Life of Late ~ 7.8.16

Well it looks like I have jinxed myself believing that we could get through a summer without humidity.  Mother Nature is probably laughing and thinking “as if”.  I’m talking it is SO HUMID.  I have beads of sweat dripping down my forehead the minute I walk outside and those spur of the moment thunderstorms make for a lovely walk home. Nothing like an east coast summer, right?

My plans of late have been organized anywhere from 2 to 24 hours before hand, which is quite different than growing up where we had everything planned out to the hour.  Each method has its positives and negatives but I’ve had to rely on more  “fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants” schedules here in the city.  I figure there are so many people coming and going, so many people asking each other plans so they can figure out what best suits their interests and schedules, and hey, if no one else wants to go somewhere I can do it on my own.  #independence.

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^^ Hometown BBQ with some friends.  We arrived to the Brooklyn joint around 4pm, which was perfect since I needed all those hours following the meal to digest.  Surprisingly there were quite a few parties already eating so they must have had the three day weekend BBQ plan in mind as well.  Looking back, I definitely give the cornbread, brisket, and potato salad two thumbs up.  The mac and cheese was solid but nothing seems to beat the Whole Foods spread.

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^^ Fast forward to Saturday morning after consuming a whole lot of water and TUMS, I met up with some November Project friends to go hiking.  I plan on doing a photo dump later this week since it was a neat experience.  But the soup to nuts version is that we took a train up to Tuxedo, finagled our way to a lake somehow, logged over 8 miles, and were back in the city by 5:30.  To think that I usually sit at my desk for that long…

^^ Another foodie adventure to Lil Frankies where an empty stomach and wallet of cash is necessary.  It’s actually not too pricey  but it is cash only.  You MUST get the burrata and lemon pasta.

When I’m home in a few weeks, I am thinking that some ice cream will be in order (when is it not?)  I would love to check off one or two of the top places to get ice cream in Los Angeles and having already been to Milk, it’s looking like Salt & Straw or Paradis in Montrose.  I’m 99% sure this location is actually related to the Paradis in Copenhagen!

November Project ~ “You’re more than what you do, you’re how you treat people” >> Another transition in leadership in the SF tribe with a so-long post, definitely worth shedding tears over.   To those thinking that they need to find some meaning in their job, their day to day, or whatever it may be – read this.  It’s just yet another reminder that we are multi-faceted human beings and are defined by so much more than our jobs.

Great Big Story ~ How cool would it be to work for something that produces this content?  Anyways, there was a short about Bodie, “The Ghost Town that Time Forgot“.  My parents took us on a short visit one time because it’s located right near our favorite mountain spot – Mammoth Mountain, snug in the Sierra Nevadas.  It also happens to be the namesake of our dog Bodie!  Take a look – the clip is less than 2 minutes long.

Currently Watching >> Whatever I can find on television that catches my attention.  Once I worked my way through ‘Grace and Frankie‘, it was onto ‘Orange is the New Black‘ (OMG…this season), and then … crickets.  Similarly to reading, it takes me awhile to find a show or novel that catches hold.  Once I do find something that I love, I’m hooked and terribly disappointed when it is over.   Other shows and documentaries include:

  • ‘Fed Up’
  • ‘Forks over Knives’
  • CNN’s ‘The Sixties’
  • ‘Uncle Buck’
  • ‘Seinfeld’

I’ve tried to get into older series like ‘The Twilight Zone’, the original ‘Star Trek’, Hulu’s 11.22.63, and even ‘Scandal’ but those are still sitting in my queue.

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^^ Last Sunday’s bRUNch! After five or so miles in the heat, I was ready for some ice cream or rather three full lemonades and then ice cream.

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On the actual fourth of July, I took a slow jog over the Brooklyn Bridge to meet my friend Jackie for a strength class of epic proportion.  It kicked our a$$ that’s for sure.

After a brunch at Le Pain, I made my way to the west side to hang out with friends, play the game Codenames, and earn a nice little sports bra tan-line.  That will be oh so attractive in my bridesmaid dress later this summer.  Although who knows how bad it’ll be by the end of the summer, so I’ll probably have to find some good spray tanner.

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^^ That evening I got together with a couple of different friends and we had a summer salad soiree. Between Annelise’s adult fruit salad, Melissa’s divine deviled eggs and my Greek salad, we were set!  Of course there were a few other items to make for quite a potluck spread for the three of us.  Our thought was to snack until the fireworks went off around 9:30 but of course we had consumed everything by 7:45 and the rain started to pour down around 8:45.

