Apr 072014
 

Sunday was a mixed bag. The not so fun part was having to take all the animals to the vet. It was for their annual exam but the cats were going to be under anesthesia for their teeth cleaning. It’s important, especially for Maya because she had to have two tooth removed a few years ago, but it still makes me nervous!

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It was weird not having the pets in the house. It felt very empty without them. Bella did well and got a bandana from the vet when we picked her up. I think it was the equivalent of getting a lollipop from the doctor’s office. Bella wasn’t a fan of the bandana and kept trying to bite it to get it off.

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I was so glad when all the beasts were back home! Everyone had a good checkup. Fat Kitty has actually lost about a pound since his last visit. I don’t know if that is due to running away from Bella or the new “interactive” feeder I got the cats that is supposed to slow them down and make them eat less. Either way, I am happy that everyone is healthy!

After all the pet stuff was done, I took Michael out for dinner for his birthday! We went to Iorio. Partly because I had a Groupon for it and partly because it’s one of our favorite restaurants. Great service and great food every time. I goofed and didn’t make reservations and when I tried, they were all booked up for days! :( Thankfully, we still got in. We went early (they’d just opened up for the night) and were able to snag some spots at the bar.

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The bar seating was nice and not too bad. There was a lot of space and it still felt intimate. We were also right by the live entertainment. There was a guy there playing flamenco guitar and he sounded fantastic! Michael remarked that he was a really good guitarist (and Michael would know). Look at the birthday boy being goofy:

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So we dined at 5:30pm with the other blue hairs. Exciting life, eh? Anyways. One of the things I like about Iorio is that have a LOT of gluten free options. Most of their pasta can be made gluten free and they have GF beer options, too. I got a glass of a a Sangiovese-Cab blend that was sweet and smooth and Michael got a gluten free beer. We skipped the appetizers because both of us had a large lunch.

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Michael ordered the hand-made pasta with spicy meatballs. He said the dish was delicious, but the meatballs weren’t spicy. He also tried to figure out what the spice/herb was in the dish he couldn’t place. He thought maybe it was mint. I had a bite and agreed, the meatballs weren’t spicy but they tasted great. I tasted a hint of lemon zest in his dish.

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I struggled with deciding what dish to get. At first I was going to get their soup of the day — butternut squash bisque topped with candied walnuts. It sounded divine!!! I love butternut squash bisque! But in the end, they won me over with their Ravioli of the Day. I think it’s what I get every time we go there because it always sounds good. This time it was filled with braised short rib meat and caramelized onions. It was topped with a marinara sauce, lots of fresh parsley and basil and pecorino cheese on top. My dinner was outstanding! I ate very single bite and didn’t regret it at all (ok, maybe a teeny tiny bit later when my pants felt a little tight).

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Michael and I shared a dessert. Flourless chocolate cake topped with vanilla ice cream, crunchy chocolate sauce, raspberry sauce and fresh blackberries. It was magnificent.  Small enough not to overpower but also small enough to make you wish you’d ordered two. I was glad we’d split it. It was very rich—melting into a pool of chocolate sauce when you forked into the center of it. Like molten lava chocolate. Mmmm so good!

I’m so thankful that I met Michael 6 years ago (has it really been that long?!?!) and that in a few months we’ll be married. I can’t wait to celebrate many more birthdays together. :) Okay, enough gooey stuff. We left the restaurant full of good food and chocolate and it was still light out. Yep, we were done with dinner by 6:45. Man, when did we get so old? Back home to let Bella out and then we just chilled for a bit. I think we might go see a movie tonight for Michael’s official birthday.

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Jan 222014
 

On my actual birthday, Sunday, we got up and went to breakfast first at The Wildflower Grill. Ironically it was on our list to good restaurants to try and we discovered that as part of the Groupon deal we got a voucher for breakfast there! It was pretty crowded when we got there but didn’t have to wait too long for a table. I was slightly disappointed that we got a table in the front restaurant as opposed to the enclosed patio overlooking the trees and a creek–but I was hungry and not gonna complain!

