Macon Bistro and Larder (Chevy Chase)

A friend of mine told me about Macon Bistro a few weeks ago, right after it opened. We’ve been pretty terrible at getting anywhere north of Columbia Heights to eat, so the lady and I decided to take a trip to Upper Northwest for brunch a couple of weekends ago. The menu looked promising. If you’ve been reading for any amount of time at all, you know I love me some southern food.

We made the long trek all the way from Alexandria to one of the most northern parts of the city. It was a good reminder that there’s a whole lot in the city I still need to get to. We parked on one of the side neighborhood streets and dodged dogs and strollers and a surprising number of people in boat shoes to find the place. The outdoor seating looked promising, but we opted for sitting inside. We got a table by the front window surrounded by several families with 2+ kids.

We started with drinks. I ordered the bloody mary on the cocktail menu- which I don’t actually remember what was in it and it’s not on the website. But it was served with pepper on the rim. The lady had the Martini De Lamartine: vodka, St Germain, Orange, Lemon.

And then we waited. I didn’t time how long it took get drinks, but it was definitely long enough that we had to time to wonder where our drinks were. We were waiting for a friend who was running a few minutes late, but still.

We got our drinks, or friend arrived. All was well. My drink felt like maybe it should have had more flavor but the lady’s was excellent.

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We decided on food and placed our order. The lady had the Short Rib Hash, our friend went with the chicken and waffle, and I had the shrimp and grits. And then we waited some more. I’d say that we waited for well over 30 minutes on our food. I’d say more than half the tables in the space were full, but it was not busy enough to warrant such a wait.

The food finally came, just in the nick of time too… we were all getting a little hangry. I’m not sure why we didn’t order some biscuits in the mean time. Maybe that’s what they were trying to get us to do…

The verdict on the food was that it was… good, with some issues. The lady’s egg was a bit over cooked. The short rib was perfectly tender though.

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The gravy on my shrimp and grits needed way more peppery flavor and a lot less sweet. And there was a bit much of it to the point that it was a little over powering. The chorizo was also cooked a little past having any flavor at all and was a bit chewy. The shrimp was cooked perfectly though. And I really appreciated the okra and the grits were great.

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The pickled watermelon rind was a bit much on the chicken and waffle. Maybe with like a third of the amount, it would have been ok. The chicken was nice and juicy though, and the honey hot sauce was really interesting.

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The kicker was when the check came. For the lady and I, two entrees, two drinks, tax and tip, it came out to $80. You know, I’ll pay that for a great brunch. I’d pay that every time if the food was outstanding. But it was just… good. And it took a long time for that just good food to get to our table. I know the place is new, and I think it probably has potential. I’d like to hope so, anyway. I’m rooting for southern food in my city.

  • Favorite thing I had: The shrimp. And the few bites I had of the chicken with the honey hot sauce.
  • Most interesting thing I want to try next time: If I ever make it back, I’d like to try dinner.
  • How soon I’d go back (tomorrow/next week/next month/special occasions): Let’s be real… it’s far away from us, we probably won’t be back. Unless someone gives us a really good reason.
  • Places to go afterward (what’s nearby): No clue. The lady and I zoomed back down to the complete opposite side of the city for a baseball game.
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Slate Wine Bar (Glover Park)

Best boy friend, P, sent me a link to a deal for $40 prix fixe brunch with bottomless drinks for 2 at Slate Wine Bar recently. Knowing that the lady had Slate on the to-try list, we snatched up the deal. Since they serve brunch on Saturday and Sundays, we were able to fit in a visit the weekend that we left for vacation.

We were the first customers of the day and so we had our choice of tables. The service was very attentive and we had drinks quickly. Luckily, they were willing to let me split between bloody marys and mimosas for my bottomless drink option so I started with a bloody. I watched them pour it and there was A LOT of vodka in that drink. No complaints!

We had the choice between 3 starters, 5 entrees, and 2 desserts. For starters I ordered the donut holes and the lady ordered the caesar salad.

