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13.1

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The sea of runners crushed around me as we were all herded towards the starting line. I thought of my friends Bertie and T, who had already begun and would surely be waiting a long time for me at the finish. Trying to calm my racing heart, I prepped my Nike+ app to record my mileage and started my 13.1 playlist. As “Thrift Shop” began pumping through my noggin’, the starting line loomed. I had to pee. Kind of. Shit, too late now. I hit start on my Polar monitor and off I went.

I was running my first half marathon.

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After jockeying my way to a clear path for what felt like an eternity, the masses finally thinned out a bit. The first two miles flew by, and so did the second two. Still comfortable territory, but I’d been warned that the hills on this course were a doozy.  My plan was to manage them cautiously – quick steps and lean forward on the way up. Long strides and breathe deeply on the way down to recover.

Instead of worrying, I focused on the people watching. I smiled and waved at the pregnant lady cheering us on, wearing a tshirt that said “FUTURE RUNNER” with a down arrow. I ran past people offering me Krispy Kreme donuts!! and stations set up with M&Ms and jelly beans. Tailgaters offered beers, which I breathlessly declined. Later, though… yes. GOD YES.

My mind was kept occupied with the lyrics playing through my earbuds, the scenery of the city around me, and with what people wore or didn’t wear. There were lots of St. Patty’s Day festive outfits with garland, Irish shirts, leprechauns, green sequined tutus. Me, I was set with my bang buster and my turtle socks.

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The skyline didn’t draw my eye when the view appeared. I was drawn to the coral-strewn sunrise on the other side of the road. Typical me. And I kept on running.

Somewhere in Piedmont park I saw someone waving a sign that said, “We don’t know you, but we’re proud of you!!”. My heart lifted and I thought about how sweet they were. And at that moment, I felt proud of me too.

The miles kept rolling on and I feel like I hit my groove. My body knew what I wanted it to do and it did it without complaint. I kept my (turtle) pace and my breathing under control and laughed inwardly at the signs that said “We’re not wearing any underwear!” or “We tailgate for ANYTHING”. The race photographers loved me – I was the cheeseballing one who pointed directly at the camera and open-mouth laughed. I might have also been the one flexing her bicep. One guy lowered his camera and laughed at/with me. Nice, Peach. 🙂

When I hit mile 10, my face lit with pride. I’d just run the farthest I ever had in my life. And I wasn’t done yet, but I was okay.

Then, it was on that next hill that I felt the first twinge in my right calf muscle. The kind that threatened a vicious cramp if I didn’t back off. So I power-walked that up hill. And the next. Dammit, why do the steepest hills have to be at the end??? Sadistic course planners, I tell you.

Miles 11-12 wound up being significantly slower than my previous pace from all the walking of the hills. I nearly got upset about it. Instead, I thought, Dammit… be proud. You’re doing this race the best that you can, and it’s okay if you walk the hills after you’ve just RUN for TEN MILES. Just keep going. You’ve got this.

And just then I saw a mom-type lady waving a sign that said “RUN, [MY NAME], RUN!!!” And I thought of my own mom’s Facebook comment that had said the exact same thing the day before. I kept running for my mom and dad. Because they can’t.

The next hill nearly did me in, but as I was cursing inwardly, “**** THIS ****ING HILL ALL TO ****ING HELL.”, I thought of my big brother. He completed his first half this fall and I felt him cheering me on in spirit, too. I kept running for him.

I cheered when the race sign appeared that said “1/2 mile left!!” and I kept running. For me. Because I could do this.

And… it sucked. That last stretch felt so long. I was tired. I wanted to be done.

Then I looked over to my right and thought, hey, who’s the really skinny guy running over there on the other side of the barriers?  And then it hit me. OH. THAT’S THE MARATHONERS. WHO ARE FINISHING A course TWICE as long as yours and IN THE SAME TIME AS YOU. Oh the humility!!! 🙂

But as the spectator crowds got bigger and I could hear the race announcer’s peppy voice, my gloom lifted. I’m no Kenyan. Never will be. I’m just Peach. Running her first half and doing a damn fine job of it.

