Weekend Highlights: The Daily Kitchen and Bar

When given the choice, Andrew and I generally choose to eat dinner on the early side–6:30ish.  I think Andrew would eat the moment he walked in the door at 5:30 if he could. 😉  Friday night he had a basketball game (he plays in a church league) at 6:30, so we planned on having a late date night.

After the game–they won, and Andrew was on fire!–we headed to a restaurant in the city called The Daily Kitchen & Bar.  We’d been once before for lunch and determined that it was definitely worth a second trip for dinner.  As it turns out, we were right; after Friday this restaurant has moved to the top of our favorites list, but I’ll get into that more in a moment.  When we arrived at 8:30, we were told the wait would be an hour–crazy-late for us old folks–so we gave them my phone number (they text when the table is ready so you can explore the area) and walked up the street to our favorite Thai restaurant… for appetizers 😀

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Wonton soup for me (with all the scallions given to Andrew), and tofu vegetable soup for A.

Just as we were finishing our soup, I received the text that our table was ready, so we headed back down the street to The Daily.  According to their website (and printed on the first page of the menus) :

“We strive to serve foods that are not only delicious but also health conscious, environmentally friendly, and socially responsible.  We use organic, all natural, local, and sustainable ingredients as much as possible while still keeping our prices fair.  In addition, we also offer an extensive selection of vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free items.”

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In other words, this is the restaurant of our dreams.

We started with drinks:

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Pomegranate mojito for me, cucumber martini for Andrew.  They were both delicious;  mine tasted like straight juice, which is exactly how I want a mixed drink to taste. 🙂  Just as we were about to order our entrees, Andrew spotted something great on the appetizer menu: gluten-free calamari.  We love calamari, but it’s most always breaded with wheat flour, so Andrew can never have it.  Despite the fact that we’d already had soup as an appetizer, we knew we needed to try this.

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Oh. My. Gosh.  The calamari was amazing.  It came with two sauces: a chipotle lemon vinaigrette and a garlic toum.  Both were fantastic.

For the entrees, Andrew ordered the blackened tuna sandwich (GF bread) with sweet potato fries and crispy Brussels sprouts.  I had the organic roasted chicken with whipped potatoes, asparagus, and a lemon herb pan sauce.

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Everything was swoon-worthy.  I don’t know how else to put it.  Every time we took a bite of something we felt so much joy that we’d found such a great restaurant!  Let’s talk about the Brussels sprouts for a minute.  The next time we go, I will be very tempted to order a few bowls of them and nothing else.  The waiter told us that the sauce is a lemon-something gastrique, and somehow, the sprouts were perfectly soft on the inside yet delightfully crispy on the outside.  How do they do that?  And somehow, they tasted like egg rolls–and I mean that in a very good way!  Who wouldn’t want to eat vegetables that taste like egg rolls?  Oh, man.

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Andrew, give me your best “Most Interesting Man in the World.”

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Monster-hand spoofs 😉

As you might imagine, after two appetizers and drinks neither of us had much room left in our stomachs, so we brought home a lot of leftovers, which were just as tasty the next day.  If you are in Richmond and looking for a restaurant with a. amazing food b. vegan/vegetarian/gluten-free options c.organic, socially responsible food, or d. all of the above, you must try The Daily Kitchen & Bar in Carytown!

The rest of the weekend was a nice mix of fun and relaxation.  Saturday morning we went to the gym together–after Friday’s dog bite incident I just took a relatively slow walk on the treadmill.  The bite mark is still pretty gross, but it doesn’t hurt as much to move today.  Progress 😉

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Saturday night we had a hilarious game night with some friends.  Have you ever played The Game of Things?  It’s my favorite…and not just because it’s the only game I can almost always win.  🙂  We had church and youth group on Sunday, with a lot of lounging in between, plus a phone call to my dad for his birthday!  All in all it was a great weekend.

I’m off now to attempt a run!  I hope to encounter exactly zero animals, wild or otherwise.

-What did you do this weekend?
-Are you an early or late dinner-eater?

-Have you ever played Things?

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Paddleboarding, Disc Golf, and Friends

Did this weekend fly by for anyone else?  Andrew and I had an action-packed couple of days–which is just how we prefer our weekends (usually).

On Friday our good friends Gabe and Jeff invited us over for dinner.  We cooked a delicious and healthy meal of grilled chicken kebabs, rice, and stir-fried veggies:

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After dinner we hung out, talked, and played a little Dance, Dance Revolution.  It was my first time playing (I know…I’m way behind), and I was terrible.  Notably bad.  During one game, just as I said, “I am killing it right now!”,  the word, “FAILED” crossed the screen.  Oops. 😉

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Andrew was slightly better than me…

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We just love these guys 😀

On Saturday my church had a huge craft show + used book sale, with all proceeds going to the youth ministry (yay!)  The event was a huge success–there were so many awesome vendors, food trucks, thousands of books, and pumpkins.  So. Many. Pumpkins.

