One of each, please

I just ate 42 foods.

Actually, I ate more than that because I just uploaded 42 pictures, and many of them contained more than one food. I’m also sort of speechless because every single food was out-of-this-world phenomenal.

All of this deliciousness came my way tonight at the David Burke Townhouse, courtesy of a Foodbuzz event to celebrate one million posts.

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Before I arrived at the restaurant, I had taken “townhouse” literally to mean that the party would be taking place in someone’s swanky uptown apartment. In fact, the party took place at this swanky uptown restaurant. With an egg theme (much like my life lately):

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I ran into Ashley immediately upon arriving, and we contented ourselves at the bar with wasabi cracker sticks and thyme lychee martinis:

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Those lychee martinis were teeny, so I had four of them. (Whoops.) I just get so excited about drinks that have real fruit! Plus, my first three did not contain any actual lychees. I had to go back for the fourth when I started to see the whole lychees floating around in other people’s drinks.

As soon as we got the go ahead, Emily and I beelined to the back of the restaurant where food was waiting. Remember, I’m still speechless, so I will let the photos do the talking.

Shellfish (including lobster, crab, mussels, oysters, and jumbo shrimp):

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My plate:

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I had more than you see in that picture, of course. I couldn’t let the chance for fresh lobster and fresh crab to pass me by!

There were tons of sauces for the seafood, along the lines of wasabi crème fraîche, lavender crème fraîche, pineapple-truffle sauce, mango something, and more. I tried all the sauces on the side because I wanted to experience the flavors but I did not want them to mess with the perfection of straight lobster and crab 😛

Sushi:

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Scallops in their shells with a ginger-scallion sauce:

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My plate with two sushi rolls, a scallop, and a pile of picked ginger:

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The carving station had salmon with horseradish sauce, turkey with gravy (I’m making that up because I can’t remember what sauce it really was), and short (?) ribs with red wine sauce. (I’m not a rib expert. Feel free to correct me if I have mis-identified.)

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My plate with a little of everything:

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I actually didn’t finish that plate. It was too meaty for me, and I like my salmon more done.

There were dumplings like this. Some had lobster, some had chicken, some had beef, and several had foie gras in addition to the other meats. I had at least one of each.

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Lobster scramble with caviar:

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Enjoying eating straight out of the mini frying pan:

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Mini raw-ish crackers with beef tartare, smoked salmon-cream cheese, and more foie gras:

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Pineapple shrimp skewers (yes, actually IN the pineapple!):

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Chicken satay with peanut sauce:

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Pretzel-crusted crabcake with poppyseed honey and kumquat-jalapeno jam (YES, it was THAT amazing):

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Lobster flan (served in an EGGSHELL):

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Hamachi with watermelon:

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And then the desserts began to come around. I kept myself to “one of each,” but one of each became far more than I had anticipated as more and more desserts rolled out of the kitchen!

A mini red velvet cake bite with cream cheese frosting:

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Pecan-cinnamon buns arranged on a mini-stove. There was actually a fire flickering inside the stove, but you can’t tell from this picture:

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Apple fritters on a bed of brown sugar:

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Mine:

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Cheesecake lollipop tree!!!!!!

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One of each (clearly the theme of the night): triple chocolate nut, strawberry pistachio, and chocolate with chocolate crunchies:

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Dark chocolate cherry cupcake (literally the size of my thumb — I had two) and butterscotch pannacotta:

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Chocolate-nutella milkshake!

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At around this time, I started to get overwhelmed by too many desserts and not enough hands. I found a narrow ledge and got a collection going:

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(On the right is a chocolate rice crispy-cereal treat.)

A coconut cream puff and a warm custard-filled doughnut ball (the doughnut ball actually had a fancy Italian-ish name that I cannot remember):

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Malted milk and a grapefruit bar with crème fraîche:

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The malted milk had a very familiar flavor. Missy hit the nail on the head when she said it tasted like the milk leftover from a bowl of Fruit Loops. I only had a couple of sips because I can make that myself. I left the milk on the ledge and promptly knocked it over with my big bag about five seconds later. David Burke himself swooped in to clean up the mess.

