Eats Of Eden: Happy Hour, Home Cooking, And A Sweet Tooth

Happy new year again foodies!  Two weeks into 2014 and I am finally beginning to feel un-bloated after all that holiday eating.  From eating out, to the multiple holiday parties with both friends and family, I’m surprised I didn’t gain any weight this past month.  Maybe it was all the running around shopping for gifts or maybe I did a better job with my regular meals because I knew I’d be stuffing my face for the special occasions.  Regardless, Chris and I have started off January with a sort of quasi-diet where the only rule is to be more conscious of what we’re eating.  We’re not really getting rid of anything completely, but we are going to start limiting the amount of fried and greasy foods and upping the veggie intake.  There probably isn’t going to be much dessert either :(  But the occasional cookie or in my case, macaron, is highly encouraged, just so we don’t go crazy and binge.

Now, a little less new year’s resolution and a little more food!  Every Christmas season Chris and I have a tradition where we go out on a date a day before New Years Eve and exchange gifts with each other, because we usually spend the actual holiday with our respective families.  After our amazing dinner at Truluck’s a few months ago, we’ve been wanting to check out their happy hour.  Happy Hour is 4:30-7:00pm Monday-Saturday or all day Sunday, and includes half-priced appetizers and specialty cocktails.  We enjoyed all the food you see in the collage, plus another round of drinks, for maybe the price of a couple steaks (including tip!)  Steal?  I think yes.  We stuffed our faces with super fresh seafood — Calamari, oysters, jumbo shrimp, ceviche, and a whole pound of sauteed mussels.  We drank to fill the rest of the space in our tummies.  We squeezed in a delicious $2 carrot cake cupcake for dessert.  And to top off the experience, we had an unobstructed view of the T.V. from the bar so we could watch the MNF Niners game and cheer for Vernon Davis to get me an exorbitant amount of Fantasy points so I could win Gentlemen’s League with an amazing comeback (He didn’t, and I came in 2nd, but thats o.k.!)  If you appreciate a really good deal, Truluck’s happy hour is the place to go.

Holiday parties provide me the perfect opportunity to test the waters in the kitchen.  I don’t cook much, but when I find a recipe I really love, I want to make it over and over again!  This is a bad thing when the recipe I really like includes carbs or a lot of sugar, but being able to bring my dish to holiday parties lessens the impact on my waistline.  This year, I made countless batches of Spicy Sausage Pasta, a recipe I found via Pinterest.  When I brought it to a White Elephant party, Christmas Eve party, and two New Years Eve parties, there were no leftovers and I got a lot of compliments.  I can’t really take credit since it’s not my recipe, but it still made me feel good that I made such a yummy dish!  I made some tweaks to the recipe, like using Original Ro-Tel instead of Mild, but it all depends on how spicy you want it.  I also skipped the last step of baking the cheese on top because my oven is kind of funky right now, but it still tasted amazing.  I even made a batch with gluten-free pasta for my cousin’s wife who has Celiac’s disease!  She really appreciated the gesture.

Lastly, dessert!  One weekend in December, Chris and I ate at Project Pie in Hillcrest, which is a hip little place where you can build your own pizza for only $7.50 no matter what you put on it (*mental note to do a post on all my favorite San Diego pizzas*).  After dinner, we grabbed some dessert down the street at D Bar.  D is for drinks, dinner, and desserts!  We’ve been here a few times before and I always enjoy the dining experience.  The interior of the place is great — I’m a sucker for high ceilings and wood — and they have cute little dessert sculptures everywhere.  The servers are always lovely, never too intrusive nor evasive, and the owner is known to wander around saying hello and posing for pictures with patrons.  Since the owner is mainly a pastry chef, the dessert menu is a highlight rather than an afterthought, and there’s a bunch of really different and unique treats to choose from.  Chris and I went with the Pie Spice Souffle — Pie spice souffle with creamy caramel sauce, cream cheese frosting beignets, and Maker’s Mark pumpkin ice cream.  Absolutely delicious, not too heavy or rich and a perfect plate to share.  I also grabbed some macarons to-go because: 1) I wanted something in case my sweet tooth flared up the next day, and 2) I wanted to add another cute macaron box to my growing collection.  I feel like their macarons aren’t their forte, but that’s even more reason to dine in and try out their dessert menu.

Another box I added to my macaron collection was from the new ‘Lette Macarons ‘Macaron Bar’ that just opened up at UTC.  I’m so happy to have a place in San Diego that has an Earl Grey macaron!  I’d been waiting anxiously for this place to open ever since my friend Jackie texted me a picture of the place under construction.  Unfortunately, I’m limiting my dessert intake this year :(  But it’s nice to know my favorite little bite-sized treats are no longer an hours drive away.  And seriously, how cute are the little 2-piece gift boxes?!

Unfortunately, Chris and I won’t be going out for desserts anytime soon.  Kind of a bummer since ‘Lette just opened, but it’s a necessary evil in our step towards sexier bodies! Is anyone else dieting or cutting out eating certain things for the New Year?  My mentality is that you can’t be too hard on yourself when trying to be healthy.  The more strict you are, the more likely you are to binge or quit!  I believe that as long as you take everything in moderation, you are more likely to sustain a healthier lifestyle.  I know I am definitely still going to eat delicious foods and the occasional sweet, and I hope you will too!

Simply Kristiana

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