Friday, October 2, 2015

Friday Favorites, v. 19

The internet is amazing... I haven't had much time to blog, but these posts practically write themselves!

I love this Instagram truth photo series!  I love Instagram, but I know it's not the whole story.

Playing Oregon Trail and other MS-DOS games in my web browser
really takes me back to elementary school Computer Club.

This pizza carrying necklace really exists.  For $8.  'Mericuh!

I"m totally a Hermione, so these Harry Potter themed school supplies are calling my name.

I think infomercials are obnoxious, mainly because their clips of informercial fails are soooo bad.

This woman joined the Marines after being inspired by a recruiting poster.

+ This Dad who grabbed his daughter's stepdad as a surprise to jointly walk her down the aisle at her wedding brings ALL THE FEELZ.

+  This article about how we associate color and food is pretty fascinating.  Interesting tidbit:  "In a 1980 study, subjects were blindfolded and asked to tell whether the beverage they were drinking was flavored orange.1 Only one in five could. But when they were allowed to see what they were drinking, each of them identified the orange flavor."  Wow!!!

+  After reading this article, I really want to read the subject's book about the current dating landscape.  If you're a single, educated woman, the odds are apparently not in your favor to marry a man with a similar background!  (Simply fascinating, whether you're single or not... think Freakonomics of dating.)

+  We've been to a lot of weddings in the past few years, and with that comes buying lots of wedding gifts!  This "article" from The Onion had me LOLing as it pretended that couples could create medical procedure registries.

+  Flashback:  Okay, so this is only two months ago... but Dan and I have been married for TWO MONTHS now!  And we haven't killed one another!  Bodes well.  Here's a link to our wedding ceremony details.

Monday, September 28, 2015

Budgeting Bloggers: September 2015

Welcome back for another round of Budgeting Bloggers!  Closing out this quarter, September originally shaped up to be an expensive month...  but I was really good about returning a bunch of things I didn't love, so it worked out well in the end.

  1. Stitch Fix Box ($202 for all five pieces):  Revisit my Stitch Fix recap here!
  2. Harry Potter Gryffindor Cardigan (originally $45, paid $34):  I was looking for a sweater to toss on at home and at work when I'm chilly, and this was super nerdy but also fit the bill!  It's subtle, so if you're not into Harry Potter you probably would just think it's a sweater with a school crest or something.  It is sooooo soft that I've worn it a bunch already.
  3. Doctor Who Timelord Tank Top (originally $25, paid $1 with a deal):  This was sooooo cheap I just had to include it.  I feel like it's a top I can wear under a blazer for work and be an incognito nerd.

$237 spent -  $0 sold = $237 total spent
$129 savings

Total 2015 YTD Spending: H1 $970 + July $28 + August $103 + September $237= $1338

In September, I felt like an online shopaholic compared to recent months.  Tons of boxes coming to the apartment!  But just as many were returned.  I also know that in this transition season for weather, I'll be wearing some things I haven't touched in a while.  I turned all my hangers backwards last night, so I can track what needs to go and what I'm wearing.  (When I wash clothes, I place them back on the rack with the hangers corrected.  It's an easy way to see what you wear and what you don't over time!)

One item that I bought and returned was the Madewell Zip Transport Tote, the brown/black one with the shoulder strap.  I was thinking I would take advantage of a 20% off coupon to get this version of the tote, because my one complaint about the Madewell Transport Tote that I currently carry is the lack of zipper.  The leather on my tote is so soft now, because I carry it daily as the brown+black combo matches everything.

Sadly, the zip tote's straps were not to my liking, and the smaller size felt like a downgrade from my current tote.  My plan had been to get the zip tote then resell the one I currently carry.  If they made the new tote with pockets in brown+black, I'd buy that in a heartbeat, but they've chosen solid colors there.  Total Goldilocks (or rather, Golditotes) experience.

If anyone has seen a brown+black zip tote somewhere, please let me know!
And don't forget to check out the rest of Fran's budgeting bloggers for September!

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Fifty First Kitchen & Bar

Almost a year ago, my friends MM and MC and I got together to eat at Union Common, where we shared a bunch of plates and had a ball.  Recently, we decided we were long overdue to play this game again, and we picked the new Fifty First Kitchen & Bar in the Nations neighborhood in west Nashville.  Once again, we chose well for our feast.

Quote of the night: "Is it gluttonous if we order one of everything on the menu?"  "Absolutely not."

Fifty First Kitchen & Bar

According to the website, Fifty First is a "seasonally focused neighborhood restaurant with technique rooted in rustic Italian cuisine."  There's ample parking, though I will warn against wearing heels as the lots are gravel/uneven.  There's a large porch, and the inside feels very much like a dark, hip bar set in an old house.  It's intimate and comfortable at the same time, so you'll see people wearing anything from street clothes/jeans to dressy attire.  Very Nashville, I'd say!