The grapefruit bar, on the other hand, was insanely good (though Emily wasn’t a fan. I guess you really have to love grapefruit.) It had gold leaf on top:

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And rather than a bowl of mints on the way out, the Townhouse had peanut brittle, of all things! The grab-in-action and my pieces:

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So, this was a scrumptious event that I got to share with several fun ladies who love food almost as much as I do! I hijacked this photo from Missy’s recap (which you should check because she has many more facts about the event and the restaurant): Me, Emily from Super Caloric Chalk Dust, Melanie from MelonCauliflower, Ashley from Healthy Happier Bear, Missy from Missy Maintains, and Diana from Soap and Chocolate.

I’m so glad that Foodbuzz decided to celebrate one million posts and invite me. I just wish they could have invited the starving population of NYC as well since there was more food than anyone there actually needed. I always feel torn at events like this — awed and thrilled that I got to attend, yet overwhelmed and distressed at the excess! The thought of trying to comandeer all these leftovers was too much to handle at this particular stress-pinnacle of the semester, but I hope they went somewhere useful. And I hope thinking about it doesn’t keep me up tonight!

What makes you feel torn?

Holes and suction cups

Featured Lunch: Huevos Expan-cheros

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Perhaps you remember last Friday (or perhaps you don’t) when Nydia brought a ton of food to work that her mom had made:

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Nydia is Puerto Rican (as in, she was born in Puerto Rico, and her mom is from there, too), so I can only imagine that this beans, pork, and rice brilliance is some sort of secret Puerto Rican delicacy. It might be better than chocolate cake?

Anyway, starting this past weekend and continuing through my lunches this week, I’ve been milking Nydia’s leftovers by parceling them out into this pile of perfection:

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My “huevos expan-cheros” (if you’re lost with this name, I am very cleverly making a play on huevos rancheros) include one beaten egg fried in a tsp of canola, wrapped around a hefty handful of arugula, and topped with 1/2 cup of Nydia’s mom’s rice, beans, and pork (I mixed them all together), a drizzle of plain yogurt, and 1/8 sliced avocado:

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It’s pretty much safe to assume that every day around 12:15 this week, I have been (and will continue to be) closing my eyes in ecstasy with every. single. bite.

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Featured Contributions: Tuesday

Tuesday, like most days in my office, was full of fun little contributions that kept me on my toes all day long.

Avocado slice and salad extras from Nydia and Jessica’s salad:

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Salad extras from Mildred and Myrna’s salad:

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Because everyone ordered salads for lunch, Mildred decided it would be a good idea to supplement with glazed donut holes:

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I did not have a salad for lunch (I had huevos expancheros, of course), but I still decided it would be a good idea to supplement with three donut holes.

Inginia also appeared with some leftover lunch items of absolutely staggering flavor complexity. I was full so I had little tastes, almost passed out from delight, and then brought the rest home to use for dinner. Here’s 1/2 cup peppery salmon noodles:

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And the most beautiful non-dessert contribution ever, Inginia’s homemade ceviche! I managed to sneak about a cup of this home with me, and I devoured it over a bed of arugula and 1/2 cup couscous-lentil mix from the restaurant last Thursday.

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This ceviche rivaled even the ceviche I had in Peru, the ceviche (or so they claim) capitol of the world, and it looked like a rainbow to boot.

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See the little baby suction cup? Awwwww … Mara, can this qualify for Cute Food Saturday?

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SweetiePie from Just Sweet Enough gave me this sweeeeeet award, and I’m tickled pink purple because I think her blog is super, too! Go check it out, especially since she recently baked something called Derby Day Brownies that made me go weak in the knees … while I was sitting down. Also, I hereby pass this blog award onto to anyone who is still reading my blog despite the sporadic posting and nonstop talk of stress. Please go right ahead and post this badge on your site immediately! I love reading everything you write, and I find it one of the best ways to de-stress. Muchas gracias!

When was the last time you had a donut hole (aka munchkin!)? Also, how frustrated do you get when suction cups do not stay stuck where you put them?