The finish line finally appeared and I kicked it up a notch. My legs felt like they weren’t going to agree with what my brain wanted, but they did.  I crossed the line with a victorious overhead fist pump and a huge grin. I bowed my head for my medal and posed for pictures, then went off to find Bertie and T. AND FOOD. Holy crap I was hungry.

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The post-race rewards were worth every drop of sweat. I did it, y’all!

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Come What May

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brene1

To write down your intentions is one thing. To begin to live with intent is quite another.

Starting The Mighty Peach List pushed me to attend Camp Mighty. It was there that I met the most incredible people and told the world my dreams. Suddenly, the dreams-turned-words-on-paper became tangible actions and realities. I had professional portraits taken, traveled to Portland, tasted foie gras for the first time, saw the Christmas tree at Rock Center and had a frozen hot chocolate at Serendipity. I ran a 5K, 10K and a half marathon. I’ve planned to visit London and to hug a gigantic Redwood at Yosemite. I declared my desire to buy a house and start my book.

All this has been heady and empowering. But these are things. Stuff.

The real work appears when you realize that you’ve been living your life and dreams at the will of others, or at least in consideration of their judgment. The real work comes when you finally choose to stop letting THEM decide YOU.

At first, the change happens in small ways. Someone makes an assumption about your feelings, casually dismissing a hurtful remark. Calmly and honestly, you correct them and state your hurt aloud.  And the moment you receive acknowledgement – the moment you’ve shown up to be seen and heard – the moment you get a heartfelt apology and an admission of wrongdoing? That’s when you promptly crumple into an ugly-crying mess.

Because WOW you just put yourself out there, utterly naked emotionally, fully expecting to get your heart stomped on. And instead you were given validation.

The actions snowball. Other difficulties are confronted. Each instance is more awkward and difficult and scary, but you’ve grown to understand that you matter enough to be heard and seen. No more will you sit quietly and let assumptions be made about your heart or your life. Careless people that once would have been silently resented for their thoughtless actions are now admonished aloud for their behavior. Relationships are ended because you realize that if someone cannot make room for you in their lives, then they are not worthy of having your heart.

You learn to stand alone in your skin. To take pride in the person you’ve become and the person you’re still growing to be. You’re able to reflect on the thorny path you took to get here and you’re grateful for each tumble over twisted roots. You start to live with your whole being. You’re able to use this new-found strength to reach out to the one person who never left your heart.

And blessedly, luckily, find love in return.

The possibilities are staggering.

Because in the end, stuff is just stuff. Go seek out the scariest work. Face your biggest fears and don’t be afraid to eat some concrete. Once you set your intention to live for your own happiness and no one else’s, the rewards are significantly greater.  Do the work and be ready for what comes your way. You’ll be amazed.

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This piece is being submitted to the amazing Yeah Write Weekly Challenge grid. If you don’t know Yeah Write, you should. Git you some.

Feelin’ the love!

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I was thoroughly surprised this week to be awarded not one, but TWO bloggy awards!

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One Lovely Blog

First, Kathleen at Michigan Left surprised me with a Liebster award, and then Kristin over at Kristin Has Two Eyes has bestowed upon me the One Lovely Blogger honor!

