I discovered something amazingly delicious this afternoon.
Did you know key lime pie is a fabulous dip for apple slices? It is and it may be my new favorite snack.
Thank you for all the birthday wishes today! Too old to celebrate or not, it was good day. It was especially nice to have a chance to talk to some friends and family I haven’t spoken to in a while. Gotta love birthdays for bringing people together (and reminding us we need to pick up the phone and call one another more often!).
Derek and I celebrated quietly this evening with my new favorite restaurant in Tampa – The Refinery.
After eating at The Refinery a few weeks ago with the girls, I knew I had to bring back Derek for dinner. I loved everything from the atmosphere, to the food, to the emphasis they place on preparing locally produced organic meals with a menu that rotates weekly to ensure seasonal freshness and I knew he would too.
I also knew he would appreciate the extensive craft beer menu as much as I did. Derek ordered a Highland Thunderstruck (a coffee porter) that I stole a few sips from through the evening. ‘Twas some good beer. I’ve had a soft spot for Highland beers since I toured the brewery a couple of summers ago.
We started with the Studyin’ on Potatoes: potato croquette, fried skins, skordalia, chervil crème fraiche, Mote Marine Siberian caviar
When the dish was placed in front of us Derek looked at the plate and goes “So basically it’s a giant mozzarella stick.” I told him yes, but filled with potato instead of cheese. Yum.
For my entree I went back and forth between the two vegetarian options (Grits ‘n’ Greens: cannellini beans, roasted heirloom tomatoes, chard, roasted mushroom, jalapeno or Farmer’s Pie: strawberry-serrano glazed carrots, sweet potatoes, brie, cauliflower-potato mash). Both sounded delicious, but ultimately our server sold me on the Farmer’s Pie when he declared it his favorite dish on this week’s menu.
He wasn’t kidding – the dish was amazing. The melted brie brought the cauliflower-potato mash to new levels of rich and decadent sinfulness that you usually don’t taste when the term ‘cauliflower mash’ is involved.
Derek ordered the burger and declared it the best $11 burger he had ever had.
I think it was the mix of sweet pepper jam and fresh watercress that put it over the edge. Also – the fries? Slightly burnt to perfection.
On our way home we stopped at a local cupcake shop that I drive by all the time, but have never had the excuse to check out. Tonight was the perfect excuse.
One chocolate brownie rose for Derek and one peanut butter cupcake for me.
I had half of the peanut butter one when we got home and I have to give the local cupcake shop major props for putting out a great product. The cupcake was super moist and the peanut butter flavor was very evident and on the verge of being slightly overpowering – just the way I like it.
I tried a piece of Derek’s chocolate brownie rose as well. The owner told us they add brownie batter to the chocolate cupcake mix for an extra dense and rich brownie cupcake.
The chocolate cupcake was good, but I think the peanut butter wins for best cupcake of the two.
Now we’re watching tv and enjoying our last bit of time before bed. A quiet evening to end a quiet birthday.