A great food day!

Tom and I decided to go to Wilmington for an overnight trip…with plans to go out to eat, of course. Well, on the way there, we decided to stop at Jebby’s on 17 (that I spotted on Yelp)—a bar that was really REALLY good. I had She Crab soup, a fried oyster po’boy, and breaded fries (yes, breaded fries—they’re as decadent as they sound); Tom had the oyster stew, a fried egg/bacon/cheeseburger, and onion rings. All fresh and hand made (even the dressings and dips). We will definitely be back.

Then we got to Wilmington and decided to see if our friends were up for dinner—which they were, so we told them to pick the place. And we ended up at manna which was absolutely AMAZING. It was one of those menus that you didn’t know what half the items were but you knew they’d be delicious. And they soooooo were. I’d go back in a minute. Here’s what we ordered (don’t you love the names?):

  • Bread & Butter—house-made bread with home churned manna butter
  • (Me) Beet Box Salad—roasted beet & goat cheese terrine, field greens, orange supremes, pistachios, red wine, and ginger vinaigrette
  • (Me) Iron Chef: Bobby Filet—seared filet of beef, housemade chorizo, confit of root vegetables, shaved brussels sprouts, sauce of porcini
  • (Tom) Duck, Duck, Roots—confit of root vegetables, candied duck, olive oil, balsamic cardamom reduction, truffled cream, preserved lemon, spiced walnuts
  • (Tom) The Porkshank Redemption—braised & smoked pork shank with chilies, cocoa, ras al hanout, almond & cilantro barlotto

Plus we all got to try each other’s dishes, so I got to try two other apps/salads (including a cheese & local charcuterie course) and three main courses (including lamb and grouper). Plus we all split a chocolate cake dessert.

Total food coma. But soooo worth it. SO WORTH IT.

The bonus? Our friends surprised us and picked up the check…so when we do it next (when both husbands are home from their months away), it will be our treat.

My new color and cut!

Home – Flip

My Yelp Review

To be upfront and honest, I only tried Flip because of their recent Groupon deal. I have a regular salon that is five convenient minutes from my house, but I just couldn’t pass up Flip’s awesome deal–color isn’t cheap, you know, and I’d never do it otherwise. So I drove the 25ish minutes there (rush hour traffic, you know) and luckily found a parking spot close to the salon. I fed the meter with two hours (maximum allotted time) and set off.

I was a bit early, and was welcomed nicely. I took a seat to wait, which only turned out to be enough time to look around, snap a few shots for Yelp, and then Chelsey was calling me back. She was really very nice and offered me a beverage, then asked me a TON of questions about what I wanted, what I liked, what my hair normally does, how I normally style it, what type of products I use, how much time I spend on my hair, etc…and was thrilled I brought my own pictures to show her what I was thinking (from past hairstyles and colors). I was really surprised at all the questions–I’ve never had a stylist ask so many questions before, but it was nice to see she was REALLY paying attention and trying to get a handle on what exactly I wanted to make sure I was satisfied. She actually suggested a bit different highlight colors than I’d had before and explained why, and I definitely agreed.

Score one for Chelsey.

I apologized that my hair was a little greasy–I’d straightened it that week and it always lasts at least 3-4 days, but since I knew I was coming to the salon, I pushed it to six days, but it was definitely past its prime. So imagine my surprise when she said it was actually GOOD that it was a little oily, because it would help during the coloring, as the oil provided more of a barrier and my hair wouldn’t dry out as much. Interesting. And definitely an interesting tip I’d never heard before.

Score two for Chelsey.

Now, admittedly, I’m not much of a small-talk person, so salon visits always make me a little anxious. You never know if the stylist is going to talk your ear off or if you’re going to sit there in silent awkwardness the entire time…but Chelsey was awesome. Nothing ever felt strained and I felt relaxed the entire time–the snippets of conversation here and there felt extremely natural and never forced.

Score three for Chelsey.

She worked consistently and quickly and I just sat and relaxed, not even reading a magazine or playing on my phone–it was nice to just be out of the house and not. have. to. do. anything. but. sit. there. (I’m a SAHM so getting out of the house ALONE is great on its own. Being pampered is another level of excitement.)

So there was highlighting and sitting under the dryer and washing and conditioning then adding toner then sitting under the dryer again. By the time we were ready for the haircut, I’d actually been there almost 2.5 hours–and I suddenly freaked out that my meter had run out and I was probably going to get a ticket. I asked Chelsey if the parking police were bad and she said yeah, pretty much–then OFFERED TO GO FEED THE METER FOR ME!! Wait, what? SHE was going to run out herself? Whoa. She even said she’d grab quarters if I needed them, but I had change in my pocket. But, seriously, WHOA. That is service.

Score four for Chelsey.