I have lovingly placed these badges in my sidebar and send mucho love and sloppy kisses to Kathleen and Kristin. Next up, as part of these awards, y’all get to learn some fun facts about Peach. Lucky you. 😉

Kathleen’s questions to her Liebster recipients:

  1. Where would you live if you could pick any place in the world? I want to say Italy, but I haven’t been there yet!
  2. What is your favorite CD and why? I can listen to Mumford & Sons all day, every day. Their words hit me smack in the heart.
  3. Why and when did you start blogging? 2005, for no reason other than I love to write.
  4. Were you a jock or a nerd in high school? Both. Band nerd, academic nerd and soccer player. Overachiever, much?
  5. Who, besides your significant other, knows you better than anyone else? My undergrad college roommate. She and I were born 22 hours apart. We speak without speaking and know each others’ moods/quirks like our own…because they’re the same.
  6. What book most influenced your life? The Agony and the Ecstasy – Michelangelo’s story by Irving Stone.
  7. What is your biggest fear? Failure.
  8. What is your dream profession? Earning a living as a writer. Somehow. Some way.
  9. What attracts you most to someone?  Humor! Make me laugh and you’ll have my heart.
  10. Beatles or Stones? Oh, Beatles.

And 15 random factoids about Peach, for Kristin:

  1. I hate vinegar. Anything vinegar-based, pickled or fermented, no thank you! Ick.
  2. When I was much younger I wanted to be a veterinarian. Even though I am happy today, I still wonder “what if” sometimes. Oh, to give my 18yo self the confidence I have now…
  3. In dating, I’ve found that my height is an effective method of weeding out insecure men.
  4. I have a dimple. Just one.
  5. I have never broken a bone, needed surgery or stayed overnight in the hospital. Knock on ALL OF THE WOODS.
  6. To fall asleep I need total darkness. And I cannot nap during the day, no matter how tired I may be.
  7. I am a classically trained musician, but that is not what I “do” anymore.
  8. A challenge is my biggest motivator. Tell me I can’t do something, so I can prove you wrong.
  9. There lies a mean temper under this sassy and fun demeanor.
  10. My college debt is still bigger than yours. I guarantee it.
  11. My first car was a big ole honkin’ truck.
  12. Sheets with thread counts under 600 need not apply. 1000 is preferable.
  13. I talk in my sleep.
  14. I despise being told that I’m ‘too sensitive’. No, you’re just being an asshole. Don’t invalidate my feelings. (also see #9)
  15. I am hyper-observant. I notice even the smallest of the most inconsequential details. It freaks some people out. 🙂

Thank you again, Kristin and Kathleen! Have a great weekend, everyone.

Valentine’s Day – What’s Your Style?

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Way back in college, I was that girl. The one who threw the “Anti-Valentine’s Day” parties.

The requirements for attendees stated that you must be unattached and if any rogue couples decided to crash the party after their romantic dinner plans, they were unceremoniously shoved back out the door.

My friends and I would decorate the apartment with those horrific paper banners and cupid cutouts, except they’d been marked up with my own slogans. I’d also leave out blank ones and markers for guests to write their own.

“Love bites.”

“Who cares?”

“Nice shoes. (Wanna ___?)”

“Cupid’s an asshole.”

“Eat more chocolate.”

And so on.

I’d play hostess in a sexy head-to-toe black outfit – the taller the boots, the better. Because, duh. What my fellow single co-eds relished the most was having a destination far away from the commercialized, overly vomitous, forced romance of this dreaded day. We’d all suck down cheap beer to forget what the world was trying so hard to remind us of YOU’RE ALONE, blast the music, and dance the pain night away. Good times. Kinda like this.

Fast-forwarding more years than I care to admit, I can say that I’ve experienced some very romantic versions of this holiday as part of a couple. Awwww. Barf. But I’ve also had just as many Bridget Jones moments of face-eating pints of Haagen Dazs Chocolate Chocolate Chip while watching The Biggest Loser in my fat pants.

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Now? I’m just over the whole thing.

You see, I don’t believe in placing sole importance on the actions of a person on a single day. It is the actions of a person every day that matter the most.

Keep the words. Show me instead.

With the right person, I don’t believe it’s necessary to shell out a hundred bucks a head on a four-course prix fixe menu if that’s not your typical style. This girl’s style is that I’d be perfectly content in a pair of ripped jeans, laughing my ass off with someone over a bucket of sloppy bbq ribs and beers. You can keep the satan-created pantyhose, shoes that shred, and overly rich garlic-butter-cream-sauced-poultry/pasta dish that will likely have you running to the restroom in 20 minutes. Who wants that???

