eat! craft! live!

Baking, crafting, mama-ing and taking photos of it all. When I remember.


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Operation Try New Restaurants: Black Cow

December was a busy month. (Isn’t it always?) E was in the Nutcracker and we had time between shows to grab some dinner. I opted to take her out instead of thriftily packing food, like I usually do. I thought she deserved a treat. We walked around the festively lit-up town, E in her wildly silly-looking bun, and I let her choose where we ate. Happily, she picked a new-to-us-both place – Black Cow!

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Nutcracker-ing makes you hungry.

She chose the grilled cheese and tomato soup, which were both divine. I opted for a cheeseburger and a house made orange cream soda. (I love anything that tastes like an orange creamsicle, after hating that particular flavor combination for years.) The cheeseburger itself was really good – but I was ever so slightly disappointed that they don’t really have any fun flavor combos for burgers, just your standard cheese-pickle-lettuce-etc. I got super spoiled living in Texas where it’s All Meat, All the Time and fun flavor combos to boot. (Pickled jalapeños & Monterey jack on a jalapeño cheddar bun! A fave from back in the day.) Nevertheless, would return! Next time I’m getting fries…

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A Very Serious Soldier.

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Operation Try New Restaurants: Roots Cafe

I’d been watching the construction of the Roots building with interest – I didn’t know what it was going to be until it was nearly done, but it’s right down the street from us, so I was hoping for something good. I can almost see if it from my house. (I could, if it wasn’t for all those other pesky buildings in the way.)

First of all, Roots is very…slick. The building is new, the furniture is rustically chic, there’s wood and metal and glass. They have a fancy website. (Which, I know, isn’t an indicator of anything really, but in this day and age so many places still have horrible-looking, uninformative websites.)

Second, Roots is church-backed, though you wouldn’t know it by the website. And you may not even notice when you go, if you’re not paying attention. As someone who went to a religious college as a non-religious person and ended up around a lot of aggressively religious people? I noticed. Like, a lot. There’s a small book shop area when you come in that carries religious reading material. And the people…well, they’re perfectly nice. Very nice. Like in a really “Hey, I’m being nice to you!” kind of way. Ugh, I feel horrible for complaining about people being too nice? I mean, seriously. Who does that? Bear with me. It’s my baggage. I just can’t with the overly-nice “Christian” attitude because I’ve known it to be so disingenuous at times. I’d rather have someone be less “nice” and more honest, if that makes sense. (I know, “not all Christians!” but this is my experience, so bugger off.)

Anyway! Religious qualms aside, I wanted to try the place soon after they opened, but at the time they closed mid-afternoon and weren’t open on Sundays. (They’re now open later, though still closed on Sundays.) So one Saturday morning in September, I dragged the kids up the street and we got some breakfast. The kids got a smoothie to share and some muffin tops. I didn’t try them but they disappeared quickly, so apparently they passed muster with the elementary aged crowd. I got an iced latte (as I do) which was good – pretty standard latte. And. And. They had biscuits! and! gravy! Which I love. Love. And you rarely see biscuits and gravy on the menu up here. (Know where I can get some? Please let me know!) I ordered them with great anticipation, but…they were only OK. Meh.

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They did have really cute salt & pepper shakers all over tho…

I haven’t been back despite it being so close to home, because the atmosphere really threw me. I keep meaning to try it again but when Quill is only a little further away? I know where I’ll go.


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Operation Try New Restaurants: New Haven, CT

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Oh, y’all. Back in March (yes, March! Again!) I went to so many new-to-me restaurants while on a work trip to New Haven. I was in town for the New England Archivists spring meeting (which was wonderful, by the way) so all the places I went to were new to me.

I picked Shake Shack for lunch because I’ve Heard Things about it. It was good, fine, tasty but nothing mind-blowing. I very much enjoyed my lunch. Crinkle fries!

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We had one dinner at Pacifico, where I dined solely on queso fundido since I wasn’t terribly hungry. I mean, if you can’t eat a dinner entirely made of cheese while on “vacation” then what are you doing with your life?

We had another dinner at Heirloom, which was truly wonderful. I chose some sort of soup, if I remember correctly, which the server really wanted to make sure I understood was soup. (I guess there were some issues where people didn’t quite get that?) It was delicious. You can’t go wrong at a place that serves this:

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I also opted for dessert – butterscotch pudding with a toasted marshmallow, sea salt & caramel milk jam. Oh, my heart. That was delicious. My zebras helped me eat it.

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Another lunch consisted of bubble tea (yum) and pad see ew (also yum) from Koon Thai, right near the conference center we were at.

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Zebras like Thai food too.

That evening I was lucky to be able to meet up with my sister (!) who lives near New Haven. It had been ages since we’d seen each other! I got to meet her partner, a Very Nice Young Man, and we got appetizers and drinks at the Cask Republic. It wasn’t my usual sort of place but my drink was great – some sort of fancy Moscow mule. Heck yes. (Zebras also like drinks.)

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From there we wandered rather aimlessly around town, looking for something for dinner. Most places had stupidly long wait times, but we found a table at Kitchen ZINC and ordered ourselves some kale! (And pizza!) It was a cozy little place with good food and good cider.

