June 29, 2011

A Mild Obsession With Stew Leonard's, and Where Have All the Good Buns Gone?

So Hubs and I not so secretly moved, and in the midst of unpacking mayhem we ventured out for a sexy date to the grocery store last Thursday evening. This wasn't just any old grocery store. I'll give you a clue: It starts with Stew and ends with Leonard's. If you are lucky enough to live within a short drive of Stew's (the cool kids call it Stew's), you know that my obsession is not just understandable, but you might be right there with me.

It's such a cool place, first of all. It's like a little amusement park of a grocery store. The store is set up kind of like an Ikea where you wind your way through the different sections in a maze like pattern and when you're done, you are released to the checkout area where your nose is greeted with the tempting smells of ready to eat roasted and fried chicken, potatoes, pasta salads, fresh flowers and so much more. As you make your way through the store, there are many "shortcuts" so a trip there for a carton of milk doesn't take 20 minutes, although it's completely worth the walk through if you have the spare time. The atmosphere is more like that of an indoor market, where everything is in crates and coolers and bins with hand decorated signs telling you where your food came from. There are also animatronic characters throughout the store that will dance over your head and entertain little ones if you're grocery trips necessitate bringing wee ones. Personally, these things kind of startle me, but it's all what makes Stew's, Stew's!

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So our date was sexy in that we had a leisurely stroll through the store to acclimate ourselves, and chatted with the folks behind the meat and seafood counters. They answered all of our questions cheerfully and as thoroughly as they could, and we made it out of there with some bacon cheddar burgers, some freshl frozen yogurt and ice cream, and a few other gems. An important note: Even if you are not a pistachio fan, Stew's pistachio frozen yogurt is possibly the yummiest thing you'll ever taste, especially with a small dollop of vanilla on top. Trust me on this.

We went home and made our burgers, which filled the apartment with the glorious smell of bacon, as we settled in to catch up on the Game of Thrones finale - wow, Joffrey, what a tool. We had to settle for using Udi's bagels as we have yet to find a store that can hold on to their burger buns long enough for us to purchase them.

Speaking of which...

Has anyone tried the new Udi's hamburger buns yet? We can't seem to catch them anywhere, as they've been selling out like crazy! I am devoted to seeking out gluten free items, however stalking every grocery store in Fairfield County on a daily basis is just not reasonable.

Until then, we'll settle for burgers atop bagels, which I can now form into more even patties thanks to our new burger press from William Sonoma! I love making burgers from scratch, and this little tool will help ensure that they're cooked evenly all the way through, so we don't end up walking to the hospital with a bout of e coli. Yuck.

The new apartment features a cute little balcony, which sadly we cannot grill on, so we will have to settle for grilling on the stovetop for now, or the hospitality of friends who are hosting outdoor gatherings this summer, to fulfill our bun-loving desires. That is, if we can find them!

June 20, 2011

Vacation, Moving, and Finding a Little Slice of Heaven in the New Neighborhood

I hope you can read this through all the dust that has gathered on this webpage. Seriously, I'm ready to be back in the world of attempting to be a better blogger... I think. I mean, given the choice of blogging and sitting on a beach with a cold beverage, the choice is pretty clear. But given the choice between blogging and lugging boxes upon boxes up to our new second floor walk-up? I've missed ya'll. Missed ya hard.

We vacationed over Memorial Day and the 7 days following in the Caribbean, and besides it being ruddy humid and my skin turning the color of a Maine lobstah (I used SPF 50!), it was like being in a Corona commercial, minus the Coronas. I relaxed in a way I didn't know how to relax, to the point where Sean thought there was something wrong with me. No dear, this is me not being high strung and jacked full of coffee and early mornings. Ahhhhh it was glorious.

One of my favorite days was spent on a beach in Barbados, doing nothing but enjoying the sun, sand, and sea, the way life is meant to be spent.

Another favorite day involved horseback riding through a banana plantation on St. Lucia and onto the beach. Sean faced his fear/loathing of horses for a romantic ride with me and 20 other adventurers. We also got to eat fresh, raw sugar cane which is, heh, naturally gluten free. Woot!

PS. Horses like to roll around on the ground like dogs. Did you know that? I did not. But it's all good, I ate sugar cane. 

The man and his noble steed. Like something out of an Old Spice commercial.

Me and my girl, Bianca. She was a perfect lady.

We got back on a Monday after picking up our munchkin from the kennel. Poor little guy was shedding like a madman and was so happy to see us, he threw up in the car on I-84.


The very next day we picked up the keys to our new place and started shuttling boxes. We thought it would be a simple task to bring a carload each day to the new place on our way to or from work. We will never do this again. We are just finishing cleaning up the old place this week. It's taken three weeks. Heck no, never again. We paid movers to move the big stuff, and next time we need to move I will pay them my firstborn to do it all so I don't have to lift a thing. Worth every penny. Ok, so I won't give them my firstborn. But they deserve every little moving fee so I don't have to sweat and ache and take 3 weeks to get back into the swing of things.

Also, the new place is great. Loki gives it his seal of approval, even if he does still have his nightly bonkers omg-I'm-a-cat-and-therefore-need-to-FLIP THE EFF OUT-and then-nap-on-your-keyboard.

taken with my phone
 The above image was taken with my phone because the one casualty of the move - of course- was my camera. Which I stupidly dropped on the ground and it only half working. Stupid, stupid, stupid. It survived a trip to Greece and a trip to the Caribbean and nearly slamming into drunk people and flying cat. Of course on an easy day, it slips through my fingers. Blerg. But have no fear, it's off to the camera doctor tomorrow, and I'll have a rental this weekend for an engagement shoot. I LOVE that you can rent cameras and equipment. Makes my life so much easier!

I'm feeling feisty tonight. I like it. I'm not usually this candid. We're getting to know each other better, I think. I hope you still like me. Even if you don't, I'll still be here, so...*smooch*.

Our new place not only cut out commutes down by about 90% but we're delighted to discover a new area of places to eat, things to do, and ohemgee air conditioning. It's the little things, really. Among the new joys we have found "our pizza place". Our go-to on a Friday night hopefully not too often but every so once in a while. DaVinci's Pizza in Norwalk, CT - a hop, a skip and a jump over I-95 from the new digs. They serve up tasty gluten free (and have a great non-gluten free menu too!) pizza and it's a cozy little place that pleasantly surprises you upon entering. Forget that it shares a little strip mall with an adult toy store. Forget it. This place is for real. Great pizza, very nice service and staff, and it's clean and cozy, great for a dinner night out. And, they deliver. Not that we'd ever be so lazy to have them drive 1/8 mile to our place. Never ever.

So we're getting there with the unpacking and settling back into normal life. I hope you enjoyed my vacation pictures! I think I'm going to go now and stare at them a bit more. With a little Skinnygirl margarita. And this little snuggle puss.