I will say that for some, Valentine’s Day is admittedly a nice gesture. It could be a great chance for couples who are stuck in their daily grind of work and/or parenting to reconnect over one special night. But shouldn’t it also just be another day with your honey?

Because the man who treasures your heart, who values you as a person, who wants to do nothing more than make you laugh every single day? He’ll get it. And Valentine’s Day will be just another day that he’s going to continue showing you in his own small ways that he cares. He’s going to do something stupid just to put a smile on your face. He’ll place a surprise kiss on the back of your neck while you’re shoulder-deep in dishes or dirty diapers. And he’ll make you feel like the most beautiful woman on earth, even while your face is covered in barbeque sauce.

Not being fully on board with this holiday doesn’t mean I’ve given up on romance. Not at all. I just think acts of romance should be present in some way that speaks to you every day. It shouldn’t be reserved for just this day.

But that’s just me and maybe I’m crazy. What do you think?

What does Valentine’s Day mean to you? How do you spend it if you’re single? If you have a honey, do you go all fancy-like or stay low key?

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awesome.

Where She Belonged

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WingWM

The turbulence made the plane’s wings seesaw drunkenly upon landing in Newark. Even the weather knew something different was blowing into town.

She was so very frightened to return to this place that hadn’t been kind to her. It was a good thing she’d left before the damage was irreparable. Otherwise, it may have been impossible for the South to heal those broken emotional bones.

Now that she was returned and seated in the car they’d hired to bring her to the office, she took in the familiar vibe. Urban sprawl. Frigid winds that viciously stole her breath. Aggressive traffic. She remembered this unsettling feeling that she was conspicuous – a shock of red amidst endless grey.

Would anyone see a difference in her? Did they even remember her after a year away? Would they think she’d lost her edge?

Suddenly very unsure, she took evaluation of the ensemble she’d carefully chosen. The vivid turquoise wrap dress, sheer tights and nude patent pumps were purposefully a far cry from her typical grey shirt/black pants work ensemble. The severe blond bun had been replaced with long, loosely flowing strands of red. Where her tall frame was previously starved for nourishment it was now vital, strong and feminine. At least there was that.

dressyWM

Entering the office, conversations halted when she walked past. Whispers followed her strides as if they’d seen a ghost. In truth, they had. And that morning, her smile grew exponentially with each joyful exclamation of recognition, each hug received and each stunned remark about her appearance. Most couldn’t quite put their finger on it. Those who knew her best used the words, “bright”, “alive”, “glowing” and “radiant”.

They got it. They saw it.

It wasn’t the clothes or the hair color. She was different.

The job was executed with her usual style of fiery panache, making easy the complicated and making organized the complex. Confidence and self-assurance leapt from her every action and statement. She didn’t just complete the assignment. She soared.

When the big meeting ended, she needed a respite from the emotions stomping over one other in her mind. She waved to the still-familiar doormen on the way out of the building, then made her way to the railing at the water. And standing there, cursing the freezing wind, she finally let her mind relax and inhaled a breath of cold that made her lungs tingle in protest.

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Everything was so different, but yet so much was still the same here. Most of all, she was so relieved to discover that her fears had been unfounded. Her coworkers had certainly missed her, based on the office buzz and number of baby pictures her male coworkers proudly offered for oohing and ahhhing.  She definitely didn’t miss these bitter temps or this frantic pace of life, but at least no one could possibly question her professional achievements after today. If anything, they’d say she’s better than she used to be. And the reason was simple: She left this place. This brave new woman that everyone wanted to see, talk to, and be around? She wouldn’t be this person if she still lived here. That same woman lifted her face, gazed at the Freedom Tower and told herself that it’s okay to miss the people and not miss the place. After all, she’d found her self, her happy, her dreams and her future in a place that had nothing to do with subways and snowstorms.

