Centro To Go

One of my favorite restaurants in my college town (Fairfield, CT) is Centro on Post Rd. The bread is always served warm with olive oil, tables of all ages are given crayons to color the white paper over the table cloths and everything I’ve ever ordered has been delicious.

In college, it was one of the places your parents would take you to when they came to visit or where you’d go with your girlfriends for a birthday dinner.

During senior year, we discovered Centro To Go. For less than $16 for two or $27 for four, you got fresh homemade pasta, fresh homemade sauce, bread, olives and caeser salad to put together in the comfort of your own home. Simple and amazing.

Now that Ben and I are living back in the FC (Fairfield County) Centro To Go is one of my favorite meals to pick-up when we are passing through Fairfield.

For Valentine’s Day, instead of an expensive meal out, we planning to get Centro To Go and Ben surprised me by taking care of it all. He set the table, picked up some wine and chocolate, and we ate some delicious linguine with vodka sauce. Ben picked up the package for two and we had enough for us each to bring left overs to work the next day.

Book Club Spread

I already told you my thoughts on The Marriage Plot, but it wasn’t until Sunday that my book club met to discuss. I made the trip into Manhattan and headed to my friend Landrie’s adorable apartment below Houston.

This is the beautiful spread she put together, complete with fresh flowers.

See those biscuits? Made by yours truly. My first venture into the world of biscuits. It’s a world that I very much enjoy. Those aren’t just plain old biscuits, they are brown sugar bacon biscuits.

A few of the other girls contributed and we had quite the brunch so I thought I’d put together a Book Club Brunch Menu based on the spread we enjoyed.

Book Club Brunch Menu

Jalapeño and Cheese Breakfast Casserole

Brown Sugar Bacon Biscuits

Very Berry Fruit Salad

Mimosas

Monkey Bread

Darien Social

On Saturday, Ben and I ventured away from our normal Saturday routine of lounging at home to grab lunch at Darien’s newest spot, Darien Social. The gastro pub features craft brews and menu items for every mood; including pizza, burgers, and local cheeses.

When we arrived shortly after 1pm, a woman on her way out told us, “it’s worth the wait!” Fortunately, we didn’t have to wait at all.

Bread and butter served in a planter.

We contemplated the menu for some time. Everything sounded so good and looked so good, I can’t help but peak at other tables. we decided a good gastro pub is only as good as it’s burgers, so that’s what we ordered.

But first, we decided to start with the Kettle Chips, bbq potato chips with crumbled blue cheese. They were a little too spicy for my taste, lots of pepper on those guys. The blue cheese helped to cut the spiciness. Almost immediately after our appetizer arrived, our burgers were ready. I would have liked just a little more time enjoying the chips.

Ben, per usual, ordered the Bacon Cheeseburger. He was a very happy camper.

I went for the Shroom Burger, with foraged mushrooms, beltane goat cheese, and truffle. Anything with goat cheee and truffle, I order. Done and done. The goat cheese was tucked away under the burger and it was just perfect.

We were stuffed by the end of our meal but we were already planning our next visit. Ben wants to try a pizza and I have my eye on the short ribs…and the mac and cheese…and the swedish meatballs.

As if we weren’t sold on the place, our check (which arrived in a mason jar) came with two mini peach italian ices. Ben isn’t one for sweets, but I devoured these guys.

If you are looking for a good, and not to mention local (when possible), meal Darien Social is a great local spot. And according to our server, it’s pretty happening on weeknights. I bet the location, right across for the Darien train station, helps that quiet a bit.

 

Sweet Treat: Peanut Butter Heart Cookies

I spotted these cookies on Pinterest using a Betty Crocker cookie mix. But using a baking mix is not how I like to roll.

(Unless it’s Funfetti, I’m always down for Funfetti.)

Taking a peanut butter cookie recipe from The Kitchn and replacing the espresso truffle blossoms with heart-shaped chocolates, I made these delicious treats…

Find the recipe here. It resulted in a about a dozen and a half cookies for me. I made them a little bigger because of the size of the chocolate hearts. I also used regular sugar to coat the cookies, not the sugars suggested in the recipe.

DIY Art: Je T’aime

During our trip to Montreal last summer, Ben and I began replacing “I love you” with “Je t’aime.” Ever since, we’ve been saying “Je t’aime” to one another.

We’ve been working on decorating the apartment and because of this new tradition, I’ve been looking for the perfect “Je t’aime” print for our walls. I found a few I liked, but nothing I just loved. These two, however, were favorites:

(click images for sources)

Over the weekend, I was itching to hang up a few frames. I still didn’t have the right print and even if I found one, I would have had to order it and wait for it to be delivered. So, instead, I DIY-ed it. A piece of white printer paper, a black marker, red construction paper, scissors and I was in business. My very own, original Je T’aime print:

Friday Things

Oh hello, February!

