A Very Merry Christmas Indeed

Wow, what a busy few weeks it has been. I’ve been working nearly 30-35 hours a week for the past few weeks and while I love the paycheck, the time off for the holidays has been a welcome rest. On Monday, Benjamin and I celebrated our first “anniversary” of dating and after work I was whisked away to a surprise night in San Diego. He had planned a sweet date of dinner and ice skating for us. We walked around Horton Plaza and then headed to the Gaslamp district to find a restaurant for dinner. We perused the streets and browsed a few menus before I found what exactly what I didn’t know I was looking for. Fries. Not just any fries though. I was immediately sold on this swanky little place that had duck fat fries. Since first trying them at a Restaurant in Denver, Colorado I’ve been hooked. Unfortunately, the steep entree prices of $30+ wasn’t quite what we were looking for. Too expensive! Benjamin said. But, they have duck fat fries here! Viktoria said. So, we headed to Yelp in an effort to find another restaurant that also served duck fat fries. Our search ended us at a sports bar called BarleyMash. We didn’t quite realize it until we sat down to check out the entire menu, which we quickly glanced over before entering, but they do in fact not serve duck fat fries. Little did we know, we were in for a treat! The waitress explained that everything on the menu is organic or locally grown and freshly prepared. Being the foodies that we are we couldn’t make up our minds and ordered two entrees to split between the two of us. I like to say we but really it was just my indeciveness. Luckily, Benjamin is an easy man to please when it comes to food so I was able to talk him into it. And really, what guy doesn’t want to be talked into gooey mac and cheese topped with bacon and ranch, and a delightfully greasy cheeseburger on a beer-battered bun with fries. I know it sounds like the furthest thing from romantic but we had such a blast and the food was out of this world!!! I absolutely can’t wait to go back. The best part? Even with his beer our bill was just over $30. Granted the football game was a little bit distracting but man, you’d easily pay double what we paid for that kind of deliciousness in a fancier setting. We explored the area a little bit more and planned to head back to the ice skating rink. By the time we got there we were both so stuffed and tired that we ended up being lazy bums and going home. We do, however, plan to make that up soon!

The next day, Tuesday, was Christmas Eve which is when my family and I celebrate Christmas. In the morning we made a quick stop at Benjamin’s family friends Gene and Beth (the ones that joined us for his swearing in here) to wish them a Merry Christmas. Afterwards, we scoured a few grocery stores to find two Julian pies that we were bringing to my parents house for dessert. We were smart to bring two because they didn’t last more than 24 hours. It was a whirlwind of opening gifts before we finally settled down for dinner. Everyone seemed so pleased with all of their gifts, especially the dog who was literally jumping up and down for joy with his new squeaky toys. Our Christmas tradition is to have fondue for dinner so that’s exactly what we did. The cheese fondue was quickly devoured followed by a simple broth fondue for meat. I do have to say that the leftover soup, which I had for dinner tonight, was one of the best I’ve ever had. By “cooking” all of the raw meat in the broth the night before it takes on the most intense flavor. I’m a little ashamed to admit that even after all of that we still had apple pie. I enjoyed every last drop. I think we all enjoyed just hanging out for the rest of the night before Benjamin and I were up again to take him to the airport at 5 am. He went to visit his parents for Christmas and unfortunately I wasn’t able to because of work but we are hoping we can both make it there next year. We relaxed and hung out for most of today before ending the evening watching the movie The Help. I sat cuddled up in my new fuzzy blanket drinking hot tea (mixed with a quarter cup of freshly squeezed orange juice and some honey, yum!) before heading off to bed. It may not seem like much but its those little moments when everything ordinary becomes exactly what makes you happy in life… the little bits.

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