Adventures in Eating: Part 1 (or, how to keep the marriage bubbling)

When you are engaged or a newly-wed you get lots of advice from older couples who tell you to “make time for each other” and “never stop dating your spouse.” You smile and nod, thinking “well duh, that’s obvious” because at this stage your romance is still all hot and bubbly and at the forefront of your thinking. But then out of this “burning love” (tee hee) comes a baby, and suddenly you realize just how easy it is to let your relationship take a back burner to this helpless, adorable, energy-draining bundle of joy (I hope you caught all those food puns, I’m working hard on my food blogger cred). Suddenly you understand what those experienced couples were telling you, and you realize that keeping the romance alive takes a heck of a lot more work that you ever dreamed back during the “gleam in his eye” days.
Still, there are ways that you can be intentional about spending time together. It does take effort, but you can do it! I’ve shared before about me and my hubby’s slightly sappy but (I think) romantic tradition of celebrating on the 19th of every month. Last year as an anniversary gift I came up with twelve “unique nineteenths,” planned dates for every month. Last month’s activity (our actual anniversary) we were supposed to come up with ideas for this year’s monthly celebrations. My hubby and I are wannabe foodies (I blame it on watching too much Top Chef back in the days before kids) so Chris came up with the idea to visit a new restaurant that we’ve never been to (at least not together) that serves a different type of cuisine. As a recovering picky eater I’m working on expanding my palate. I’m also looking for ways to add adventure to my life, so twelve months of adventurous eating sounded like just the thing! šŸ™‚ We trolled Google and Yelp to find twelve well-reviewed restaurants that offered a variety of cuisines (I’m most nervous about the Middle-Eastern bistro and the Indian food place). We tried to pick family owned or chef owned/operated as much as possible, staying away from chains and fast food (since we tend to eat at those types of places weekly anyway).
For our first pick from our restaurant list we chose a newish restaurant off the Bentonville square (Bentonville has done a great job of revitalizing their downtown and adding bits of “culture” without losing the small town feel) that serves locally sourced, elevated southern food. It’s called Tusk and Trotter, and features a huge mural of a pig on one wall with its different parts labelled for your convenience :).

{Images found here}

Ā  On the opposite wall there is a giant chalkboard that lists all the local businesses they buy their food from. I had no idea the variety of food that is grown and/or raised right here in this area!

We started with some freshly made, still-warm wheat bread (flour from War Eagle Mill) and I tried a mango-habenero margarita. I wimped out asked for it to be made “sans habenero,” but it was absolutely delicious. Next time I’ll go for the full flavor. šŸ™‚ I’ll admit I was a bit apprehensive about the fancy descriptions of the meals, but when our waiter explained that the chef was a runner-up for a James Beard Award (!! right here in NWA, who knew??) I relaxed, knowing that anything he served would be delicious. I chose the “Farmhouse,” a deliciously prepared pork chop with an over-easy egg on top, red potato mash and crispy arugula (did you know you can fry lettuce?).

My hubby had the “beans and cornbread” which featured duck, a corn bread cake, and some fancy baked beans.

Everything was absolutely delectable (do I sound like a food blogger yet?) and we cleaned our plates, which left us with a dessert dilemma. We solved it by taking our caramel chocolate cake (made from scratch that morning of course) to go, which we enjoyed later that evening. šŸ™‚

So we set the bar extremely high for this food adventure (we also realized that we may need to move some money around in the budget, or at least try to vary the expensive restaurants on our list with the less expensive options). We had a wonderful time, ending the evening with some “house window-shopping” (we’re not looking to move quite yet, but maybe in the near future) and lots of sparkling conversation, most of which didn’t even revolve around our precious off-spring. šŸ™‚
So how do you make time for each other married friends? I’d love to hear your ideas!

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