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The donuts were AMAZING. Light and flaky and puffy. And well, the salad was a salad.

For entrees, I had the chicken and waffles and the lady had the eggs benedict.

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The entrees weren’t anything particularly special. Solidly good, but not best-I’ve-ever-had territory. BUT, at this point, we were feeling our bottomless drinks so we were shoveling it in.

We split the dessert options and I had the tres leches while the lady had the brownie.

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I realized right after I ordered that I basically has 3 courses of dessert, so by the time dessert rolled around, I was pretty done with sweet stuff. However, both the desserts were excellent. Overall, it was good, and a pretty decent bottomless brunch deal. Just nothing special.

  • Favorite thing I had: It was all pretty decent. I think those donuts holes were the winner.
  • Favorite thing she had: The potatoes or the brownie.
  • Most interesting thing I want to try next time: If I were going to go back for another prix fixe brunch, I’d probably order the omelette.
  • How soon I’d go back (tomorrow/next week/next month/special occasions): Ehhh, I’ll go back if someone else has the deal or someone plans something there. The dinner prices are a tad on the pricey side.
  • Places to go afterward (what’s nearby): Well, if you want to keep day-drinking, there’s Arcuri, Bourbon, etc.

Columbia Firehouse (Old Town)

When my college BFF, J, told me she was coming to town, I knew I wanted to take her to brunch. My first choice was honestly Evening Star Cafe, but I couldn’t get a reservation for the 3 of us. We could have gone without reservations, but I don’t like taking chances when I don’t have to. So, I explored other NRG options in Old Town. My next thought was Rustico, but one look over their menu revealed that they did not have the Eggs Benedict that J had already told me she wanted. My next thought was Columbia Firehouse. They had 3 different options for Eggs Benny, so I made the reservation.

We got up on Saturday and walked into Old Town from my apartment so I could show J this adorable tiny city that I live in. Like I wrote about in Monday’s post, we hit the Old Town farmer’s market and Waterfront Market to kill time before our reservations.

We walked into a mostly empty restaurant a few minutes to 11, but I’d much always rather be safe than sorry with reservations. Especially when hosting an out-of-town guest. You can’t look like you didn’t plan well!

They seated us in the dining room to the left of the barroom. This was the first time I had been there during the day, so this was the first time I noticed that this dining room was mostly windows on the ceiling! It was nice and bright. I’m glad I wasn’t hungover or anything, I may have needed sunglasses during my meal!

For drinks, J and I started with a bloody marys and, the lady had a mimosa. Both were equally delightful.

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We had worked up quite the appetite after all the walking, so we started with the Rosemary Garlic Fries with 3 dipping sauces: Smoked garlic mayo, buttermilk goat cheese, and ketchup.

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Holy cats were these some delicious damn french fries. We shoveled them in. I think everyone decided that the buttermilk goat cheese dip was the best. Yum.

For entrees, J decided on the Southern Eggs Benny. Fried green tomatoes, poached eggs, hollandaise, on a muffin. It said it came with jalapeños, but J requested it without. It was also served with fried potatoes. She said it was really tasty. I will need to go back and try it for myself. I love some fried green tomatoes!

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The lady had the Croque Monsieur.

 

She said it was pretty good, but about 4x the size it needed to be and was a wee bit dry. After eating the fries, she was only able to eat about half of it.

After much deliberation, I decided on the chicken and waffles.

 

It wasn’t much to look at, but it sure was delicious. It did come with a bird jus drizzled over the waffle, and that made it a little soggy. I don’t think it was totally necessary with the side honey served as a drizzle for the chicken, and butter and syrup for the waffle. All’s well that ends well, it was still delicious. I liked the honey for the chicken.

J and I also decided to go for a second round of drinks. I was sold on the Pineapple Mint Mojito, which had sparkling wine instead of club soda and chunks of pineapple.

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I was expecting it to be more pineappley than it was, but it’s just a good excuse for me to replicate it at home, but maybe with spiced rum and a splash of actual pineapple juice. Sort of a Mai Tai/Mojito hybrid.

