A New Element of Surprise to Dining Out

Happy Monday, everyone! How was the weekend? Do anything fun and exciting? Relax and lay low? Mine was fairly busy and pretty awesome…here’s a little recap of Friday night and Saturday:

And here’s a little recap of Sunday. First, breakfast.


1 egg + 2 egg whites with spinach + a toasted whole wheat mini potato roll with almond butter and jelly.



And here’s a random picture of Cody for you because, well, I couldn’t get over the cuteness. Winking smile


But as for the rest of our Sunday…

Back in December, Heather blogged about these City Dining Cards, and I was so immediately intrigued by them that I immediately went to the website and bought myself a pack.


Basically, here’s how it works. You pay $20 for the deck, which includes (50) $10 discount cards. You spend $30 or more at the restaurant, and you received $10 off your total bill. Simple as that! And a bonus to buying the cards…5% of all proceeds go to the Regional Food Bank of Northeastern New York. Gotta love that.


So by the time you use two of them, you’re already gotten your money’s worth. Talk about a sweet deal!

There’s also a couple of “bonus” coupons in the capital region deck, one of them being a free loaf of bread (at the same place I checked out those amazing cakes).


I think one of the things I’m most excited about with the cards is that it’ll give Jay and I a reason to go and check out some other restaurants that we either a) love and forget about, or b) try something new that we’ve just never gotten around to. I feel like it could bring a whole new element of surprise to date night and dining out! Smile

So even though I’ve had the cards for almost a month, we didn’t end up using our first card until yesterday, which brought us to the Albany Pump Station.


I love the pump station for so many reasons…their food, their beer (to be enjoyed at a later date), and their atmosphere. So fun.


We were pretty hungry by the time we got there, and we also knew we needed our bill to reach $30, so we both decided to order a cup of their French Onion soup to start. A later realized that I actually got the last time we came here, almost two years ago, and I remember why. The stuff is GOOD.


For my main lunch, I ordered the Mediterranean Wrap, which included roasted red pepper hummus, tabouli, banana peppers, tomato, feta, and falafel, served with a side of tzatziki.


The wrap was awesome, and included all sort of delicious flavors, and I think I loved it most because it’s not something I would typically make for myself at home.


After lunch, it was grocery shopping time, and I even managed to get Jay to hit up Trader Joe’s.


Unfortunately, the place was PACKED. So much so, that it was just not an enjoyable experience (if it wasn’t for me, then I KNOW Jay was dying the whole time). So we quickly made our way through the aisles as best we could, grabbed what we wanted, and made it out of there fast.


Apparently, it’s still only safe to go on random Wednesday nights at 9pm. Good to know for future reference!

Since our lunch was so much larger than usual (and not eaten until almost 3pm), neither of us were in the mood for much of anything special for dinner. Around 7:30 though, I started to get a little hungry, so I put together a bowl of cereal (Special K Protein Plus, blueberries, bananas, almond butter, unsweetened vanilla almond milk).

Hey, sometimes cereal for dinner is just where it’s at. Am I right? Winking smile

**FYI: The Baby Tooth page was updated this morning!!

Questions for the Morning:

  • Do you like trying new restaurants, or do you tend to stick with what you know? Do you think you’d ever use something like the City Dining Cards?
  • What’s your favorite time/day to grocery shop?


  1. says

    I don’t think there’s been many times that I’ve been to Trader Joe’s and it’s NOT been busy, and I’ve been to quite a few locations too! Glad you were able to get some goodies though. I love going out to eat in general… We don’t do it a lot lately because it gets to be pricey, but it’s one of my favorite date night activities. We have our favorites, but I’m always up for trying new places, especially if it was recommended by someone!
    Ashley @ My Food N Fitness Diaries recently posted..Rejuvenated

  2. says

    City Dining Cards sounds like an awesome scheme! As much as I tend to gravitate towards old favorites, I equally enjoy trying out new restaurants. The way I see it is that there’s bound to be at least one dish on the menu worth trying, and can’t go wrong with a change in atmosphere!
    Khushboo recently posted..A rice-off…and a really good salad

  3. Whitney says

    How much do you like that Special K protein cereal?! I am in love and recently have been eating it plain out of a cup for a snack! YUM :)

  4. says

    I work at Trader Joe’s and my tip for you would be to go in the mornings if you can. Anytime before 11 on a weekday is usually the best time to go for any TJ’s, or right before closing like you mentioned. Lunchtime usually has a big rush, and so does late afternoon and early evening when people get out of work and school. At 9am you will most likely have the store to yourself! :)
    Lauren @ Lawfully Wedded Wife recently posted..Dirty Rice

  5. says

    Those dining cards so great, and it looks like you put them to good use at a delicious restaurant. Both the soup and the wrap look awesome. I am in love with falafel, so I have no doubt that I would devour that wrap :).

    Cereal for dinner sounds perfect to me. I don’t know why I never think to do that!

    Speaking as someone who used to work at a grocery store, generally the best/least busy time to shop is a Saturday or Sunday morning at about 6-8 a.m. You beat everyone else there because they are all still sleeping! 😉
    Hannah @ CleanEatingVeggieGirl recently posted..Chickpea Veggie Burgers

  6. says

    Those City Dining Cards actually sound like a really neat idea – sadly not offered up here where I am, though :( Then again, I don’t really tend to eat out that much, and when I do it’s usually to the same place because I have allergies that make eating out kind of a hassle, so I tend to stick to places I know are safe. As for grocery shopping, I usually like to go early in the morning if I can… I find that stores are actually pretty empty then, especially on the weekends.
    Amanda @ .running with spoons. recently posted... breakfast like a king .

