I love you a latte…

Date Night Posts

Raise your hand if you and your babe are the type of people that sit down at the beginning of the year to discuss goals and aspirations (while you can’t see both our hands are up) We love a new year and all that it has to offer (btw, if you don’t do this…do it! Hold each other accountable for what you want to accomplish and support one another’s goals and dreams) BUT…do you know what we love even more?!

Coffee…

Man, just sitting here thinking about it I get that warm feeling I get when I pour that first glorious cup ‘o joe in the morning (I will pause here for a sec so that you all can experience that same feeling I’m talking about). This year we sat down at one of our fav local coffee shops to dish about last year and rally for this year so this week we are sharing some of our favorite local coffee shops (we have too many to just choose one…duh!) and bonus – some tips for getting the new year convo juices flowing!

  1. AVOCA Coffee Roasters

AVOCA Coffee Roasters is an artisanal roastery and coffee shop and while they only have 2 physical locations (both in Fort Worth) their specialty roasted coffees can be found at a variety of retailers, coffee shops, and restaurants across Texas!

Okay y’all, I have to admit that this might be my favorite spot. As soon as you walk into their Magnolia Ave shop you are hit in the face with that freshly roasted/ground coffee smell that we all know. My go to here is a latte made with almond milk (holla to my dairy free peeps) and I usually cannot avoid having a cookie or scone to go with it. We typically will camp out at one of their tables or couch/comfy chairs to talk. The vibe of this place invites you in and is one of my favorite places to spend time with my babe and friends.

  1. Craftwork Coffee Co

Craftwork Coffee Co was onto something when the whole “co-working” idea swept the nation. The idea is that people want places to co-work but they also really want coffee so Craftwork said “Let’s give the people what they want – under one roof!”. Craftwork locations can be found in both Fort Worth and in Austin and while their co-working spaces are super legit (think wood accents, antique décor and 10/10 lighting quality) we wanted to share their coffee experience.

BTW, George slid me a note and wanted me to share this might be his favorite spot…Craftwork has a simple menu (which I totes appreciate because I butcher pronouncing half the drink names off a full coffee menu – I’m talking about you Affogato) What do we suggest? In George’s opinion you cannot go wrong with an Americano with cream and vanilla (honestly this is what he gets everywhere we go but he said Craftwork puts the right amount of “stuff” in it – man of many words peeps). If that is not your style – just ask them what is! The staff is super helpful and ready to help serve your coffee needs.

  1. Ascension

Ascension is a different kind of coffee shop that is catering to those that like coffee beans and grapes (aka wine wine) and a fun food menu that does not disappoint with locations all across the metroplex (closer to the “D” side of DFW) with a new location in Fort Worth coming soon! Ascension has the simple goal to elevate the everyday American café experience and they hit the nail on the head! They invest in their people, the products that they serve, the communities that they are located in and internationally by helping provide clean water, medical support and education/entrepreneurial initiatives.

You can’t go wrong with a classic latte but if you are feeling adventurous I suggest trying the Turmeric Chai Latte or the  9-Spice Chai Latte (think strong spice notes with hints of sweetness). I highly suggest you plan to stay and enjoy more than just the coffee though, the Avocado Toast is a café favorite since 2012 and you know how everybody makes pie but your grandma always makes the best version of pie – think of the Avocado Toast at Ascension in the same way. This place is so much more than a coffee shop and for that reason I recommend meeting there for drinks in the evening and then breakfast the next morning?

Let’s be honest though friends, there are so many great local coffee shops popping up everywhere – for that reason we listed some more of our favorites below and fully expect you to share your favorites also!

When George and I look at the new year and the things that we want to accomplish we typically will break down the conversation into 3 categories: Personal (specific to him and then specific to me), Professional, and then Joint goals.

Personal goals can be everything from starting a new routine (this is George’s this year) to trying to take more time to read and do the things that you actually enjoy doing (this is mine – side note about me I love to cook and write so I am making those things a priority). If you are having a hard time with this, think of something that you have always wanted to try or learn! Don’t feel pressured to choose something that you feel like you “have” to choose (i.e. loose weight or go to the gym…). Write down what you each want to accomplish individually and then ask your partner how you can help hold them accountable for it. George and I talk frequently about this but maybe try doing it once a week (on your date night?!) or more often to help hold you accountable.

