just let me get through February

Travis and I are members of ASCE and are quite involved with the local Younger Member chapter here (we actually met at a meeting years ago and somebody used it as a way to finagle a date/not-date later). Being Younger Members (under 35… uh oh, someone has gotten too old!) has been fun, since our group tends to do more social activities instead of just long, tedious meetings. Every year there is a regional conference that rotates through host chapters. This year, San Diego will be hosting and we’ve been doing a lot of work to get ready. Between Board meeting, regular meetings, conference planning meetings, and then the rest of our lives, February has been crazy. I’m very much looking forward to the end of the conference (I’m looking forward to the conference itself and all the people we’ll get to see again) and a little down time.

Did I mention we went to Denver a couple weekends ago? Despite running all over town to see all the various friends, we managed to squeeze in some pretty good meals. We hit Bones the night we landed (after some frenetic driving to get there before they closed) and the pork belly buns and lobster ramen did not disappoint. Travis had the pork udon, which was good, but nowhere near the buttery savoriness of the lobster ramen. The pork buns, while different from Momofuko’s, where delicious in their own right. The buns had a little more chew and the pork belly had a nice crackly layer on top. We also managed lunch at SALT (great meal, and I’m sad we didn’t get to stay for a bite of dessert) and then an early dinner at Osteria Marco, where we got to try the roast suckling pig and a deconstructed tiramisu (essentially ladyfingers and a cup of various tasty mousses). I also had the best Salted Caramel cupcake from this place called Tee and Cupcakes in the Pearl Street Mall. The cupcake was moist and light, the frosting was caramel (maybe caramel buttercream?) but not too sweet, and there was a light sprinkling of sea salt that just balanced everything out. If I could recreate that cupcake, I would be a happy camper.

Travis just celebrated his birthday, which was marked by a trip to Encinitas Ale House. The burgers are good, the beer list is exciting (if not a bit pricey), but I found the place to be a bit too loud for conversation.

Then, we managed to throw a working party over the weekend to stuff registration bags, but together speaker gifts, and assemble over a hundred name badges. I thought it would be a lot of work, but we managed to get it all done in less than an hour. Which left more time for partying and eating! I’d asked everyone to bring a side dish or appetizer, thinking it would make things easier on us. But then I discovered the garden jalapenos I’d stashed in the freezer with the intention of making jalapeno poppers. And I’d found a recipe for apricot glazed chicken wings that sounded good (they were outstanding!) And, for some reason, I really wanted baked brie with roasted garlic and pesto. So I made all those and we had way too much food before we even got to the dinner part. For dinner, we just grilled up flap steaks and made a taco bar, alongside grilled sausages and brats with caramelized onions. We never got to dessert, which was a sponsored cheesecake from The Cheesecake Factory and grilled poundcake. The pound cake was going to be topped with blueberry sauce, whipped cream, and peanut butter powder (you blend 60% peanut butter with 40% tapioca maltodextrin, by weight, and the tapioca bonds with the fats in the peanut butter and powederizes it). I ate some after everyone left and the pb powder is a tasty, tasty, trick.

So, I imagine this week is going to be a whirlwind of activity. Luckily, we have plenty of leftover sausages and taco meat to get us through some meals. And pound cake. One can never have too much pound cake.

Oh! We have also accumulated one dozen chicken eggs! I’ve still been buying eggs, but only because our eggs vary too much for baking. So, I bake with the store eggs and we’ve been eating our eggs. Yay!

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