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^^ This is the FDR, which is NEVER this clear.  Not even at 11pm when I’m in an uber back from the airport.  Nope.

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^^ Despite the semi-surprise rain shower (it was supposed to rain at 11pm, not 9pm), we hopped back into Annelise’s apartment and then back out in time to see the Macy’s spectacular.  Successful check off the bucket list!

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Sweet Brooklyn Treat ~ Ample Hills Creamery

Summer may have officially ended a month ago but there is always time for ice cream, right?  While we might be heading towards boots and scarves weather, my family is still sweltering in the Southern California heat, and I am always thinking about ice cream (not really. maybe. ok guilty).  Also, someone said it’s national dessert day, so obviously this post was meant to be.

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Ample Hills Creamery
~ About ~ Locations ~ Flavors ~ Parties ~ Cakes ~

Gowanus
305 Nevins St.
Brooklyn, NY 11215
Sun – Thurs: Noon to 11pm
Fri & Sat: 12-Midnight

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Ample Hills was first started by a couple back in 2011, in hopes of bringing people together by the power of ice cream.  That sounds like a wonderful plan, doesn’t it?  In typical Brooklyn fashion, the flavors were quirky, outrageous, and creative.  Sure, Ben & Jerry’s have done their own business creating wacky and unique combinations, but there’s something so fascinating and enticing about Salted Crack Caramel (a salted caramel ice cream with pieces of chocolate covered buttered crackers), Peppermint Pattie (cool peppermint ice cream with homemade peppermint patties), and Sweet As Honey (homemade honeycomb candy in a sweet cream base).

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Not only that, but all of the ice cream and a majority of the toppings and mix-ins are made from ingredients right there in Brooklyn!  Man, I need to leave Manhattan more often (something that is said very very rarely).

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This author knows what’s up – ice cream is always better eaten with company.  My grandpa used to take us out to this soda fountain/diner in Pasadena and I’m pretty sure I recall having a banana split there one time.  One day I’ll discover another excellent banana split location.

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The “It Came From Gowanus” creation (salted dark chocolate ice cream with hazelnut crack cookies topped with white chocolate pearls and orange-scented brownies) + “Salted Crack Caramel”

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Of course, there are pre-packaged pints if you are more inclined to pick up your sweet treat at home.  You do miss out on the rooftop (Gowanus location) but this could also be clutch for those picnics in the park or in your pajamas.

IMG_2487And if you just so happen to be allergic to lactose products?  No worries!  Ample Hills to the rescue!  Though, I’m not so sure I would bank on that every time.

After perusing the website a bit, I found the link for cakes and may very well order one for my 25th birthday extravaganza.  No, I don’t really know how to celebrate my upcoming quarter-life crisis but knowing me, I’ll probably sign up for a half marathon or something around that weekend.  Running + ice cream pretty much sounds like a dream come true.  Add in some beach or a mountain afternoon and I’m one happy camper.

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“Without ice cream, there would be darkness and chaos”

Sweet Southern Eats ~ Charleston Edition

A trip to the south – or anywhere for that matter – is not complete without a list of eats.  We were only in Charleston for a short time, just under three days, and I think we did a fine job of making our way around town.

Starting with breakfast/brunch, we decided to hit up Butcher & Bee, a top recommendation and one which is located off one of the main roads and in the back of a parking lot.  Sure, sounds normal to those folks in L.A. or in the suburbs, but strange for someone who has been absorbed in the New York lifestyle for some time.

IMG_7837 IMG_7825 Options, options, options.  Most of them were along the lunch and dinner realm, but we made it work with some huevos rancheros and epic french toast.

IMG_7831  ^^ Like I said on Monday, when you find yourself in the south, ask for everything on top of a biscuit.  Duh.

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 A food blogger in her natural habitat.  😉  She is queen of the San Francisco eats and has lots of fun explorations if find yourself in sunny (cloudy?) San Fran.

IMG_7833 Of course Gaia’s french toast was the real winner on presentation.  A gooey selection of Challah bread dipped in something sweet, toasted to perfection, and topped with berries and granola. Mmmmm, sugar coma come save me.

Butcher & Bee
654 King St, Charleston, SC 29403
(843) 619-0202

IMG_7835Now if you are looking for something a little more casual or maybe caffeinated, I recommend stopping into The Daily (by Butcher & Bee).  We ended up here post breakfast for just that – coffee and juice, and I would certainly have gone back there the next two days if it wasn’t in the opposite direction of our adventures. Oh and the whole “must try new things” idea.