While everyone is gearing up for the Superbowl this weekend, I’m gearing up for a relaxing weekend of getting sh*t done. The apartment is a mess, we are nearly out of food, and I have a lot of DVR to catch up on. Oh, and baking. There will be baking. If you find yourself relaxing and needing something to read, do, or look at, here are a few things I stumbled upon and loved this week…

…beautiful red table design from Martha Stewart Weddings.

…the countdown to Girl Scout Cookies is on. I don’t know any Girl Scouts personally but I downloaded the Girl Scout Cookie Finder App and in 3o days I’ll know just exactly where I can get me some Thin Mints.

…I’m feeling springy, are you? Essie’s Spring 2012 colors will make you feel even more so!

…sick of the same old chicken dinner? Try some of Mark Bittman’s Simple Chicken Recipes.

…with a goal of reading 75 books this year, Matchbook Mag’s 50 Classic Matchbook Girl Novels is helping me make my list.

Book Review: Rules of Civility

Rules of Civility by Amor Towles

Rules of Civility will transport you to the late 1930’s in Manhattan. On New Year’s Eve 1937, Katey and her boardinghouse roommate, Eve, will take you out on the town for libations and music where they meet a handsom young man called Tinker. That meeting sparks an unpredicted chain of events for 25-year-old Katey.

Throughout the following year, 1938, Katey mingles with high society and works for the Editor of Conde Nast’s newest magazine. Her friendship with Eve changes as her relationship with Tinker develops and a whole cast of entertaining characters fill in the rest of 1938.

Rules of Civility is one of the best books I’ve read in a while. What I loved most about this book, aside from being transported to another time, was that while Katey is young and finding her way, she is never lost. She’s a strong young woman and I loved reading her adventures.

Easy Dinner: Thrown Together Pasta

At the end of the week, I usually have a few random ingredients leftover that need to be used as soon as possible. I’m also usually pretty tired of spend a lot of time cooking. Insert a thrown together pasta and I can use up some veggies before they go bad and put together a quick meal. I had some penne, broccoli, pancetta and marinara sauce at home, so this is what was thrown together.

Meg’s Thrown Together Pasta (servings – 2 entree portions, time – approx. 25 min)

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups of your favorite pasta (or whatever you have leftover)
  • 1 small yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups of your favorite pasta sauce
  • 2 cups of broccoli florets (no stem)
  • 1/2 cup pancetta
  • Parmesan cheese
Directions:
  1. Cook pasta according to package directions.
  2. In a large sauce pan, cook pancetta until lightly crisp and remove from pan.
  3. Once pancetta is removed from pan, cook onion for approx. 5 mins. Add garlic and cook for another 2 mins.
  4. Add pasta sauce and bring to a simmer.
  5. Add broccoli and cook covered for a few minutes until broccoli is cooked through.
  6. Combine sauce mixture and pasta, mix well.
  7. Divide into two bowls, top with pancetta and parmesan cheese.

For more servings, add a cup of pasta of each serving, add more veggies and increase pasta sauce.

XOXO, Valentine’s Day Card Round Up

It’s almost Valentine’s Day! It might just a Hallmark Holiday but what’s so terrible about a day dedicated to telling the people you love that you love them?

In grade school, we all made cards for the entire class but I’ve gotten away from that, only giving my now husband-to-be a card. This year, I’m switching it up, I’m going to send cards to also give cards to my family. I tell them I love them often but sometimes it’s nice to see it written down. Not to mention, it’s so fun to get snail mail that isn’t a bill or credit card offer.

I’ll probably just run to Target or the Hallmark store this week but here are few cards I found and loved.

(Click image to be directed to source)

Fill in the Blank from Minted

 

Minted You're A Hit

What A Hit from Minted

 

Je T'aime from tinyprints

 

I can't believe... from someecards

Book Review: The Marriage Plot

First we meet Madeleine, an Austen-obsessed English major writing her thesis about the marriage plot found in english novels. At the beginning of The Marriage Plot, she is waking up the morning of her college gradation with a raging hangover and is late to meet her parents for breakfast. At breakfast we meet Mitchell, an old “friend” of Madeleine’s, who is sorely in love with her and believes they are soul mates despite the fact they are not on speaking terms. Later we meet Leonard, the brilliant but troubled guy Madeleine has dated during her senior year. The novel follows the love triangle throughout their first year out of college while also providing a look into the history of their college days.

As I was reading The Marriage Plot I constantly went back on forth as to whether or not I liked each of the three main characters. Some of their actions I applauded, others I did not. But regardless of if I liked them or not, I couldn’t stop thinking about them. Madeleine, Mitchell and Leonard are very well-developed and you can’t help but want to find out what happens to them. This wasn’t a favorite of mine but I did enjoy it and would recommend it if you are looking for an interesting read.