a cidery start to a royale ending

Today started slow.  Real slow.  But when you have a dog this adorable laying in bed with you, it's even harder to get up!

I finally managed to make it out of the house for some Christmas shopping at the Yellow Jacket Swap Meet, followed by a snack at the Wet Whistle...

rosemary cider

The Wet Whistle is an eastside corner store my friend (and fellow Jersey girl, though she's been a part of Austin's heartbeat for some time now) Jenn Daly opened at the end of the summer.  They sell a great selection of beer and wine, carefully curated prepared food from local businesses (like sandwiches from Tam Deli, one of my favorite Vietnamese places!), gorgeous flower arrangements, and other odds and ends-- almost all local.  Much like Jenn's own house, the store itself is a sight to behold: vintage bottles and curios line the shelves with an artist's intention, vines crawl across the counter, large glass vessels with handwritten labels hold a number of brews and potions...When you visit (which I highly recommend you do), the place will welcome you in with a warm, spiced hug.

soy chorizo and brie empanada.. and their article in the Chronicle!

...there's even a bike-up window!

After more Christmas shopping and browsing and a half-hearted nap, I headed to Justine's for a late birthday dinner celebrating my friend Kara.  Since we originally met in our first year studies class at Sarah Lawrence, we've now known each other for.......*gulp*........ almost 13 years now??!?!  Man, that makes me feel old...

buttery, garlicky escargot

One thing that just puzzles me about Justine's, a pretty strictly French bistro, is their insistence on serving olive oil with their bread, instead of butter.  WHY???  No matter to us this time, as we dipped our bread into the buttery remains of the escargot.. until a waitress swiped it away!  (And we were all too proud to yell, "Wait!  Come back with that butterrrrr!")

royale with cheese

I must say, I definitely prefer going to Justine's during the week when it is not so crowded and loud (the food is also prepared noticeably better when it's not as busy ).  Some of their specials looked fantastic and I'd love to try more out. I was just set on the royale with cheese before we even arrived, so it couldn't be any other way.  They do make a darn good burger-- ground sirloin and ribeye on ciabetta with gruyere, served with frites.  

birthday girl- 30 years young!

bday duckface

We ended dinner with a delightful apple cake Emily made...

Emily's delicious apple cake

The night ended, as many celebrations do, at The White Horse, where we ran into the Sheriff of Good Times.  Seeing as we were having a fabulous time, we were right in line with the law :)

meet the Sheriff of Good Times