You'll have to excuse the poor photo quality; sexy mood lighting and votives are not the best for iPhone snaps!

The menu at Fifty First is printed daily, though I noticed a lot of the items reflect the ones on their website; that said, it wasn't identical, so I applaud the chef for basing the day's menu on what is in season and what's inspired for the day.  We started with charcuterie, selecting the chicken liver pate (served with warm rye bread and an apple-vanilla delicious jam), galantina (spricy pork shoulder), coppa (dry cured pork shoulder), salami finocchiona (dry cured salami with fennel), with the meats served with some green beans and accoutrements.  For cheese, we had the cave aged gouda (raw cow) and mona extra-aged (sheep and cow), served with flatbread and honey.

The charcuterie was amazing.  We had to try every combo... bread + cheese and bread + pate and bread + jam and cheese + jam and cheese + honey and on and on...  YUM.  We had to ask for more rye bread, as there wasn't enough for the pate, and PATE WAS THE BEST.  All caps.  Seriously, we were bowing down to the excellent pate in its superior flavor and smooth texture.  It was amazing.  I want to feed it to my future babies.

We consulted our server before making our next move.  We'd initially decided to order one of everything on the menu, but then the charcuterie menu came and we knew we had to make some cuts.  With her help, we cut the number in half and ordered six of the day's twelve menu items.

To assist with our feast, the server/kitchen staff paced us with a few courses at a time.  We started with the buckwheat sourdough focaccia, served with olio verde and marigold ricotta.  I'm a big bread fan, so I LOVED the pure simplicity of this.  I would eat it every day if I could.

After the focaccia, the grilled octopus arrived, served with romano beans, arugula, and preserved lemon.  We also had the tomato panzanella, with goat feta, watermelon, and moscatel vinaigrette.  Everything was tasty.  Octopus was something new for me, and the taste was mild but good.  The way it was plated, I don't think most people would have realized what it was.  The panzanella was yummy too.

But honestly, these were not the rock stars of the evening, because of what came next...

One of my favorite dishes of the night was the radiatore nero, with rock shrimp, chiles, guanciale, and charred tomato.  The pasta was soooo fresh, and a beautiful black color from the squid ink.  The shrimp were delicious and cute (can I say that and keep my wannabe foodie card?) and the spicy kick to the sauce was on point.  This arrived with the octopus and panzanella, and I honestly couldn't focus on the others because I was obsessed with the radiatore.  Good pick, dear server.  We salute you!

And then there was MEAT.  We ordered the lamb & pork sausage served with field peas, roasted peppers, and vin cotto.

We also had the grilled PRB steak, served with AMAZING lamb fat potatoes, lobster mushrooms, and balsamic.

Um, delicious.  I think the sausage was a clear favorite for the table.  We actually had to wait a little for these courses, because our ticket was misplaced in the kitchen; our server topped off our wine gratis, and the chef brought the food out with apologies.  But the thing is, we didn't even notice the delay!  We were so blissfully enjoying a break in our gluttony, knowing we had more ahead...  but I'll take any excuse to pay our compliments to the chef, because he was really fantastic!  (You're awesome, Tony Galzin. Bravo.)  In fact, our service was pretty amazing the entire time.  We never wanted for anything, the servers cleared the many courses quickly and even brought us lots of fresh silverware throughout the evening, all swiftly and adeptly and without complaint or looks of "are these people still eating... MORE?!"

MM and MC aren't huge on dessert, but I am... so we ordered one:  peach semifreddo with pecan crumble and white peach-thyme compote.  So this dessert didn't knock my socks off like a few of the other dishes, but it was still tasty.  Peaches are about gone for the year so I had to take advantage; the peach and pecan combo was soooo yummy.  I think I would have eaten a bowl of the crumble and compote and then skip the semifreddo itself.  But it was good... I mean, we ate the whole thing if that tells you anything.

The moral of this story?  Eat at Fifty First Kitchen & Bar, before it's impossible to get a reservation.  You don't have to share dishes like we did, as the portions are ample enough that you could split charcuterie and some small bites, then have a couple of individual courses.

That said, splitting a zillion dishes with friends is my new favorite way of eating.  For example, we each had two drinks, and with all the courses and everything, our split came to about $60 each.  (Plates and charcuterie ranged anywhere from $4 to $32... choose your own adventure.)  And while I know that this isn't cheap by any means, did you look at everything we got to try?  See photos above AGAIN.  You can do way worse damage than that in Nashville and get a lot less great food, let me tell you.

Eat all the things, friends.  Eat all the things.

Fifty First Kitchen & Bar Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato
(so new, I had to ask Zomato to add it)
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