Wedding Anniversary

I just completed an intense 2 month semester on graduate level Statistics. Not only am I relieved to be done with it, I am happy to report I did really well!

I am behind with hundreds of photos to share and the slew of spam that flew into my comments section just recently lit a fire under my bum to get some content up here.

So, B and I celebrated our 2 year wedding anniversary when winter coats were needed, though if I am being honest, for the Tuesday after Memorial Day Weekend, it is certainly chilly on the east coast. It also feels like it has been raining for a straight year.

What is even sunshine???

I digress.

We made reservations at the venue where we got married for an intimate dinner. Since last year B had to go back to DC, I ordered us a tiny replica of our wedding cake:

The Salted Pretzel cake from Milk Bar is just as good as we remember it.

They were able to rush the delivery for me since I was a little late on ordering but it was a great addition to our anniversary celebration.

With Valentine’s Day just the day before, the restaurant was slow except for some couples coming in to do their wedding tastings. We pretty much had the joint to ourselves.

A bottle of champagne was a must and we soaked in the romantic ambiance at MyMoon while we waited for our meal to arrive.

They talked us into getting the cheeseboard… they neglected to tell us how large it was. We had a great time stuffing our faces. I have never met a cheese I didn’t like.

B had the lamb chops over fingerling potatoes. A sensible portion in comparison to the mammoth cheese plate we both devoured.

I had the seared duck breast with cherries and mashed sweet potatoes. The duck breast was perfectly cooked.

We were pretty stuffed but decided to split a cheesecake with mango gelee that came with a scoop of mango sorbet. It was nice and light… but we were stuffed!

We spent the rest of the week eating anniversary cake! Looking forward to celebrating many more!

Ichiran NYC

You may already know this about me, but I love gimmicks. Before you go nuts on me, hear me out. There’s this Ramen chain in Japan that specializes in personalized Ramen. It is also big on solo dining. They also happened to open a noodle factory slash restaurant 1 mile away from my apartment and Yelp had an elite week there just recently. 

If you love Ramen, you’re going to need to plan a visit to Ichiran. If you need to come to Brooklyn to do so, you should. 

The thing that’s super cool to me (and gimmicky to others) is the entire experience is meant to be experienced solo. 

From start to finish, when you walk into Ichiran, you’re asked if you want a table or to experience solo dining. 

I chose solo. You are given a sheet with options to select and customize your meal. You then find your dining cubby. 

There you’ll see directions on how to place an order. Here is where you can ask for your soup to have extra noodles, crushed garlic, hot sauce (and how hot), egg, extra soy, less oil… you name it. 

If you submit your menu and need more, you can reorder on your chopsticks. 

I ordered a matcha beer. Because why not? 

Very interesting. However, next time no beer. Gotta save precious stomach room.

The egg went really well with the soup but its not necessary. I’d go without it. 

The ramen is the main event. I ordered extra noodles and they came separately. 

The extra noodles option comes when yoi are halfway through with your ramen so you can enjoy fresh noodles. 

Just place the little tray on the call button and like magic, someone will bring you extra noodles. 

I tried the almond matcha pudding and it was really good but the extra serving pf noodles did me in. 

The one thing that I am not too crazy about is the price. With a beer, noodles, dessert and extra protein, the check for just myself was $49. Steep. However, considering the time it takes to produce a deliciouams bone broth, i understand that I’m paying for quality. 

I haven’t stopped thinking about this place, especially with all this snow in NYC. 

Definitely worth the splurge. 

His 30th

My husband turned 30!

During the hustle of work and the heavy weight school has been, taking a break from real life to spoil my main was incredibly fun. The experience was a very special one.

We started our day with a Broadway show. We had matinee tickets to see On Your Feet, the Gloria Estefan musical. I had heard good things about the show but it was phenomenal! I don’t even think one has to be a fan of her music to appreciate the story; though I’m sure it helps. As an 80’s baby, I loved Gloria Estefan. The actress who played Gloria looked and sounded just like her-quite amazing. 

