Throwback Thursday: My 30th Birthday

So, I turned THIRTY this year. I had a bit of a freakout realizing I am no longer in the 20-29 range when filling out a registration check box for something. Thankfully, I ended up getting over that pretty quickly. We had an amazing weekend in Maryland and we have a lot to look forward to this year so here we go, 30.

I came upstairs to the biggest balloon bouquet as soon as I woke up (I’ll spare you the picture of me in my pajamas)

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Shortly after breakfast, my grandma and I jumped into the car to pick up a sweet treat from a local bakery. These were mini cupcakes and they were VERY good! I enjoy mini cupcakes better than big ones so I can try a taste of each one.

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Adam made dinner reservations for the two of us in Baltimore at Woodberry Kitchen. If you are ever in the Baltimore area, I highly recommend this restaurant! The restaurant is not high-end but it’s charming atmosphere, skilled service and phenomenal food puts this high on my top food list.

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We started off with two appetizers. Homemade chips with a sour cream and onion dip and a sweet corn soup with lump crab meat. I wish I could recreate both!

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For dinner I ordered the chicken and biscuit dish and Adam had the seafood jambalaya. I never order chicken at a restaurant but this particular dish was pushed by our waiter. I am so glad I did because it was cooked to perfection!

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We ordered a CMP for dessert (cream, marshmallow and peanuts) and they also brought out a mini chocolate cupcake wishing me a happy birthday.

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I don’t think you can go wrong with anything on the menu here.

The next day my mom planned a dinner with our large family at a new restaurant in Annapolis, MD, Blackwall Hitch, and my Aunt even flew up from Florida to surprise me!

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My mom isn’t one for crafting but she worked hard putting everything together and it all turned out beautifully! The restaurant was very impressive getting all 20 of us all the correct food and everything tasted delicious. Adam ordered a Lilly Pulitzer theme cake from Cakes by Rachael that was funfetti on the inside with salted caramel buttercream filling. Yes, that is real life.

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It was a perfect weekend with the most perfect people. Bring on 30!

Do This For a Million Dollars

65 degrees at 7am!? I felt like we were seeing signs of fall — Hope I didn’t wish it upon us! I woke up “late” today because we were out celebrating Adam’s grandma’s Birthday!

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We had dinner at Montmartre, an adorable french bistro that gave us prime seating on the patio.

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Home grown herbs surrounded the patio and everything smelled so fresh.

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I opted for “Le Burger”. This was my first time eating red meat in 2 years and I think i picked a pretty tasty option to kick it off.

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Burger with melted brie, peppercorn sauce and a side of pommes frites. There were also appetizers, wine & dessert which means I should have been at the gym this morning but hey – sometimes sleep is more important.

I woke up this morning with a craving for a smoothie. I’m still loving these blueberry cheesecake protein smoothies!

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Tonight I have a dentist appointment, a manicure AND a massage on my to do list for after work… Guess it’s going to be another long night! Today is our Friday and we’re off to the Hampton’s tomorrow for more birthday celebrations.

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I was recently speaking to some women at work about things we would and wouldn’t do for a million dollars. Here are some of the scenarios:

Would you eat a moldy sandwich? Yes

Would you give up television for the rest of your life? As long as I have the internet.

Would you go on a bread and water diet for 3 years? 3 years? No. 3 months…yes.

Would you never eat meat again? Absolutely. Although that burger was delicious..

Would you move to another country permanently? It must be a country whose primary language you can’t speak. No way. I can barely live 3 hours from my family in a state that speaks my language.

Would you live the rest of your life 250 pounds overweight? A 250 pound overweight millionaire? No thanks.

Would you tattoo your forehead? Never.

Would you have all of your teeth pulled? No, I have nightmares of this!!

Would you camp out in a bikini in the middle of December in NYC for 24 hours? Sure, why not!?

 

Which one of these things would or wouldn’t you do for 1 million dollars?

Candle 79

I teeter and totter between trying to be vegan, vegetarian, pescatarian and an everythingatarian so while I was in my “vegan phase” I begged and pleaded for Adam to try out Candle 79.

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Surprisingly, he said yes!

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We started off splitting the Spinach Ravioli as an appetizer

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Saffron ravioli, sautéed garlic spinach, cashew vegetable cheese in a truffled tomato sauce.

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I don’t think I’ve ever seen a ravioli so big! If we didn’t know any better, we would have never guessed that this was vegan. It was cheesy but not heavy like one stuffed with ricotta.

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Adam ordered the carribean jerk grilled seitan sandwich. I thought it would be the most “meaty” thing on the menu and sure to fill him up. Plus, it had a habanero coulis and the man loves everything spicy! He finished the meal and it also filled him up! Maybe I could turn him Vegan?