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I am tremendously grateful to the group of moms and other women who coordinated this event for the benefit of our youth!

Early Sunday morning, Andrew cashed in on one of his Christmas presents from me: a guided Stand Up Paddleboard trip down the James River.  We let the summer get away from us, so we decided to take advantage of the out-of-character-for-October hot weather we’ve been having.  Unfortunately, we could not bring a camera, as it most definitely would have been ruined by the water, but the morning was beautiful, and the adventure was SO much fun.

The trip was through Riverside Outfitters, and because we were the only two people on this particular trip, we had a private tour guide. 😀  We started on flat water to get our bearings, then moved through a series of rapids.  Andrew may or may not have fallen in the river a couple of times, but our guide did as well.  Me?  I think my low center of gravity (i.e. my general shortness) helped me keep my balance, so while I dropped to my knees a few times, I never actually went in the water.  If you ever get the chance to do a downriver paddleboard trip, take it…It was such a blast!  And my chest and arms are only slightly sore today from all the paddling :).

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Looking awesome post-river 😉

Sunday afternoon we played disc golf with a group of friends from church at a local park.  In spite of the freak 90-degree October day that was yesterday, we had a lot of fun.  We also had a lot of back sweat.

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We wrapped up the weekend with youth group, turkey tacos, and an episode of Once Upon a Time.  It was a whirlwind weekend, with little time between each event, but we packed in a lot of good stuff. 🙂

Have a great Monday!

Have you ever tried stand up paddleboarding?

Goat-Feeding, Photo Shoots, and Pumpkins

Andrew and I had a relaxing day off Monday.  It was a beautiful day, so we decided to spend most of the afternoon at Maymont.

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We fed the goats:

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In case you don’t know, I really love goats and regularly ask Andrew if we can have one as a pet (“They’re just like funny little dogs!“)  I think he takes me to Maymont somewhat often to satisfy that desire without actually getting a goat.  (“Yeah, funny little dogs that have horns and eat everything.“)  😉

After feeding the goats, we looked at the other animals, walked around the park, and just enjoyed our time together.

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Monday evening we did something that was long overdue and also a lot of fun.  When we got married a year and a half ago, a good friend of ours, Katie, paid for me to have bridal portraits done with another good friend, Kate, as her wedding gift to us.  It was an incredibly generous gift!  Kate and I were relieved that, as good friends, we could schedule the photo shoot on our own time and not worry about being super professional.  Well, to make a long story short, we finally took my bridal portraits Monday!  To make it more fun though, I convinced Andrew to dress up so we could do some couple’s shots in addition to just bridal.

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I put my wedding dress back on (it’s a little snugger than it was a year and a half ago, but it still fits! :-D) with my cowboy boots, Andrew put on a light blue shirt and khakis, and Kate drove us out to a random field in the country where we had the most beautiful photo shoot!

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Kate is insanely talented (obviously); I have no idea how to pose for pictures like this (and neither does Andrew), but Kate was awesome and told us exactly what to do!  I can’t wait to see the rest of the photos!

The week since Monday has been consumed by…. PUMPKINS!  As a fundraiser for mission trips, my youth group has a pumpkin patch on the front lawn of our church during the month of October.  The semi-truck full of pumpkins arrived early Tuesday morning:

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In case you can’t tell by the photo, that’s a whole lot of pumpkins.  It took a large group of us about three hours to unload them all;  I did more directing than lifting, but I am still really sore!  If you live in the Richmond area, consider buying your pumpkins from Trinity UMC… the money goes to a great cause!

Other than hauling pumpkins, I have been pretty lazy about working out in the last week.  Andrew and I walked for an hour last night after dinner, and I’m going to  do some lifting today (now that I’ve typed it I can’t back out :)).

Have a great Thursday!

-Goats: love them or fear them?
-Has anyone else taken bridal/wedding photos long after the wedding??
-When are you stopping by my church to buy your pumpkins? 😉

The Day I Ate Almost No Produce

Oh, Monday;  you have arrived again.  I am definitely dragging a little bit today!

As I mentioned yesterday, on Saturday morning we spent some time in the garden.  Sadly, we picked and sliced our first cantaloupe before it was fully ripe.

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So sad.

We also, sadly, had to pull out the cucumber plants.  After doing  research, we determined they had some kind of mildew that had infected the entire plant.  Not a particularly satisfying day in the garden.