After the show ended, we had a little over two hours to kill so we walked over to a nearby pub and had a few cocktails to kill time.

For his 3oth, I took Him to Daniel on the Upper East Side. I have never been but heard amazing things. My husband is my greatest supporter and I wanted to make sure he had a memorable night.

We started with a bottle of champagne. We opted for the 7 course tasting menu and since we had champagne decided against the pairing menu. 

Our first official course was Beets 3 ways. Honestly, every single thing we tasted at Daniel was delicious. I will point out what was exceptionally delicious but to avoid being redundant I will just describe the dish.

Our 2nd course was a duck terrine with a thickly shaved truffle. There was an abundance of bread. Every time a course came out, so did the earm bread basket. You know me and warm bread… 

Our 3rd course was a warm lobster salad over a coconut panna cotta of sorts. The lobster was such a wonderful texture! 

For our 4th course, we had escargot with a garlicky foam.  Had they not told me it was escargot,  I would never have known. Loved the presentation. 

For out 5th course, we had sweat breads with citrus elements. 

EditCourse 6 was a delicious sole. I love the plating and how all the elements went together. 

Our final course was the lamb. By far my favorite dish the night. By now, hubby and I are feeling a teensy bit tipsy and way full but the plates just kept coming. 

Now for dessert. 

I told the restaurant in advance it was my husband’s birthday so they surpised him with this beautiful number:

A gingerbread. Some melon. And the cover over the candle is a thin sheet of white chocolate!

Speaking of chocolate, I had the chocolate mousse for dessert.  And hubby had the sorbet.

They brought out a plate of pettite fours that were too cute for words!

Before we left, we were given these goft boxes filled with cannelles and personalized paper copies of the menu we had. 

The experience we had at Daniel is one I will always cherish. I married a wonderful man that is incredibly good to me- being able to celebrate him on his 30th birthday was such a joy.

❤ 

Sweet Chick

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Happy New Year!

I hope you all had a very happy and healthy holiday surrounded by loved ones. My sister in law came to visit all the way from London and it was fun to play tourists in NY. We went to Coney Island in the freezing cold to show her a NY beach and then grabbed lemonades the size of our torsos at Nathan’s and had hot dogs. We went to the old fashioned ice cream parlor, Eddie’s Ice Cream Shop in Forest Hills and NY Style Pubs. Lots of walking and lots of eating.

Brent got an Echo for Christmas so we took advantage of our Amazon Music to have a house party on New Years Eve. I cannot believe its 2017.

While this platform is not intended to be political, I just want to express that I am embracing Love and Compassion. If you are here, and you are reading, I appreciate you and I cherish you. Thank you for being part of my life after all of these years. I hope to continue to be here to share stories of deliciousness and most importantly- JOY.

I was promoted in October so work is even more hectic than it was before and if that weren’t enough, I decided Grad School was a good idea. So, starting January 30, I will officially be a Grad Student pursuing a degree in Criminal Justice.

Now that we have caught up, I recently took a trip to a well-known and very hyped location in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.

Sweet Chick.

My friend Danielle and I left work early on a Friday and hit up this restaurant known for their Chicken and Waffles. They don’t just do Chicken and Waffles though. They have a wide variety of waffles- from sweet to savory. Bacon and Cheddar Waffles. Buttermilk. Mushroom. Dried Cherry. etc. You can even choose the way you want your chicken. Buffalo, parmesan, etc.

I decided the best bet was trying the classic buttermilk waffle with fried chicken.

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Nice presentation. It even came with 3 flavored butters and syrup. But in all honesty, this was way overpriced. For 1 waffle and 2 small pieces of chicken, the plate set me back $17. Perhaps a chicken wing would have made me happier.

But also the chicken was just okay. It was good but not something I would wait in line for hours to eat.

