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Archive for December, 2009

This morning I woke up with a mission.  My one and only goal for the day was to finish off the bottomless bag of Stacy’s Pita chips.  That’s it.  Coffee, whatever.  Exercise, puh-lease. 

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I simply wanted THESE deliciously addictive, wonderfully horrible, pita chips out of my apartment life.  The way these mothahs taunt me is inexplicable…

And lemme tell you, when I set my mind to something, I get ‘er done.

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Stacy says the bag has 28 servings.  Elise says 8.  I wish Stacy were right, but the reality is she’s way off base.  Like Charlie Sheen’s wife, she better get her story straight or there could be scary consequences.  I kid, I kid.  The truth of the matter is, I will probably replenish my stash as soon as I get back to NYC…it’s a sickness really.

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Anyways, in case you’re wondering, I did eat more than chips for breakfast.  Between licking my salt covered fingers, I had coffee and two yellow apples, before heading off to the gym. 

Since I was in a time crunch (flight to catch, packing to finish, hair to tame, layers to apply, etc.), I ripped through 30 minutes on the elliptical and 15 minutes on the bike before stretching and returning home.  I may have lost my face on the way back to the apartment.  According to the news there were 22 mph winds, but I swear it was more like 50!!  It was SO strong I could hardly walk into it.  I basically added another 5+ minutes of resistance training into my workout.

Look what I found on my doorstep!

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Peek-a-boo!  Newman’s I see you.

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I won I won I won.  Jessie at Vegan Minded had a Newman’s Own giveaway and I was the lucky recipient of a TON of yummies.

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Thanks Jessie!

The rest of the afternoon I spent racing around the apartment getting myself organized for my flight home.

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Bars.  Fruit.  Tea bags.  Starbucks VIA.

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Newman’s Own Royal Tea.

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Health is Wealth Vegan Chicken-free nuggets.

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A corn/cucumber/pea salad (aka random scraps pulled together).

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As you can see I was scrounging to find things to bring aboard with me…but I also wasn’t too worried since I was flying on Virgin.  THE BEST AIRLINE EVER.

They have (free) vegan snacks aplenty, leg room like whoa, free WIFI, and sexy night club lighting. 

So in addition to the above, I had hummus with veggies, crackers with Justin’s almond butter, Popchips, and a granola bar

Which made the 7 hours “fly” by (pun intended). 

Alright, that’s enough rambling about nothingness for the day.  Tomorrow I’m going sledding with my sisters.  Stay warm peeps!

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Last day of work before I go home!!!!!!!!!!!!!  Today’s shift seemed like the longest countdown of my life.  I was actually pretty busy with my patient load, but I was still hyper-aware of the time left ‘til I was home freeeeeeeee.

Here’s what I had packed up:

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I spy with my little eye…MORE pita chips (damn you Stacy), two freakishly large apples, a Chocolate Brownie Z bar, White Chocolate Macadamia Luna bar, Blueberry Crisp Clif bar, and a fiberrrrific MONSTA salad.

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Holy veggie-loading.  This salad contained: steamed kale, raw spinach, cukes, steamed carrots, cherry tomatoes, corn, and chickpeas.  Wow!  Now that’s a mouthful (in more ways than one).

When the clock struck seven (ish) I was so excited I practically SKIPPED home (the only reason I didn’t was because I had on so many layers it was physically impossible – but hey, at least I was warm?). 

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Sh!t

What’s more pathetic: the fact that the refrigerator has NOTHING left in it or the fact that I refuse to restock it, taking comfort in the fact that I will thereby “have to” turn to Stacy’s pita chips.

Maybe don’t answer that. 

Even though I had no desire to cook, it was that or suck on carpet lint, so to the stove I went.

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First, I made a really complicated quinoa dish (I added in frozen peas). 

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Then I made some hummus (chickpeas, nooch, EVOO) in my trusty bullet.

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Combined the two.

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Added steamed carrots.  And that, my fiends, is what I call a quinoa mess!

It won’t win Top Chef, but desperate times call for desperate measures.