As I also wrote yesterday, we then hiked the Buttermilk Trail.  Allow me to backtrack, though.  If I were to name this particular Saturday, it would be, “The Day I Ate Almost No Produce.”  It wasn’t intentional, but at the end of the day I looked back and thought, I ate horribly today.  Hah!  In this case, I define “eating horribly” as lacking nutrient-dense foods, like fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.  Here’s what the day looked like in terms of food:

Breakfast: 2 Gluten-free pancakes with honey, 2 scrambled eggs
Breakfast afterthought: Peach (Oh, I guess I should eat some fruit…)
Lunch: 3-4 oz leftover steak, GF cupcake
Dinner1/2 chicken burrito, an obscene amount of chips and salsa, 1 frozen margarita

We woke up late and had a later-than-usual breakfast.  When lunchtime rolled around, I wasn’t especially hungry (but yes, hungry enough to eat a cupcake… just not hungry enough to muscle down carrots ;-)).  I didn’t pack any snacks for the hike which never happens, but I was so full from a late breakfast and lunch that I didn’t think about it.  Fast-forward a few hours and five miles into the hike.  I. Was. Starving.  It was hot and humid, and Andrew said, “I want a margarita.”  I agreed, and we decided to drive straight to Nacho Mamas for an early dinner (like 5:30 PM) as soon as we arrived back at the car.

What do you do when you have been exercising for hours with no snacks and someone puts a basket of chips and salsa in front of you?  You eat the entire basket almost before the waitress can take your drink order, of course.

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The veggies were there;  I just didn’t touch them.

Before our dinners arrived, the two of us finished almost two baskets of chips and salsa (at least salsa is made up of veggies and I ate a lot of it?) plus our delicious frozen beverages (Andrew had two!)  As I finally cut into my burrito, the fullness started to set in, and it set in fast and hard.  After eating half, I put the silverware down, sat back from the table, and said, “Oh, I ate way too much.”  I didn’t feel particularly well for a few hours after that.

Aside from overeating in one sitting at dinner, I didn’t eat too much food throughout the day;  I just didn’t eat particularly well.  At the end of the day I thought, I’m not going to eat “perfectly” every day, and that’s okay.  I’m human.  My Sunday contained a few more vegetables. 😉

When you don’t have a “perfectly healthy” eating day, cut yourself some slack.  We’re only human!

Have you ever let yourself get too hungry and then overeaten?
How do you squeeze more produce into your day?

Buttermilk Trail Hike

Marriage requires many compromises.  Saturday morning, I wanted to drive to the mountains to hike, and Andrew wanted to watch TV for a few hours, then complete some projects around the house (anything to not drive anywhere.)  Our compromise: a quick garden clean-up and harvest, followed by a local hike in the afternoon.

The Buttermilk Trail runs along the James River from the Boulevard Bridge to Belle Isle (I know that probably means nothing to non-Richmonders…sorry), and despite being within the city limits, the hike definitely gives you the I’m-miles-away-from-civilization feeling.  We started on the north bank of the river (by Maymont,) crossed the foot bridge, and headed east.

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Soon we were in the woods and letting out our wild sides:

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After about three miles, we arrived at Belle Isle.  Well, we arrived at the large rocks beside Belle Isle;  we had to do some rock-hopping to reach the island.

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From there we crossed the river on the pedestrian bridge…

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I ❤ the River City.

…and began walking back on the North Bank Trail.  We enjoyed some pretty nice views of the river, Hollywood Cemetery, and fields of ivy.  We also picked and snacked on a few blackberries. 😀


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While not the mountains, the Buttermilk and North Bank Trails were a surprisingly pleasant local substitute.  They satisfied my desire to be outside in the woods with a serious layer of back sweat.   Hiking is also my favorite active date, and I loved the quality time Andrew and I had while creating the aforementioned back sweat.  😀  According to Hiking Upward, we covered about 6.3 miles.  Not bad!

Have you ever hiked or biked the Buttermilk Trail?
What’s your favorite active date?

Impromptu College Reunion

I am currently experiencing a post-exhausting-week cold.  My throat began itching on the drive home Friday, and now I am in full blown green snot mode.  (You’re welcome.)  Andrew woke me up in the middle of the night and said, “Catherine… roll over.  You’re making funny noises….and you’re right in my face.”  😀  I consider myself to have a strong immune system, but I know I am highly susceptible to getting sick when I am stressed and/or overly tired.  Oy.

I spent most of Saturday recuperating, and on Sunday I met up with with my college housemates for an impromptu reunion.  We met at Kate’s apartment in the Fan and walked to Garnett’s Cafe for lunch.  I’d never been, but it was delicious, and they have gluten-free bread, so I will have to go back with Andrew very soon!  From there we walked to Kuba Kuba for their iced cafes con leche (by the way, I have been far too lax about the amount of dairy I’m eating…)  By the time we arrived back at Kate’s after two hours of talking, eating, talking, and walking, I was exhausted and had a bad case of medicine-head.  I drove home to take a nap, and the girls went to the river, with the plan to come over to our house later for dinner, prepared by Chef Andrew.