J went with the Cucumber Fix Martini. Gin, Cucumber, Jalapeño, St. Germain. It was good, you could definitely taste the cucumber, with a little kick from the jalapeño, and lots of gin taste. It was definitely a slow-sipping drink, and despite being a martini lady, I don’t think she finished it.

 

Overall, I was really happy with my decision for introducing J to all that is Neighborhood Restaurant Group and having a really great brunch. We left feeling satisfied and a little bit tipsy. Now I just have to convince her to come back before the moves to Finland so I can show her a few more of my faves!

  • Favorite thing I had: The fries were really, really damn good for french fries. The buttermilk goat cheese dipping sauce was yummy. The chicken and waffle was also really good, minus the bird jus that soggified the waffle a bit.
  • Favorite thing she had:  She liked her mimosa and the fries as well.
  • Most interesting thing I want to try next time: The mussels, the oyster po’boy, the whole dinner cocktail menu
  • How soon I’d go back (tomorrow/next week/next month/special occasions): We’ll probably try to get down there for drinks sometime soon. We’ve been there for drinks, for dinner, and brunch over the period of about 3 years. Time to start the rotation again!
  • Places to go afterward (what’s nearby): Old Town is your oyster here. You can go shopping or go down to the water and hang out. We did the Farmer’s Market and Waterfront Market before brunch.

Bar Charley Brunch (Dupont)

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Bar Charley was one of the places that we visited at the very beginning of the blog in March. It was in fact, my second review. It was the start of attacking this city’s food scene and trying new things are often as possible. It took a couple of months, but we finally made it back for their brunch. We had been discussing the possibility heading back there with a couple of our friends, a friend of mine from back home and her boyfriend, with whom we manage to brunch about quarterly. The last time we saw them, we sealed the deal and planned for a bottomless birthday celebration there.

We planned for noon, but I thought it might be a good idea to get there a little early, for parking purposes and just in case there was a wait. We rolled in about 15 minutes early and despite not having the other half of our party, they seated us. I was totally expecting to have to hang out at the bar but I was impressed and pleased. It may have been a different story had we wanted to sit inside, since the patio was packed and the dining room was not. I love it when restaurants accommodate me and  let me start giving them my money as soon as I arrive.

We grabbed the cozy booth behind the curtain at the front of the restaurant and ordered a cup of coffee, took a selfie, etc. Our friends arrived and we got down to business. Well, not too much business. In the name of being responsible adults, we decided against the (even though it is a really awesome deal) bottomless brunch. I ordered a bloody mary, the ladies got mimosas, and the gentleman had a beer. It was a tasty bloody mary. I sucked it down pretty fast.

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Since birthday friend and I are both from the south, we enjoy celebrating our roots when we’re together. So we started with a basket of biscuits. They were tasty. Maybe not quite as fluffy as I would have preferred, but they hit the biscuit lovin’ spot.

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Birthday friend and I both decided on the chicken and waffles, because when we go southern, why not just go all the way.

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The waffle was a little softer and less crispy than I usually prefer, but it was still incredible. We both appreciated that the chicken was boneless. It was also nice and juicy. I added a little bit of hot sauce to the chicken and it was a perfect balance to the sweetness.

The lady went with the Charley Breakfast, basic, but hearty. She said the bacon was perfect, and look at those eggs. They look fake they’re so pretty.

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And the gentleman decided on the Breakfast Poutine. It basically tells you up front that you’re going to need a nap after you consume even half of it.

 

If any of us had been hungover, this would have been the most perfect breakfast. It was deeeelicious anyway, but I definitely would not have complained about being able to go back home and nap it all off.

 

  • So, how was it the second time around?: It was good! This place is solidly just very good.
  • When do you think you’ll be back again?: I feel like maybe in another couple of months. But maybe sooner for a drink and to check out the patio.
  • Overall Impression: The space is cozy and the drinks are above average. The food is not outstanding, but it’s good! The service is nice and polite. The fact that they seated us without our whole party is a huge plus. Knowing that will get me back there over places that I’m less sure about.

