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cocktails

South American Dinner Party

I love going over to M’s house for dinner because she feeds me so incredibly well. And it’s always gourmet! She also usually prepares a special cocktail to go along with the meal. This drink was called the amazonia, and is made with champagne, cachaca, mint, and others. It was delicious and super strong.
We started off with some black bean and banana empanadas. Yes, it sounds like a strange combination but it was really great. She just made these with store bought phyllo dough so they were also super easy to make.
The main entree was a brazilian seafood stew. This also seemed fairly simple to make. To speed up the process, she had actually prepared some of the ingredients in advance. She used shrimp along with fish and had them marinating in one bowl.
The tomatoes, cilantro, and green onions were also prepped in one bowl.The green peppers, onions, garlic, and crushed red pepper were in another. Then everything was cooked together and coconut milk was also added and fresh cilantro was sprinkled on top. This was so good! It was flavorful and fresh and there was no ingredient that didn’t work in the dish. I typically don’t even like coconut milk in my food either, but I still really loved this. This is definitely something any seafood lover would enjoy, and since I witnessed it all, it is super easy and quick to make.
She also made these ridiculous salted caramel truffles and I ate three of them. And because of how rich and luxurious they were, it was about two too many… but beyond amazing!

On A Boat! Dinner On The Philadelphia Belle

Did you know there was a riverboat that cruises the Delaware and you can eat and drink on it? Yeah, me either! I got invited to take a ride on the Philadelphia Belle and sample its cuisine! Who’s going to refuse a ride on a boat, with food? There’s multiple floors, and each has tables and a dance floor. It’s a big boat, and a smooth ride, so don’t worry about getting seasick. I felt great!
It was a beautiful and romantic table setting. Much less romantic is the live band. Ok, basically, it’s a party boat. But not a booze cruise or anything. It’s more like a wedding reception on the water.
And there’s tons to drink! And folks, these drinks are no joke. Despite being on water, nothing is watered down at all. In fact, their drinks are extra strong! Knock back a few of these and you might think there’s waves undulating in that river.
The starter plate was a sampler of sorts. The italian market sampler was a little skewer of roasted tomatoes, mozzarella with basil, olives, and dry sausage. The best part was definitely the mozzarella. The red pepper hummus was good, but the pita it came with was hard and crunchy, and not in a good way. The cute and adorable philly cheesesteak spring roll was good! It was served with a spicy ketchup.Here is the crisp oysters rockefeller with a touch of cream spinach and topped with chipotle cream. These were big and tasty.
The lobster bisque! It was served with a light swirl of tarragon creme fraiche. This was a very respectable bisque.
Let’s move on to the entrees! Here’s the atlantic salmon with roasted vegetable orzo and a tomato-coriander vinaigrette. The salmon was cooked nicely and was a nice and fresh piece of fish, but the sauce was a bit too sweet. And I’m someone that loves sweet!
This is the center-cut filet of beef with asparagus, potato gratin, and a red wine demi-glace. Ooh y’all, this was really good. I mean, I rarely ever just eat a big hunt of steak, but this was so good! The meat was super tender and the sauce went with it perfectly. I could have eaten another one!
Dessert was a little piece of cheesecake and a brownie. So the cheesecake was pretty soft and so-so, but the brownie was great! And you know, I’m not the biggest fan of chocolate or brownies. There’s a live band that plays throughout the evening and you are free to go out and take a look at the view from the boat. On a clear night, the views are quite tremendous. And you’re on a boat! The night I was there, there were a couple of sweet sixteen birthday parties as well as an older birthday. Towards the end, people started dancing, and that’s when it got a little surreal for me. I felt like I was crashing some sweet sixteen parties! But it was a great time and I feel very lucky to have been invited for the ride. Special thanks to H/A for being my event photographer.

DP An American Brasserie – Albany

Due to my giant flight delay, I only had one chance to actually eat in Albany. So on my second night there, I headed downtown to DP. This is actually in the Hampton Inn. That might make you think twice about eating here, but please, do not let that stop you. This place is good in my book. I dined at the bar and it happened to be happy hour. This is an impressive bar. The bartenders here definitely know their stuff. And it looks like they’ve won a bunch of local awards, which is quite deserved.
I had this cucumber martini which totally kicked my lame ass. It was super duper strong and whew, did this thing pack a punch. But it seemed healthy to me because I could taste cucumbers. That’s healthy, right?
Instead of bread and butter, DP does it right. They serve sourdough pretzel ball rolls with homemade whole grain mustard. First off, how cute are these things? And second off, they’re freakin delicious and warm! Please, someone tell me how to make these!
I got the soup of the day which was a potato and leek soup. This is one of my favorite flavors of soup, ever, and they definitely do it right here. It also had bacon in it. How can you go wrong with that?
The lobster ravioli. These kind of look a mess, but they tasted just fine. I actually found it cool that it was black pasta.
These were the pork dumplings, served in a chinese to-go box. Meh, on that presentation choice. There were two dipping sauces, the first brown one was just kind of gross, and the second one was a sweet chili sauce type which I greatly preferred. The dumplings themselves were just meh too.
The banana bread bread pudding! Yes folks, bread pudding made from banana bread. It was super good. If you like banana, I highly recommend it! The two bartenders that waited on me were awesome. They were friendly and helpful and gave me recommendations and were quite attentive. They also kept calling me young lady, which was hilarious. If I’m ever back, I’m going to jump in and try some entrees!

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