While I’m gone

Warning: this is going to be a long post! Feel free to read it in pieces over the course of several days because I might not be back for a while (ahhhhh final papers). You can even comment multiple times if you get overwhelmed. I won’t mind 😉

Yesterday was a looooooooooooong day full of unfixable issues with families. I wish I had a magic fix-it button because some things are not fair. At least my office knows the healing powers of food. I’m way luckier than I deserve! 🙂

Before the office and after the gym, I had breakfast at home and used up some things I’ve had hanging around. I toasted the little piece of ciabatta with tomato pesto (from the sandwich leftovers Emily gave me in class on Monday) and topped it with a hard-poached EB egg (and sprinkles of cayenne and freshly ground black pepper).

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On the side, I mixed the apple half I forgot to eat yesterday morning with half of a banana I had languishing in the fridge and topped it with 1/3 cup yogurt-PB2 sauce and cinnamon/cardamom:

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I washed it all down with soymilky almond sunset tea and iced white peony tea.

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At the gym, I did 20 minutes on the new arm-y elliptical, hips and glutes on the Cybex, and 20 more minutes on the regular elliptical, plus abs/stretching and the walk there and back. Stats: 1 hour and 8 minutes, 339 calories, ave hr 116, max 155.

First snack of the day at work was my yogurt (plus ricotta, flax, and sliced banana) which, if you can recall, I had topped with the other half of my Just Fruit Munchies from Just Tomatoes when I packed lunch on Thursday.

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Because I had placed this freeze-dried fruit on top of the yogurt, half stayed crunchy and half got soft. I loved the textural variety! Plus, it got all swirly when I mixed it in:

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Lunch was leftovers from my dinner Thursday night. I cooked up 1/2 cup of dry lentils to mix with the cup of couscous I brought home in order to convert it into a nutritional powerhouse. I had about 1/4 cup of the couscous-lentil mix with the little piece of salmon from Gina’s meal:

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Along with a cup of the veggie stew:

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So good! Leftovers are the best.

Nydia also brought in a TON of beans, rice, and pork for me to taste (made by her very culinarily-gifted mom). These containers were FULL when they arrived with Nydia this morning:

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I didn’t want to put off eating the salmon because fish leftovers don’t stretch as long as other foods, so I packed up a bunch of this masterpiece to take home and shared the rest with everyone else. I also had several spoonfuls. So good! You’ll be seeing more of this soon, for sure.

Beryl wanted me to take a picture of her spicy chickpeas from the Indian restaurant, so she let me have a tasty tasty tasty tasty bite 🙂

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We ate lunch during the every-other-week optional staff brown bag, so desserts also made an appearance. I had a piece of cinnamon sugar muffin, a piece of chocolate-tangerine cookie (and another piece unpictured), more muffin, and a piece of oatmeal raisin cookie:

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Later in the afternoon, Belkis split an extra orange and gave half to Jessica and half to me:

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And Carlos came around selling chocolate bars for his son’s school. I did not buy any, but Rosalie (aka my chocolate fairy) bought two and materialized at my desk asking which I wanted: chocolate almond or chocolate caramel. That’s right — she was offering me an entire bar! I opted for half and half, so we split and shared each bar. I had a square of each (no, not the whole thing!):

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The rest is now safely in my freezer 🙂

I also ate the orange I had packed. Peeler in action:

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At 4:30, one of my favorite announcements of all time came over the loudspeaker: Attention staff, the informal staff gathering in the lobby has begun! I don’t know how I wasn’t aware of this one in advance (especially after the sushi success at the last one), but it was definitely news to me! I grabbed Katty, and I think it took us negative 10 seconds to fly down the four flights of steps. Here’s what was waiting:

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YES, homemade taquitos (“por favor, dos por cada persona”), fresh salsa, fruit, cheese, crackers, crudite, chips, cookies …

Here’s my first plate:

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And my second plate (don’t tell!):

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Check out the expertly crunchy wrappage:

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I also had a slice of cheddar. It was so sharp it made my jaw ache. I LOVE good cheddar.

That was obviously dinner, but I still had room for dessert (number 3?) when I got home. I finished off my yogurt (1/4 cup), my chocolate-pb-flax egg custard (2/3 ramekin), and my last bits of Holiday Inn cinnamon bun (1/2 bun). It’s a dessert jungle!

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Frostiiiiiiiiiiing:

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Perfecto. I spent the rest of the night sipping tea and NOT eating any leftover pieces of Easter candy or anything … Umm, right.

