Summer is finally here! I know it’s not official yet, but it sure feels like summer lately. Tank tops and sandals have become a daily staple and the air conditioners are going strong. I’m sad that we only had about a week of that perfect weather where you keep the windows open all day long, but I’m glad our terrible winter has ended (fingers crossed). And I’m so ready for the beach, it’s not even funny. I’ve been “tonin’ it up!” I can’t wait to use my fancy new yoga mat on the deck of the beach house and go for runs by the water with the sea breeze blowing in my hair. I’m planning to sleep in a bit, so maybe I’ll work out at 7 or 8 instead of 5:45 like I do now (oh geez I’m getting old). It’s going to be glorious! May was a lot of fun – We had a few road trips up to the Finger Lakes for my brother-in-law’s college graduation (congrats Daniel!) and for a Memorial Day/Robert’s Birthday weekend bash with friends. Aaaannnd I have to keep reminding myself that 2015 is almost halfway over and it’s not February anymore. What’s up with life?! Here are some things I’ve been loving this month:
Roasted Fennel and White Beans with Garlicky Lemon Oil – I’ve made this recipe from With Food and Love several times in the past few months and that’s really saying something. I make it to have on hand as an easy thing to pack for my work lunches, so I usually throw it together while winding down after dinner and cleaning the kitchen and whatnot. It’s super simple to throw together – I leave out the parsley, go heavy on the lemon oil, and chop up the roasted garlic by hand so I can toss the dressing together in the bowl I’m going to store it in. Then I throw in everything else and toss it all together. I love it because yes, it’s super easy to make, but also because it doesn’t require a ton of ingredients, and it’s perfectly filling for a small lunch while also being light and refreshing. I always have to stop myself from eating the whole bowl the night I make it before I put it away.
Gin – I’m getting into it, people! Although I’m not the biggest fan of gin and tonics, I have always appreciated a good gin cocktail. I’m getting more into gin recently because I’ve discovered a cocktail called The Bee’s Knees, and I’ve found myself craving it a lot. Then over the holiday weekend up in the Finger Lakes we were drinking gin with ginger beer from Ithaca Beer Co., and I bought a bottle of the reserve gin at the Finger Lakes Distillery. So it’s official, people: gin might be my summer whiskey.
Madewell jeans – Thanks to Unfancy I’ve become a little obsessed with Madewell. I decided to splurge back in the fall and try out a pair of their jeans, and it turns out they’re as perfect as everyone says they are. I’m sure they don’t work for everyone, but I’m super excited because they fit my body type really well (aka my butt fits), AND their “regular” length actually fits my tiny little legs. (In comparison, the “short” length jeans at J. Crew are still way too long for me and don’t fit my body type in any other way, shape or form.) They tell you to buy them a little snug and then they will relax in all the right places (without bagging out in other spots) after you’ve worn them a bit. The first several times you wear them can be a little rough, but then they really do relax into your body. Mine were tight (but not super uncomfortable because the waist hits at a good spot) for a while in the beginning but now they’re some of my most comfortable jeans. I’ve been rocking the “skinny skinny” style, and I may or may not own 3 pairs now …. (but one was on clearance). Just consider this my public declaration of love for Madewell jeans. I needed to get that out of my system.
The Foundry Craft Grillery – There used to be a restaurant across the street from us with a beautiful bar, and it was our favorite place to go for a drink in town until it closed suddenly about a year ago. Well, the heavens have smiled upon us because a new restaurant has opened in its place, and I’m even more excited about the menu at this one. The Foundry was kind enough to invite me to their VIP opening at the beginning of the month, and I’m so excited about this place that I’m a little worried that I only have to walk across the street to get there. This might be dangerous. In fact, we went there 3 times in the week they opened: The VIP opening, then two days later as part of their “pre-opening,” and then again with my parents after they were officially open, and we just went for a fourth time over the weekend.
They’ve kept the beautiful antique bar that I enjoyed so much, and they’ve got a great list of cocktails (which is extremely important to me). When we were there for the pre-opening I gave them the “margarita test,” and they passed with flying colors. They make theirs with a homemade sour mix and it’s wonderful. (I might have ordered three of them that night …) Throughout my visits I also tried some of their other cocktails, and one that really stood out to me was The Quinn, a whiskey cocktail.
With the word “grillery” being in the name, part of their charm is the custom 8-foot wood-fired grill, fully visible from the dining room. Apparently they had to bring it in through the window (the restaurant is on the third floor of the farmer’s market building), and it is truly a sight to behold. Part of their menu is kind of a choose-your-own-adventure situation where you can pick your meat, your sauce and two sides. So for example, I could order the filet mignon with bacon-grilled shallot butter and then my sides could be truffle & herb whipped potatoes and charred asparagus. Or I could go for the St. Boniface brewery brined chicken with Foundry steak sauce, aged cheddar cheese grits and plancha swiss chard and kale with lemon olive oil. What would you get? The menu is kind of ridiculous. Good luck making a decision.
Aside from the grillery portion of the menu, they also have small plates, wood-fired pizza and “chef plates,” which are pre-composed, like the grilled salmon with charred asparagus, quinoa and an orange-dijon vinaigrette which is DELICIOUS. That one is Robert and Mom-approved. I would also highly recommend the pizza – they have some wonderful house pizzas but you could also design your own by choosing from 3 sauces (tomato sauce, bolognese or roasted garlic crema) and picking 3 toppings. However, the best thing on their menu may in fact be the burger and fries. But it’s not JUST a burger and fries: It’s an 8-oz. black angus burger with caramelized-onion bacon jam, locally grown spinach and brie on a toasted brioche bun with house-cut fries and a sriracha aioli. YEESSSSSSSS. I’m not much of a burger lover but this one is off the charts.
I should probably stop gushing about this place. It’s just really exciting for our town to have a new restaurant of this caliber. I’m looking forward to popping over some nights for a pizza and a cocktail when we want something more casual (perhaps sitting at the bar and watching the pizza guy do his thang), but also being able to go over for one of those meals where you pull out all the stops with appetizers and dessert and everything. They also have a separate large room that makes a lovely space for big events like wedding receptions and business functions. I highly urge you to go give this place some love because Lebanon needs more spots like this! And now I’m plotting my next visit …