Since buying our house, most of our spare time (and spare change) has gone into furnishing, finishing and improving our space. Skyler has been working tirelessly on finishing the basement, which will give us some much-needed additional square footage for entertaining, and I’ve been doing my best to make our house feel like a home and maximize said square footage. Say what you will, but choosing textiles and furniture and decor that will give you a beautiful and well-loved home isn’t as easy as it may seem! (If I see one more Live, Laugh, Love sign while searching for the perfect piece for an empty wall in our kitchen, I might lose my mind.)
Side note: Check out a few of my favorite pieces for our home so far, as well as a few items from my “still have to buy this” list! These can (mostly) still be found at Magnolia, Target, Etsy, Pier 1, Anthropologie, Wayfair and Value City.
Anyway, as a result of our intense focus on home ownership, we’ve rarely made time for date nights, a once-a-week promise we made to each other before we moved in. Instead, we’ve spent many nights in our own kitchen, either burning or wildly undercooking a variety of foods. (Disclaimer: We’re both pretty decent cooks, but the oven in our house is the worst. It’s on our mile-long list of things to upgrade.)
To be fair, we’re making memories either way, whether we’re in our home or out to dinner somewhere, and that’s what is most important. But if you know me, you know I really love food, and I really love trying out new restaurants.
So, when we found ourselves without any plans for New Years Eve, Skyler surprised me with reservations to Harvest, a seasonal grill and wine bar that had been on my “must-eat” list since I moved back home. They’re known for their seasonally rotating (and mostly under 500 calorie) menu, as well as their use of locally-sourced foods.
When we arrived, we were seated in a booth, directly next to a wall decorated with full wine bottles from top to bottom, as if they saved the best seat in the house just for us. Then came the tough part. Deciding a) what to eat, and b) which wine to pair with it. What can I say, I was inspired by the wall decor next to me.
After a bit of back and forth, I decided on the Vegetarian Poutine as an appetizer. It’s no secret that I love poutine in its traditional form, a Canadian dish comprised of french fries, cheese curds and light brown gravy. Harvest’s version was made with parsnip fries, oyster mushrooms, charred romanesco, cheese curds and vegetable demi-glace. While I’d hardly consider it a play on poutine, it was delicious. A giant plate of earthy vegetables was just what my tastebuds had been craving.
For dinner, I chose the classic French dish Coq Au Vin, served with carrots, pearl onions and fingerling potatoes in a merlot sauce. Skyler chose the Braised Short Ribs, which came plated with roasted root vegetables, pearl onion, garlic mashed potatoes and a natural jus. The meat was melt-in-your-mouth tender, and the vegetables were crisp and fresh. Every positive thing I’d heard about Harvest rang true, and I was so happy to end 2016 on such a tasty note.
2016 was a big year. I traveled a lot for work – New York, Georgia, Portland, Washington DC, California, Charlotte, Texas and Minneapolis. Skyler and I traveled just for fun – Baltimore, Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, Mexico and Nashville. We celebrated the marriages of a few of our friends, and the engagement of a few more. I quit my job and moved out of a city for the first time in 9 years. Skyler bought our first home. While this last trip around the sun brought a ton of wonderful memories, I have a feeling it won’t even hold a candle to 2017.