The Golden Weekend

I was once told that in the healthcare industry having the entire weekend off is called a Golden Weekend. This weekend has only just begun but I can already tell you that I love weekends off, although I do spend a lot more. I have been looking forward to this weekend for a few weeks now, ever since I found out about Boyden Valley's Maple Fest. It was like Christmas this morning because I was so excited. I got dressed to go for a quick run and walked outside and came right back in...nope not a good morning to run outside. There is a thick layer of slush on the ground which had become pretty icy too.

Molly and I met up around 11:30am and started the drive to Cambridge. Once we got to the winery all of the great memories came flooding back. We ran into Colleen right when we got there! I love running into people I know at great events that support locally owned businesses. Molly and I started our day with some BBQ from the Smokin' Butts BBQ food truck.  I got the pulled pork sandwich and added some maple and spicy maple BBQ sauce. It was so delicious! It also came with a coupon for 1/2 off a cider of your choice. Molly and I both went with the honey cider. I tried the bourbon barrel aged cider last year and loved that one as well.

After sitting down for lunch in the upstairs dining "hall" with its beautiful wooden beams, we headed over to the free maple tasting. We tried the maple creme liquor, the apple creme liquor, the maple reserve wine, a maple dessert wine, and their bourbon barrel aged maple syrup. I loved their maple syrup. It's so so so flavorful and a great thick consistency.

Next up we did the cocktail tasting. We had the pleasure of trying four different cocktails. A maple martini, a manhattan, a moscow mule, and a coffee flavored cocktail. The moscow mule was my absolute favorite. I love anything with ginger.

We then split a wine tasting. Molly tried quite a few that she had been wanting to try and I tasted the blueberry again (I love blueberries), a black currant dessert wine, and a black currant based cider. The wine tasting came with a maple cupcake which Molly and I split. It was so rich in maple flavor, which was fantastic. We then ate some pretzels that I had brought rather than buying some sides from the BBQ food truck (i.e. maple carrots and cornbread).

Once we got home I headed to the gym to run 5 miles while watching Grey's Anatomy. Mentally this was challenging, but my legs felt great. I ended the night watching The Finest Hours which was filmed in the town next to mine and was so fun to recognize places!

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Sunday I woke up at the ripe hour of 5:45 to fuel for my long run with Rebecca. Two slices of PB&J toast later and I was on the road for my run! It was a gorgeous morning and although it started out cold, there was no wind and lots of sunshine! I love these runs with Rebecca! I had negative splits almost the whole time too so that made me happy (stay tuned for a recap).

17 miles later and I ended at Switchback where I quickly ate a banana, chugged some chocolate milk and changed into yoga clothes. The brewery was a very chilly (although I was also sweaty), but the yoga class was great! It's exciting when you find an instructor who you really like and would love to continue to go back to. Marta (my neighbor) and I loved the class. At the end we enjoyed a flight of Switchback beers and I tried their new smokey beer which was great in addition to their IPA, brown ale and another ale. I decided to try the three seasonal beers because they aren't always there and the IPA I just really enjoy.

By then Marta and I were getting hungry so we went home to change before walking downtown. We tried Penny Cluse because breakfast food is always a good idea, but there was a long wait so we ended up at American Flatbread. I ordered a Conehead to start and Marta got a Bloody Mary. For our pizza we did half of the maple fennel sausage (hello, it's maple weekend) and half eggs benedict. Let me just tell you that their brunch breads are amazing. It was great to finally have time to hang out and catch up with Marta.

A few full days left me ready for a nap and I happily obliged. Now it's time for me to snuggle up and do some homework before going to bed (probably around 8:30pm...)

I also need to find some recipes that include maple syrup. Let me know if you know of any!

Gastro Grub Getaway

Sometimes you just need to get out of the house or alter from your routine. This weekend I have worked Friday-Sunday and was in a funk. Working when my friends have off tends to do that to me. Anyways, I had texted my neighbor the other day asking if she wanted to order in food sometime and watch a movie and we made plans immediately. But being indecisive about food and wanting to just get out and "get away" we decided to go to the neighboring St. Paul Street Gastro Grub (which I keep calling the Gastro Pub...) We drove because it was freezing, but it's easily walkable from our house. It's cozy and welcoming as well, but you need to know where to find it because there is no sign. We grabbed a spot at the bar and ordered a beer. I went with Smuttynose Blackberry something...in honor of the twin who is running the Napa Valley Marathon today. She's going to crush it. I have no doubt in my mind.

Then we were having so much trouble deciding what to eat. The food is definitely pub-style food, but it's good! They have a typical burger, nachos and wings, but also a hand dipped corn dog, fried brie, truffle fries and a fried chicken sandwich. We decided to split an appetizer (the fried brie) and an entree (the fried chicken sandwich). Both were great choices! May be the best fried chicken sandwich I have had.

I left feeling full, but not overly stuffed and happy that I got my fry-fix. It's been a while since I had fries and this past week one of my classrooms kept smelling like fries and so I had been craving some. Some days you just want fries and a burger or fries and fried brie ;) Role with it. It isn't an every day occurrence. I have to admit I was feeling guilty ordering these items since my cholesterol was high the other day, but on most days I choose unsaturated fats and going out with friends doesn't happen that often.

On another note this was just the evening I needed. I love staying in and catching up with friends, but there is something else about sitting at a bar casually having a drink (just one) and getting to know each other. We chatted for a few hours and nobody seemed to mind that we were just hanging out (at this point just drinking water). We made some plans to watch a chick flick soon (because we talked too much to watch one after) and go to yoga. It's so great making new friends and even better when you can plan things to look forward to!

Great night and highly recommend the Gastro Grub.