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I splurged and got the French Toast. Yes, it was as big as it looks in that picture. There were six slices of thick, airy, fluffy pieces of bread dusted with powdered sugar. I ate about three of them and called it good. Man was I stuffed! Totally worth the splurge, though. (I ended up skipping lunch, too.) The service was good even though they were all harried and busy and the prices were about average. Some dishes were on the high side ($15) but my French Toast was humongous and only $8. 

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After breakfast we went on a short hike at Cascade Head Trail. It was longer than what we wanted to do so we just did about 2.28 miles total. (We’d tried to go on a hike around Devil’s Lake but couldn’t find the trailhead so we tried plan B.)

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The trail was was pretty steep in the beginning and definitely got my heart pounding. We hiked through old growth forest on a very quiet, serene trail.

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There were very old trees covered in dripping moss, ferns and mushrooms. The trail itself was very soft, covered in pine needles. We wandered around, winding through the woods and passed by several brooks. Bella did pretty well on the hike. Her paws seemed to be ok.

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We didn’t see a single soul on the trail while we were out. It was kind of nice to just meander along in the woods. We stopped for water and then turned around to go back. It was still pretty steep up and down (how was it uphill both ways??) and honestly the last 1/2 mile or so was a little TOO steep for me and my creaky knees.

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It would have been nice to be able to do the whole hike because there’s supposed to be some amazing views of the ocean at the end but it just wasn’t gonna happen. Besides, we had some amazing ocean views from our hotel room. Like this one:

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Hahaha! Anyways, a decent number for a short hike:

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We went back to the beach and did another little short walk so Bella could get her sand-fix. She did the same thing she did the first day–rolling around like a crazy dog. After the beach we cleaned up and then went back to the casino to kill an hour or so before our dinner reservations. I got lucky again! I ended up quadrupling my money this time. Which was a super awesome birthday gift if I do say so myself….

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Our dinner reservations were for the Inn at Spanish Head. The hotel is perched up on a cliffside overlooking the ocean and the restaurant is on the top floor. It had amazing views. We got lucky and got to see the last part of the sunset before it got too dark. Our table was nice and quiet, right next to a window. It was pretty early for dinner (like 5:30) but we were tired and hungry so we got there early. We shared the crab and artichoke dip appetizer. It was pretty good, but then I usually love any kind of dip. ;)

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I had the seared scallops with mashed potatoes and vegetables. A green salad came out first. The salad was really good–the greens were super fresh and delicious. I loved my scallops. They were cooked in a leek, pancetta, white cream sauce (so good) and had steamed broccolini with it. The mashed potatoes were just ok. I’ve definitely had better. They were pretty dry.

Robyn's Birthday

Michael got the steak and mashed potatoes. He loved his steak and the port sauce it had on it. Even though I don’t like mushrooms, I felt like the sauce needed them. So that was one thing they could have improved on. Overall we both enjoyed our dinners and thought it tasted good–even though it had room for improvement in some areas.

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One thing that kind of irked me was the wine menu. The only wine they served by the glass was their own label–Spanish Head wine–I had a sample of two different kinds of their white wines and didn’t like either of them. They weren’t good and I was kind of annoyed that I couldn’t have a different label wine unless I ordered a bottle. So I had a vodka tonic instead.

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I kind of wanted some key lime pie for dessert but neither of us had ANY room for more food. We went back to the room to chill out. Bella passed out on the bed between us, snoring. She was tuckered out from the hike and the beach! I’ve never seen her that tired before. Poor thing. She slept all night without making a peep. The next morning we went for one final walk on the beach.

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Of course our last day there was the warmest (no jacket needed)! Our walk on the beach was a short one and I grabbed breakfast to go on our way out of town. We stopped at Pirate Coffee Company. What a cute place. I got an English Toffee latte (it was great) and probably the best bagel I’ve ever had (I think it was homemade). I also got a souvenir–a new food dish for Bella.

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It was such a good trip. I hadn’t realized just how desperately I had needed to get out of town and kind of decompress. It was amazing watching Bella experience the beach for the first time. I got some pretty cute video of her. I’m happy that she loved it and we’re going to try and go back again soon.

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