Her lips curved into a secretive smile. She’d do what she needed to do while she was here, and she’d do it more than well. But she couldn’t wait to go home.

And with that last thought, any lingering doubts of where she belonged sailed off with that icy wind over the Hudson. With one last glance at that magnificent view, she turned on one of those pretty heels and headed towards the building entrance.

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New York – A Love Letter in Photos.

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New York, I love so much about you.  But it’s not just your big-ticket attractions. What I love most is what’s in the details of you.

It’s standing practically underneath the most famous Christmas tree, and delighting at the little fearless finch on the angel branches.

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hello, friend.

It’s finding someone’s wish to become a broadway singer written on a piece of confetti that landed in a planter.

I found in a plant, a wish written on confetti: Diventare una cantane di Musical a Broadway (become a singer in a Broadway musical).

It’s realizing that angels do exist.

Angels exist.

It’s snickering like a 12 year old about Big Balls.

Balls. Big Balls.

1251 6th Ave, Radio City Music Hall

It’s standing high above so much, and feeling so small.

Meet me downtown for a few. Brooklyn.

Brooklyn.

It’s turning around and going, “Whoa. What bridge is that?!”

Queensboro Bridge view from the Serendipity front door.

Queensboro Bridge view from the Serendipity front door.  East 60th St

It’s falling in love with a perfect reflection in a restaurant door.

Iris Cafe, Brooklyn. Stumptown coffee, in NYC? Yes, please.

Stumptown coffee, in NYC? Yes, please. Iris Cafe, Brooklyn

It is perfection in a slice.

real. New. York. pizza.

REAL. NEW. YORK. PIZZA.

It is the timeless and detailed wrought iron entryways…next door to a tourist hot-spot.

wrought iron meets Serendipity

It’s lifting your head into the cold wind and seeing the Empire State Building for the first time.

first sighting of the Empire State Building

It’s not wanting to stop and be THAT tourist, so you wind up with a wonderfully dizzying shot.

as dizzying a picture as the NY experience

It’s spotting the morning-after evidence.

Jan 1, 2013. Morning-after confetti.

Jan 1, 2013.

It’s being determined to eat REAL ramen, the REAL way.

I ate my ramen like a big girl - with chopsticks.

I ate my ramen like a big girl – with chopsticks.

It’s not being above taking a classic NYC shot.

Classic shot with the cabs.

It’s accepting that sometimes your best pictures might be taken with your iPhone.

Best shot I took of Rockefeller Plaza, and it was with my iPhone.

It’s shopping decadence, mixed with vendors, mixed with traffic, mixed with architecture and light.

Shopping. Traffic. Vendors. J.Crew, Soho.

J.Crew, Soho.

It’s about indulgence amidst frenzy.

Bliss, Soho. Best massage I've had in years.

Best massage I’ve had in years. Bliss, Soho.

It’s about wondering why the hell they have these steam stacks in the middle of a street lane and then spotting your favorite building between them.

Steam stacks and Chrysler Building

Chrysler Building.

It’s being alone in a subway car late at night, smiling, knowing that right at this moment you are happy.

Reminiscing on a late-night subway ride

It’s hearing the languages of dozens of countries within one square block.

tourists crowd the mezzanine over the Rock Center ice skating rink

tourists crowd the mezzanine over the Rock Center ice skating rink

It’s knowing that you made the right choice in your New Year’s Eve plans.

Straight ahead? That's where the ball dropped.

Straight ahead? That’s where the ball dropped. I was running a 5K instead.

It’s being more entranced by architecture and scope and design than the blue LED-lit Christmas tree.

never forget to look up.

never forget to look up.

It’s greeting a new day from a new place.

Sunrise view, from a couch in Brooklyn

Sunrise view in Brooklyn

It’s the biting wind coming off the water, making your eyes tear and your nose run, yet you take the shot because there is just so much right in it.