I was getting a little nervous because it was nearing 9:00 (closing time) and we were really no where near being done–she was still cutting my hair, and it still had to be blown out straight (and I have a thick head of hair). I made some comment to that effect, and she said if I wasn’t in a hurry, she wasn’t either. Awesome. I mean, I didn’t really expect her to cut me off mid-cut or mid-blow dry at 9 on the dot, but I was a little worried that she might rush through it and not do as good of a job. I should not have worried AT ALL. She continued to do an amazingly thorough job, and she was finishing up about 9:45! And it was GORGEOUS. Great color, great shine, and full of movement! It was one of THE best haircuts (and colors) I’ve EVER had. And you could tell she was honestly thrilled that I was thrilled.

Score five for Chelsey.

Checkout was a snap and just took moments. (Note, you CANNOT put tips on your credit card…so it was a good thing I had a stash of emergency cash in my wallet.) I also had no problems using my Groupon coupon from my iPhone (I didn’t print anything out). It was a good deal, too–I don’t get color a lot, but from prices I have seen elsewhere, it didn’t seem terribly expensive (especially for the level of service received).

Overall, I had a really great experience from start to finish, and I am so glad I tried this salon…and Chelsey was amazing. Flip definitely gets five solid stars.

Date night at The Capital Grille

Tom and I wanted to celebrate two things: the rental of our house and the birth of our baby…and we wanted to celebrate in style. We had thought about going to Ruths Chris or Morton’s, but Tivo friends recommended another steak place, The Capital Grille, instead—so that’s where we went. Dad and Linda were here so they babysat while we went to dinner. What follows is the online review I wrote for our experience.

This is what 5-star dining is all about.

We went here for our celebratory “we just had our first baby and this is our first night out alone dinner” and it could not have been better!

Our night started with valet parking (why not?). We entered and the Maître d’ took our coats and seated us. Our waitress greeted us by name and spent quite a bit of time explaining the wine list and the menu (since we had never been there before). We probably could have saved her some time by saying we weren’t interested in any wine, but she was very nice and knowledgeable and it was interesting to hear everything. She then left us alone to agonize over all the delicious menu items.

When she came back to take our order, she also brought over a tiny shaker of their signature drink, the Stolli Doli (sp?), a pineapple-infused vodka, to try and tempt us into a real drink. We just enjoyed the delicious sample.

The appetizers came out very quickly and I was impressed. (I had for some unknown reason imagined that the food would take longer.) I had ordered the calamari (on the waitresses recommendation) and hubby ordered the lobster and crab cakes. We could have made do with just one of the orders, as the calamari was enough for probably four people! One neat thing was that the waitress had stopped by and asked if we wanted her to split/serve the appetizers—putting them on separate plates if we were going to share. We said sure! So when she delivered them, we each had two plates. Very cool. The calamari was a bit spicy but not too bad, and it was very good. I highly recommend those. The lobster and crab cakes were good, but I think I enjoyed the calamari more. (It was so good, we dove in and ate most of it before remembering to take a picture.)

It was about this time that I mentioned why we were there celebrating…and the waitress got very excited! Turns out she was pregnant and loved kids and wanted to hear more about us and our baby, then said she’d have a surprise for us. She came back with two glasses of wine! Then she asked if we had a baby scrapbook and we said yes, so she asked if she could take our picture. We said sure, thinking she would email it to us or something. But she said she would print it out and give it to us! She was back within a few minutes with the picture printed and placed in a Capital Grille cardboard matte. Wow! She also took a picture with our camera (when she noticed it on the table).

The next course was french onion soup, which came out in a crock about the size of your head. And it was absolutely, hands down, the best french onion soup we’ve ever had. It was AMAZING. Unfortunately, we didn’t eat much of it since we figured that would do well reheating at home…and we knew we still had huge steaks coming! Before we could even think twice, it was boxed up and brought to our table in a bag.

Then, the steaks and sides. Wow, the steaks. I had ordered the Filet Oscar and wow, was it buttery. Cooked perfectly medium rare. The bearnaise was smooth and delicious, and the crab–oh, the crab! I have never seen such huge lumps of crabmeat on Oscar-anything, anywhere.

Hubby’s Porcini Rubbed Delmonico was also to-die-for. Sweet and savory, buttery, cooked perfectly rare. He barely made a dent in it, unfortunately, with all the food we’d already eaten plus the sides.

Oh, yes, the sides. The waitress had told us that all the sides were family style (and large portions) so if we wanted, she could do half portions. So we chose to do a half order each of lobster mac and cheese and augratin potatoes? The mac and cheese was so creamy and cheesy and filled with HUGE lobster chunks… I would definitely order that again. The AuGratin potatoes were good, too – but with all the other buttery cheesy food, I think some of the taste was lost on me. We took home leftovers of it all (except my filet, which hubby helped me finish).

Then, another on-the-house celebration surprise! Ricotta cheescake with a creme brulee topping and fresh fruit that was soooooo good. Wow was it good. Hubby, who doesn’t even really like cheesecake, liked it! I would definitely order that one again, as well.

Our waitress gave us her card and said to make sure we ask for her if and when we come in again…and she would love an update on our new baby!

So, overall, 5 stars for the atmosphere, 5 stars for the service, and 5 stars for the food. We just wish it wasn’t quite so expensive so we could go back more often!