Restaurant Review: Sarma

To round out my sister weekend, I wanted to cross another restaurant off the bucket list! We chose to go to Sarma located in Somerville at 249 Pearl Street! We chose to drive as the restaurant is in a semi-secluded location. There’s plenty of street parking available but for real, this restaurant is worth the extra effort!

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Sarma is affiliated with the restaurants Oleana, Sofra and the vendor Sienna Farms. I’ve been to Sofra before and am a biiiiig fan. Check out my review by clicking here! And I’ve also visited the Sienna Farms storefront and am impressed with their product quality and knowledge. Sarma was not a disappointment in any way shape or form!

Sarma had such a cool vibe. Very laid back and hipster with their tastefully worn down furniture, urban hanging light fixtures and textured plates lining the walls. There was a bar and high tops as well as the regular tabled seating to choose from. We made reservations a few days in advance and unless I wanted to chance a seat at the bar, I would call in advance again.

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We had a great waiter who explained their menu- there’s a bunch of categories ranging in snacks, to share plates to “entrees”. He told us that based on their size, 2 people could be very happy sharing 4 to 6 plates. And of course being the gluttons we are, we ordered 6 plates, one from each category.

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The menu was super helpful and provide a glossary on the side in case you weren’t familiar with a lot of middle eastern cooking terms (which of course, I wasn’t). We got this awesome flatbread with spices and olive oil for dipping to start. Our first official course was from the meyhane snack category:

Parsnip Fritters- cilantro, walnut, sesame, pepitas

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This dish was so beautiful, that I instagrammed it (no filter!) the second it came out! While beautifully presented, I thought this dish could’ve been a little more flavorful. I was a big fan of all the crunchy bits that opposed the soft parsnip on the inside of the fritter though!

Meze: Almond Fried Cheese- ratatouille, arugala pesto, dates

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I NEED this dish in my life every. single. day. I wish I didn’t have to  share with my sister. Anything that is fried and has cheese has my name written all over it. The ratatouille was super flavorful as well and perfectly paired with all of the dishes components!

Vegetables: Asparagus- avgolemono, egg katayif, black truffles, dill

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I’ve become a big fan of asparagus lately as well as yolky eggs. I loved the texture contrast between the phyllo dough and garlic butter sauce that the asparagus laid in. So delicious!

[avgolemono= egg and lemon, katayif= shredded phyllo]

Pancakes, Pie and Pide: Nettle Spanakopita- cucumbler sorel tzatziki, za’atar, walnuts

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Nothing is more classic than spanakopita! We were getting super full at this point..

Sarma: Pomegranate Glazed Lamb- green wheat, swiss chard, parsnip

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I was a big fan of the parsnip puree but the texture of the lamb was throwing me off a bit. Great flavor though and an awesome share dish!

Shish: marrow bean plaki, whipped feta butter, pita crumb

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This last dish was so tender and amazing! I love love loved the pita chip crunch and really savored the meats flavor.

Overall, we left super stuffed and happy! I felt like this food was very genuine and made with love. Sarma proved to be an awesome place to explore a new cuisine all the while making it accessible and affordable to the audience. This place is definitely high on my recommendation sheet!

Next Food for Thought Thursday, I’ll be sharing some of my work from the Taj Hotel from the last couple months! Thanks for reading and have an excellent weekend! I plan on celebrating with my friends this Friday for my Birthday de Mayo! Party complete with pinatas and fake mustaches! Bon weekend!

 

Restaurant Review: Bistro Du Midi

This restaurant was listed on my Bucket List post from a couple weeks ago! One of my friends from college, Devon, is an assistant pastry chef at Bistro Du Midi and received an awesome employee of the month gift card in recognition of her hard work! She decided to share the gift card with me so we could eat our hearts out!

