October 31, 2020

Weekend Recap: J’s Birthday

This weekend was J’s birthday, and I bent some of my own COVID19 rules to make it special. Now, with case counts going up quite a bit, I feel pretty guilty that I did so. I think it’s unfortunately time to lock down and go back to being as strict as we were in March 🙁

But! That’s a story for next weekend (when I started out Friday having a COVID19 meltdown… yuck). This weekend, on Friday morning, I started J’s birthday by attempting to bake a frittata. He likes savory things more than sweet, so while baked oatmeal is my go-to breakfast option, I wanted to do something special for him. I made a spinach mushroom and bacon frittata, but while the flavors were good, something about the texture wasn’t perfect, so I was a little disappointed. However, I made up for that Friday night by taking J to dinner at his favorite steakhouse in Denver, Fleming’s.

I had called several weeks in advance to make reservations and check on the COVID precautions, and Fleming’s did a really nice job with social distancing. Only one party was allowed inside at the host stand at a time, and because I had made a reservation, we were seated immediately upon entering, with plenty of space between us and the other diners.

So here’s a funny personal quirk: my go-to steakhouse order is not steak nor even an actual entree, but just a side of lobster mac. Years ago, when I worked in Dallas, I ate a lot of dinners at Capital Grille. It sounds really decadent (and certainly the Capital Grille lobster mac is decadent), but it wasn’t nearly as pricey as you might think. Nearly every time I went to Capital Grille, I would just get a salad and a side of lobster mac, and my bill would be $30, so not too different from a normal restaurant bill (at least without alcohol). And I was far happier with my salad and side than if I had gotten a big steak! I was looking forward to doing the same thing at Fleming’s.

J, on the other hand, loves red meat, and was really excited about his classic T-bone – so we were both quite happy with our meal!

But while the Fleming’s lobster mac was good, the star of the night was a wine pairing option that I took full advantage of. For only $28, I got to taste four different varietals of Duckhorn wine, and then I could have as much as I wanted of my favorites. I ended up absolutely loving the chardonnay, and certainly got my money’s worth of this tasting! 🙃

Since our dinner reservation was at 6:30pm, we didn’t have to go to bed as soon as we got home; instead, J and I curled up on the couch to watch the new Borat movie. Both of us ended up falling asleep with 30 minutes left, but we enjoyed what we watched, and we were able to finish the next morning with our coffee! Although both Borat movies are certainly off-color, I really enjoyed them as social commentary – I can’t really feel bad for the people who get made fools of, because in my opinion, they do it to themselves by going along with whatever he’s saying, and often taking it even more to an extreme. While I have at times been guilty of trying to go along with the crowd, especially in college, I’ve made a concerted effort since then to speak up against things that I disagree with and stand up for what I believe in. (Okay, off my soapbox now.)

I planned to hit the Peloton when I got home on Saturday morning, but instead, ended up doing some manual labor and working up a sweat cleaning out my garage. I needed to take my mom to pick up her new car on Monday, and while I have a pretty giant two-car garage, I have embarrassingly allowed it to become so full of junk that I couldn’t fit another car in! Three giant garbage cans and a lot of organization later, we now have room for both of our cars, and I am so happy. Cleaning out and organizing the garage has been on my to-do list for two years, particularly due to the couple hundred 2018 campaign signs I haphazardly threw into a pile… I am so glad to have this done!

Well, mostly done. Anyone have tips on getting my floor clean? Sweeping it seems to not do NEARLY enough and the dust just keeps coming!

By the time I got the garage all cleaned out (and a few things listed on Facebook Marketplace), I had to hurry to shower and get ready before J came over. We were headed downtown for dinner with two of his best friends, and I was excited!

We had a reservation at Avelina – yes, another restaurant indoors. Just like Fleming’s, they did a phenomenal job with spacing the tables and requiring masks, and I felt very comfortable at the time. However, in the week since, I’ve realized that eating in restaurants is much riskier than I thought (I found this article in Elpais really informative).

Honestly, so many of my friends have been eating in restaurants the last few months of summer like it’s nothing, and I think that’s kind of normalized the behavior for me (even as I’m conscious that just because other people are doing it doesn’t mean it’s safe). But chatting with some people on Instagram, I’ve learned that each part of the country is really different in terms of what’s considered normal vs risky, and I’ve realized that many Coloradans are pretty lax compared to my East Coast friends. My hypothesis is that maybe because we have so much outdoor space here, COVID hasn’t felt as dire as it might if I were still living in NYC? That is, I usually spend a lot of my summer on the trails anyway, so since I’ve been able to keep that up, I haven’t had to worry about COVID too much; I’ve just limited going indoors with others, which hasn’t been too hard. But winter is going to change all of that, and while my four restaurant dinners in the last eight months may be fewer than my friends’ tallies, I realized dining in is actually still super risky, and I’m going to stop doing that going forward.

Okay, COVID tangent done! (At least for now; lots more on COVID in next weekend’s Halloween recap.)

We all had an absolute blast at Avelina – the food was stellar, and J’s two best friends (who are roommates) were so much fun to hang out with.

I had the cherry-glazed roast pork as my entree and it was delicious!

We ended up staying all the way until closing time of the restaurant, then going back to their apartment to hang out for a while after. And we stayed out super late – I blame the espresso martini I had after dinner for keeping me up and energized! Suffice to say that 1:00am found me getting home finally exhausted, and trying to use my Citibank app to open my garage door, a situation that J is going to tease me about forever 🤣 (In my defense, both the Citibank and Chamberlain app icons are a blue circle with a white logo… but yeah, that was dumb!)

And the next morning, we woke up… to snow! My mom was not thrilled about that, though I pointed out that it was going to be in the 70s later in the week. Welcome to Colorado weather! I actually love this kind of back-and-forth winter weather; it means I can cozy up inside for a day or two, but know that I’ll be back outside again soon.

This pic was from first thing in the morning; we ended up with several more inches by the end of the day.

Mom and J and I spent the morning on the couch watching The Great British Bakeoff (how did I only discover this delightful show this year?!) and brunching on tomato-chorizo stew with poached eggs. And then since I chose to read in bed when I first woke up instead of working out, I headed down to hit the Peloton while J watched his beloved Chiefs play afternoon football. (Ironically, the Chiefs were playing at Bronco Stadium, so we got to see the same winter weather mirrored on the field!) I always find it really hard to motivate myself to work out when I don’t do it first thing, so I was proud of myself for finally dragging myself down to the bike in the afternoon, and I felt so much better after I had done my workout! I really need to remember this – both to encourage myself to work out first thing, and/or to just do it later in the day if I miss a morning workout and want to skip.

After the gym, I showered and got into comfy clothes, and then… spent the rest of the evening with Mom and J back on the couch. I normally get pretty antsy when I spend the whole day on the couch (and I wasn’t even knocking out any reading, which is my usual cozy-day activity), but I was actually really happy to cozy up with my two favorite people. After Sunday, I’m now really excited about this being my quarantine circle and getting many more cozy couch weekends with them both ❤️


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