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Apples for dessert, along with a wonderful reminder. that “Bliss cannot be disturbed by gain or loss.”

Next time I post I’ll be in CA celebrating a (very delayed) Christmas with my family and Kyle.  Woohoo!

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I made a Mexi-kale salad for lunch.  Sure, I just coined the term, but I think it fits.  On top of the kale was wakame seaweed, butternut squash, cherry tomatoes, black beans, and some salsa (added later so it wouldn’t sogg-ify).  Yes, I realize the involvement of seaweed in a south-of-the-border themed salad may be a bit of a stretch, but can’t I just claim poetic license on this one?

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To complete the (admittedly weak) Mexi theme, I also had a baggy of Brad’s Blues All Natural blue corn tortilla chips which added the perfect contrasting crunch to the salad. 

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Creepy baby picture aside, this brand is awesome.  Brad’s Organic sells several products in addition to chips, and I’ve liked each one I’ve tried (peanut butter, tomato sauce, etc).  The only down side was the “no salt” feature, which is definitely more healthy, but (sadly) not as tasty.  However, since one of my goals for 2010 is to reduce the amount of sodium in my diet, I guess this was the right choice to get the year started off right.  What are your goals for the New Year?

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The rest of my packed lunch was more of the familiar posse: Apricot Clif bar, Chocolate Chip Z bar, and my last Bora Bora bar (get in stores Bora Bora!!), and a pair of apples.

After work I came home to a seriously pathetic fridge situation.  While contemplating how to make something out of nothing, I snacked on crack Stacy’s pita chips

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I had about 5 times the amount shown.  Why won’t this (one POUND) bag ever end!!  Note to self, never again get Costco sized bags of such snack-a-licious foods.  It’s a love/hate thang, nameen?

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See that?  Yeah.  That’s the part that skeeves me out.  I’m just going to pretend that’s not grease, please don’t try to tell me otherwise. 

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Anyways, I managed to transform the leftovers you see above…into the pretty decent looking dinner you see below.

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Steamed sweet taters with BBQ and leftover vegan TVP/million bean chili with slices of avo and a dollop of plain greek yog. 

If you’re thinking wha-tha-eff is she eating greek yogurt for?!  Pause.  Take a few deep breaths.  And remember that my fridge is running on empty I’m not 100% vegan, mmmkay?  That said, it has been quite a while since I last had greek yog, so I had almost less than a tsp.  It was just enough to give it a bit of a zing on on top without setting off a five alarm reaction in my intestines. 

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On the side I had an oat bran roll with hummus

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The Gingerbread Spice flavor is not as good as Sugar Cookie Sleight Ride, but it still fills me with warmth holiday cheer, so I’m game.

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So long, farewell, auf weidersehen good-bye!  The cake is DONE-ZO.  I was going to try to savor it for the few more days I’m still in NYC before heading home, but like the champ moderation-less girl that I am, I polished off the last two slices as a single serving. 

I went to bed dreaming of raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens…which turned into super crazy nightmares about my patients.  AH!  You know you need a vacay when you are having dreams about trying to save a person’s life with bright copper kettles and warm woolen mittens…good thing we have code carts instead!

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The days of froth have returned.  The holidays are all about decadence right?

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My morning cups of coffee have been quite elaborate as of late.  I think the cold weather brings it out.  This one was less than 50% coffee.  The rest was cocoa powder, stevia, coconut milk “creamer” froth, and a partridge in a pear tree candy cane.  YUM-AY

I also had a cup of Chai tea.  In case you haven’t noticed, I’m obsessed with Chai tea lately.  It probably has more to do with the way it warms me up than anything else – ha!

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Continuing my liquid love morning…

JOOOOOOOOOOOCE. 

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OK.  I can’t contain myself any longer.  I have been on the edge of my seat waiting to post about this baby.

