Marvelous Monday #8!

by Sara on August 27, 2012

Marvelous is…

Reuniting with a best friend.

My gal pal (and Target shopping partner in crime!) recently returned from a year in Russia! Jen is a friend with whom I can share everything. Everything. Crazy dating stories, heavy secrets, poopy problems…Nothing is off limits. I’ve missed her!

On Friday afternoon, we met at Dolcezza—my favorite gelato shops—for  drip coffee and some serious girl gab time.

Dolcezza may be famous for the gelato, but its baristas make a mean cappuccino and a delicious cup of drip coffee.

Who am I kidding though?

The gelato is most delicious. 😉

straciatella and pineapple

Marvelous is…

Enjoying happy hour tapas at Jaleo.

After schmoozing at Dolcezza, Jen and I weaved in and out of a few shops, and made sure to stop in Georgetown Cupcake just for a peek.

At 6:00, we met Julien, Jen’s boyfriend, at my all-time favorite DC restaurant.

Jaleo is actually the first restaurant restaurant I dined at when I arrived in DC eight years ago (Subway on campus did not count!) . I’ve been in love chef Jose Andres’ out-of-this-world tapas ever since, and almost always choose to go there on my birthday.

I’ve tried nearly every vegetable and seafood tapa on the menu, and know what I love. No need to waste time ordering!

Jen and I shared the following dishes:

Trigueros con romesco: grilled asparagus with romesco sauce.

Gambas al ajillo: the very, very famous tapa of shrimp sautéed with garlic.

Espinacas a la catalana: sautéed spinach, pine nuts, raisins and apples.

And my favorite: a new to me scallop tapa…

Vieiras con piñones y Pedro Ximénez: seared scallops with pine nuts and Pedro Ximénez

Do you know what Pedro Ximénez is?

Yeah, I didn’t either. I was sold at “scallops,” so honestly it didn’t matter.

But curiosity got the best of me while writing this post and had to find out. According to Wikipedia, Pedro Ximénez  is “…an intensely sweet, dark, dessert sherry.”

Oh yeeeah.

I don’t think I’d ever tried sherry, but I loved this tapa, so I guess it means I love sherry?

Julien also ordered the fried dates wrapped in bacon!

Come on. Don’t knock ’em till you try ’em. 😉 If you’re a fan of  sweet + salty, you’d probably love these.

Marvelous is…

Friends who clown around with you at the table.

Jen and I have a history..

Circa 2010. My 25th birthday (at Jaleo, of course)

She didn’t catch the memo for this pic, but you get the idea.

Marvelous is…

Saving money on guacamole.

I’m trying to reel in my spending on groceries, so I’ve been eliminating the non-necessities like sauces, dips and dressings. I don’t need tzatziki.  Nor do I need salsa.

But guacamole? It’s in a category of its own. I need guacamole. Guacamole is a necessity.

I realized Saturday that my Whole Foods keeps guacamole on the salad bar on a regular basis. My Whole Foods also offers free dressing/condiment containers.

That, my friends, is how you save $6.99 on guacamole. 😉

Marvelous is…

A pop of color and a positive message.

I think we often forget the power behind a simple “hello” or a friendly smile. One act of compassion can truly brighten somebody’s day—and yours too.

(Full disclosure: I carry Yogi tea bags in my purse and steep them in free Starbucks water). 😉

Speaking of bright, on Saturday I went for almost-neon orange nails. I figure it’s my last summer hurrah; one final pop of crazy color before fall hits!

Marvelous is…

Feeling like a goddess Monday morning.

A perfectly fizzy cocktail to kick start the day. I’ve been saving a bottle of Guava Goddess for a week and think Monday morning is a perfect time to pop it open. 😉

Go make your day marvelous (and check out what’s making others’ Monday marvelous too)!

It’s our choice; every single day is a blessing filled with good.


Questions for you:

Is there a restaurant you always go to, or meal you always request, on your birthday?

When I was little, I always requested macaroni and cheese “from the box” (aka not my mom’s homemade version!).

What condiments are “necessities” for you?

