Because West Hartford really seems to me to be a foodie paradise, I wanted to devote a special post to the food that we ate while I was on vacation. This will veer off the healthy path a bit, as it involved desserts and also Chipotle, but it was an amazing couple of days of food! The first night I was there, we went to MAX Burger, which is a gourmet burger place. I had a burger called Miss Daisy, which was a beef burger with brie, applewood smoked bacon, apple honey Dijonnaise, lettuce, and tomato on toasted brioche. I also had sweet potato fries. My sister had a lobster burger, along with onion rings. We split the two sides. We also got an Oreo ice cream thing for desserts that involved homemade Oreo ice cream, chocolate cake, and a whole of of yumminess. And we also each enjoyed a glass of wine (Chardonnay for her and Sauvignon Blanc for me)! However, my favorite thing about MAX Burger was this statement on the menu: "MAX Burger proudly serves all-natural Niman Ranch Certified Angus beef. We share their mission to provide humanely raised, environmentally-sustained animals, using no antibiotics, no pesticides, and no added hormones." Ah, see, I came back around to a topic common on this blog. Humanely-raised meats in a restaurant setting = my Nirvana.
The next day, we went to Chipotle for lunch. I had never been, and it was pretty fun! The food was yummy, and it was a fun experience. I also enjoyed seeing on their menu information on their Food with Integrity focus. From their website: "Food with Integrity is our commitment to finding the very best ingredients raised with respect for the animals, the environment, and the farmers." And this is a major national chain! If they can do this, why can't all the other chains? Anyway, I had the burrito bowl with the barbacoa, and my sister had a burrito bowl with the carnitas. We split chips and guac. I am glad I don't have Chipotle too close to home because I can tell I would crave it often, and I am sure it is not a healthy everyday option.
And that night was the big birthday dinner for my newly 30-year-old sister. After our great experience at MAX Burger, we chose another restaurant in the MAX Restaurant Group, Max's Oyster Bar. We were looking for something a little more high-end to celebrate her big birthday without veering into stuffy, and this restaurant really fit this bill! We started off with Peach Bellinis, which were yummy, and we had as an appetizer a family favorite, fried calamari. Whenever we go out to dinner, calamari is certain to be on our table...we just love it! The dipping sauce, along with the red pepper flakes on top, made this calamari stand out as some of the best I have had. The dipping sauce tasted of ginger and lime, among other things, and it was so yummy! For dinner, I had a lobster dish that had the lobster resting on a mound of homemade mashed potatoes and some fennel and sitting in a cream sauce that almost reminded me of the flavors of a very good lobster bisque. My sister had a fillet mignon for the main reason that it came with grits as a side. She doesn't like to share that she was born in the South too often, but her love of grits gives her away! We also split two desserts. One was a banana cream pie, and the other was a blueberry pairing, which had blueberry buckle with blueberry sorbet, along with blueberry compote with lemon curd.
Of course, the morning after this big meal, we were feeling the overeating and took a nice 2.8 mile brisk walk around town to stretch our legs and get some exercise before I got in the car to head home and she got in the car to head to Philadelphia to continue her birthday celebration! It was such a nice visit, however, and I can't wait to go back again! My sister is such a great inspiration to me, as she lives a very healthy lifestyle, and she is also a great friend because she listens to me ramble on and on about any of a variety of topics that I may be considering at any time. She also gives great advice, and I love spending time with her! I never would have guessed, back in the day when I used to hang "KEEP OUT!" signs on my door, that we would be so close one day, but I am so happy to have her in my life.
Next on the health and fitness agenda is the purchase of a Polar heart rate monitor, which I am probably going to pull the trigger on this week. I am choosing between the FT4 and the FT7 now, and I am not sure which way to go. I really only want it to track my heart rate and calories burned throughout the day to better direct my workout efforts and my eating goals. The FT7 has some extra features that I probably don't need, but it's only $20 more expensive, which seems so minimal. I had decided on the FT7, but I am now leaning toward the FT4. Clearly, some more research needs to be done before I make the actual purchase. I am trying to cut back on my spending, so the cheaper one is probably the better option.
Make it a great day, everyone!