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One of my favorite wedding pictures.
Brent and I just celebrated our 1 year anniversary last Friday and had so much fun! Since my blog is kind of like my diary you all are going to be exposed to it, like it or not! If you want to see the wedding, click here.
So first of all we agreed to not exchange presents this year. Brent kept asking over and over to make sure I didn't even get him a card and I didn't because I thought we had agreed. Needless to say that he sent me a beautiful bouquet of tulips to my work, which are my favorite flower of all time. Getting the flowers to me ended up being a bit of a fiasco...
 
 
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Mike (Left), Jonathan (Center), Rachel (Right)
The day after our excellent dining experience at Charlie Trotter's, which I posted about here, we were treated, compliments of Chef Trotter, to a lunch at Trotter's To Go. We were beyond delighted to continue in our Chicago adventure and taste more of what Charlie's team had to offer. We were given an address and told what time to be there and we had no idea what to expect. I knew a little about Trotter's To Go and expected maybe a picnic lunch packed for us to take to the park... what a silly girl I am sometimes.
 
 
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A Chef, Brent, Laura, Charlie Trotter
I am no doubt the luckiest girl in the world.. at least in terms of the husband I ended up marrying. So, oh, about four years ago I read this book called Lessons in Service by Charlie Trotter. My GM at Eddie V's requested I read it since I was delving into a new career as a restaurant manager.  I started reading the book and simply became enthralled by it. I loved this man Charlie! I loved his concept on food, how he treated his employees, the importance of a great diner experience, and most importantly his desire to give back to his community. I simply can't capture all of my feelings about his concepts in words, you really just have to read the book. Whether you are a "foodie" or not, I highly recommend it. I would literally get off work at 3am and come home excited to read a few more chapters before dozing off.  It was amazing.
After reading his book I desperately wanted to go eat at Chef Trotter's restaurant and discussed with Brent my excitement and hopes, but oh, where to begin? In  learning about his restaurant, Charlie Trotter's, I knew I would have to plan out pretty far in advance to ever eat there, for two reasons: 1) It is expensive and 2) some people literally make their reservations years in advance. I truly desired to go but as with some goals in life, the memory faded as I was engulfed in my own fast-paced restaurant life.  I never totally forgot about that dream but in going back to work for the State, it wasn't exactly something my "public heath" feel good job could afford.
 

Paggi House

4/26/2010

 
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Warm Olives: Grilled Bread, Olive Oil. A mere $2.50 during Happy Hour!
Last week we decided to use one the the coupons we bought off of restaurant.com (great deal sometimes!) and head to Paggi House for a special date night.
I hadn't been in quite some time and it was perfect for this time of year. The outside seating is beautiful and I loved the couches that so many were lounging on while balancing their glasses of wine. It looked comfortable and very Austin chic. A perfect way to spend a spring evening sipping wine and chatting with friends.
Paggie House has a very nice happy hour with half priced glasses of wine and select appetizers. I highly recommend checking it out.
 
 
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Pickled beets with goat cheese, chives, and candied pecans. Catering source, unknown but it was delish.
Last week I had my first opportunity to attend the annual Umlauf Sculpture Garden Party. It was beautiful. I had actually never even been to the Umlauf Sculpture Garden before and I can't believe I've waited this long to go. After attending this event I can completely see the draw in holding your wedding there. The backdrop, during this time of year, is a lush green garden with a delightfully gurgling stream running through to a beautiful pond. Pepper in a few statues and an amazing, romantic setting is complete. In regards to the party, it is often compared to La Dolce Vita. I've attended both now and I have to say that the Umlauf event is my new favorite. La Dolce Vita, though a highly regarded event, is just a little too busy and the Garden Party was a bit more intimate, which I truly enjoyed. Both are truly lovely though. Now, on to the nibbles....
 
 
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1. Spot bat 2. (not pictured) Run screaming with your husband behind the kitchen counter and stare. 3. Follow his first suggestion to 'Get the camera!'