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IMG_7822Lovely pre-packaged items ready to devour.  Like I said, if I lived here full time and had the ability to spend $$$, I would be here all day every day.

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Yes kind sir I am taking a picture of my beverages (split with Laura).  No judgement.  We’ve got Green Lemonade on the left (kale, spinach, cucumber, green apple, lemon, ginger – BEST JUICE EVER) and Iced Almond Milk Latte on the right (BEST ALMOND MILK LATTE EVER).  Just throwing that out there.

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On the first day, we ended up eating breakfast at such a late hour, that there really was no need to stop again for lunch and instead, we spent the day walking and then snacking on various coffee drinks and glorious King Street Cookies.  They even had a milk bar for you to fill up and pair alongside your one, two, or more sweet treats.  I went for more of the chocolate selection while Lindsay had strawberry and lemon and Laura stuck to a snicker-doodle and molasses.

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King Street Cookies
370 King Street, Charleston, SC 29401

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We may not have eaten lunch on day one, but we sure found ourselves in line for BBQ on day two.  The original plan had been to wander through a plantation and then end up at Sullivan’s Island or Isle of the Palms for some much needed beach time.  Well, Mother Nature had different ideas and with a never-ending rainstorm in our midst, we settled in for a nice drink and southern spread.

IMG_2214IMG_7927 Lindsay found the most adorable old-fashioned bar where they make affordable classic cocktails and play black and white movies on the wall.  I decided to go outside my comfort zone and order something with gin and pineapple.  The thinking was “maybe the pineapple will help my legs recover from all that walking, right?”  Good thinking.

Next up dinner, but that went un-pictured by yours truly.  I swear it was delicious, I just decided to live in the moment.

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Husk is yet another wonderful dining option – one that requires a reservation well in advance.  We didn’t think that one through either and couldn’t really show up and ask for a table for 5.  But maybe you can check it out for us!

Husk
76 Queen St, Charleston, SC 29401

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Next step.  Find a suitable dessert option to end the night.

We all know the book, If You Give a Mouse a Cookie, but I think there needs to be a book, If You Give Kaitlin a Scoop of Ice Cream (she will love you forever).  But then again, maybe we shouldn’t.  In the end I will say hands down, ice cream is the best creation and certainly the best dessert.  I also think now that Jeni’s has their stuff together, they are churning out some fine flavors.

IMG_2257 Because ending the day, weekend, trip, and summer with another scoop of ice cream is the right decision. (same place, different night)  Really, the diet starts tomorrow.

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A Day in Baltimore

Happy Monday or happy summer to those who are on vacation!  #jealous.  Well, as mentioned on Friday, I was able to kick off my weekend with a summer Friday and quick trip down to Baltimore.  After taking a later Bolt Bus on Thursday night, I arrived around 10:15pm where Sarah was kind enough to pick me up 🙂  Both of us crashed and woke up around 6 to run over to the November Project Baltimore.

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I have to say, it was one helluva workout.  Sometimes Friday workouts can be somewhat short and uneventful but ours was not.  In total Sarah and I ran 7 miles, 4 hills, and added in a whole bunch of pushups/squats (whichever set of cards we drew).  She’s a doll and is going to get my passport shirt tagged for me 🙂

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^^ Can you believe the views?

After jogging home, Sarah got ready for work and I was on my own for breakfast.  I have to say, it was quite nice to just sit and enjoy breakfast – no obligations to go anywhere, see anything, or really move.  Sure, I could have done that at home, but I always feel the need to keep moving and accomplish something else in the city.  Overachiever?  Maybe.  No shame in that, right?  That or I need to take a chill pill.

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IMG_1573^^ Torn between two of the coffee joints nearby, I decided to get an egg bagel sandwich from one and cold brew coffee from another.  While not really a huge bagel fan, this everything bagel wasn’t half bad.  But it had a ways to go to meet New York standards 😉

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More of the morning was spent reading various newspapers that I had brought along, thumbing through the latest Runner’s World magazine, and attempting to read Christopher McDougall’s follow-up, “Natural Born Heroes”.  Doe anyone else have trouble concentrating when they read?  Maybe I haven’t spent enough time immersing myself, but I’m struggling to follow the plot.  Hopefully it picks up or I’ll have to start from scratch in attempts to understand what is going on.