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I ordered the Grilled Kale Salad and it was HUGE. I don’t think I’d ever see the day where I would say can you box the other half of my salad up. It was delicious and I enjoyed all of the textures from the avocado, lentils and sunflower seeds.

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Vegan Desserts are just as good as regular desserts so we went ahead and placed an order to split the Chocolate Chip Brownie. I personally would have chosen the Peanut Butter Mousse Pie but I gave Adam the reigns of choosing since he was a trooper for agreeing to Vegan food.

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Anything drowned in chocolate sauce is A-OK in my book! It blows my mind how they can make a dessert taste just as decadent without any milk, cream & eggs.

We were both really surprised at how tasty and flavorful all of the dishes were considering they were largely vegetable/grain based. I felt that they really focused on using fresh seasonal ingredients and a variety of spices and unique flavors to make Vegan meals more appealing to a carnivore. The best part was that when I left Candle 79, after eating an appetizer an entree and a dessert, I didn’t need to unbutton my jeans. I was satisfied, but not stuffed. The best kind of full.

Weekend Stuff

Chocolate Protein Oats

Chocolate Protein Oats

 

Trying out a new location

Trying out a new location 

 

Bowling

Bowling 

 

My husband didn't let me win once. #rude

My husband didn’t let me win once. #rude 

 

Whole Foods Bar

My Favorite kind of Bar 

 

 

OK, fine... Maybe this is my favorite kind of bar.

OK, fine… Maybe this is my favorite kind of bar.

 

Yep, most definitely.

Yep, most definitely. 

 

 

Sunshine

Sunshine 

 

Hoboken

Hoboken 

 

Banana Smoothie

Banana Smoothie 

 

Accessories

Accessories 

 

We chose two different items. Guesses?

We chose two different items. Guesses? 

 

How-to

How-to 

 

Great recipes!

Great recipes! 

 

Check it out..

Check it out.. 

 

No bake cake for the win.

No bake cake for the win.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Mooring Seafood Kitchen

Since we were only in Newport 3 nights and had the rehearsal dinner night one and the wedding night two, we made sure to find THE best restaurant for dinner on night 3. We didn’t have a reservation for The Mooring, but we called 3 times to see if there were any cancellations. There happened to be one right at 8:15 — The exact time we were looking for.

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We were seated right away and while our table was inside, we were able to check out the view from outside. Simply gorgeous.

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We had decided before we sat down that this was going to be a fatty meal and we definitely lived up to that expectation.

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I usually don’t order fried items because it gives me crucial stomach pain, but the Bag of Doughnuts we’re calling screaming my name. Lobster crab and shrimp in fried dough? Yes, please.

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There was no skimping on the portions either — I believe we got 3.5 of these each? Once again, not a fan of mayonnaise based items — But the chipotle-maple aioli, great addition.

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mmm. (p.s. — apologizing for all of my iPhone pictures now, so lazy with my big camera!)

We also ordered some lobster claws (for me) and oysters (for Adam).

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We ate so much lobster in Newport. But you know what they say… When in Rome, New England.

I was pretty much full after this, but went ahead with ordering an entrée. (Did I mention I had an egg and cheese bagel, chips and an ice cream cone before this? – Woo, I need a gym)

My main meal was the Yellowfin Tuna with bamboo rice, feta cheese, sun-dried tomatoes and balsamic butter.

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Seared perfectly and basically melting in my mouth.

Adam went with the lobster, obv.

the-moorin1g Oh, hello!

Our eyes are bigger than our stomachs so we ordered a side as well. Roasted Asparagus with Balsamic Butter.

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Inhaled. Veggies are always good to me… But with balsamic butter, they are even better.

Our waitress asked us if we’d like to order dessert and I vigorously shook my head yes. Don’t think I’m going to stuff myself silly and not finish with a sweet ending!

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Round One: Molten Bread Pudding with a chocolate ganache center, raspberry sauce and vanilla ice cream.

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Round 2: Warmed butterscotch banana cake with maple walnut ice cream, butterscotch and toffee crunch.

I’ll give you 1 guess if we polished these off. If you’re going to be rolled out of a restaurant, this is the restaurant to go to in Newport.

3 Day Weekend Stuff

This is how I started my Memorial Day. With over 20 test tubes of blood taken and 11 holes in my elbows, wrists and hand. Not cool.

This is how I started my Memorial Day Weekend. With over 20 test tubes of blood taken and 11 holes in my elbows, wrists and hand. Not cool. (NOT pregnant 🙂 – already had 3 people ask, whoops.)

Double Date night with the in-laws. Yes, it was FREEZING on Saturday.

Double Date night with the in-laws. Yes, it was FREEZING on Saturday.

Park Ave.

Park Ave.

Standard Weekend Breakfast - Whole Wheat Pancakes with Peanut Flour Sauce & Thawed Frozen Blueberries (200 calories total !!)