  • Khushboo

    Never thought I would describe a post as yummy but that’s the only term which comes to mind about this post…WOW! Talk about major food porn!! You really take lovely pics, Sara :)! And between your love for coffee, seafood, and gelato, we would make “marvelous” dining partners! There’s a restaurant called Indigo Deli here which makes the best food: burgers, sandwiches, salads, grills, pizzas, pastas, you name it! And then of course they have a separate Specials Menu which always has quite a few amazing fish options. That being said, I barely debate what to order- I have my few favorites (one of which is a grilled salmon burger with a cucumber & yogurt slaw) that I tend to gravitate to. The few times I have “branched out” (especially when the catch of the day is a meaty fish), I have always been satisfied! Have a marvelous Monday!

    • Sara Stewart

      Thanks, Khushboo! I would LOVE to come visit you and be your dining partner at Indigo Deli! Salmon burgers are definitely one of my favorite items to order out or cook at home. :)

  • Jessiejoshua21

    Sara, what a marvelous post. I am so happy that your best friend has returned home after a year! I can’t even imagine how excited you must’ve been to see & reconnect. I hope she’s home for good now.

    I can’t even begin to explain how uberly (yeah i used that word lol) jealous I am of your dinner. I’m obsessed with scallops, and those right there look friggen delicious! This is another place I requested that we go when I visit D.C. Okay?? Okay thanks :)

    Love the positive message. You are absolutely right. Kindess to others really does go a long way. I usually try to do something, rather it be big or small for at least one person everytime I go out. I think that’s very important in life.

    Well, I hope you continue to have a marvelous day :)

    • Sara Stewart

      I use the word “uberly” too so we’re totally on the same page. 😉 Umm, we will most DEFINITELY go to Jaleo when you come to DC! It’s truly my favorite restaurant, so of course I’ll take you there! We will request several orders of scallops because between the two of us, one or two will definitely not be enough! 😉

      Happy Monday, love! <3

  • Alexandra

    Awww that’s awesome you got to reunite with your pal! And man those scallops and goodies look FAB!!!!!! 😀 When we meet, we’re totally getting scallops, k??
    And I love your idea of saving $$ at WF, you’re a freaking genius girl haha
    Have a marvelous, glorious Monday friend!

    • Sara Stewart

      We will DEFINITELY get scallops when we meet! If you come to DC, I’ll take you to Jaleo; if I come to Corpus Christi, I’m sure there are plenty of fab seafood places to choose from! Happy Monday, friend! xoxo <3

  • Tara @ Sweat like a Pig

    Your life looks like so much fun! You’re always doing awesome things :) It’s so cute that you didn’t know what Pedro Ximénez was…hahaha lucky you liked it, as most people would find that to be a nasty surprise! Happy Monday xoxo

    • Sara Stewart

      Haha, I have honestly never tried a drop of sherry in my life! Is it popular in the UK/Australia? I’m probably living under a rock, but you never see it on a menu (or at least the menus I look at) here! :-p xoxoxo

  • Heather Waxman

    There is so much beauty in this post – I’m dying of happiness because I know how genuinely happy you were! What a blessing to have her back in the States after not seeing her for so long. :-)

    – That asparagus looks INCREDIBLE! So big and juicy!
    – Drip coffee! Gahhh. Can I have some?
    – You’re so thrifty with that guac! What a novel idea. You rule. Unfortunately, my WF weighs everything at the salad bar, though. Womp womp.

    Condiment necessities for me are organic ketchup (always!), avocado, and nutritional yeast.

    • Sara Stewart

      You would have LOVED the asparagus! It came with the most incredible romesco sauce…I wish I could buy a jar of it from the restaurant. 😉

      I’m completely with you on the organic ketchup–it goes with everything! My friends think it’s funny that I use it as a veggie dip!

  • julie!

    can you BELIEVE i’ve never had gelato! i’m coming to DC just so you can take me to the best gelato shop hahaha and obviously so we can have a fun time together. GIVE me that big fat asapargus! My WF sucks! they even charge you for containers of balsamic vinegar!

