Nitro is the New Black Coffee

If you know me, then you know I have a *slight* obsession with coffee -- more specifically cold brew coffee. I even wrote a whole post about my love for it a while back! So you know when I started hearing about nitro cold brew coffee,  I needed to try it.

Starbucks has had nitro cold brew for a little over a year now, but only at select locations -- so the brew alluded me until a few weeks ago. J.P. Licks, a Boston based ice cream shop, recently released their own nitro and sent out free small nitro and cold brew coffees to their reward card members. I promptly ran to the nearest one to try both and perform a taste test!

I ordered both drinks black and ordered them as they should be served (cold brew with ice and nitro brew without).
The cold brew tasted as expected -- slightly sweet, slightly bitter and relatively smooth.

The nitro brew was unbelievable.
I normally don't drink my coffee black, even with cold brew, just because I prefer the milk or cream to further smooth out my cold brew. It would be completely unnecessary with the nitro cold brew and I actually loved it black. It was smooth and sweet and honestly tasted nothing like what I'm used to coffee tasting like. It was also interesting that it had foam like a Guinness. I was blown away and hope nitro cold brew starts becoming more common because the only downside is it's not offered everywhere!

Have you tried nitro cold brew yet? What were your thoughts?

Exploring the West

Before I started my current job, I had never been to the West Coast. (I always joked the farthest West I'd gone was Iowa, and that it didn't really count!) Lucky for me, in the year and a half I've worked at my job, I've been sent out on two business trips to the West!

The first trip was great, but I only went out a day early to do some exploring in San Francisco and then was in Pleasanton attending meetings for the rest of the trip. The trip I just got back from a couple of weeks ago I was able to go to Seattle and Salt Lake City on business and then decided to have a fun weekend in San Diego with a friend!

It's definitely a toss up between Seattle and San Diego as to which was my favorite city. I loved Seattle because it was beautiful and walkable. I also got to spend a lot of time on boats during my trip thanks to my wonderful friend (and coworker). I was able to attend the Pink Boat Regatta on my last day in the city and it was incredible -- so much pink, boats, and love for breast cancer research!

I also spent a fair amount of time at Pike Market which was amazing and the food all over the city was unbelievable.

I loved San Diego because of the weather and the beach with mountains surrounding it! I also couldn't get over the cacti and succulents everywhere.

I also had the best tour guide around, who also knows all the great food spots. I definitely ate well the entire trip! Also, did you know that real tortillas are so much better than flour? I never knew!

I don't have many pictures from Salt Lake City, but it was also such an interesting place. I saw the Salt Lake City Temple for the LDS Church, drank a beer named the Polygamy Porter, and saw a indie film at a theater associated with Sundance. Everywhere I went in the valley, it was like the mountains followed us too. I want to go back someday to ski because I saw ski resort signs everywhere!

It was such a great trip and I feel so blessed that I was able to travel to three places that I've never been before to both work and play! Have you ever visited Seattle, Salt lake City or San Diego?

Strawberry Rhubarb Shortbread Bars

If you knew me while I was in college, you'd know that I was not a cook. It wasn't even until after I started dating Daniel that I owned a cutting board! It's not that I didn't know anyone who could cook -- my dad is a great cook and would always make scrumptious dishes for us and my grandmother can make the most delicious desserts imaginable -- I just didn't.

Cooking was one of the things that Daniel and I did together when we would visit each other after we first started dating, and my skill and appreciation has increased from there. From time to time now, I just need to cook and spend time creating in the kitchen -- and these bars are a result of that!

The strawberry rhubarb bars were a happy mistake -- I originally wanted to make boiled peanuts, but what d'ya know, you can't find raw peanuts in the North very easily. Strawberry rhubarb is definitely a flavor profile that I came to appreciate from my time spent living in Lancaster, PA. I actually have some strawberry rhubarb jam in my fridge right now that I picked up at the Central Market from our weekend trip a few months ago!

While living in Lancaster, I did make a rendition of these bars but only with rhubarb. They were good, but not as great as I wanted them to be. I think the strawberry in the recipe this time really brings the bars over the top and I loved that both the strawberries and rhubarb that I found were locally grown in Massachusetts!

If you want to make some of the bars, find the recipe I used here! It was super easy to follow. The only ingredients I left out were the lemon zest (I put in a squeeze of lemon juice instead) and the food coloring (I didn't need it with how ripe the strawberries were).  I'd love to hear what you think if you make them or if you have any other recipes that you've loved recently!