Professional goals will vary for everyone but George and I both had very specific professional goals this year. We both work in finance but that does not mean that we even remotely understand what the other person goes through day to day. These goals will be specific to each other and while we always will hold each other accountable and encourage each other in these we also have found that having someone from your “inner circle” at work be in on these to help cheer you on and push you. 

Lastly and most importantly what are your joint goals for the year? The things that you want to go after as a couple. A few examples of this would be vacations, paying down debt or maybe it’s a goal to be more intentional with your time together. Whatever it may be talk about it! Don’t waste the moment and look back a year later wishing you had gone after that thing or gone on that adventure you guys have been dreaming about.

I love marriage and relationships because they give you so much more than just love and companionship but a true partner in life that is going to talk the talk with you then grab your hand and walk the walk with you also. Now…finish your coffee (if you are a slow sipper…) kiss your babe and go tackle this year.

Bonus Coffee Shop Suggestions:

  • Dwell Coffee and Biscuits – do not even get me started on their Gingerbread Latte and make sure you grab one of their Biswhiches (I love these clever people)
  • Black Coffee – recently opened hotspot that does not disappoint. The staff here is awesome and they have so many fun things to try!
  • Summer Moon – a wood fired roastery with locations across the metroplex and Texas. Their wood fired beans and secret Moon Milk is a must try!
  • George Coffee + Provisions – this place not only dishes out great coffee but is a 10/10 when it comes to photo ops
  • 151 Coffee – the customer service here is great and so if the coffee. George recommends the Irish Cream Coffee

New Year…who dis?

Date Night Posts

Well peeps, Happy New Year! Did you miss us?! Of course you did!

After a much needed break with family and friends celebrating the holidays…we back!

Date Night DFW has some really exciting things in the works for this year and we cannot wait to share them all with you! But first…will you do us a solid and share us with your friends? (Let’s be honest, date nighting with your bae is the best but date nighting with your bae and your BFFs…yes, please!)

Show off your love for your babe and your date night pride by sharing the image below and let’s do this 2020!

Cheap Eats and Drinks and Geeks, oh my!

Date Night Posts

What would you say if I told you that it really is possible to have a date night filled with food, drinks, and entertainment (and yes love and laughter and happiness of course) with spending less than $30? Let me guess, you’re thinking….

“Wow, you guys are amazing, date night really doesn’t have to be a luxury!”

This week we wanted to start out by eliminating those excuses that date nights are limited to extravagant evenings and sometimes it’s the simple “let’s just go eat and drink beer” times that truly allow you to relax and enjoy togetherness. Now don’t get me wrong, your girl loves her a steakhouse and we will get to those soon but for tonight we are going to show you where the $30 in our pocket got us.

Crockett Row at West 7th in Fort Worth, Texas is one of my favorite places in the Metroplex, they have everything from art installations and galleries, outdoor seating areas and duh food and drinks. One of my “go to” locations in this area is the recently opened Food Hall – think food court but on a much classier scale; some of my favorite vendors include Aina Poke Co., Knife Burger & Bar, and Val’s Cheesecakes (more on these later).

Side story – did anyone else as a kid just love going to the mall food court?! I remember as a kid my family would go to the mall just for the food court…anyone else….no? okay.

Food Hall also offers a variety of events throughout the week and weekend. Every Friday and Saturday they offer live music and during the week they have partnered with Geeks who Drink for open to the public and free trivia nights from 7pm – 9pm! Which brings us to our date night….

Our goal this week was go spend no more than $30 for our date night; this means that food, drinks and any sort of entertainment all had to stay within our budget. We pulled into Crockett Row and parked in one of the 5 parking garages making sure to mentally note to get our ticket validated (if not, it’s $20 – we are on a budget remember? and who wants to pays for parking when validation is an option anyways?!) Walking into the Food Hall we navigated our way to the open seating section next to the bar and promptly grabbed our Trivia answer book.

Realizing we had a few minutes to spare before trivia started we split up to get food (THE best part about a food court – you each can get exactly what you want!) I landed on Aina Poke Co. which allows you to build your own poke (marinated fish) bowl, the concept is simple, delicious and bowls start at $12 – within budget! George headed over to Knife Burger & Bar for a double cheeseburger and some fries (girlfriends, who else loves it when your boo gets a side of fries?! Free snacks!) Lastly George grabbed a beer at the bar. All in, dinner was $28.97 – ahhh yyyeaahhh $1.03 under budget.