Brooklyn Bridge Park, Pier 6

Brooklyn Bridge Park, Pier 6

It’s the City of Lights, making bright even the most harsh of barricades.

leftover New Year's Eve barriers

leftover New Year’s Eve barriers

It’s seeing a movie reproduction of a Broadway show in a theater where Broadway shows were once performed.

Ziegfeld Theater

Ziegfeld Theater

It’s respect for putting a modern spin on an old favorite.

Seen from High Line, Brooklyn

High Line, Chelsea

It’s appreciation of scale and balance and whimsy.

High Line, Brooklyn

High Line, Chelsea

New York is just so much to take in. It is too much, yet it is everything. I long for better photographic equipment, so that I could have captured everything even more perfectly. But even then, I’m not sure capturing the verve of this great city is an attainable achievement. New York is felt as much as it is seen.

New York? I love you. Don’t ever change.

Until next time,
Peach

Mighty Peach Life List #62 – Try Foie Gras…DONE!

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The intro to this Life List item is here.

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Russell’s research led us to The Iberian Pig in Decatur, GA. If you’re worth your weight in the Atlanta foodie scene, you’ll know that Decatur is actually challenging Atlanta “proper” in regard to the food & bev industry. The Iberian Pig not only stood up against but surpassed the few restaurants I’ve tried in Downtown or Midtown. Our outrageously knowledgeable and charming server aced our barrage of menu questions and threw in fun facts about our selections as the night progressed. I dig a server who guides your choices instead of tapping their foot impatiently waiting for you to decide. Whether it involved our wine selection or inquiry on salad portion size or which cheese HE preferred – ours rocked.  He handled our raucous table of nine as efficiently as a timid two-top. We were never without drinks and each round of plates came out as if they’d been choreographed. We always had just enough time to enjoy the afterglow, but never so much time that we were missing our next course. Have you ever booked a reservation at a pricey lovely restaurant and then felt hurried along to free your table for the next seating? Nope, didn’t happen here. We felt relaxed and were able to enjoy the meal along with each other’s company.

Another bonus: unlike most upscale restaurants that require one check and auto-add the gratuity, we were appreciative that we were allowed to split our check 5 ways… and I’d bet you anything that our server came out with way better than 18%! The restaurant itself played a big role for us, too.  Russell, awesome organizer that he is, called ahead and gave a fellow named Ian a heads up about our special evening’s focus. You see, their menu’s foie dish was a play on french toast (“Foienche”)  but my friend wanted my first tasting of foie gras to be more traditional.  After inquiring with Ian, Russell was assured they could accommodate us!

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And that was just the service and experience. Let’s move on to the food.

The Iberian Pig boasts a menu that can seem overwhelming at first. How can one possibly choose a *reasonable* amount of food from the vast array of charcuteria and cheese plates, salads, flatbreads, tapas, entrees, desserts and cocktails?!? Ummm, can I have one of each, please? There were so many unbelievable flavor combinations we all wanted to taste, so we decided to stick with the tapas menu as the bulk of our meal.  This way, we could share and taste more than if we’d all gotten a single entree.

Hold on for the culinary ride, folks.

First we needed booze. Because, duh. Terrazas de los Andes, Reserve Malbec Mendoza, Argentina 2009

First we needed booze. Because, duh. Terrazas de los Andes, Reserve Malbec Mendoza, Argentina 2009

Traditionally prepared foie gras, served on a crostada with slivered pears and honeyed nut medley. I didn't catch what the sauces were.

Traditionally prepared foie gras, served on a brioche crostada with slivered pears and honeyed nut medley. I didn’t catch what the sauces were.

My first taste of Foie Gras. LifeList #62? Check! It was... interesting. Crisp outside, creamy inside, slightly fatty-bacon tasting but not as pork-y. The texture and flavor were not what I expected! It wasn't grainy or liver-esque at all. Kinda made me tilt my head to the side and go, "... Hm. It's weird, but it doesn't suck". Do I crave more? Not really. Would I eat it again? Certainly.

