Of late, I seem to be wallowing in a bit more decadence than is normal, even for me. In my personal dictionary (my own noggin), "decadence" equates with anything luxurious or extra special. Examples, you ask? My super soft gray sheets & down comforter (decadent). The first two sips of a venti Starbucks drink (decadent). Any sort of a paycheck (I jest...a little).
But this is going to be something of a food post because food is always in season.
Decadence #1: coconut ice cream
Where have you been all of my life? Good grief, it took me far, far too long to discover the joy that is this. Admittedly, while I very much enjoy sugary things, I'm also someone who tends to revisit the same old-same old treats almost always. I feel no need to try the pistachio cookie when I know that the chocolate chip variety is basically perfect. And there's just about nothing worse in my food world than to splurge pay for something that is supposed to be a treat but turns out to be mediocre. Hence, if I'm going to break out the wallet for something soul satisfying, I want to make sure it actually is soul satisfying. And I'm the first to admit it proudly: I like vanilla. I always get some variation of vanilla ice cream, in fact. Always. Vanilla ice cream with pecans, caramel, maybe brownies, maybe waffle cone...I'm drooling over here. I pretty much get this yum in a bowl e.v.e.r.y. time we're at some sort of ice cream place. We're big fans of the stuff, so that's pretty much the only place that we "go out to eat" anymore. Other than Panera. We are devoted fans of that place as well. (It seems justifiable to spend $6 for 2 medium whatevers rather than $30 for 2 heavy dinners.) So rewind to anniversary night out a few weeks ago and we found ourselves visiting not one but TWO dessert places after dinner. One right after the other, the way it should be. This is also how you know that I married well; I had the idea but wasn't sure if I should voice it given the piggish nature of it all when the boy up and reads my mind. It almost made me blush. We hit up a suggested cupcakery (which sadly was overrated when The Flying Cupcake was oh, so close by and is oh, so much better) and then drove a mere mile or so to a groovy and also recommended fro-yo place. Perhaps I was still all blushy, but I foresooked the typical vanilla and went with...coconut (still white, still okay). It was like a revelation, not because it was necessarily in and of itself so divine but my understanding of non-vanilla ice cream just exploded. It was perfectly, exactly, undoubtedly what I was wanting. Finally, it was worth it to take that chance! And this leads me to...
Decadence #2: Graeter's coconut chocolate chip ice cream
There's this little town called Cincinnati in this place called Ohio, and it is home to a sinfully delicious ice cream chain called Graeters. We traveled to said burg this past weekend to visit the sis & bro-in-law, and they performed some mad host/ess skills when they packed us in our car and drove us 10 minutes to ice cream heaven. Due to my recent revelation about coconut fro-yo, I stepped out of my comfort zone again and (gasp) asked to sample the coconut chocolate chip. Immediate devotion. That cone could not come over that counter fast enough. Frozen yogurt is alright and whatnot in a pinch, but hard ice cream will always win my vote. Combine that joy with coconut and Graeter's "chocolate chips" and you have achieved some zen-like transcendence for my being. According to the bro-in-law, and I have no reason not to believe him because this is the type of thing he is good at knowing (random trivia), Graeter's adds liquid chocolate to the ice cream as it is churning, thus resulting in these fudgy, truffle-like nuggets of melty chocolateness pocketed throughout the ice cream. If you find one of those "chips," you mine that puppy out without telling anyone of your conquest and hope to all of the gods great and small that no one else sees your prize and tries to wrest it from you, especially if you are so unfortunate as to be sharing a couple of scoops with someone. You might love the person you choose to share the ice cream with, but you don't have to love them that much at that moment, right? I don't know what got into the boy, but he actually GAVE ME FREE OF CHARGE one of his huge chocolate nuggets from his own ice cream booty, without me asking. I looked up and there was a spoon of joy being offered to me. I a) didn't tell him that I had a big chunk staring at me provocatively in my own cone and b) didn't ask questions but ate it post haste. It's like he was trying to seduce me. (Hello, are you new here?) For the record, my local grocery store does carry Graeter's and in coconut chocolate chip and it is on sale this week and I bought myself a pint because that's about as much as one trip to Culver's so it's really money in the bank if I stretch that pint out over...3 days. Actually, I'm pretty good at nibbling through a pint a couple of bites at a time. This pint is still going strong, half way through, and I got it Monday. Will power, my friends. Strangely enough, this one also leads me to...
Decadence #3: Vanilla Spiced Chai Iced Tea
You understand the connection, right? Coconut chocolate chip ice cream...vanilla spiced chai iced tea. Hand-in-hand. Well, let me fill you in on a secret to the boy's family: they like good food, tea, trying new food things, and dessert. I'm normally not much of an iced tea person seeing as how it's often a) bitter (which isn't always bad to me) b) nothing more than sugar water disguised as an acceptable drink or c) fairly tasteless. I'm good with plain water, thanks. I kind of feel like I'm failing at being an adult in one way that I still have to ask how to make iced tea should the fleeting moment hit me where I feel like drinking it. Thus, color us all shocked when I stole a drink from the boy's glass over the weekend (that's right, at Cincinnati with the in-laws who prescribe to those four aforementioned food beliefs) and discovered not just iced tea but rather iced tea! Who knows why, but he fixed himself a glass from some vanilla spiced chai that he found in his sister's pantry. Maybe she suggested it. Maybe he just got a little whimsical. Either way, a similar glass quickly made its way into my hand and a box of those little tea bags found its way into my grocery cart bright and early the next morning. It is a delightful little break from my two norms: water and coffee (which, ironically, I started drinking as a break from just water). And as I am easing my way back into the world of caffeine, I delight in being able to slip this into my daily routine. Someone throw me a teeth whitener. Oy.
Decadence #4: A 4-year old's mind
The boy's 31st birthday is coming up in the beginning of August. This has created much excitement our 4-year old's world as there is nothing, not even running, that she enjoys more than a good birthday and all of the excitement that leads up to that. This has led to many birthday-themed discussions as of late, including a little gem from yesterday that started by her saying something about Daddy turning 100. Cheeky parents that we are, we nipped that number in the bud and said "Sorry kid. Daddy isn't going to be 100 for another 69 years." She, who travels in murky, hit-and-miss territories once she passes 30 in her counting, wondered what came after 30 then. We wondered where 100 came from. Apparently, it directly follows 30. When she's on, there's nothing more delightful than to eat dinner together, listening to her imaginative stories and trying to follow her train of thought. It's something of a psychedelic journey at times, as is the way of a 4-year old. That is, undoubtedly, the best decadence of all, don't you think?