When my parents came last weekend they brought me their (rarely-used, collecting-dust-in-the-cupboard) juicer.  I could hardly wait to use it!  So excited (you guys know how long I’ve been lusting after one of these babies).  But then I got swamped with my parents visit, work, the holidays…and had no time to get any juice-able groceries.  Que lastima!  Well, today the stars aligned and I FINALLY got the chance to juice it up.

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I decided to start with a basic trio: apple, carrot, kale.

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Whoa, this thing was scary…it was growling at me and carrying on (eek!), but once I set my camera down and started following the directions, I realized it wasn’t so hard after all.

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Mmmmm…carroty :)  At first I thought it was weird.  It was like drinking a carrot (duh), but I really liked the taste!  So clean and pure – I felt like I was showering my insides.  Does that make sense?  No?  Oh well.

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Cleaning all the individual parts of the machine was not so fun, but I did discover the pulp is almost as good as the juice!  I saved it for a future meal, so stay tuned for my pulp-y dinner.

Since it was pouring outside, I set up shop on the couch.  Just me, my computer, and America’s Next Top Model…

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And some snacks.  Apples sprinkled with cinnamon and Barbara’s rounds with roasted red pepper hummus (these photos are a mere representation of the actual snackage).

Later on I tried to replicate the roasted chickpeas that we had at Tabla.

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I made the chickpeas from their dried form and (as I always do) left them a bit al dente.  Then I patted them dry with paper towels, sprayed them with cooking spray and added salt, pepper, chili powder, and paprika and put them in the oven for 20 minutes (375 degrees).

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They were the exact crunchy consistency of the ones I had at Tabla!  So good, and unbelievably easy.  These may reappear again and again and again.  Lord knows I love me some chickpeas.

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Tired of snack foods (shock), I knew I needed something substantial if I was ever going to muster up the energy to change out of my PJs brave the weather.  Enter PB+J sandwich.

Not the most quality of breads, but then, peanut butter and jelly isn’t exactly the most sophisticated of recipes is it?

At the gym I had a mediocre work out, but the important thing is that I did something.  The rain was friggin’ relentless, so I opted out of the extra mileage that shopping at Whole Foods requires and instead settled for our local market.  I ended up paying 200% the cost for organic produce, but I also returned home with feeling in my fingers…I’d say that’s a worthwhile payoff.

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For dinner I made a huge salad with field greens and juicer pulp, which I topped with two vegan Boca burgers and big blobs of hummus and BBQ sauce.

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Humm-becue = best combo ever!

For course two I had Imagine’s Sweet Pea soup.  I thought I would adore it since (a) I love peas and (b) I love Imagine’s other flavors…

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Unfortunately, this soup wasn’t my fave.  I finished the bowl, but didn’t go back for more (which is how I grade a good soup).  Basically, if I can stick to the actual (listed) serving size, it’s just average.  Normally I polish off the whole box/can/whatever in one sitting.  Just sayin’

Vegan double chocolate cake.

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Dessert put me in a coma, which was good since I had to go to bed early for work the next day anyways.  Always seeing the silver lining, huh!

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Working on the holidays isn’t my favorite thing to do, but I realize there are worse things (like being a patient).  So I tried to make the most of it, and celebrated regardless.  I was working with my fave co-RNs, too, which helped make the day fun, rather than depressing. 

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Last night, in an effort to get to bed on time, I threw this lunch together way too fast.  I’d like to blame the lack of groceries on my desire to save $$ and use up what’s currently in the deepest depths of the pantry, but the truth of the matter is, this snowy weather makes it very difficult to keep the kitchen adequately stocked.  When the temps drop below 30, laziness (read: staying warm and dry) trumps all. 

So, in addition to the PB&J Dipped MoJo, Chocolate Brownie, and Chocolate Chip Z bars, I had banana chips (meh), apples (crunch), and a HUGE (albeit somewhat random) salad.

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This completely bizarre ensalada contained steamed kale, butternut squash, wakame seaweed, chickpeas, and raisins.  Oddly enough, it was quite good.  Just goes to show you if the individual ingreds are good, the sum of the parts will likely be good, too. 