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And a late-night snack of 1/2 cup Kashi golean crunch with 1/4 cup soymilk and water:

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I’m off to my second (and last) Physique 57 class followed by free tangomonium (thanks for the tip, Kate!). From there, I’ll be disappearing for real into a black hole of final-paper-disastrousness, probably until Monday morning. Don’t miss me too much!

What will you be doing while I’m gone?

P.S. I’m famous!

Pretend wealth

Last night was the last night of April. Do you know what that means?? The last night of Brooklyn Restaurant Week Month! Gina, Kate, Kareen, and I obviously had to take advantage. I love restaurant weeks because they let me pretend I can afford to live in this city. We chose Quercy, a French restaurant in Carroll Gardens. The decor was right up my alley, and I fell in love as soon as we walked in.

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The mismatched chairs were my favorite part.

Unfortunately, despite the empty room and open, airy space, we were seated in a cramped corner between the bar and the kitchen, almost completely cut off from the giant window in front. Weird. Did not make for good picture lighting, as you’ll see. I could have asked to move, but I didn’t have the energy.

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img_9013Unlike our previous restaurant week selection that offered the entire menu, Quercy presented a special “limited” menu for our discount dining. Despite the smaller menu, however, the options available did not disappoint.

While we perused the menu, our server brought out sourdough bread (!!!) and butter. I had five teeny tiny pieces (including the end — the best part!) with butter. The five pieces together probably amounted to about one normal restaurant-sized hunk.

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img_9020We had very little selection variety in our dinner choices last night, which suited me quite well because it meant that I had fewer pictures to take 🙂

Gina and I both ordered the French feta salad which came with huge chunks of feta (obviously), lettuce, cucumber, and olives. I had my French vinaigrette on the side and used about half.

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Kate and Kareen ordered the goat cheese in puff pastry which involved a luscious (because it really was) disk of goat cheese sandwiched between the pastry layers, all atop a bed of greens.

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For the main course, Kareen and I ordered the couscous chicken merquez (I had been debating between that and the salmon), a Moroccan dish that involved a mountain (literally) of couscous with a few raisins in the mix, chicken pieces (maybe a full quarter), and lamb sausage:

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But that was not it! On the side, came an enormous tureen of vegetable stew with carrots, zucchini, yellow squash, parsnips, chickpeas, and more!

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I knew I had to make the cut immediately before I accidentally ate 12 meals in one sitting. Luckily, there were many dishes involved in the serving strategy, so I was able to shift about 2/3 of the couscous and half of the meat onto a separate plate to remove it from my line of eating. Here’s the portion I ate, all mixed together.

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Although couscous chicken merguez will not be entering a beauty pageant any time soon, the flavors were delicious and spicy and unique. I was a fan (and still am, considering how I’ll be eating it for the next week!).

Kate and Gina both ordered the salmon with roasted bell pepper sauce. The presentation of this dish was much more visually appealing with all the colors.

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I had a bite of Gina’s salmon. Tasty as it was, it wasn’t anything I hadn’t experienced before. I made the right choice!

I had tons of leftovers, obviously, but so did Kareen, who generously offered to send hers home with me, too. And Gina had a three-bite-piece of salmon left that she couldn’t possibly fit into her stomach, so we added that to my stash as well. Thanks, ladies! Kate joined the clean plate club last night. I’m very proud 🙂

The server probably thought I was crazy (rightfully so), taking home everyone else’s leftovers, but I explained that I was a penniless grad student. The highlight of the night was when I peeked into my massive to-go bag on the way out and found half a loaf of sourdough bread in there, too! I thanked the server, and she told me that it would have gone to waste anyway and she appreciated that I wanted to use everything. That alone is enough to make me want to go back!

At that (stuffed) point, we remembered (or were reminded by the server) that we had yet to eat the dessert that came with our meal! Kate, Kareen, and I all went for the apple tart tatin, another beauty pageant reject:

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It was ok, and I ate the whole thing of course, but I have to say that I have tasted better. In fact, I’ve baked better before! My French pastry skills, which are nil, should not exceed those of a French restaurant.