Standard Weekend Breakfast – Whole Wheat Pancakes with Peanut Flour Sauce & Thawed Frozen Blueberries (200 calories total !!)

Organizing closet

Organizing closet

and shoes

and shoes

Finally headed back to church (we've been gone every weekend!)

Finally headed back to church (we’ve been gone every weekend!)

Date Night in NYC - Vegan Restaurant

Date Night in NYC – Vegan Restaurant

Awoke to a Memorial Day Parade outside of our apartment

Awoke to a Memorial Day Parade outside of our apartment

Spirit Colors

Spirit Colors

Peonies from our garden

Peonies from our garden

Afternoon runs

Afternoon runs

and bike rides

and bike rides

#nycskyline

#nycskyline

Trying to eat healthy on a holiday weekend

Trying to eat healthy on a holiday weekend

How was your long weekend?

Cafe Chardonnay

Cafe Chardonnay came highly recommended to us by my Aunt so we made reservations for Saturday night.

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We were seated the second we walked in ( I love when places don’t make you wait when you’ve made a reservation!) on their upper level with a balcony view of the entire restaurant.

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They brought a warm bread basket with a baba ghanoush spread at the same time they delivered our drinks. We loved the dip and thought it was a nice (healthy) alternative to butter.

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We ordered the Caesar salad and Lobster Bisque appetizers to split with each other. The lobster bisque soup had TONS of lobster chunks and wasn’t heavy to the point where it hurt my stomach.

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The Caesar Salad was a winner too. I don’t like Caesar’s at too many places since the dressing is usually heavy, but this one was perfect.

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We skipped choosing from the regular menu and went with specials of the night. I chose lobster & scallops with a corn ragout. Adam chose the rib eye – The kid loves his steak! My lobster & scallops dish was phenomenal. It was a little heavy so I only ate about half but the flavors really mixed well. There was more lobster than I anticipated and the scallops were perfectly sautéed.

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Adam’s steak was just “OK”. Personally, I don’t think steak should be ordered anywhere other than a steakhouse. I think he just got excited for the possibility of having red meat ( I never cook it) and ordered it right away. He said it wasn’t horrible, but it wasn’t amazing. His plate was still clean!

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Per usual, we ordered dessert. The table next to us had a HUGE piece of deep dish apple pie a la mode that I eyed up during dinner. It was nothing like I’ve ever seen before, but we ultimately went with the cheesecake at Adam’s request.

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The homemade cheesecake was topped with blueberries and drizzled with raspberry sauce. To.Die.For. This was no small piece and we were stuffed before it even came out. Somehow we managed to clean the plate… Shocker, I know.

While Cafe Chardonnay is not as “trendy” as Coolinary Cafe & Christopher’s Kitchen, (we have a thing for C named restaurants?) it’s one of those sophisticated restaurants that serves consistently classic yet fresh food, has knowledgeable and attentive servers and isn’t overly pricey (like places in Palm Beach).

That’s my last restaurant review from Florida but I do plan on making a small post on other key places to check out while on vacation there!

Have a good weekend 🙂

Christopher’s Kitchen

In between the indulging we did manage to sneak in a few healthy meals. Saturday afternoon we headed to Christopher’s Kitchen for lunch outside on their patio.

030 I’m so artsy.

Christopher’s Kitchen is a raw vegan restaurant in Palm Beach Gardens. They have everything from fresh juices to tacos to ice cream sundaes. We browsed the menu for 10 minutes before making final decisions. There were so many options to choose from so I wanted to make sure we were making the best choice.

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I went with the Florida Chopped salad. There is something about a chopped salad that makes it 10x more enjoyable. My salad had sunflower sprouts, sprouted garbanzo beans & lentils, kale, romaine, apple, cranberries, herbs, avocado and pumpkin seeds with dijon dressing.

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Fabulous and refreshing.

Adam ordered the baby dragon bowl which had zucchini noodles, broccoli, red pepper, bok choy, cilantro, sesame seeds, almonds, and was tossed in five spice dressing.

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He couldn’t wait to dig in to his vegan lunch 😉

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He surprisingly liked it (a lot!) and finished the entire bowl. It had a nice kick to it and he’s a sucker for spicy foods so I’m glad they had something to please his meat-eating palette.

Good thing the lunch was light because I wasn’t leaving there without trying dessert! We chose the Cinnamon Sundae which was cinnamon maple sauce, candied pecans, crushed caramel bark and bananas w/ vanilla ice cream. Ummmmmmm, can you even handle the description?

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Vegan has never tasted so good and I can now die happy.

I also noticed they had a pastry case inside and mentally noted we needed to stop back in before heading back to New Jersey.

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On our way to the airport I picked up a few sweet treats (for myself) including 1 almond butter ball, 1 peppermint patty and 2 pieces of salted caramel chocolate bark.