    • Sara Stewart

      Umm, get yo’ fanny down here! We’re going for GELATO girlfran! There are two places that are amazing, so we’ll be sure to hit both!

      Alternative plan: we find some in NYC. I’m coming Sept 21-24th!!!! Clear your calendar! <3

  • Danielle @Clean Food…

    I love all the marvelousness in this post! I’m so happy your friend is back! There is nothing better than a friend who you can talk about anything and everything with! The guava goddess kombucha is one of my favorites! Perfect morning pick me up!

    • Sara Stewart

      Thanks, Danielle! Guava Goddess is definitely my favorite flavor, followed by Mango Madness. :)

  • Julie G

    Oh my gosh, everything in this post looks amazing! Those SCALLOPS! And the asparagus! Romesco sauce is one of my favorites; not a “necessity,” but definitely a regular splurge. 😉 There’s a Spanish shop near my house that sells it in small tubs and I treat myself about once/month. It’s also really good on chicken!

    When I was in DC last year, I went waited an hour to try a Georgetown Cupcake! It was really good, but I’m not sure I’d wait THAT long again. Haha

    Condiment necessities for me are guacamole, salsa and nut butters! I can’t live or eat without all three!

    • Sara Stewart

      I wish I knew a great place to buy romesco! Whole Foods used to carry it, but I haven’t seen it in well over a year. Maybe I need to come visit you and hit that Spanish shop!

      I agree about Georgetown Cupcake. It’s good, but not amazing! There’s actually a place in DC called Baked and Wired, which I like much better!

  • Rach

    SO glad you guys are back together! What a blessing! Looks like you guys had a blast! :)

    • Sara Stewart

      Thanks, Rach! Happy Monday!

  • HealthyDiva

    YAY for your friend being reunited with you!!!! How sweet she seems to be too! She has to be damn sweet to be a friend of yours for sure! Jaleo! I was so HAPPY when we went there, I know how DAMN good those scallops are! I wanted more!!!

    You are so adorable! Love the tea bag message! Love you!

    And I am sure I will get my diva booty to NYC so let’s plan on it! Will let you know for sure the end of the week or early next week!

    Love you!

    • Sara Stewart

      I loved our dinner at Jaleo together!! This time, the scallops were twice the size, which made me so happy! I could eat those every day!

      I really hope NYC works!! Once you find out for sure, lets start making plans!

  • Caroline

    Oh man I miss Jaleo! I went there a few times when I was in DC. Everything is so tasty! When I’m home in Houston, I used to always like to go to my favorite Mexican restaurant to order chile con queso and tortillas. I still love it there but now I opt for more pricier/sophisticated places for my birthday dinners, especially with parents!

    • Sara Stewart

      I know what you mean–when I go out to dinner with my parents, I try to choose the restaurants that I’ve been dying to try but can’t afford! 😉

  • Lisa

    Awe, that is awesome you got to reunite with a friend! Isn’t that so much fun when that can happen!
    Can you believe I’ve never actually had gelato before…I don’t even know how it differs from ice cream or anything? That is probably sad ha ha.
    Yep, guac is totally a necessity. I eat at least 1 avocado everyday. Simply the best!
    Ha ha, I do the same with my tea bags!! People think I’m weird when we meetup for coffee there! I think we are two of the coolest cats around;)

    • Sara Stewart

      Okay, next time we’re together, we’re getting GELATO!! You’d love it–it’s a bit lighter than ice cream, but still super creamy. Gelato shops always have the most incredible sorbets as well. Everything is super fresh (minimal ingredients), and my favorite places all source from local farms.

      I am so glad to know somebody else carries tea bags with them! I am super frugal and have a hard time spending money on teas that I don’t love! When I bring my own, I know I’m going to like it! We most def are cool cats. 😉 xoxo!!

  • Emily @ Glitz Glam Granola

    How wonderful that your bestie is back in town! You must have missed her so much! Sounds like you had the perfect reunited day too- coffee, gelato and tapas? Yes please! I actually had gelato this weekend and thought of you… boy that stuff is delicious! And I can see why that is your favorite place- everything your ordered looks fab, especially that spinach! I’m loving your bright lipstick and nails too- I agree, the last week of summer is deserving of some bright colors! And my birthday dinner or meal request always changing but I used to love the blue box mac and cheese too! My brother used to always want to go to TGI Fridays growing up though- I think we went there for like 10 years straight!

