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It’s a new year in a new city…how exciting! Not so exciting = 3 hours at the synagogue. Oy. I haven’t been to a synagogue in awhile, so it took some adjustment, but I’m glad I went. And I’m very happy that a lovely meal with great people followed. We dined at the schmancy Lidia’s of Pittsburgh, located in the Strip District. The ambiance was beautiful, and the food was ridiculously yummy and all homemade. It showed.

My lunch consisted of homemade foccacia bread with two kinds of olive tapenade, the daily soup of tuscan fennel and bean, and a roasted beet and peach salad with goat cheese. YUM. It was amazing! Plus, I tried 2 of the 3 daily pastas- a sweet butternut squash ravioli in brown butter sauce, and a pappardelle pasta with mushrooms. OMG homemade daily pasta is ridiculous. I’m a fan. To top it off nicely, the chef served us a complimentary plate of various homemade Italian cookies. Yay! I wish I could share pictures because everything was so beautiful, but alas, I don’t want to be the weird girl taking pictures of every plate of food…at least not in front of Hubs’s family. But here’s a pic of the very nice view near the restaurant:

With my family, random pictures are a different story. We all went camera crazy when we dined at The Cheesecake Factory for dinner!

Our smorgasbord (clockwise from top left) - warm crab & artichoke dip, margherita & wild mushroom pizzettes, side of mac & cheese, chicken potstickers, and unpictured sweet potato fries!

I’m glad my mom and bro were down for a little tasting menu so we could try lots of yummy stuff. Ah, it was sooooo good. And THEN…

(clockwise from bottom left) Red Velvet Cheesecake, Chocolate Coconut Cream Cheesecake, Reese's Peanut Butter Chocolate Cake Cheesecake

We all got to try something a little different and took lots of leftovers home, so definitely a good outing in my book! Besides eating all day, we also managed to do some shopping at American Eagle (my bro’s favorite) and H&M. We had a hilarious photo shoot at the latter.

My pseudo-model brother

#1- this could be an Abercrombie ad or something (maybe with better lighting). #2- This could be me if not for the facial hair and muscles (we look A LOT alike!). #3- I like this picture a lot!

Tomorrow we’re off to the zoo and aquarium and so much more. Check back soon for another update!

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