 

Longest Day of the Year Weekend Round Up

After a super packed last weekend, and a week of both of us fighting off summer colds, we were a little bit weary of how jammed packed our calendar was this weekend. But life is too short to spend the longest days of the year cooped up inside, so we made the best of it!

On Friday, I cut out of work early for an appointment in Farragut. I got there a little bit early (who am I kidding, I got there 45 minutes early), and spent some time wandering the surrounding blocks. I haven’t spent much time there during the day, but you guys, I think I found where all the food trucks live! I can’t say much yet, but I’m hoping to be spending a little more time exploring that area soon. Fingers crossed!

My appointment was over by 2pm and was free of plans until date night time with the lady. I took advantage of the free afternoon and hollered at my Dupont-dwelling, free-for-the-summer teacher friend for some rare normally-at-work-time hanging out. She was just finishing up lunch with another friend who is lucky enough to escape the typical 9-5. I made the walk from Farragut to her place and swung by Glen’s Garden Market to kill a little time before I met up with them. I checked out their new drafts and saw that they had DuClaw’s Funk, a blueberry citrus wheat beer. I do love my fruity beer, so I had to give it a try. A perfect summer beer! I will be picking up a 6-pack of that and enjoying it outdoors soon. Once I finished my beer, I met up with my friends. We decided that a stop at Pleasant Pops before spending some time lounging in the shade in Meridian Hill Park was the perfect afternoon plan. I really have to figure out a way to have more free weekday afternoons…

Photo courtesy of a friend.

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After a couple of hours lazing about and chatting with good company I got a text that the lady was finally free of her work shackles and that she was headed my direction. We threw out lots of options for dinner, but we ultimately decided on Compass Rose. I had my friends drop me off a little bit further down 14th St., but got really excited when we passed Compass Rose and knew that’s what I really wanted. So I walked back up 14th and was able to grab us a seat, since it was so early. That was definitely the best idea I’ve had all week. That post is coming later in the week.

After dinner, we weren’t quite ready to head home. There are so many things on 14th St. that we still haven’t tried yet, so we decided on making a second stop at Red Light. I wasn’t feeling up to drinking, but I was certainly ready for some dessert. We definitely made the right choice there. That post is coming eventually.

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We had some grand plans to get up on Saturday and take on the world. A workout! A trip to the Old Town Farmer’s Market! ALL THE ERRANDS! But we both woke up still fighting off the ick. So instead, the lady got up and ran one errand, I blogged a bit, she came home got back in bed and I placed my first Instacart order for our weekly groceries. Our neighbor has been singing the praises of Instacart for a while now and I’m definitely on board! I placed the order while laying in bed in my jammies and just had to answer my door when the groceries arrived. I have to say one of my favorite things about DC is how lazily productive you can be.

After some more rest, we got a second start on our day and hopped on the metro to a friend’s house for an alma mater brunch in Bloomingdale. We spent the afternoon enjoying the company of old college friends and meeting other fellow alumnae. Many mimosas were consumed and hilarious stories told.

We eventually had to peel ourselves off the couch and head down to the Nationals game for the annual game for which my company provides tickets (and matching t-shirts, that we didn’t wear). I didn’t anticipate that it would be a wee bit chilly, but a little bit of a beer jacket on top of my mimosa jacket was fine for as long as we stayed… which was only until about the 6th inning. Always was fun to see my co-workers outside of work.

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Sunday morning, I again meant to get up early and CLEAN ALL THE THINGS. But instead I ended up sleeping until like 9:30 (UNHEARD OF for me). We really did not succeed in productivity this weekend. Never the less, we eventually motivated and headed into the city for Birthday Brunch with a friend from back home at Bar Charley! We didn’t go bottomless, but it was still DELICIOUS. That post will also be up later this week.