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Danielle decided to have the shrimp and grits. I must say, THIS was actually delicious. When we dine, we usually discuss two dishes we would both like to try and then split our choices; the best of both worlds, really. The bowl of shrimp and grits was $17, as well.

We both agreed the Shrimp and Grits was far more superior and much more satisfying- even the half portion we both had.

So, would I return.

Yes. But if, and only if, there is no wait. Especially with all the other options on Bedford Street in Williamsburg with great food.

Love, Peace, and Chicken Grease.

Midnights in Williamsburg

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Wow!
End of October already???
I mean, when I last posted I was gearing up for the busiest season at my office. I work in Tax so the days were long and days turned into weeks, weeks into months, and here we are.
With the change of the season I am experiencing Migraines. Lots and lots of migraines. If anyone has any remedies to bring relief, please reach out. Coffee, Excedrin, and Vicks Vapor Rub are my go-to methods but am open to trying something new.
SO, where were we?
Ah, that time my husband and I ended up at an adorable little bistro because the original place had lost our reservation. Right.
Sometime in the warmer months, hubby and I gussied up for dinner just because. We made reservations for a chef tasting that needed to be made in advance. When we arrived at the restaurant, they had no idea we were there for a tasting and sat us a at a table for 4 with another couple already there… can you say awkward???
One of my biggest pet peeves is dining with strangers. NYers are no strangers to crowded places but the act of dining should be somewhat intimate- it’s bad enough tables are 2 inches apart from each other but I need those two inches separating me from another set of diners.
I digress. They lost our reservation. We went to another restaurant. We contacted the people that lost our reservation and they invited us back to make up for the error.
It was probably one of the hottest days in the summer. Hubby and I dressed down so we could be comfortable. It was a 5 course tasting so comfort was definitely on the list of priorities. This time around, our visit was great! Not only was our reservation saved, but they remembered I preferred to dine semi-privately so we had a table in a corner booth all to ourselves. That alone was worth the entire “ordeal”.
We started with a chilled corn and crab soup. The portions for this tasting were… on the heavier side. We arrived hungry but, spoiler alert, we were STUFFED afterwards.

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The Chilled corn soup was velvety and sweet with hearty chunks of lump crab meat. They paired it with a crisp chilled white wine.
We also had a salad course that I forgot to click… but you don’t win friends with salad. Amiright?20160813_201149
Next up, we had a trout dish with veggies. Wasn’t a huge fan of the trout as this particular presentation was very bony and if you take big bites like me… you’ll surely choke. Lol. Ain’t I a classy one?

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The chef, feeling bad for what had happened to us the first time we got here, offered us an additional course to make up for the error. A buccatini dish that was probably the best thing we ate all night. It was incredible!

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At this point of the night, we were running out of precious stomach room…but we had to press on.
Lordt!
Help us.
Short Rib. With a butternut squash puree and sautéed bok boy.
Delicious, indeed.
20160813_211634The big finale was a delicious warm chocolate sauce poured over a chocolate shell that melted to reveal a scoop of ice cream. It was a shared dessert. It was difficult to get through.
Once we finished our meal, we graciously thanked our host and chef for the memorable meal. They had more than made up for the previous error and their service will bring us back for more of everything!

Restaurant Week: David Burke Kitchen

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Restaurant week is a seasonal event in NYC where select restaurants offer prefix lunches ($29) and dinners ($42) at a fixed price in the five boroughs. It started nearly 10 years ago and has gotten so popular that the “week” usually lasts about 6 weeks; giving one ample time to get as many deals as possible. 20160731_131220

I personally like experiencing a restaurant that I would normally not visit but I also find that the experience is very different on a regular dining day then during restaurant week. Never the less, my family and I always participate.

One such place where we particularly love Restaurant Week lunches is David Burke Kitchen in Soho. There is only one thing that I actually crave here and luckily, it’s offered during restaurant week so I am one happy lady.