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Bistro Du Midi is located at 272 Boylston Street, Boston MA. It’s a 2 minute walk from the Arlington T stop on the green line so it’s very easy to find. The restaurant is two floors with the kitchen being on the second floor. The view from the second floor overlooks the Boston Public Gardens! This place is definitely full of class, so dress up! The food and drinks were amazing too so let’s not dilly dally anymore:

Devon and I each ordered a crudite, entree, two sides to share a la carte and one dessert. But since she works there, we ended up getting…

Amuse Bouche: Smoked White Asparagus Soup with Escargot Beignet

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Fluke Crudite with Fried Squid Ink and Bottarga Consomme

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Faroe Island Salmon Crudite with Parmesan Crisps and salmon roe

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Pate Plate with Crispy Pork Belly Pate

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Duck Breast with Sweet Potato, Artichoke, Almonds and Duck Jus

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Thyme Garganelli Pasta, Lamb neck, Morels, Spring peas, Manchego

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Spring peas, favas, crispy pork belly

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Mushrooms, trumpet royale, hen of the woods

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Earl Grey and Elderflower Souffle

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Ice Cream Flight with Black Sesame , Caramel and Ganache, Marshmallow and Red Velvet Ice Cream

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Wild blueberry cheesecake, hazelnut cremeux, lavender sponge cake

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Mascarpone beignet, citrus sugar, pear cardamom butter

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Everything was so yummy! My personal favorites were the Smoked Asparagus Soup, Salmon Crudite, Duck Breast and the Ice Cream Flight! Such a great experience and service was impeccable. We each got awesome drinks that were well balanced and tasty. I definitely recommend this place for a splurge night out! Devon’s gift card was for $150 so after that, her employee discount and the free plates that were sent to us, the bill was ONLY 12 DOLLARS! I literally couldn’t have asked for a better deal or experience!

I have a couple more posts planned coming up but I’ve been busy at work working 6 day weeks consistently so my time is tight! Stay tuned for more things to come!

Thanks for reading and have a great weekend!

 

 

Townsman and Haru!

Short post for the day! This past week has been filled with a lot of fun activities and included two new restaurants- can’t beat that!

I’ll start with Haru. So for Christmas, the pastry staff promised to take our Chef out for sushi because he’s a total glutton for it. My co-worker chose a restaurant called Haru located minutes off of the Prudential T stop on the Green E line.

I’m really not a huge fan of sushi so I ended up just eating some calamari that was served with a sweet chili peanut sauce. The sauce was a fantastic balance of sweet with a little heat. I don’t have much to say about everyone elses dinners, but I heard nothing but good things about the quality of sushi!

The restaurant itself was really nice; it had simple but elegent decor and the staff there was very polite. Looking for a different kind of drink menu? Look no further with Haru’s ecelectic menu featuring a number of hot and flavored sakis as well as a selection of plum wine.

I also had the pleasure of visiting Townsman for the first time! A could of my friends from college were visiting the city for dinner and I met up with them at the end for a drink and catch up! I was so so happy to see my friends; it had literally been months since we all caught up!

Townsman has an special layout as a restaurant. The restaurant itself is very long. It has a couple tables in the front, followed by a long bar and a couple lounge chairs and small tables for small parties. Towards the back, you can request to be seated at the chef’s table and watch some of the line cooks in action!

Townsman is just a few minutes walk from the Chinatown T stop on the Orange Line. I’ve been really looking forward to a trip to Townsman because the Executive Chef, Matthew Jennings, owned a great restaurant in Providence (my college town) called Farmstead. While I only went for drinks, I was really impressed by their hospitality and knowledge so I cannot wait to make a return trip for dinner!

I ordered Dram #2 which had Jamaican rum, allspice and orange juice. YUM! That’s my kind of drink! Check out a couple pictures below of my time at Townsman!

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I have some fun blog posts floating around  in my brain for the upcoming weeks so be sure to check it out! Thanks for reading and have a great weekend!

Restaurant Review: Amada!

To kick off the beginning of my trip back to Pennsylvania to see my family, my sister and I spent a night in Philly during Restaurant Week! My sister is a graphic designer for the University of Pennsylvania, and so when I flew into the PHL airport, I just grabbed a train into Center City to meet her! Knowing that I’m a foodie, Steph and I planned on picking a restaurant from the list that most interested us. The winner was a place called Amada!
Amada is a Spanish tapas place created by Chef Jose Garces opened in 2005. Perfectly tucked away in the Old City neighborhood, Amada is located at 217-219 Chestnut Street, Philadelphia PA. It’s less than a 5 minute walk off of the subway stop at 2nd Street.
Upon entry, we were pleasantly greeted and they graciously stored my luggage in a separate room for safe keeping throughout our meal. We were lead through half of the dining room that accommodates both large and small parties and sits adjacent to an open kitchen where 6 lucky diners might sit during service. The décor was simple but rustic and while the seating arrangements were close together, each party still felt private.