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^^ Lunch at a local sandwich + salad shop (harvest salad + falafel)

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^^ Picture taken because the dog is adorable.  I will do anything for labs.

As you can see, a majority of my free time is spent running, eating, wandering, and spending money.  Yes, there are certainly tons of fun free things to do in the city and in any city (Time Out New York will tell you so), but it’s also fun to eat out once in awhile and travel.  So there, #worktospend.

Once Sarah got out of work, we wandered along the water and the stores, checking out Lululemon and wandering through Whole Foods.  My sister, the best saver I know, would be proud to know that I did not spend anything in Lululemon.  I held back but did end up walking out of City Sports with a pair of Birkenstocks.  I reason that they were 1) on sale because City Sports was going out of business and 2) obviously a necessity for my plantar fasciitis.  Runners need supportive footwear, so swipe goes the card.

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After a little bit of chill time at the apartment, it was off to dinner where we both inhaled our burgers.  It must have been the tough morning run because I was practically ravenous all day long.

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^^ Alexander’s Tavern Maryland burger with crab dip, cheddar/jack cheese, and sweet potato tater-tots.  I’ve been skimping on my protein intake lately, so a good ‘ol burger hit the spot.  Then, since I was in Maryland, home to the crab-obsessed citizens, I had to get that on top as well.  Outcome?  So worth it.

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The trip was finally made complete with a trip to Kilwin’s Ice Cream. I have seen Sarah post about this place for ages and well, may have been the basis of this trip.  That and of course to have some girl time with Sarah and work out with a new tribe.

IMG_1600 ^^ Quite possibly the most enormous single scoop of ice cream (and maybe one of the most delicious) I have seen in my life.  It’s certainly not something that I can afford (price or calorie wise) all the time but that scoop of marshmallow topped with sprinkles was a must.  #balance

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^^ Post-food-coma walk around the harbor

Always a blast to see Sarah and chit-chat the day away.  Loved running around and checking out a new tribe, hanging out by the water with few obligations, and one can’t forget the epic ice cream cone.

“The thing always happens that you really believe in; and the belief in a thing makes it happen.” – Frank Lloyd Wright

Burgers and Ice Cream in Old Town, Pasadena

We Californians like to say that everything is located about 15-20 minutes away (not factoring in this little thing called traffic) but it just so happens that Old Town, Pasadena truly is just 15 minutes down the road.  Old Town is usually the spot to hang out and catch up with friends.  Sometimes my mom, sister, and I go shopping, grab a bite to eat, or hang out during the New Year’s parade on Colorado Boulevard.

I practically grew up in Pasadena, yet there are a number of historical or iconic buildings and locations that I never really knew much about.  Take Old Town for example.  Apprently it is the original commercial center of Pasadena and was named the “Athens of the West”.  It plays host to Caltech, JPL, the Pasadena Museum of Modern Art, and the Norton Simon Museum.  (Note: if you ever watch the Rose Parade, make sure to look out for the giant rose that is displayed on the main wall of the Norton Simon Museum like below)

Now that I live in New York, I don’t have the opportunity to visit Old Town as much.  When I do go, I’m astounded at its transformation.  Just over the last few years, Pasadena has re-arranged some of the businesses, removed some stores and added countless others.  There used to be a time, probably about 10+ years ago, when Old Town was only popular for its movie theatre and a small, but cozy restaurant called Barney’s.  Sadly enough, both are now gone, but Pasadena has done a wonderful job revamping the block and it makes for a wonderful afternoon or evening of window shopping.

There are plenty of parking garages that offer 90 minutes free but if you aren’t in the mood to battle other drivers, try taking the light rail.  Pasadena is connected to Downtown Los Angeles via the Metro Gold Line (Los Angeles’s attempt at public transportation).

When I was home over the holidays, Meghan and I managed to squeeze in a night on the town with a couple of our college friends.  We decided to dine out at Umami Burger, a semi-gourmet burger joint with funky combinations such as braised short rib and truffled aioli or sprouts and a turkey patty.  They even had jumped onto the pumpkin train and offered a beef blend with pumpkin pie spiced mascarpone, tempura Japanese kabocha, roasted garlic aioli, and a coffee infused molasses drizzle.

I’ve picked up a habit of bombarding the waiter/waitress/cashier with questions about the specials and their favorite flavors. It may be annoying but hey, they tend to know what’s up and I never really regret my selection.

DINNER TIME @ UMAMI BURGER
49 East Colorado Boulevard, Pasadena, CA 91105

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Got to love the thematic drinks. For those who aren’t familiar with Old Town, it’s located right above the Rose Bowl, in one of the many hearts of Pasadena.