Also, I had probably 1000 kcals worth of pita chips.  Ok, but let’s get something out in the open right here and now.  I examined the nutritional stats on these addictive mothahs, and ONE SERVING size is SIX CHIPS.  Excuse me?!?  To me, this makes less sense than Heidi Montag’s fame.  I’m not sure in what universe people eat 6 chips and call it quits, but there’s no way Stacy’s are meant to be consumed in such limited quantities.  Simply sea salt?  Psssh, works for me!!

Anyways, when I got home and put on this while getting dinner ready.

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I adore The Nutcracker.  I haven’t been in a couple of years (since I’ve been in NYC), but prior to living on the East Coast Kyle and I went to the San Francisco Ballet’s production a few times, and when I was young, it was a family tradition.

Watching it on tv clearly wasn’t the same, but Tchaikovsky’s music is amazing no matter what.  I worked with what I got…

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After all the pita chips, I really felt like a fresh, crunchy, veggie-ful din. 

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Starting on the bottom: assorted field greens, spiralized yellow squash, apples, and raisins.  On top I made a pomegranate balsamic vinegar dressing.  And on the side: carrots.  Just carrots.

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Christmas day without a little hummusBlasphemous!!  I wouldn’t hear of it.

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And dessert was perfection.

Merry Christmas everyone!

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Merry Christmas everyone!!  Unfortunately, I worked today (Christmas day), but yesterday (Christmas eve) was fun for several reasons.

1.  I got the day off of work (although I still had to wake up at 5 am to make sure nobody called in sick…kinda like being an on-call RN).

2.  I had a great brekkie.

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2.  I talked to Kyle on the phone while opening my present from him.

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The Hungry Hungry Hippie Chronicles, Vol. I

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Sooooo cool!!!

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Every post from 2008 and some from 2009…all bound in a beautiful book.

Thanks K love 🙂

3.  Lunch was all of my faves: hummus, bread, and apples.

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Our toaster is still broken, but I discovered that if I hold it down it gets the job done.  How ghetto.  Who stands in the kitchen holding the toaster hinge down for 3 minutes just to get a warm sammie??  THIS girl.  It paid off…check out my Dave’s Killer Bread seedy sando filled with sautéed spinach and roasted red pepper hummus

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4.  Vegan chocolate cake for dessert!!

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It tasted every bit as good as it looks.

5.  I watched trashy tv while squeezing in some gym time.  First time in the gym after over a WEEK off…wow, that’s not my style at all!

6.  Dinner was a new recipe that I made up on the spot.

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Vegan chili with a bazillion beans and TVP.

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I soaked and cooked the beans all day long, and then added in the TVP once the beans were ready and the extra water was boiling.

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The TVP soaked up the extra water.

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Then I added in all the spices (paprika, chili pepper, cayenne pepper, cumin, and S&P).

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And last but not least, I added in the tomato sauce.

It would have been great on it’s own, but I decided to serve it with a twist, and heaped it on top of some steamed sweet potatoes.

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YUM times a mill.

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It was so tastayyyy.  I had another serving on top of this…and then a little more after that 😉

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Beans really are the magical fruit. 

7.  Dessert was more of the same, plus a cup of tea.

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"Appreciate yourself and honor your soul.”

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I honored my soul with more cake. 

8.  And finally, I received an award from my fellow veggie, hippie yogi lovin’ Averie

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Thanks girly!!  I have recently posted all your questions and my answers in a new tab on top of the home page…I still have more to answer, so keep looking for more added Q&As.

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Dinner at Del Posto

I can’t even put into words what this restaurant experience was like. 

As their mission statement says, Del Posto creates the highest quality dining experience in what is one of the greatest indoor spaces in New York City. Without projecting stilted formality, they offer an ambiance filled with warmth buoyancy and lightheartedness of the Italian spirit.

And that translated to one of the most fabulous dining experiences I have ever had.  Mario Batali’s name carries great weight in the restaurant world, and this meal lived up to everything I expected and more.  I had heard that they could accommodate any dietary preferences, so I asked the waitress for a vegan menu.  Wow.  I was expecting a few things, but a whole vegan tasting menu?  Awesome.