After brunch, we grabbed some snacks from the store and headed up to Riggs Park for Crabs, Beer, and another birthday celebration, also with college friends and the spouse of a college friend. We spent the whole afternoon lazing about at our friends’ house, picking crabs, drinking beer, playing with Big Bertha, a giant love bug of a 20 lb, cross-eyed cat that our friends’ are fostering (SHE IS UP FOR ADOPTION! from Washington Animal Rescue League.), and watching soccer.

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We almost decided that we no longer wanted to go to work and that we were just going to live with our friends from that point on, but we ultimately decided to drag ourselves back over the river to prep ourselves for another busy week. I’m so ready for a quiet, relaxing weekend, but I certainly can’t complain about all the quality time we got with so many of our friends this weekend!

Logan Tavern (Logan Circle)

When friends suggested we get brunch before the Pride parade, I set out to find the best possible option. We needed something with vegetarian options that was relatively close to the parade route. As a bonus, I looked for a place that had Pride specials. Logan Tavern had all those things, so a reservation was made! It’s not normally my style to try to get into a place at what could be its busiest time, but I figured (hoped) that they would be ready for a busy day. I had never been before, but I have been to their sister restaurant, Commissary,  and was confident in my choice. My friend made mention that it was great that she just asked the lady if we wanted to do brunch and then I jumped in and planned the whole thing. When it comes to being able to choose a restaurant to try, I’m always on top of that! Our whole party showed up just a few minutes early and were seated quickly. They were busy, but they clearly had plenty of people on staff to handle the crowd. We were seated at a booth and our server came more quickly than we were able to digest the bloody mary and drink menus. We did eventually figure it out and I decided on one of the special drinks, the Carrie Bradshaw. Tequila, St. Germain, lime juice, grapefruit juice, and egg white. The server made sure to let me know the flower was edible. I ate a petal or two, but ultimately decided it was not my jam. The drink was good. It was a lot like a little bit sweeter, lighter margarita, with a nice creaminess from the egg white.   The rest of the table went with various bloody marys and the lady had a mimosa. photo4 That’s a picture of my Maria Caliente, which was my second drink (Chili pepper tequila, bloody mix, lime, and hot sauce). They warned me it was going to be spicy, and it was. But it was tasty. All the bloodys were nicely decorated.

For food, we started with the french toast sticks with caramel pecan dipping sauce.   They were fluffy on the inside but still crunchy on the outside. And the dipping sauce was top notch. I’m really surprised we didn’t have a second order of them. (Technical difficulties, picture coming soon)

 

They held us over until our food came. Which was surprisingly speedy for as busy as they were. Like I said, I was super impressed with how well everything seemed to be running.

photo3 I ordered the Chorizo and Avocado omelet. I figured that was a good, proteiny option for Pride brunch, just in case excessive drinking happened. It was really good. Not too greasy, and the avocado and salsa on top were a perfect combination.   Two of my friends ordered Eggs Benedict. This is the crab cake one. She said that it was good! She noted that the crab cakes were tasty. The lady ordered the roast turkey club. I was not in sandwich mood at all, so my bite of it wasn’t memorable, but it certainly wasn’t bad! We ended with Espresso shots (espresso, simple syrup, vanilla vodka), which were the brainchild of one of our friends at the table, and the restaurant gladly accommodated and  made them for us. They were PERFECT. I feel like that’s how I should end every meal from now on. Overall, it was a really great meal with friends. The service was excellent and I’m glad we chose it for Pride Brunch. We will certainly be back to work our way through the menu.

  • Favorite thing I had: Those french toast sticks were tasty.  My omelet was really good too. I was sort of afraid that the Chorizo would make it greasy, but it was flavorful. The avocado and salsa on top were yummy. My Maria Caliente was spicy, but really flavorful. The grilled salmon sandwich also sounded good. It was a hard decision!
  • Favorite thing she had:  She really liked the french toast sticks too. She also noted that her mimosa was good.
  • Most interesting thing I want to try next time: The steak and eggs and the lamb burger were both thoughts I had before I settled on the omelet. I’d like to make my way through their drink menu as well.
  • How soon I’d go back (tomorrow/next week/next month/special occasions): I can see us heading back here every couple of months. It was good, but there are so many other things in the area left to try!
  • Places to go afterward (what’s nearby): Anything on P St! We stopped by Stoney’s beforehand for a beer. Pitango gelato is there too if you need dessert.