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Being that it was restaurant week, their menu was limited but still offered a variety of choices. For our 3 course meal, we each had the option of 2 small plates per course, which meant that my sister and I could share 8 plates and 2 desserts. We were SO stoked. The sangria came strongly recommended by two of her staff members and we weren’t disappointed.

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Let’s dive into the meal!

First course:

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Aged Manchango Cheese with truffle lavender honey
Garrotxa Cheese with Garlic Dulce de Leche

These cheeses were SO delicious. I don’t know if it’s because we were both starving but it was the perfect opener to our meal. I also loved that they served granny apple slices with the bread, cheese and dips because it really elevated the cheese plate!

819Tortilla Espanola: Spanish tortilla and saffron aioli

This was probably my least favorite course of the meal, but it was still pretty tasty! The inside tasted sort of like a potato which I wasn’t expecting but it paired great with saffron aioli.

820Croquetas de Jamon: Ham Croquettes

These were outta this world! Small but mighty, they were served with a red pepper puree and I could’ve devoured an entire platter of them by myself!

Second Course:

815Coca de Costillas de Ternera: Flatbread with Beef Short Ribs, Horseradish, Parmesan, Bacon

This flatbread was perfect for sharing between two people. The beef short ribs were tender and the parm and bacon really blew its flavor out of the water!

816Hanger Steak Brochettes: Grilled a la Plancha

817Esparragos Con Trufas: Grilled Asparagus, Poached Egg, Mahon Crisp, Truffles

This had to be my FAVORITE course of the night. I’ve really been digging asparagus lately and this dish was tender and served in a garlic butter sauce. Once the poached egg was broken, the sauce became even more rich and dynamic! I would’ve even loved to have a piece of bread accompanying the plate so I could sop up all the delicious aftermath.

818Panceta: Crispy Pork Belly, Cauliflower Puree, Rioja Shallot Jam, Boquerone Salsa Verde

This pork belly was very tender and fatty, but in a way that it melts in your mouth. The cauliflower puree mellows out the fattiness of the pork belly and the shallot jam added a dash of sweetness.

Dessert:

814Tocinillo de Cielo: Citrus Vanilla, Pistachio

This dessert was peculiar but awesome! It was almost like a custard or yogurt but sweet. A citrus foam laid nicely on top with a dash of cocoa nibs. It was a nice light dessert after a heavily flavored meal!

813Tarta de Chocolate: Dark Chocolate Tart, Orange

This tart was small but mighty. The chocolate in the tart was intense and rich but was cut by the orange segment and sauce on the plate.

As always, there aren’t many restaurants I meet that I don’t like, but this one really took the cake! I’m glad to have been able to experience a great restaurant during a discount week and share so many unique dishes with my sister!

Hopefully you aren’t drooling too much! Have a great weekend and I’ll meet you back here on Tuesday for another post! Thanks for reading!

Restaurant Review: No. 9 Park!

I most recently went to an excellent restaurant in the heart of Boston called No. 9 Park! It’s located at (you guessed it…) 9 Park Street, Boston MA. You can easily take the green or red line to the park street stop and walk only minutes to their entrance. The location is one that can’t be beat- right across from Boston Commons and caddy corner to the new state house.

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As per usual, one of my friends used to work at No. 9 so we were treated to some really excellent service and a couple free appetizers. No. 9 is a restaurant on the pricier side, so the way we tackle these restaurants is to go for ‘zerts, apps and drinks. Perfect for sharing and usually leave feeling satisfied but not stuffed to the brim. And it’s friendly on your wallet as well!
The service was impeccable. It’s a smaller restaurant but the service staff was very attentive and polite as they took my coat upon arrival, walked me to the restroom when asked, refilled water glasses effortlessly and anticipated our needs at every turn. Usually with restaurant reviews, I can go pretty in depth to each dish but sometimes it’s nice to go out to eat to just enjoy the company of others. Enjoy the pictures posted below with as many descriptions as I could find!

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Prime Steak Tartare: sour cream and onion, gaufrette, pickled Cipollini

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Marinated Lamb: Gorgonzola fondue, brioche, mixed greens

802Cranberry Upsidedown Cake: lemon, olive oil, almond

801Apple Beignet: ginger, mulled cider, tuile

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Hazelnut Semi-freddo: caramel, coffee, chocolate

Overall, I had a lot of fun with friends and I loved trying new dishes to share! My top favorite of the night included the Prime Steak Tartare and Apple Beignet. This is the perfect place to go for a special celebration or purely as a culinary adventure. I’m slowly checking things off my Boston bucket list!