It was very easy to obtain a reservation for 1PM on a rainy Sunday in SoHo. My husband, parents, and I arrived hungry and ready to feast. For $29, we were entitled to an appetizer, an entrée, and a dessert. Not too shabby. We almost all ordered the same exact thing which means no tasting anything new… but when you know what you like, there isn’t really a need for all that.

I had a cup of coffee which was nice and strong- perfect little jolt!

20160731_131904For starters, everyone minus Brent ordered the plain Greek yogurt with house made granola, nuts, berries, and honey. This is no ordinary bowl of yogurt. I cannot explain why this tastes as good as it does but I have a feeling it has to be the full fat yogurt. It was tart and creamy with a hint of sweetness from the honey and berries. We scraped our bowls clean.

20160731_133235As my entrée, I ordered the burger. A huge heavy burger to go on top of the bowl of high protein yogurt I just scarfed. The burger was delicious but I barely finished half. I packed the burger and fries to go (which were perfect later that evening for dinner!).

20160731_141117Dessert was a super-rich chocolate cake. I managed half and had to give up. Being full was a major factor but the richness on top of that was just too much. I left with a lot of leftovers.

But for $29, the prix-fixe is a great bargain.

While the Restaurant Week promotion is over until Winter, the bowl of greek Yogurt at David Burke Kitchen is worth a trek to SoHo when you’re craving it!

 

Juliette

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Brent and I got dressed up for a night on the town.  We find that taking some time to have a cute little date keeps us sane and there’s nothing like a romantic dinner every now and then; amirite?

We were getting stopped by our neighbors. “Are you going to a wedding?” “You guys look fancy!”.

I mean, your girl was feeling herself for a minute.

Then it all began.

The uber we ordered was “5” minutes away but took forever to actually arrive. He was going in circles before he arrived 2 blocks away from us. He called to yell about the difficulty he had in getting to our building and that we had to come to him or he was going to cancel. We were trying to make it in time for an 8 PM reservation. It was 7:45. We had the driver meet us halfway and we waited patiently in the car to arrive at our destination.

A new restaurant not too far from our neighborhood that was offering a chef’s tasting with an advanced reservation. The restaurant was new and trendy which worried me since the new trendy places we have tried as of late have been small and tables were right on top of each other leaving us to share a meal with complete strangers. Not romantic.

I had arranged with the restaurant via email to have our tasting and we were all set.

When we arrived, I gave the hostess our name and she brought us to the back yard and seated us at a picnic table that already had a couple dining… considering the intimacy of our pre-planned dinner, I was not comfortable sitting with another couple I didn’t even know. So, I asked the hostess if there was some mistake since we were scheduled to have a chef tasting.

She said I wasn’t on the list for a tasting but she changed our table and asked the chef if he would be willing to fit us in.

He wasn’t.

There was no AC as it was and we were starting to sweat.

The manager came over and apologized and denied our reservation.

Not wanting to challenge anyone that would potentially prepare my meal, my husband and I got up and left in search of a Plan B.

We walked a few blocks and found ourselves in front of this very charming bistro, Juliette. I have always wanted to try this place but never got around to it. There was no time like the present. So we walked in and proceeded to have the most adorable dinner ever and losing our chef tasting didn’t even matter anymore.

We started with some bubbles because we love bubbles.

20160729_202553Despite the humidity, we opted to start with the French onion soup. Probably the best French Onion soup I have had to date- super cheesy, very flavorful and the alcohol was cooked down completely- so no boozy aftertaste.

20160729_204332For our entrée, I had the diver scallops over polenta and Brent had a grilled chicken sandwich.

20160729_204336I love me a good sandwich and I may have had slight dinner envy because his sandwich was delicious. Great bread. Homemade mayo. Juicy chicken breast. Thick cut bacon. And ripe roma tomatoes. And of course, crispy fries!

My sea scallops were cooked to perfection- nice sear on the outside and supple texture. The polenta was creamy with a nice bit of sharpness to it. I would definitely order again.