  • Sloane

    This post is SO marvelous! My BFF is coming to visit this week and I absolutely cannot wait. Nothing bonds you like being able to talk about boys AND bowels. I’m OBSESSED with tapas too. YUMMMM

    • Sara Stewart

      I hope you have a blast with your best friend!! <3

  • Carriepurchase

    Today just so happens to be my birthday!! When I was younger I would always go to Olive Garden for my birthday and get Chicken Fettuccine Alfredo- oh gosh so so good! Of course the salad and breadsticks are delish as well! My favorite dessert ever on my birthday was a few years ago the hubby made me a white chocolate raspberry cheesecake- it was so so good!

    • Sara Stewart

      HAPPY BIRTHDAY!! I used to love the Olive Garden too! Like you, I’d order fettuccine alfredo–always! I went there for my 5th birthday and lost my tooth in the tiramisu! I was so upset because I thought the tooth fairy wouldn’t come if I didn’t have a tooth for her. 😉

      I hope you have a wonderful day celebrating! Did your hubby make you another cheesecake this year? xoxo

  • Katie @ Peace Love & Oats

    That gelato looks sooooo good! Glad you had a great weekend! Happy Monday!

    • Sara Stewart

      It is the most amazing gelato! And all the ingredients are sourced locally! Double win. 😉 Hope you’re having a great Monday! <3

  • Gothextramileblog

    Sooo many great things in this post! I LOVE scallops, and that’s the thickest asparagus I’ve ever seen ha ha. Starbs, gelato, kombuch, guac, I love it all 😉

  • Chelsea A

    Aww I know what it feels like to reunite with a good friend after a long time apart! I’m glad you two had such a good time together this weekend. And your dinner at Jaleo looks amazing – especially that shrimp!

    For the past two years I’ve gone to a restaurant called Spencer’s for my birthday. This year I got the pickerel with black risotto which was amaaaaazing! I swear I’m still having good dreams about that meal haha.

    Also that’s hilarious about the guacamole. You sneaky girl! 😉

  • Sally

    So fun to see pictures of you and Jen having fun…once again! I still can’t believe I haven’t met her. Maybe you need to bring her to Boise! Your Jaleo dinner looks amazing!! Yum!

  • Sarah

    Dang girl, your muscles are – I’m jealous:p. Looking seriously gorgeous Sara,(as usual!).

  • lindsay cotter

    scallops, tapas, coffee.. ya, i’d be your other best friend for sure! oh and kombucha!

  • Min

    Aww..yay! I love reuniting with old friends! It’s as though we never missed a beat! I’m sure it was the same way with you and your bf! I LOVE tapas! It’s so fun to order all varieties of dishes and dig in! I’m a huge fan of sharing! Why waste precious space in the tummy eating the same thing?! Oh those scallops…I love scallops…And fried dates?!? I don’t really eat anything fried, but this one certainly caught my attention!
    My fav condiment is…SRIRACHA!!! I”m sure you knew that already ;)! HOpe you’re having a wonderful day!

  • Meg

    WHY ARE WE TWINS!!!!!!?????????? I keep tea in my purse too sis!!!!!!!! And then I always ask for hot water muahahahahahahaha! We are sneaky girls 😉

    Oh this is a beautiful post and I am so happy you can talk about poopy problems with her :) I hope you feel that comfortable with me :)


    On my birthday I always request salmon. ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS. And it will be grilled salmon and it will be grilled the way I like it whether my Mom likes it or not 😉 RARE!

    Condiments that are necessities? MUSTARD! I could live without the other things, but mustard – I use it every day!

  • Meg

    I always request cheesecake for my birthday, it’s my favorite! Some years I make my own even. :)

    I kind of hope you do move to CA so you’ll be closer to me! And maybe I’ll finally visit YOU! xoxo

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