Gina, the rebel, went against the grain (although no one was surprised. in college, Gina’s nickname was the divine priestess of chocolate. mine was the divine priestess of fertility, ha. can you guess why?) and ordered herself the gateau au chocolat, which was a different story all together. I couldn’t stop taking pictures.

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That chocolate sauce was like fudge, it was sooooo thick.

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I don’t know how Gina managed to eat this whole thing (well, maybe I do), but manage she did! I did my fork Olympics on the plate at the end to make sure that every grain of perfection served its purpose.

Overall, the restaurant was a mixed bag, but more good than blah — Quercy came through where it counted. I would eat there again but only with my wealthy benefactor because I would want to choose something from the real menu!

Where is the first place you would go with your wealthy benefactor?

Why is that thing green?

As promised, the rest of the recycled balls came into play this morning for breakfast.

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I had a small but loaded breakfast cookie. The overnight mix contained 1 tbsp ground flax, 1 tbsp oat bran, 2 tbsp extra thick rolled oats, 1/2 mashed banana, 1 tsp south-of-the-border pistachio butter, and 1 chopped Hershey’s Kiss. This combination made for perfectly-textured dough this morning:

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I frosted the cookie with 1/3 cup PB2 healthy cream cheese icing and topped it with 1/4 of Sunday’s Holiday Inn cinnamon bun:

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And, of course, the remaining balls:

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I brought my cookie to the couch to eat it with the almond sunse/black tea, the white peony iced tea, and The Today Show. I forgot about the apples up on the table and then realized I wasn’t actually hungry for them. They went back in the fridge for tomorrow.

I had to be up at Hunter at 9 again this week for a workshop on government benefits. I thought I was being so clever bringing my laptop up there so I could blog at the same time … but the wireless was blocked in that room!!! The nerve. They actually want us to pay attention. Hmph.

During the workshop, I ate an orange. If you’re not sure what an orange looks like, I ate one on Tuesday, so you can feel free to backtrack if you need the visual reinforcement.

For lunch, I had the last half cup of Thai seafood coconut curry/grilled veggies from Hunter’s lobby mixed with the half cup of chicken noodle soup that also came my way Monday night at Hunter, courtesy of Emily:

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You might think that’s a weird combination, but it was actually delicious. I should be using coconut milk more often in my life. Too bad Turtle Mountain ignored my request for samples to review. I could have had an official Thai coconut milk curry vs. Turtle Mountain coconut milk curry face-off. Their loss.

The exact same yogurt/ricotta with flax, Pb2, and banana that I had yesterday followed the soup.

img_9000Speaking of samples, I received a package from the more agreeable Just Tomatoes today. They sent me a variety of their products to try, the most exciting being pineapple powder … which seems like PB2 in pineapple form but better than PB2 because it’s pineapple and it has absolutely nothing added. I can’t wait to try it out. Pineapple cream cheese icing, anyone? Ohhhhhh, that would be SO good on carrot cake. But I’m getting carried away.

I opened up the mixed fruit munchies packet and used half for tomorrow’s yogurt (I’m excited to see how the freeze-dried fruit absorbs the moisture from the yogurt overnight) and half for an afternoon snack with a splash of soymilk:

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Mmmm, so good. Especially the pineapple flavor that completely pops. I had a few dry, too — also delicious!

Once I recovered from the freeze-dried fruit lovefest, I headed out to the gym. Thursday is usually my outdoor running day, but running has been causing me too much pain lately and I opted for the gym machines instead (this made me sad because the weather was perfect for running). I did 30 minutes on the Stepmill, 15 minutes on the rower, and 15 minutes on the elliptical plus a bit of abs and stretching. I walked to and from the gym and did not jog because, again, jogging hurts! Stats: 1 hour and 40 minutes, 517 calories, 118 average heart rate, 162 max.

On the way home, I stopped into Union Market for samples of marinated mushrooms, Piave cheese, and these two little desserty treats:

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That chocolate chip brownie piece was crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside. And sooo chocolate-y:

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I was hoping the green thing would be marzipan-related, but it was just lime cheesecake. Still, I enjoyed every morsel.

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What’s the most surprising cheesecake flavor you’ve ever encountered? Did you eat it?