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Come back on Tuesday for a quick update about my life outside of the foodservice industry! Enjoy the upcoming weekend!

Restaurant Review- Tiger Mama!

I’m so excited to share my experience at the newly opened restaurant Tiger Mama  in the Fenway area! Located at 1363 Boylston Street and a short walk from the Fenway T stop on the green line (D), this restaurant opened the second week of December 2015. Eater, Boston Globe, Zagat and Boston Magazine are among a few of the press that reported their anticipated opening! I feel quite lucky that I was able to watch this restaurant tick only days after their doors opened!

Tiffani Faison and her wife, Kelly Walsh imagined the concept for Tiger Mama through their travels in Southeast Asia. Their food isn’t strictly traditional to region but rather inspired by many memorable dishes and flavors. Tiffani opened Sweet Cheeks Q a few years previous and also competed on Top Chef- just a few drops in the bucket to prove her credibility!

My friend from college, Frank, is a true foodie so I love going out to dinner to try new restaurants and dishes with him! He used to work with two front of house managers at Tiger Mama, Dana and Heather, and wanted to visit! As soon as we arrived, the vibe was very cool, laid back and authentic. Eagerly greeted at the door by the hostess and a blinged out elephant, we were seated in the center of action allowing us a view of  either end of the restaurant.

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Super unique in design, there is an array of seating arrangements available for small or large parties. The menu is similar- full of small plates and larger portions meant to share. There are also two bars at either end of the restaurant. They  feature two different drink menus and are served across the restaurant. One of the bars even features a tiki drink menu!

At the rear of the restaurant lays an open kitchen with a chef’s table available for reservation. The decor fully matches the menu as funky and fresh- live palm trees, a living plant wall, and a cool neon sign reading, “TALK DON’T, COOK RICE”.

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Pleasantly greeted by our waiter, Patrick, we dove into the menu eagerly discussing what we wanted to try. Despite only being open two weeks, Patrick had many suggestions for both the drink and food menu and could recommend things based on our individual palettes. You could tell he was very passionate about the industry and was especially excited about the work happening at Tiger Mama.

Let’s get to the good stuff- the food.

As we were deciding what the order, the kitchen sent us the Lobster Fresh Rolls: charred lobster, bright veggies and spicy silky peanut sauce.

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This was the perfect introductory course to the rest of our meal. These lobster rolls were super fresh, crunch, sweet and the heat from the peanut sauce warmed the palette for an overall nice balance. YUM. I could probably eat a hundred of these and never get sick of it!

Crispy Garlic Prawns “LOS”: garlicky shrimp, crackly shells, brown butter

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This was INCREDIBLE. The shrimp were so delicious and the shells weren’t characteristically greasy like fried foods. The shrimp sat on top of charred and salted cabbage and scallions. The crunch to soft ratio of this dish was spot on!

Chili Spiced Short Rib Crudo: rich chili seared short rib, herb “salad”, black vinaigrette, charred leeks.

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Not my favorite dish but only for the fact that I’m really sensitive to spicy components. While the dish was very spicy, the short rib was tender and mellow and acted a great dish to share!

Lamb Roli: brickfields spiced and braised lamb, crispy roti, holy basil raita, mint cilantro jam

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Frank ordered this dish and was ooh-ing and ahh-ing as he ate it! It’s presentation was simple and could also act as a dish to share.

Pig Ricebacon, braised frilled pork, issan sausage, pork sung

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Despite how full I was, the rice was SO delicious. It was meaty and salty without being overpowering. The rice was perfectly cooked and supported many different textures.

Lastly, for dessert we ordered the Milk Toast! A piece of brioche soaked in coconut milk or an anglaise and then seared on a flat top. Simple, pure and delicious.

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Frank and I also ordered two rounds  of drinks throughout the meal! My first drink was fruity and girly with a twist of tang while Frank ordered a drink that focused more on the spirit.  The second drink we ordered was delivered with crushed ice in a large golden pineapple- equally delicious! And to top off the night, Chef Tiffani Faison made her rounds in the dining room connecting with guests!