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In an attempt to eat something besides dessert for dinner I also bought a freshly pressed juice (watermelon + mint) and an arugula and quinoa salad.

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Another winner in our book. The only thing I wish is that it was a bit less expensive. I don’t mind paying for good quality food but this isn’t somewhere I could eat daily on my food budget!

 

Coolinary Cafe

You know the best meal you’ve ever eaten? Well take that and times it by 3. Coolinary Cafe is riding high on my list of best foods ever at the moment and it’s going to take a lot for someone to knock it down.

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They don’t take reservations (unless you’re a party of 6+) and it’s tiny inside so expect to wait for a table. We waited about 20 minutes and were seated at the bar. In my opinion, this seat was perfect! We had a clear view of the open kitchen and watched every meal made fresh.

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The concept here is farm to table and they have a list of  local farms they use hanging up in the restaurant.

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After perusing the menu we decided to start with the Crispy Fried Florida Shrimp ( artichoke, cashew and green chili goat cheese aioli) and the Lump Crab Salad (jicima, mango & avocado).

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I don’t eat fried foods often, but when I do — I make sure it’s worth it. These are worth it and I would eat these every single day even if it means I gain 20 lbs.

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The salad was light and they surely didn’t skip on the lump crab (or avocado!), so I was obviously a fan.

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Adam knew what he was ordering for dinner before we even left New Jersey, Boneless Southern Fried Chicken with Jalapeno Cheddar Waffles.

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You know I am not a meat eater but I had to try this meal. Every single table had at least one person (if not all) order this and it was SUCH a good choice. The sweet yet spicy waffle was absolutely to die for and like nothing we have ever tried before.

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 I ordered a blackened cobia sandwich and requested more of the goat cheese aioli to spread on the bun. I couldn’t get enough of it!

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Macaroni & Cheese was our side of choice. Melt in your mouth, cheesey, ooey gooey goodness. It was the perfect southern dish and had so much flavor! We almost ordered vegetables ” to be healthy” but then I thought while were here, we should indulge. Good choice Alyssa, good choice.

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After loving everything we ate there was just no possible way to pass up dessert. See, I told you I needed that sugar detox! We ordered angel food cake with vanilla ice cream, caramel topping, blueberries and whipped cream. Everything including the ice cream and whipped cream was homemade and it was surprisingly light and didn’t leave us with that uncomfortable, un-button your pants in the car type of feeling.

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Next time we go to Palm Beach, Florida this will definitely be one of our first stops. If you’re ever in town, you need to make it one of yours too!

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Del Frisco’s

Adam loves trying out different Steakhouses in NYC so when I asked him where he wanted to go for his birthday this past weekend, it was no surprise he picked Del Frisco’s. I had to make the reservation about a month in advance to get the time we requested which surprised me because when we got there this place was HUGE. Del Frisco’s is located near Rockefeller Center and has two levels that can seat over 550 people. Impressive. It paid to make a reservation early though, we had a roomy booth for the two of us!

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After we said “Cheers!” the feast began.

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Our first appetizer was Shrimp Cocktail. I don’t usually like the cocktail sauce but since it came on top of it and not on the side, I tried it. Pleasantly surprised that it was a tad spicy and extremely fresh. You can tell the shrimp has never been frozen, which is very important.

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After we ordered the Shrimp, I remembered I’d read raving reviews on their crab cake. Being from Maryland I don’t order Crab Cakes out-of-state but figured I’d make an exception to judge theirs.

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It definitely had no breading (win!) and was very good – But I still like Maryland’s better, obv. The spicy lobster sauce it was placed upon was pretty tasty as well.

We also ordered a caesar salad to split – which they split ahead of time for us.

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My dinner choice was salmon… Which was a tad overcooked, but hey – it’s a Steakhouse so I didn’t complain.

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Adam ordered the 22 oz. Bone-in Ribeye which I believe was on the specials menu

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Now the sides may have been one of my favorite parts.

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Whoops a little blurry – I didn’t want our waiter thinking I was a weirdo. This was cauliflower & brie au gratin and it was soooo good – I would have eaten the entire thing if we hadn’t had so much other food on the table.

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Oh and these. Lobster Mashed Potatoes? I think this might be better than Lobster Mac & Cheese – which has always been my favorite!

We’re not ones to deny dessert and plus, we were celebrating!

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Let’s get a better look at this.

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Banana Bread Pudding with Vanilla Ice Cream. Definitely my favorite part of the meal, but that shouldn’t surprise anyone!

All in all I would recommend Del Frisco’s to someone looking for a Steakhouse in NYC. It’s in an easy to get to location, wonderful service, amazing flavor (a little on the salty side – but that doesn’t bother me) and a great ambiance. I would also only come here for a special occasion because I don’t think spending $300 on a dinner for two every weekend is in our budget 🙂

Questions: What is your favorite Steakhouse?