many, many more happy anniversaries together!!!

{you make me better than I was before}

Gosh, you guys, Josh and I have been married for 2 years!!! I know that maybe doesn’t seem that long to some of you and in the grand scheme of things it really isn’t, but I’m still so happy and excited that I’ve been his wifey for 2 whole years! I feel like some days it seems like we’ve been together our whole lives and I have such a deep, strong love inside me. Other days it seems like it’s our first official date (btw our first official date was watching The Incredibles on my couch) and I still get butterflies in my stomach and a catch in my throat when he kisses me. I was content, mostly independent (you try not to call your dad at 6 am when a mouse runs across your bed to eat you), and fine on my own before I met Josh, but now that he is in my life I can’t possibly imagine how I ever made it without him. So, I thought it would be kind of fun to put down my thoughts on what I’ve learned so far in our two years of marriage.

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What marriage means to me:

-Putting someone else’s needs before your own (staying home to snuggle on the couch and make soup when he’s sick instead of going out to dinner with friends or to the gym)

-Being their number one cheerleader even when you’re scared (yes, we can possibly move out of state for you to go to school and pursue your dreams even though I’ve never lived anywhere else my whole life!!)

-Sharing that last bite of warm delicious ooey gooey skillet cookie covered in ice cream and fudge (am I the only one that offers the last bite, secretly hoping the whole time they’ll say “no, go ahead, you have it”?? lol)

-Doing the daily/weekly tedious chores (like cleaning and laundry and meal prepping) so that he has time for his studies and schoolwork

– Mowing the lawn for me even when there are probably at least 99 other things he’d rather do (I HATE mowing, so I’m really thankful for Josh not minding to do it)

-Folding his shirts differently than your own because that’s what he likes. And folding his sweaters instead of hanging them like yours so they don’t get shoulder nipples.

-Pushing the “summon” button over and over on Summoner’s War because he gets a kick out what monsters you get

-Making breakfast every morning so we start the day off right

-Rushing across the house to share that cute video or funny text or crazy gossip because you just have to share no matter how silly or small it is

-Learning to go with the flow more (you all know I like me some organization and schedules, so this is a work in progress…I’ll let you know the status of this one after upcoming trip to Ireland)

-Driving an hour (or two or three) on a random week night to get donut ice cream sandwiches

-Accepting apologies no matter what and not holding on to grudges

-Letting each other be annoyed or hurt or angry for however long they need, but never going to bed without talking it out and being ok with each other first

-Going grocery shopping and running errands with each other just to spend time together

-Going to bed every night with an “I love you” and waking up to sleepy kisses every morning

I’m sure the list could go on and on lol, but I’ll stop myself before we’re here for ten more years! I can’t wait for so many more years of laughs, tears, adventures, overcoming fears, and lots and lots of love!