20160729_211802For dessert, we shared a crème brulee. Very hard to screw up but still very good!

Our night had turned around for the better! We were rubbing out full bellies as it started to pour so we hailed an uber that came immediately and we hopped in to seek shelter from the rain and the damn car REEKED of cigarettes. Longest 8 minutes of my life!

That’s just how it be’s sometimes.

Hello Bklyn

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Our neighborhood is ever-changing.

This time last year, a Spanish restaurant stood on the very corner I found myself on Sunday evening.

But now, instead of a Spanish restaurant, a burger bar is in its place.

Hello Bklyn sells burgers, hot dogs, and sandwiches with a nice
selection of drinks. Their walls are decorated with all things
Brooklyn and Hip Hop; namely, Biggie Smalls. The music is old school
hip hop and R&B- 80’s babies rejoice!

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The space is rustic with stools and tables; large open windows, and is
in a perfect spot on the corner for a cool breeze in the summer
evening.

We started with some cocktails.
Bourbon. Cider. Deliciousness.

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Great summer cocktail. Don’t even know the name. Just looked at it and said yes.

Sometimes you gotta be impulsive that way.

For our entrees, we each got the Hello Bklyn Burger. A Pat La Frieda
patty cooked to a juicy medium rare with cheddar, bacon, lettuce,
tomato, and red onion on a fluffy toasted brioche bun. The burger is
JUICY and flavorful.

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He opted for a side of fries and I got an order
of crispy onion rings.

It was their most basic burger but it was a wonderful way to start our
love affair with Hello Bklyn. Their menu is not extensive but they
have a nice variety including non-beef options such as salmon burgers
or quinoa burgers.

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We will definitely be back for happy hour and hope to try all the
burgers! Why not? Its only 3 blocks away from home- oh how dangerous
this is!

Restaurant Review: Manila Social Club

Back in January, I had the privilege of visiting Manila Social Club in Williamsburg, Brooklyn for a Yelp Elite event. Having heard a lot about this place and their infamous 2hours and up wait list to dine, I seized the chance to visit for this private event.

It’s no secret that I love Filipino food. It’s my greatest comfort with dishes similar to those from my Hispanic roots; like Lechon Kawali and chicken adobo to name a few.

The Yelp Event was amazing and I made a mental note to come back for brunch or dinner service. My new co-worker, who is new to New York, asked if I had ever been. We had a brief conversation about it and she said Let’s Get Brunch! Having familiarized myself with their crazy wait times, I suggested we arrive EARLY.

So, here we were at 10:30AM on a Saturday on a rainy, nasty day in Brooklyn. We were first in line.

HUZZAH!

I am sure that because of the yucky weather, people took their chances showing up a little after 11AM- when they open- and very few were fortunate to snag one of the 13 tables. That’s all they have, 13! We were seated and once all the tables were filled, arriving patrons were told the wait was 2 hrs. TWO HOURS. And they waited.

In the rain.

Feeling like this was a golden opportunity, C and I ordered a little bit of everything. We were going to experience all of brunch!

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To start, we were given some potato rolls with ube butter. These rolls were fluffy and pillowy and freaking delicious. I inhaled mine and nearly asked for another but refrained since we had ordered a boat load of food. When in Rome…

I had a cup of coffee which needed to refilled quite a bit. The coffee was nice and strong. I recently had never experienced a notably bad cup of coffee at a dining establishment until I went to a cute place in Forest Hills… so sad.

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One of our appetizers was the fried avocado. Wasn’t really sure about this but C requested it so I figured why not? The avocado retained its creaminess and had a delightful and light crunchy coating. The addition of a slivered pickled onion really took this up a notch. Would definitely order this again but it’s a heavy appetizer.

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We ordered my absolute favorite- Lumpia. A Filipino spring roll. They were crisp and flavorful. There really isn’t nothing more to add because they were amazing. Feed me all the lumpia!