The 5 minute warning was given for the start of trivia and candidly George and I started to get a little nervous. It appears that the evenings “theme” was current events/random trivia questions – I mean we are hip and cool but on a trivia level…not so much. The rules were pretty simple though: 8 rounds – 5 rounds of questions asked by the Quizmaster (yes, that is the official title), 2 rounds of audio, and 1 round where you are given a piece of paper with clues and you have to give the answers based on the visual clues. Each team is also granted one “Joker” usage which allows for the team to double the points received for the round they opt to use it. Finally, a few of the rounds offers a bonus question allowing each team an opportunity to gain a few extra points.

Round 1 entailed current events – small note about George and I, we rarely watch the news… our present ingest of “current events” include subscription email blasts we read in the mornings and Saturday/Sunday game day programming. I think our point total for this first round was 3-4 points and rounds 2-3 were not much better. Round 4 was my favorite though which was the first audio round of the evening. The gist of the audio round was to guess the name of the song and the artist by listening to covers of songs. Covers – was a loosely based description, these songs musically matched the song but the vocals sounded like Beaker from the muppets was singing, we had many of great laughs this round. As this round ended we were informed of the current rankings….The George’s current standing…dead last!

Heading into the final 3 rounds we had accepted the fact we were not going to be the winners of the trivia game but we both had laughed and talked about so many random things prompted by trivia questions that we still felt like the night was a winner.

Then IT happened…the last bonus question round winners were announced – one of which was going to be chosen at random to win a Bonus Question Token. The question was: What was Nellie Bly able to do in 72 days that took Magellan and his team 3 years to do? Our answer: sailing an ocean – sounded like a good guess to us. Not only did this answer get us in the bonus question winner bracket but random draw elected us as the winner of the Bonus Question Token aka free item at the Food Hall!

Queue George and I quietly singing “we are champions my friends…..” at our table.

Wrapping up the game we actually ended up winning the dead last ranking!! Go team Georges! We agreed that this would be a fun evening with a group of people but all in all we got out of the house, ate some good food, and did something together that we would not have regularly done – all under $30 also!

Parting Trivia Question: Which George had to walk back into Food Hall due to forgetting to get the parking ticket validated?

This guy!

“Hey boy, you look good in an apron”

Date Night Posts

We have all watched those movie scenes where the picture perfect couple is in the kitchen, making dinner together, drinking wine, slow dancing probably and plating up a beautiful dish that took no less than 15 pans to create, right? I always think “are they still this happy when they are sitting on the couch avoiding the obvious giant mess in the kitchen?”

Woman: “I am not getting up first because if I do then he is going to think he’s in the clear and won’t bother help with cleaning the kitchen up”

Man: “I shouldn’t have to clean up that mess…I zested the lemon”

But who doesn’t love spending time in the kitchen with your babe? Our solution for this week’s date night was to experience making a meal together and NOT having to worry about cleaning up the mess!

Sur La Table (pronounced “sir lah tahb” for all my non French friends) is a kitchen lovers dream. If you haven’t ever been you need to go just to find all the kitchen gadgets that you never knew you needed! My favorite part about this place though is they offer a wide range of cooking classes and when I say wide range, they have everything from Thai inspired classes to Chocolate 101 to a Knife Skills class which I think should now be required prior to even owning a knife!

This evening we got to experience a romantically French inspired dinner. The menu consisted of Roasted Chicken with Tarragon Cream Sauce, Frisee Salad with Bacon Lardons and Mustard Vinaigrette, French Onion Soup, and Profiteroles with Vanilla Pastry Cream and Chocolate Sauce – ugh just thinking about it all again my mouth is watering! Walking in we were greeted by Chef Danielle who instructed us to wash our hands and take our place. The room is set up with a couple of work stations so you are grouped together with typically 2-3 other people (classes usually run around 16 total) and we became fast friends with Caryn and Edward (our partners) Each class is also BYOB so we were able to open our bottle of wine and have a few sips before strapping our aprons on.

Once class started there was instruction given to begin prepping each dish – if you get lost along the way or get to chatting with your partners (which was obviously our problem) each student receives a paper copy of the recipes and directions to help follow along. We started with the French Onion soup which required us to chop onions and get them in our pot so that they could get nice and carmlalized, the whole place started to smell like sweet onions. Side note – who knew French Onion soup was such a labor of love also?! Every few minutes we were reminded to “stir your onions” by Chef Danielle and yes, this quickly became an inside joke amongst us…’you had one job…stir the onions!’