Meghan and I divided and conquered the menu with a Greenbird (Turkey patty, crushed avocado, green cheese, butter lettuce, sprouts, green goddess) and Manly Burger (Beer-cheddar, bacon lardons, smoked-salt onion strings, Umami house ketchup, mustard spread).

We also decided to skip out on the fries, simply because we HAD to check out this new ice cream shop that makes the ice cream right in front of you! Now, while I try to eat healthy 99% of the time, I sure have a mean sweet tooth. I think it’s this sweet tooth that gets the best of my healthy habits.

Ice Cream Lab
16 S Fair Oaks Ave
~ Locations ~ Menu ~ About ~

First opened in Beverly Hills, this ice cream phenomenon has come to be known as “Liqued Nitrogen Ice Cream”.  This is due to the fact that they pretty much use liquid nitrogen right in front of you to instantly freeze various ingredients into ice cream.

I have seen my fair share of cupcakeries and frozen yogurt joints (including the Southern California famous 21 Choices), and I have to say, the Ice Cream Lab has taken it to a whole new level.  The menu may be small, but the fresh and natural ingredients remove the need for artificial coloring or preservatives that are normally used in ice cream.   Not to mention, the fact that it is made right in front of you, guarantees a fresher and more flavorful treat.

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Meghan went for a salted caramel pretzel combination while I went with the cashier’s recommendation of banilla. Outcome? BEST.ICE CREAM.EVER. The combination of vanilla with the fresh banana and extra crunch of nilla wafers was pure bliss. I just was a bit bummed that I wasn’t able to make it back before my return to NYC.

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Additional Favorites

~ Umami Burger Pita Jungle21 Choices ** needs a post of its own ~ Le Pain Quitoden ~ The Ice Cream LabJake’s Billiards (I have yet to go but my cousins love it!) ~ Barney’s Beanery ~

Fall Eating Fun

Well what do you know?  It’s October 1st.  Let the foodie partay commence.

BREAKFASTS

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When I’m not throwing together a hodge-podge of oats + nut butter + banana, it’s off to smoothie bowls and yogurt cups, all topped with any granola I can get my hands on.

IMG_6478Coffee all day every day.  I’ve tried to be better about brewing my own cold brew at home or sticking with the cheap basic sort in the office.  But, every now and then a little treat is necessary, especially when it’s so-called National Coffee Day.  If you insist 🙂

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My first time trying Dannon Greek and I have to say, I was quite a fan.  Plus the chocolate + cherry was a little bit like dessert (or so I like to tell myself…it will work eventually)

LUNCH TIME

Probably my least favorite meal of the day, mostly because I hate feeling sluggish or tired at work in the afternoon.  I try to bring lunches from home, packing in the veggies or grilled chicken breasts.  Let’s just say it’s less than exciting here.

IMG_6396Oktoberfest in Madison, Connecticut

IMG_6458The one and only special sauce made by a friend’s mom.  Apparently it’s a Sunday tradition and boy was it tasty.  The sauce was packed with veggies and turkey meat and I practically dumped it all over my salad.

SUPPER TIME

IMG_6505Eating out at Eataly
~ Spaghetti Squash Bruschetta ~ Shaved Brussels Sprouts Salad ~ Cabbage/Greens Salad ~ Gnocchi ~

IMG_6232We’ve been cooking up a storm most weekends and I have to say, this mac and cheese is HIGH on my favorites list.  Packed with cheese and cheese and cheese, you really cannot go wrong.  Although, I let Lindsay take the lead on this one as I’m bound to cut corners and butcher the recipe.

IMG_6350Making dinner with friends every Wednesday night makes the week go that much faster and oh so enjoyable.  Lately we have been on a pizza kick but I think we’ll be implementing some good ‘ol Tex-Mex tonight with enchiladas and chips+guac.  I mean, 95% of the group is from California anyways…

Sweet Treats

Let’s see if you notice a trend here

IMG_6408Fall flavors at Oktoberfest – Pumpkin + Chunky Apple Crisp

IMG_6473Baskin + Robbins Pumpkin Cheesecake (this store is a bit too close to our apartment, which could be dangerous)

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The grand finale.  Why go out when you can enjoy the season’s most popular flavor at home?  Who knows, maybe I’ll turn orange by the end of the season.

Have you jumped on the pumpkin bandwagon?  Have you ever been to Oktoberfest?