My first taste of Foie Gras. LifeList #62? Check! It was… interesting. Crisp outside, creamy inside, slightly fatty-bacon tasting but not as pork-y. The texture and flavor were not what I expected! It wasn’t grainy or liver-esque at all. Kinda made me tilt my head to the side and go, “… Hm. It’s weird, but it doesn’t suck”. Do I crave more? Not really. Would I eat it again? Certainly.

    Didn't last long at a table of nine...

Didn’t last long at a table of nine…

#2 Cheese plate - Manchego, Mahon, and Canja de Oveja with blackberry, apricot and fig? fruit compotes. Served with artisan bread with the most amazing olive oil.

#2 Cheese plate – Manchego, Mahon, and Canja de Oveja with blackberry, apricot and fig? fruit compotes. Served with artisan bread drizzled with the most amazing olive oil.

On to the other tapas! #3 Crispy pork belly with candied fruits over goat cheese creme fraiche. #mouthgasm

#3 Crispy pork belly with candied fruits over goat cheese creme fraiche. #mouthgasm

#4 Pulpo a la Parilla - Grilled Mediterranean octopus, roasted fingerling potatoes, garlic, watercress pistou, Benton’s bacon salbitxada

#4 Pulpo a la Parilla – Grilled Mediterranean octopus, roasted fingerling potatoes, garlic, watercress pistou, Benton’s bacon salbitxada. This wasn’t my first rodeo with grilled pulpo. I found this one very well executed and it avoided being rubbery. The little suckers made me laugh. 🙂 The seasoning and sauces were a great addition, but potatoes were a bit underdone.

#5 Vieras - Pan seared scallops, butternut squash-morcilla puree, saffron roasted cauliflower, tempura artichoke. I'm a new lover of scallops after this one. They were sweet and buttery with a caramelized sear on one side and sitting in a delectable puree. #wantedmore

#5 Vieras – Pan seared scallops, butternut squash-morcilla puree, saffron roasted cauliflower, tempura artichoke. I’m a new lover of scallops after this one. They were sweet and buttery with a caramelized sear on one side and sitting in a delectable puree. #wantedmore

#6 Manchego Mac 'n' Cheese - Garganelli pasta, Manchego-pork belly cream, butter toasted panko, thyme. After I tasted this, I wanted to run to the kitchen and grab the nearest chef and hug him/her. This was a table favorite, but was so rich we couldn't finish it. #incredible

#6 Manchego Mac ‘n’ Cheese – Garganelli pasta, Manchego-pork belly cream, butter toasted panko, thyme. After I tasted this, I wanted to run to the kitchen and grab the nearest chef and hug him/her. This was a table favorite, but was so rich we couldn’t finish it. #incredible

CocaWM

Copa Catalan – Bruleed Espresso custard served with fresh berries

Closer. #8 Cappuccino. When brought to me, the server mentioned that it may not be up to par because he had a colleague make it and to let him know if it was not good.  It was milkier than I prefer, but I didn't mind enough to send it back.  It was a comforting end of the meal nightcap instead of a smack-your-mama jolt of caffeine.

Closer. #8 Cappuccino. It was a bit milkier than I prefer, but a comforting end of the meal nightcap instead of a smack-your-mama jolt of caffeine.

And there you have it. You can’t say I didn’t go big for this experience!

We left The Iberian Pig happily stuffed and all smiles. I’d finally gotten to try foie gras for the first time and having my friends with me for the experience made it so much more fun! I feel so grateful that I have adventurous-eater-foodie-people who are willing to help me tackle my dreams. Love you guys! And just to make him blush again – thank you again, Russell!

If any of you are in the Atlanta area and want an amazing food experience (and not just another expensive meal) – try this place. And take me with you. 😉

Later, y’all.  I’m off to New York to take on Life List items #58 and #10. Happy New Year, everyone.