2014 Pride Weekend Round Up

Ah, Pride weekend! We didn’t do it up so much as we used to, but we certainly enjoyed it.

Friday night we decided that we wanted a low key evening to save up some energy for a long Saturday. Also, Orange is the New Black was released on Netflix that day and we were anxious to get crackin’ !I had scored through a promotion District Doughnuts was running with Postmates, earlier in the day in celebration of National Donut Day! So we ordered sushi from Momo Sushi in Old Town and gorged on sushi, donuts, and an amazing show.

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I got up super early Sunday morning to head out to the Virginia side of Great Falls to cheer on my trainer/friend, E as she ran FIFTY miles that day. I only got to see her zoom by as she passed the aid station I was posted up in, but it was nice to be able to support her and watch her be a bad ass. I had also never been to the VA side of Great Falls and it was giving some pretty excellent face that day. If our schedule ever empties about and we have a free weekend day, we’ll have to get back there.

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After a couple hours there, I headed back home to get ready for Pride. I have to admit, that getting up so early had me a little wiped, but as soon as I got into the city and felt the energy that Dupont and the surrounding area were giving off for Pride, I was more energized. We got into the city a little early and took our time walking from Dupont over to our brunch plans at Logan Tavern. DC Meet Market was set up at 15th and P St. NW, so we made a circle through there. It’s a cool little market with tons of local vendors. The food all smelled SO GOOD and I was a little sad that I was on my way to brunch and wasn’t able to try any of it. I will definitely have to plan to hit one of those again.

We finished the stroll through the market and still had some time to kill, so we headed to Stoney’s for a quick beer. I’ve only ever been there for beer, but will definitely have to make it back for food sometime. Brunch time arrived and we headed over for our brunch reservations with friends at Logan Tavern. That review will be coming later this week. I’m normally not one to force myself into a place when it’s likely to be super busy, but we had reservations and they had plenty of people staffed. It was an excellent choice for Pride Brunch and I’m happy we did it.

Afterward, we headed back to the circle to meet some friends and lounge about and work through our food comas in the grass until parade time. We met up with the Lady’s sister (her first pride!) and some other friends and found a decent spot on New Hampshire Ave to watch the parade and hung out for about half of it. I feel like a bad gay for not being more enthused, but the combination of an early morning, the heat, and having this be my 9th DC Pride, I was just about done.

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We wandered away from the commotion and down closer to Farragut for dinner at Nooshi. It was not somewhere I had heard of nor was it somewhere I’d go on my own, so I’m glad my friend suggested it. We got a table on the patio outside with no wait. My friend ordered the tofu fries for the table and I went with sushi again (because sushi two days in a row is apparently how I roll). I also had to have the champagne mojito.  Everything  I had was pretty good! I was pleasantly surprised and my have to make another trip there. Afterward, we wandered home and watched a couple more episodes of OITNB, because who wants to get drunk and go out dancing when you can watch your fave show? #old

Sunday  morning I had to get up and do a little bit of work. (Gross. I hated every minute of it.) But luckily finished up in time to swoop by and pick up 50-mile-running friend and enjoy a delightful vegan brunch with her at Sticky Fingers. I’m never not impressed with that place. I ordered the Power Salad, the same thing I got last time, but also got to try the french toast and the biscuits and gravy. I have to get back there to order at least one of those next time. They were both delicious.

After brunch, we finished up our adulthood responsibilities and spent the rest of the day binging the rest of OITNB. We didn’t even make it out the Pride festival. Maybe next year.  Next weekend is the Lady’s sister’s wedding, so we didn’t want to pack this weekend too full. I still feel like I need a weekend from my weekend though. I really have no complaints though, this summer is shaping up to be really great!