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Finally, on our last morning, we revisited a place we’d been to every day while there – Atticus Bookstore Cafe. This place was heaven. I got a fancy croque monsieur with asparagus that was incredibly delicious. This place satisfied my coffee needs every day, plus it was just such a pleasure to peruse. I ended up buying gifts for my kids there, as well as a few things for myself, and wanting to buy so much more than I could’ve carried home.

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Thus ends my culinary adventures in New Haven!


If you’re wondering about the zebras – they are the unofficial mascot of the Yale Center for British Art, which I visited while there. They also had a presence at the NEA spring meeting, where they were giving out these adorable little zebras. I got two for my kiddos, one of whom is now missing his legs. It was such a pleasure to visit a museum all alone! Highly recommended.

Another non-food honorable mention goes to the Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library. (See first photo.) It. Is. Amazing. You can visit this place! Don’t be intimidated if you’re not doing “research” – it’s OK! They have exhibits you can see and the facility itself is just breathtaking. Go. Now.

Finally, I wouldn’t be a proper knitter if I didn’t also give a shout out to Knit New Haven, where I snuck off to during lunch one day. It was a lovely little store with a nicely curated selection. I picked up a couple skeins of Spincycle Yarns in the most gorgeous pale blue/brown/multi colors. I’m in love!


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Operation Try New Restaurants: Ice It!

I went for a haircut today. Lo and behold, despite the heat & humidity, it still looks pretty good after walking back to work.

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Hi.

On the way to get my hair cut, I was thinking about lunch. I woke up with a migraine this morning and was too discombobulated to make myself one, so I figured I’d grab a sandwich at The Local Press, which I haven’t been to since I tried it over the winter! But…turns they’re closed for the rest of the week for vacation.

What’s next on my walk back? Well, Elsmere BBQ just opened up not too long ago in the old Siano’s spot, so I thought I’d get some barbecue! Buuuut…they don’t open til 4.

Y’ALL. What am I going to eat?

Next up – well, Pat’s is a few doors down, I’ll just go there! YOU GUESSED IT. Closed for the remainder of the week.

The only remaining option on that side of the street was…Ice It! And, don’t get me wrong, I’ve been wanting to give it a try but it’s not exactly a lunch place, y’know? Regardless, I’m about to gnaw my own arm off at this point, so I stop in and grab a peach smoothie, which is more like a slushy, which is actually perfect for me at this (very hot, humid) minute.

I swear there was smoothie in here. Delicious smoothie at that.

I also grabbed a blueberry muffin, which was a perfectly delightful blueberry muffin, and I ate it too fast to take a quick pic of it. (But just picture your perfectly average, everyday blueberry muffin.) Last but not least, I also picked up a lemon bar because it’s hot (have I mentioned that?) and bright, citrusy flavors always make me happy in the heat.

Lemon bar, oh lemon bar, how I love you lemon bar.

Did I eat a lot of sugar for lunch? Yes. Am I glad I at least got something to eat? Absolutely. Would I go back? Yep, just not for a meal…

And yes, I have tried other new-to-me places! I’ve just been terribly lazy about saying so.


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Operation Try New Restaurants: Little Giant

In February, I met a lovely friend for a lovely dinner at Little Giant. And I…apparently took only one photo and it’s of me, slightly tipsy, modeling the cowl I had just finished for another dear friend? So, uh, hi!

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I started with a knife fight. Which does not involve any sharp weaponry, but is “a bourbon sour, with an edge.” (Bourbon, lemon, pineapple, ginger.) It was strong, and fruity, and definitely had a serious kick of ginger.

For an appetizer, I got the little biscuits with maple-whipped lardo and hot pepper jelly. They were…good. I expected better biscuits frankly (um, I make amazing biscuits), but the combination of the biscuits and the toppings was definitely tasty.

I opted for the LG Burger & Jojos for my main meal and it was quite good. The menu changes relatively often, it seems, and looking at it now, I so wish that the Broad Arrow Farm Pork Meatballs with parmesan polenta, shaved brussels sprouts, pancetta vinaigrette had been available when I went because that sounds amazing. Time to go back?

I also got a second drink on a whim – a special that was benefitting…something or other…and I mostly remember that it had a sprig of lavender jutting out of the top, which at first was unnerving and then was delightful. I could sip my drink and as long as I managed to keep the little branch from poking me in the eye, smell the lavender while sipping. Aaah… (Seriously, it was great but I don’t remember what was in it! Maybe gin? Something fruity? I think it was carbonated? Not helpful.)

All in all, a great night. More expensive than I usually go for, but if I’m feeling a little flush with cash (lol) I would definitely return.


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strawberries ‘n’ cream smoothie-shake

strawberries 'n' cream

This smoothie. You guys, this smoothie! It’s, uh, not the healthiest smoothie around. (Which is why I called it a “smoothie-shake” – like that?) This resulted from a little leftover cream hiding out in the refrigerator and a lot of leftover strawberries taking up space in the freezer. Though, now that I’ve discovered this smoothie, I wish I had even more strawberries hiding out in the freezer!

We used the delicious local strawberries that we picked over the summer and froze for posterity. I definitely recommend finding the most delicious strawberries you can, because it will make all the difference here. It’s like strawberry shortcake in a blender…minus the shortcake.

63/100: strawberries 'n' cream

strawberries ‘n’ cream smoothie-shake

  • 1 heaping cup frozen strawberries
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • splash vanilla

Place all ingredients in a blender. Blend, pour, enjoy!

strawberries 'n' cream