  7. says

    I hate when TJ’s is so packed its not enjoyable! That happens to me when I try to go there on a Saturday afternoon. Craziness and the aisles are so damn small that it’s hard to breath. Glad you had a great weekend!
    Lauren recently posted..Friday Confessions

  8. says

    Love that idea. Great for a fundraiser. I will keep it in mind. Anyways, I love trying new restaurants! I would use those cards for sure. We always buy community coupon books and try to at least get our money back on them.
    We always grocery shop Saturday mornings, it is usually fairly quiet and we are home before lunch.
    Lindsey recently posted..Weekend Ramblings

  9. says

    Oooh, I would totally use one of those! I love trying new restaurants, and they’re definitely not in short supply down here in Orlando. I actually prefer to grocery shop early on Saturday morning, but we always end up going on Sunday or Monday night because my boyfriend is not a fan of early morning grocery shopping. Weird, right?

    • Courtney says

      Sadly, NO. :(
      I’ll be about 7 months preggo by then, and didn’t feel comfortable traveling across the country. Boooo. I’m hoping I can skype with someone or something while it’s going on though! :)

  10. says

    We Love trying new restaurants, but still usually end up going back to the same places (and ordering the same favorite platters) :-)

    We shop at trader joes, and try and go as early as we can on a Saturday or Sunday morning. Otherwise, its crowded!
    Jenna @ Crazy Healthy Fit recently posted..YOU inspire me!

  11. says

    I’m a very picky eater, so I’m always hesitant to try new places. I’m just now getting to the point where I’m trying new menu items at our usual restaurants, lol.

    For shopping, I love going 8 am on weekdays (I’m a SAHM). I get the kids to school, then go to the store. It gives me some time to myself and is usually less crowded. If I can’t go in the morning, I prefer early afternoon. I’ll pick up my son from the bus (he only has half days) and head out. My 2 favorite places to shop get VERY busy in the evening and one of them I won’t go to on the weekend unless I have no choice. It gets crazy busy. Think Costco on a Saturday. That kind of busy.
    Kathryn recently posted..2013 So Far

    • Courtney says

      I buy the container of liquid egg whites and just measure out what two egg whites would be. Much easier than throwing out the yolk :)

  12. says

    Use and enjoy those cards, especially before the baby comes! I wish my husband and I would have made a ‘Before Baby Bucket List,’ something friends of our did that I thought was a great idea!

  13. says

    The best time to grocery shop is early in the morning. However, I usually don’t get around to it until 5 pm after work, which is the busiest! Sunday shopping around my house is also super crowded. I totally know what you mean – if you didn’t like the crowds, then your husband must have despised it.
    Stephanie @ Steph’s Miles recently posted..MIMM: Relaxing Weekend at Home

  14. says

    I love going shopping on weekday mornings. Most people are working so most places are not busy and it seems there’s more of a selection in the morning! I love those cards! I wish they had something like that around here because it does get you out of going to the same places again and again.
    Lauren recently posted..Friday Favorites

  15. Sarah says

    I love trying new restaurants. There are so many great places where I live too so I should check that out!

    I grocery shop on Friday after work. Fun stuff!

  16. says

    Cody is beautiful! Or handsome…. :p That wrap looks delicious. I love trying out new restaurants…I would rather go to a cute local place than a chain any day. The best time to go grocery shopping is 10pm on a Wednesday. Inconvenient, but so fast! One of the many time/money saving tricks I learned in college.
    Allison recently posted..Finding “It”

  17. says

    I was so excited when TJ’s came to Albany, but I’ve yet to go since it’s always packed on weekends when I usually shop, and I’m always too tired to bother during the week, so I just buy what I need at the regular grocery stores. I’m hoping the hype will die down soon, or when they put in the Whole Foods.
    Cassie @RedLetterDaye recently posted..My Life in Pins

  18. says

    My Trader Joe’s is always packed on the weekends too. I try to grocery shop on Monday mornings so I can at least see where I’m going. Those dining cards look fun!!

  19. Lydia says

    Hey Courtney! I keep seeing all over the place where people have only egg whites or, in this case, 1 egg and two egg whites. What is the point of only doing the whites without the yolk? And do you physically separate the yolk from the white when putting it in the skillet or do you buy “egg whites” already separated?

  20. says

    i usually just stick to what i know, unless it’s something that just sounds amazing and is too good to pass up, doesn’t happen often lol
    for some reason i love to shop in the morning, i guess because it’s so quiet and no one else is there? no long lines? lol and also around noon, which kind of contradicts why i like the morning, i like it because there are more people? lol

  21. says

    Those dining cards seem like a great way to branch out and try new places! I always like to get my grocery shopping done early in the morning which is great to avoid crowds, but not so great when I end up at Whole Foods because their breakfast bar draws me in EVERY single time.
    Gina @ Health, Love, and Chocolate recently posted..Marvelous Was…

  22. says

    Those cards look neat! I like trying new restaurants but sometimes I feel like we are in a rut trying all the same ones- because we know they are good. Sounds like the perfect opportunity to get a bit adventurous! I want 😛
    Bek @ Crave recently posted..Stuck In Limbo

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

CommentLuv badge