Adventures in Wine & Recipe

In a one week span (a couple of weeks ago), I was lucky enough to hang out with this fun group of women TWICE! Considering we normally all get together only once a month, this was a treat.

Our first adventure was a 30th birthday outing for Mel in Milwaukee. We all decided we do not utilize this city nearly enough with how close it is to Madison/Sun Prairie.

We met at Mel’s house on Saturday morning at 9am to kick off the weekend right: bloodies and mimosas (obv virgin mimosas for Jena and I). The drive to Milwaukee was fast, and we arrived at Lakefront Brewery for our tour (my second brewery tour as a pregnant person).

The tour was lots of fun – our guide had a great sense of humor, and with it being Mel’s birthday weekend, she wasn’t shy getting involved.

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At the end in the tasting room, you can exchange your plastic cup for a pint glass. I love drinking out of these, so I was happy to add another beer glass to our everyday use collection. Classy stuff around here.

It was way past lunchtime by the time we left Lakefront (hello extra drinking tokens from two pregnant ladies), so once arrived at The Wicked Hop, we ordered a bunch of more substantial appetizers to share. The bloodies were also meals within themselves – check out all of those goodies! The marinated mushrooms were the best.

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Cheers to Mel!

We were in the Third Ward, which has some cute shops and boutiques. We shopped for a few hours, and I found a bright neon orange and white stripped infinity scarf for $15. Almost everyone bought at least one thing – Laura actually walked away with an entire outfit from various shops.

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Post-shopping pic on the hotel stairs – Laura’s in the front with the dark hair and all the bags

After some eating, drinking, and gift-opening at the hotel, everyone got gussied up for a nice dinner (and I cannot remember the name of the restaurant now – pregnancy brain?). Three of the ladies weren’t spending the night, so they took off after dinner while the five of us – Mel, Jena, Emily, Nicole, and myself – went to The Oaks, a small but very club-like bar.
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One NA drink later, Jena and I called it a pregnant night and walked back to the hotel. The remaining three party animals hit up The Whiskey Bar and closed it down, not coming home until after 3am. Damn impressive ladies!

It was a super fun weekend, and spending so much time with a group of friends like that made me feel like I was in college again…just sober and/or not hungover.

Four days later, we were all reunited for a monthly Wine & Recipe night for our second adventure. Steph hosted and chose the theme “Caribbean/Tropical.” Very timely considering the crap weather we’ve been having.

I failed to take any pictures but I will share a few recipes, starting with mine.

Because I’m still on my “chicken-breasts-make-me-wanna-gag” thing, I felt compelled to go with a pork recipe. While I could’ve done an app or dessert, I really prefer bringing main dishes. I turned to a favorite recipe blog, Skinnytaste, and was not disappointed.

Slow Cooked Pork with Caribbean Salsa was a winner. Even Brody liked it!

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Photo from link above
I’m glad I re-read the recipe the day before because it does require you to marinate the pork for at least five hours before putting it in the slow cooker. As the picture shows, I also served mine over brown rice but as leftovers had it in a whole wheat tortilla. Last thing: I didn’t have the specific jerk seasoning Gina used but found a jerk seasoning at my local grocery store for $5.

Other all-stars from the night were Mel’s tropical quinoa salad and Amber’s coconut banana bread. While the the bread recipe is not the exact one she used, it’s pretty close, and I know to trust anything coming from America’s Test Kitchen.

The weather outside was not even close to tropical, but the fun eats and umbrellas in our water glasses made us forget about that. Too bad Steph couldn’t have brought a heat lamp into her dining room or passed around self-tanner.

Before the night ended, the three of us pregnant ladies took a photo because, interestingly enough, we all wore basically the same outfit. Actually Amber and I had on the exact same top from Target!

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When this was taken, Amber was 34 weeks (gender unknown), I was 31 (with a girl), and Jena was 25 (with a boy).

It was such a fun week being with these ladies, and it made me look forward to our monthly get together all the more.

Questions:
Do you have a regular get together? Book or dinner club? Scrapbooking or stamping group? Weekly runs with a group?
Thoughts on brewery tours? Best ones around you?
Of the recipes I shared, which one would you be most likely to make?

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7 thoughts on “Adventures in Wine & Recipe

  1. That looks like a lot of fun! A friend just introduced me to Skinnytaste (I know, I’m really behind) and I’m quickly becoming obsessed. I scored a ton of mangos on sale so I may need to fit this pulled pork recipe in this week. I am pretty obsessed with coconut, though, so that banana bread recipe sounds fantastic!

    Every month, I get together with a group of women to try a new restaurant in town. Josh and I usually visit the same 4 or 5 restaurants for date night so It’s been a great way to try new places.

    • Skinnytaste is amazing! I love her recipes, and I’m guessing you will too. I told a coworker about it, and a week later she had already tried five recipes.
      Mangos are my all time favorite fruit. I even enjoy cutting them up! Do the girls like them? The salsa would even be yummy with tortilla chips.
      What a fun monthly outing! Do you alternate who chooses the new restaurant?

      • It’s generally a group consensus although there are certainly those in the group who are more vocal than others 😉 Most of us don’t care as long as we get a night out!

        Ok, how on earth do you cut a mango?! I was just talking to a friend about this. I feel like every time I cut it there is a ton left around the center. And, do you peel it first?

        • I’d be the same way – happy to just meet up. However I do love researching new restaurants too.
          Mango cutting: don’t peel first – too slippery. I cut off the two sides as close to the flatter side of the pit. I then make cross cross through the flesh of the halves but not through the skin. I push the cut halves inside out and cut off the square and triangular pieces of flesh. Last I cut off the outer part still attached to the pit and run a knife between the skin and flesh. Does that kind of make sense? Maybe I can find a video… Good luck!

  2. I’ve done the Lakefront tour 5 times now, and each time it’s great! Best brewery tour! Next time your in Mke let me know! 🙂

    • Oh wow! Have you ever had the same tour guide? I couldn’t believe how much beer you get after! So worth the $7.
      This trip didn’t have much down time, so it wouldn’t have worked out to meet up with you. Next time it may though…but now with the baby coming soon, I may be a while.

      • No I haven’t had the same guide, but always fun! There’s a guy with a handlebar mustache who rocks!
        We can have a Milwaukee weekend after baby is born :). We can make mom babysit.

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