Wednesday, June 17, 2015

The Best Part of Leaving My Dogs? Coming Home

As hard as it is for me to leave my pups, there’s one thing that makes returning easier: seeing them when I get home. Whenever I’ve been gone for a few nights, my dogs are overjoyed to see me. They squeal. They run around in circles. They want me to hold them forever. My girl Autumn will even pee on the floor a little if she hasn’t seen me in a while. 

 Aren't they the cutest?!

And I’m firmly convinced that everyone should have this experience at least once. Having a dog that excited to see you makes returning when you don’t want to that much better. As soon as I’ve stepped in the door, the only thing that matters is that precious moment when I get to hold them. I’m happy to hold them, and they’re happy to see me. I wish it could last forever. They usually lose interest after about 10 minutes—they get distracted by food or another dog—but those are easily the most precious 10 minutes of my day. 

Here’s to Autumn and Rocket! I hope all of you have dogs in your life that love you just as much.

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Where to Find Great Desserts: Michael's on East in Sarasota, Florida

It’s been far too long since I’ve put together a post about my love of chocolate, and I wanted to write about some kick-ass desserts I had while in Sarasota, Florida.

Michael's On East—a hidden gem tucked away in a strip mall—is an old school fine dining establishment that has a very romantic vibe to it. The bar is dim, as is the rest of the restaurant. Expect guests to rest drinks on the piano as they sing along to the likes of Frank Sinatra and “Here Comes the Sun.” I could see plenty of couples celebrating anniversaries here. And I wouldn’t be surprised to learn if this place is the site of many a marriage proposal. But now that I’ve described the atmosphere, let’s get down to what’s really important: the food. 

 Hello, magnificent chocolate creation. 
It’s been far too long since I’ve devoured truly impressive desserts, and this is where you’ll want to go to get ‘em. I loved the decadent Brownie Ice Cream Stack (and really, with a name like that, how could you go wrong?). This creation features layers of dark chocolate brownie, heath bar crunches, espresso crunch ice cream and vanilla ice cream that's all drizzled with chocolate sauce. This creation was so stuffed, it looked like it might collapse under the weight of all the deliciousness. Once you’ve toppled it and dug in though, you won’t regret destroying this beauty one bit. It’s the perfect example of a high-end ice cream cake--with just enough texture and ice cream to balance all the other ingredients out.

 Some minty goodness, right there.

Another true stand out for me was the Big Top Chocolate Icebox Pie. The plating was gorgeous, with an artful smear of chocolate on the plate. And the dessert itself resembled a multilayered brownie. A piece of chocolate rested on top of this dessert, which also featured a layer of cool mint, followed by a layer of bittersweet chocolate mouse that all rested on top of a bed of Oreo cookie crumbles. The entire thing was like a giant Girl’s Scout Thin Mint. I could simply not get enough of this cool and refreshing dish. 
Perfect meals always conclude with great desserts. For a truly memorable ending, head to Michael’s.

Please note: The restaurant covered the cost of my meal. All thoughts are my own, as always.