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Sometimes I surprise my husband, sometimes I do not. He did not seem surprised when we got a spiffed up for a date night, only to find I had the date wrong. The Nickel & Nickel wine dinner was in fact two days  later in the week. Oops.

Naturally we could not make date night work twice in one week, so I took Kim #2 with me once again – that lucky duck!

When Kim and I arrived, we were treated to a perfect selection of passed Hors D’oeuves served with Veuve Clicquot (Yum!).

Nickel & Nickel Wine Dinner Apps

The first course, paired with the Gerard Bertrand Cote des Roses, was a soft shell blue crab with Heirloom tomatoes, watermelon, Vidalia onion, basil and cassis vinaigrette. While enjoying this course, I tried to pay attention while the wine was introduced. I think some folks sitting near me may not have been able to hear much over my constant humming-yumming noises.

Nickel & Nickel Wine Dinner Crab

The second course, paired with Nickel& Nickel Chardonnay Truchard Veinyard, was a butter roasted black cod, smoked littleneck clams, jam, braised swiss chard, and lemon bercy.

While enjoying this course, I considered proposing to Chef Michael Yaffe, but thought instead, it may be best to beg him to cook for me on a daily basis. Please note that if you love your Chardonnay with a bit of smokiness to it, this is a good wine choice for you (The wine is fermented in 49% new oak and 51% year old barrels).

Nickel & Nickel Wine Dinner

The third course, paired with Nickel & Nickel Cabernet Sauvignon C.C. Ranch, was a cherry dusted Veal Ribeye, onion, pea ragout, and Cabernet Sauvignon demi-glace. I must admit that I do not recall eating Veal before, but it was so delicate that it melted on my tongue. The center was a bit too rare for me, so Kim thoughtfully finished it off.

Nickel & Nickel Wine Dinner Veal

Dessert, paired with Dolce Winery late harvest, was a sensational caramelized puff pastry, vanilla cream, mixed summer berry delight.

I almost forgot to tell you about Nickel & Nickel: They are located in Oakville, Napa Valley, and exclusively produces only varietal, single-vineyard wines that best express the personality of each vineyard.

Disclosure: I was a guest of Foxwoods Resort Casino. All opinions are my own.

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Family Vacation 2016 – Portugal Part 1

by Jennifer on August 28, 2016

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My husband was born, and spent the first five years of his life, in Mourilhe, Portugal before his family emigrated to the United States. Once we had children, my husband looked forward to taking our children there to see the different culture, the architecture, and even the home he was born in, but we wanted the children to be a bit older. Now that they are 10 and 12, the time seem perfect.

downtowncascais

We flew a red eye out of Boston, and naturally, I didn’t get a wink of sleep during the flight but my goodness, that airline knows how to feed and snack you. We flew into Lisbon, grabbed our rental car, and traveled to Cascais, a beautiful resort city in southern Portugal. But before I share more about Cascias, I must talk about the cars.

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As you may have heard, Europe is full of tiny, manual transmission cars. In this photo, it may look like our car is a good size, once you have four people in there, you struggle to get four suitcases in there as well. We had to get creative. This made me wonder; Why in the world are cars over there still made with manual transmission? I know they used to be a bit cheaper, but my golly, with all the tiny roads, corners and hills, manual transmission is not ideal. Maybe I feel that way because we stalled so many times. We concluded it is solely because it makes the car feel a bit more sporty.

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Once in Cascais, we spent the afternoon around the gorgeous Sheraton resort hotel pool until heading out, completely exhausted, into the downtown area. A word of advice: After a long day of travel overseas, don’t try to find a restaurant in a foreign country that everyone can agree on – just grabbed some bread, cheese, and fruit, and call it a night.

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The next day we spent much of the time with our Godsons who had also flown on the same flight, to attend a soccer tournament. We visited the Conde Gastro Guimaraes Museum, walked around the beautiful and charming Centro Historio de Cascias (aka downtown shopping area), and walked around nearby beaches. We laughed a lot when we saw the sand artists creating, um, ‘European’ styled sculptures.

beach bum

We enjoyed a fabulous dinner with cousins.

DSC_0426 (2)I had an tasty Shrimp risotto dish, and then went back to swim at the hotel pool.

Shrimp Risotto

Later in the day, we visited the Boca de Inferno. Do yourself a favor, go read about it and be in awe – truly a natural beauty.

Tune in soon for much more about our family vacation in Portugal.

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Super Simple Summer Supper Solutions: Lemon Dill Compound Butter Recipe

Thumbnail image for Super Simple Summer Supper Solutions: Lemon Dill Compound Butter Recipe June 20, 2016

It is officially Summer 2016. It is also officially crazy herb growing season in our garden (you do recall the annual garden of the past right?). We may have an abundance of herbs, but like you, we do not have an abundance of time, or patience, for making lengthy dinner recipes in the heat. Therefore, I present […]

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Family Fun with Dr. Eureka

Thumbnail image for Family Fun with Dr. Eureka June 19, 2016

Did you know I am a Science nerd? No really, I have a degree in Science and work in the clinical research field. This means anything related to Science excites me. Therefore, when I was asked if my family wanted to try the game Dr. Eureka, I was intrigued. The premise of the game basically […]

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Opus One Wine Dinner at Foxwoods Resort Casino

Thumbnail image for Opus One Wine Dinner at Foxwoods Resort Casino May 24, 2016

Last week, I grabbed my friend Kim and spent an evening wining and dining her at the Opus One Wine Dinner at Foxwoods Resort Casino. The objective of the evening was to treat us to some of the fabulous wines by Opus One paired with some amazing dishes, and to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of […]

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Sautéed Garlic Olive Oil Chickpeas

Thumbnail image for Sautéed Garlic Olive Oil Chickpeas May 18, 2016

I love snacks. You love snacks. We don’t always make the best snack choices. I am going to help you make a better snack choice. Make these chickpeas and snack on ’em. If you love chickpeas and want more recipe ideas, use the search function (over to the right ->) to find more chickpea recipes.

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Savoring the Thyme