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With a seven course menu just for me, just imagine what the menu for the rest of my family looked like!  So you can understand why I was the first to know exactly what I was ordering…well, that and my poor family members couldn’t really read the Italian menu.  Ummm, does anyone have an iPhone with a translator app?  Fortunately, the waitress was fluent in Italian (as well as the menu). 

However, before we got to the ordering process we had to first get through the extensive wine list.  Being the wino that he is, my dad tends to get very excited by such lists.  And the family vineyard inevitably comes up…he’s so predictable 🙂

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Sure enough, my dad and the sommelier became insta-besties, which really put a hold on choosing our food.  Normally, I wouldn’t care.  I love love love dining and making meals an experience, however, I had to work the next day, so I wanted to keep things moving a bit more than they were.  They chatted it up for what felt like HOURS. 

Finally, my dad decided on wine bottle number one, an Abruzzo, NICODEMI Neromoro 2004.  It was delightful.  I only had a small glass since I don’t drink the night before I work (as a general self-imposed policy). 

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The chef was nice enough to bring us some treats while we sipped on our wine…followed by five different kinds of fresh baked bread.

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The first bites weren’t vegan, but I had my way with this bread basket.  Not lady-like in the least.

The first course I got was the Roasted Autumn Vegetables with Truffled Hazelnuts.

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I am going to have a hard time describing these dishes beyond OMFG!  Holy flavor!  The rest of my family members got the non-vegan version of this dish to share, as well as another anti-pasta.  How they can make vegetables taste so crazy good is a wonder.  But this was delicious, especially the squash!  It was the perfect start to the meal.

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Next up was the Insalata Nasturzio with chestnuts, watercress, truffles, and trumpets.  Again, I was completely impressed by how such simple ingredients could make such a symphony in my mouth.  I had never had truffles before, but hot dang, I want them on every meal now!  There was one thing – and I’m not sure if it was the chestnuts or the trumpets – that was melt-in-my-mouth good.  I cleaned the plate, obviously, and I was so focused on my own plate that I don’t even remember the courses Kyle and my parents got.

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It was about this point that we started bottle number two, a Sardegna reserve, AGRICOLA PUNICA Barrua 2005.  I only tried a sip of this one, but I preferred the first wine.  My parents liked this second one better, so I guess that just shows you it’s all about the personal palette. 

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For my main course I ordered the Porcini “al forno" with salsify, cavolo nero, porcini, and barolo.  Porcini heaven.  Heaven!!  I wanted these mushrooms to never end they were so tasty.  There were little cherries on the side of the plate too with cherry sauce that I dipped the greens into and they just couldn’t have been better.  The whole plate couldn’t have been more perfectly balanced in terms of flavor profiles and texture and, well, everything! 

It was wonderful that Del Posto had a vegan menu, but the fact that the vegan menu that wasn’t a pathetic afterthought of a salad is all the more impressive.  The waitress told me they could provide meals for any dietary preference, and that was the typical custom of the Italians.  They recognized that the dining experience was all about the guest and making him/her feel special and satisfied.  Well, that’s EXACTLY how I felt.  And the wait staff was like a symphony of their own, too.  So many people just waiting our table, not just re-folding but replacing our napkins between courses, and providing anything and everything we wanted and then some. 

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Here is the list of wines we had that night, as requested by my dad.  The sommelier was fresh from Italy, and after our numerous invitations to tour the vineyard, we may have uprooted his very young East Coast roots!  He brought out that last wine, a Piemonte, FORTETO DELLA LUJA Brachetto Pian di Sogni 2004 as a gift.  Yummy!!

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Check out Kyle’s lobster!!

Dessert was a sampling of Italian Ice for the table to share. 

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Fabulous!

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And another present on the way out the door!

We ended up leaving the restaurant close to midnight, with my stomach satisfied and my eyes opened to a whole new world of dining. 

Thank you Del Posto!!

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