I will warn depending on the class that you choose there is quite a bit of multitasking that has to take place but this is where you and your partner can divide and conquer and still enjoy talking with one another and your class mates. We moved onto prepping our desert which involved making Profiterole dough which is actually easier than one might think – butter and water are added to a saucepan and heated until all of the butter is melted (pause here to stir your onions), from there flour is added while a constant stir is happening until a slight film forms on the bottom of the saucepan. Throw the dough in a mixer and beat until cool then add eggs to complete the dough. The dough is then piped onto a sheet pan, we had fun with this also – apparently you want to pipe and count to 4 to ensure the perfect profiterole cloud is piped on the pan. I was the lucky one who got to pipe while George and our new BFFs counted 1…2…3….4….stir the onions!

After we gave our beautiful carb clouds an egg wash into the oven they went and we refocused to our Frisee Salad (I learned that Frisee is a type of leafy green) with my new favorite protein Bacon Lardons – aka big junks of crispy bacon. We got the vinaigrette mixed together and put our bacon on medium to low heat so that it could really render the fat and get extra crispy. We then cut up a few pieces of bread, oiled and seasoned with salt and pepper and got those in the oven to get nice and crispy.

“OMG, when was the last time you stirred the onions?!”

Luckily our onion babysitting days were coming to an end. The soup was assembled by adding brandy and broth then spooning the heavenly caramelized soup into ramekins which we topped with our crispy bread pieces and gruyere cheese. Also, if you are curious…yes, we did eat about 2-3 pieces of golden brown bread while this assembly line took place.

At this point, we got a well deserved break so that Chef Danielle could “reset the kitchen” no dishes for us tonight, remember?! George and I wondered through the store itemizing all of the new gadgets that we now needed. We looked at fancy coffee machines all of which I guarantee you I could never learn to operate. We had a lengthy discussion with the nice lady who worked there who ensured me I could “figure it out”…mmmhm. The best part about this portion of our evening though is since we attended a class we received 10%  off our purchase and 20% off a class of our choice if we signed up for another one that evening. I mean who doesn’t love a bargain?

Getting back to class we all were pretty hungry and it was finally time to try some of these wonderful creations we had made. First came the French Onion soup which I honestly was not sure what to expect with this – I candidly could not remember if I ever had had French Onion soup before. We gave this a solid 8 out of 10 – I mean top anything with bread and cheese and you are getting a pretty close to perfect score from me. The Frisee salad was next which required us to poach an egg…luckily our new friends lead us through this and like anything else the first egg was a “test” and by the last egg we were poaching pros. I know you all are jealous at this point of our salad also…crispy bacon chunks, mustard vinaigrette and a poached egg, geez…(btw, this would be a crazy easy salad to make at home and you best believe that will be happening at the George house asap)

We had one last course to tackle…the main course (best for last?) We did a simple salt and pepper seasoning on the skinned chicken thighs and placed them skin side down in a screaming hot cast iron skillet. After a few minutes we flipped the chicken and placed the cast iron skillets in the oven to finish cooking.

This next portion of our evening was a spiritual moment for George and I. Have you ever had a warm profiterole freshly filled with vanilla pastry cream and then covered with warm chocolate?! If not, I highly encourage you go on that pilgrimage and take a brother and sister with you! I will defer sharing with you exactly how many we each ate but it is was way more than a “suggested serving”.

After our holy moments with the fancy cream puffs we got the chicken out of the oven and boy there was some crispy skin on those babies, we finished assembling the sauce in the hot pan. First went the shallots and garlic then some sherry wine and tarragon which married together and filled the room with that wonderful anise and liquorish smell. Lastly we added our heavy cream which completed our sauce, we plated the chicken and opted for sauce on the side to ensure we got a bite of that crispy skin. At the first bite I was unsure of our Tarragon Cream Sauce, it was tangy and had warming notes at the same time but a few bites in we were obsessed.

Once our bellies were completely full (yes, okay, we probably had another profiterole, don’t judge!) we turned in our aprons, hugged our new friends, and left hand in hand smiling. This date night allowed us to try new things we would not have tried on our own and to meet new people. I suggest this as a date night if you are wanting to try new food and test some new recipes. Grab your partner and test your skills in the kitchen and I promise you will have a *chef’s kiss* night.

Check out upcoming Sur La Table classes here.

Share pictures of your date night below or by tagging @D8NightDFW on Social Media and by using the hashtag #D8nightDFW