Overall, I had an incredible dining experience at Tiger Mama! Everything from service, to seating and decor and especially the food, was outstanding. You could definitely sense the passion from the workers in both their service style and food. This is a restaurant you won’t want to miss! I can only imagine their success for the future and cannot wait to make my return trip soon.

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Thank you Tiger Mama! Kudos on a job well done!

Thanks for reading Food for Thought Thursday and don’t forget to check back on Tuesday for another look into my post grad life!

 

 

 

Restaurant Review: Deuxave!

There is just SO much I love about being in this industry, but I think what I love the most is the community. I’ve been finding that the world in general is a small place, but the culinary/food service world is even smaller.

When I started working at the Taj, we all I know I experienced the “its a small world” feeling with my awkward tinder moment (you can catch up by clicking here!)… But I also have connections with each of my co-workers! One of them used to work with my old Flour co-worker and the rest went to Johnson & Wales where our worlds somehow crossed from time to time.

I ended up going to Deuxave with two of my Taj co-workers to try the dessert menu by pastry chef Jamie Davis Schick (check out her instagram here!) before she moved on to the next step in her career. My friend April used to work for Jamie at No. 9 Park so we were treated as extra special guests at an extra fancy restaurant!

692Deuxave is located at 371 Commonwealth Avenue in the Back Bay area. It’s easily accessible by the T; its just a few minutes walk from the Hynes Convention Center on the green line. They also do valet parking for a pricy $18 or if you’re the luckiest person on the planet, you might find a free metered spot along Massachusetts Avenue. Deuxave is open for dinner 5 to 10pm on the weekdays and until 11pm on Friday and Saturday.

This restaurant is beautiful and definitely high end. Save your pretty pennies and dress up for a fancy night out! April and I waited at the bar for our friend Sarah and chatted with Jamie for a few minutes! I was definitely excited to try her menu and it was also really great to get to know her a little bit.

700After being seated, we were sent 3 glasses of champagne! We took a couple silly pictures, toasted and then reminded ourselves that we needed to behave in such a nice place. We perused the menu and picked one dessert for each of us to order with the intention to share.

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Also unexpectedly, we were sent an intermezzo. I’ts basically a pre-course to set the precedence for the rest of the meal. We were sent a fennel celery sorbet with compressed yuzu and tarragon. It was a really interesting mix of sweet and savory. The sorbet reminded me of chicken noodle soup- almost a little buttery!

696Our individual courses came out and they were absolutely beautiful. They were well executed with specific attention to detail. I’ll go through our courses one by one:

Local Peaches and Corn

691Corn panna cotta, hazelnut polenta financier, bourbon compressed peaches, peach sorbet and candied hazelnuts

Summer Berry “Trellis”

689White Chocolate Cheesecake, Summer Berries, Pistachio Pain de Genes, Blueberry Sorbet, Caramelized Puff Pastry, Pistachio Puree, Aged Balsalmic Glaze

Milk Chocolate Silk Ribbon

690Red Velvet Cake, Fresh Raspberries, Raspberry Sorbet, Cocoa Nibs, Malted Meringue

And again, we were sent EVEN MORE stuff! Jamie sent us the creme brulee with meyer lemon sorbet. The creme brulee was so creamy and rich and the sorbet was a nice change of pace from the fatty creme brulee. The sorbet wasn’t super tart because meyer lemons are small and sweet. YUMMM.

Jamie also sent us a new dessert in the testing phase!  It was yogurt panna cotta with a green apple gelee, chartreuse and apple sorbet, olive oil cake and green apple glass. The yogurt panna cotta was super super tart but I’m also not the biggest fan of yogurt. My friends were gobbling it up though! I really enjoyed the olive oil cake and green apple/chartreuse sorbet.

702Fat and happy, we were ready for our bill. We were sent little mignardise on the way out which are small bites (almost like mints that go with a bill). We each got a vanilla caramel, coconut macaroon and coffee bonbon. I WAS SO FULL AND HAPPY.

695They only charged us for the three plated desserts and our water (first time I’ve had that happen…) so our bill only came to $55 with tax. We each paid $25, leaving a healthy tip for our waiter and waitstaff who took such good care of us. I had an excellent time at Deuxave and was so happy to be able to experience someone else’s menu!

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On Tuesday, I divulge how to deal with crazy landlords and still walk away with a win! As stressful as adulting can be, it certainly isn’t boring. Have a great weekend eveyrone!

M