The meal included a salad with lots of fresh veggies from our garden, plus spinach and arugula from the store.  I was thrilled to be able to share the harvest with our friends 🙂

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In addition to salad, we had baked chicken with a roasted red pepper and artichoke tapenade (the tapenade was from Trader Joe’s) and a lemon-basil quinoa.

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It was all pretty delicious. 🙂

The girls were concerned that I was taking this picture because they’d come straight from the river/being out in the sun all afternoon, but I think they all look beautiful:

dollhouseI love these people 🙂 

We ate and talked and reminisced about things we did in college.  Andrew informed us that the more he hears about our college experience (mostly the pranks we pulled and the weird things we did that we thought were hilarious), the less he wonders why none of us dated very much 😀

We ended the day with a trip to Ray’s for ice cream and Italian water ice.  As always, it’s so good for my soul to spend time with this crew, even when I’m not feeling well!

What was the highlight of your weekend?

Independence Day, Yoga, and Laughter

Thanks to everyone–in real life and the blog world–for your kind words about my grandmother the last few days.  It’s been great to have what I know reaffirmed through so many: Grandma Tudor was a hell of a woman.  For those who didn’t know her, you’ll get to hear more about her in the coming weeks; don’t worry. 🙂

It has been a stressful week.  I leave tomorrow for a mission trip with the middle school youth at church, which I am so looking forward to, but there has been a lot to do related to the trip this week.  On Wednesday morning, hospice let us know that my grandmother was in her final 24-48 hours.  I think the anticipation of her death was, in some ways, worse than her actual passing.  I felt like, I am sad, but I can’t start grieving yet because I have too many other things that I need to do that will be much harder to do when I am actually grieving!

As Andrew walked through the door Wednesday evening, he made a playful jab about an email I’d sent him earlier in the day.  I immediately burst into tears and said, “I’m stressed, and I’m sad… can you not pick on me??”  (What can I say?  I am good at articulating how I feel and what I need… even if I word it the way a 6-year old might.  ;-))

After dinner that night we went to our yoga class.  I’d been looking forward to it as a stress reliever, but I didn’t anticipate all the ways in which it would help.  We set up our mats in the middle of the room; some people were already sitting or lying down, meditating.  The instructor entered the room and began setting up at the front of the class, but had not started the music yet, so the room was very quiet.  As I walked to the closet in the back of the room to get straps and blocks for Andrew and me, I heard a strange noise through the quiet of the room:

fsshh fsshh fsshh fsshh…

I turned around to scan the room.  Everyone was perfectly still… except my dear husband, who looked like he was trying to make snow angels on the floor, his socks making the fsshh noise as they moved back and forth.  I think from his position, he couldn’t tell how loud or obvious the motion was.

I hurried back over  to our mats and whispered,

Andrew!  Stop!  What are you doing?

The floor is so slippery!  They just redid it, and it’s SO slippery!

That’s great… but stop…you’re being a lot louder than you think!

Then we did our best to stifle our laughter.  What is it about laughing when you aren’t supposed to that makes it so hard to stop laughing?  The harder we tried to stop, the harder we laughed, and laughing is great stress relief. 🙂

(But seriously, we are the worst yogis.  Let me apologize now if you ever happen to be in the same class as us.)

On Thursday, after the news about my grandmother arrived and I spent some time crying and talking to family, we decided it would be nice to get out of the house rather than spend the day moping.

We harvested some veggies:

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…ate lunch at Burger Bach, by which neither of us were wildly impressed.  We were lured in by the gluten-free bun option and grass-fed beef.  The burgers come with side salads, which is nice, and you purchase fries and dipping sauces separately.  We were turned off by the fact that a small fry comes with one sauce, and if you wanted to try multiple sauces, you have to pay extra–that includes ketchup.  Come on… just put the bottle of ketchup on the table; people will still try the other kinds.  Also, the cooking options were “pink or no pink.”  Well, I don’t want it to be pink, but I also don’t want it charred, which is how my burger arrived.  To be fair, I was having a bad day, but don’t be lazy;  a “medium-well” option won’t kill you.

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After lunch we went to Maymont to see the goats (I’ve mentioned this before, but I really love goats.  I regularly petition Andrew to let us get one as a pet.)

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Because it was so hot, they had all the animals inside, so unfortunately, I didn’t get to pet them.  Still cute. 🙂

That night we had dinner on the river and watched fireworks with our good friends Amanda and Diron.

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We love these guys. 🙂

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While waiting for fireworks, we laughed about the insane flash on the iphone camera:

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😀

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It was a great end to a tough day. 🙂

What did you do for Independence Day?