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When in Rome, you do as the Romans do. So we ordered Spam Fries. These didn’t wow us [right away]. If you like spam, you will like these. We barely touched these but took some home and after reheating leftovers, I really enjoyed them. They seem to be dried a little before they are fried. They had more texture to them while still tasting like canned meat.

In addition to our appetizers, we ordered sides to go with our entrees. Hindsight is 20/20. Had we known the size of these things, we likely would have narrowed our choices down by half. We were running out of precious stomach room.

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The longaniza (AKA sausage) hash was the most anticipated item but sadly it disappointed. It was just okay. The presentation was great but led us to expect unctuous spoonfuls of hash. We got very soft potatoes and very little sausage. Would pass on next time and just get a side of sausage.

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C got the soufle mango pancake with ube ice cream. A monstrosity! A cakey, fluffy, delicious monstrosity. Her ube ice cream was delicious too. She wanted a side of eggs which were buttery and fluffy. 20160402_113900

I got the tocino (bbq pork belly-ish) with two eggs over garlic rice. The eggs and rice were great. The tocino was sadly dry. Flavor-wise, I enjoyed the tocino but I would likely order something else next time.

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About midway through our feast, we found ourselves waving the white flag and packing lots of leftovers for a massive “snack” to take home. The mish-mosh tasted glorious later in the day after a long walk and a nap.

Overall, I enjoyed our experience at Manila Social Club. There were some misses/disappointments but I would definitely come back. They have a golden ube donut that is $100… but I hear good things.

Will have to check out dinner…

That time I met Lil Jon…

I was invited to celebrate the 100th episode of Bar Rescue via Spike TV.

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I invited a new coworker and figured it would be a nice random event for a Tuesday night. I really didn’t pay much attention to the invite so I showed up dressed like a complete bum… but a very comfy bum, so there.

We arrived promptly as the event began. Hardly anyone had arrived yet so I made myself comfortable at the bar trying all the featured beverages until I came across one I liked.

The offerings:

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Citrus Slam:

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Smirnoff No 21 Vodka, Fresh Lemon Juice, Herb Simple Syrup and Rosemary Sprig

The New Day:

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Crown Royale Northern Harvest Rye Whisky, Sweet Vermouth, Maple Syrup, bitters and candied bacon garnish.

Maize Runner:

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Captain Morgan Original Spiced Rum, Vanilla Syrup, Pineapple Juice, Soda water.

Ciroc Apple Martini:

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Ciroc Apple, shake and double strained. Garnished with Asian pear.

Out of all of the cocktails, I enjoyed the apple martini which I was surprised by. But it was the drink that got it done- not too sweet and easy to drink. (maybe too easy).

As the night was progressing, it got more and more crowded. I was able to find a great spot by the DJ booth to dance and grab appetizers as they came out.

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We feasted on short rib sliders, risotto balls, shrimp, and some other tasty bites that escape me presently.

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I was having a blast dancing by the DJ booth. I turned as someone walked by saying excuse me and I said to my friend, “yo, that guy looks just like Lil Jon”. She laughed at me. I said “Seriously, look!”

She laughed harder “Monique, that IS Lil Jon”.

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This is why it’s important to read things. IJS

So we danced while Lil Jon spun. And I had tons of Ciroc Apple Martinis. Too many to count.

I felt fine- was having a serious blast.

As the night was coming to a close, I proceeded to coat check to get my things when I pivoted and felt and intense POP in my knee.

If you guessed that I dislocated my knee, you have guessed correctly.

I didn’t know it at the moment, but a quick (and PAINFUL) adjustment and my knee was back in place but hurting quite a bit. With a slight limp, I spied Lil Jon exiting the DJ booth and my friend took our picture. This is the face of inebriation and pain.

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The following morning I found myself in the emergency room getting x rays for my knee. Happy to report all is well again…

But one thing is certain- I had a blast!

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