Between my dad being quite the poker player and my brother being the luckiest man on Earth, there was no better destination to celebrate their birthdays (50 and 25, respectively) than Hollywood Casino at Charles Town Races. To make the night special, we made a reservation at Final Cut. The high end, contemporary steakhouse was hidden like a gem inside the flashy casino.
Before we even made it to the casino, we all gave my mom hell about wasting her time on the nickel slots. They are her absolute favorite. Of course, she had to play "just $20" before dinner. This time, my mom sat right down and won FOURTEEN THOUSAND nickels. That's quite the return on a $2 bet!
We headed over to Final Cut and sat in the lounge until our table was ready. After being greeted and seated, we were directed to the iPad on the table to preview the drink menu and place our orders. The wine list was extensive -- over 9 pages long and 300 selections. I was a little overwhelmed... so I ordered Grey Goose Martinis and domestic beers from the iPad and awaited their arrival.
Insider Tip: All Martinis are $5 Wednesday-Sunday 5pm-7pm at the bar.
For appetizers, we selected the Shrimp Cocktail and the Seasonal Oysters. The oysters at this time of year are from the Choptank River (what a coincidence as I've vacationed on the Choptank twice already this summer!). They were very fresh and paired perfectly with the bold horseradish in the cocktail sauce.
For our meats, we went with the traditional Filets and Prime Rib. At Final Cut, all of the steaks are hand cut to order, seasoned with kosher salt and tri color peppercorns, then broiled at 1600 degrees to create a thin charred crust that seals in the natural beef juices.
Our waiter suggested a few sides to pair with our main courses: Truffle Mac and Cheese, Horseradish Mashed Potatoes, Grilled Asparagus, and Creamed Spinach. All items were a la carte.
Insider Tip: Every Wednesday, Thursday and Sunday, Final Cut is offers a special three course Chef's menu that includes an appetizer, entree and dessert for just $39.99 per person.
As we enjoyed our meals, we had a chance to meet the chef who explained to us his philosophy behind the restaurant. The best part -- he took a piece of the land at Hollywood Casino at Charles Town Races and reserved the space for an on-site garden. The staff at Final Cut takes turns tending to the garden and many of the ingredients in the menu items come directly from farm to fork compliments of the green thumbs of the staff!
We hardly had room to finish our meals when we realized we still had to check out the desserts. We slowed down with a cup of French press coffee before completely enjoying Tahitian Vanilla Bean Creme Brulee with Fresh Berries and Sweet Cream & Chocolate Lava Cake with White Chocolate Grand Marnier Mousse. We were so full (and some of us were pretty broke after losing a large amount of coin at the roulette tables) that walking back to our cars was almost like a chore.
Insider Tip: Complimentary Valet is offered for guests at Final Cut.
While we weren't so lucky at the table games, we definitely hit the jackpot with the family birthday celebration at Final Cut. Our pockets may have been empty, but our tummies were very full!
*special thanks to Final Cut for inviting me out to dine at their restaurant and providing dinner for my family.
all thoughts and opinions are my own.
Ever wonder how you can kinda eat pasta in a healthier way? I heard about this Fiber Gourmet Light Penne at BlogHer last year and I finally gave it a chance. I actually overheard lots of people (who were already familiar with the brand) say that they live by it and order it on Amazon. I'm not sure where you can find it locally.
While the pasta was boiling, I sauteed some chicken and onions in olive oil. Once they were cooked through, I added fresh tomatoes, let simmer, and then tossed with the cooked pasta. Of course, I topped it with Parmesan cheese.
The key to making good pasta: ALWAYS salt your water.
We all liked it and my family probably would not have known it was any different than the usual pasta. Plus, with 40% less calories -- it's guilt-free eating. If you have any favorite pasta recipes, feel free to share in the comments below :)
The Northern Virginia area schools start back in the next few weeks, and there's always a mad scramble to get everything done while still enjoying the last lazy days of summer. Ashley Tutors, who offers tutoring services in Northern Virginia launched a back-to-school quiz yesterday that lets parents and kids find out how prepared they are for the year ahead. With over 180,000 students enrolled in Fairfax County Public Schools alone, I thought it was worth sharing!
You know how there is a little change bucket for charity on the counter at 7-11? Well, my friend's husband owns three 7-11s in the area and she had a month's worth of change she needed to cash out. She tried taking the money to the grocery store, but the machine charges 10% to count the change.
As sweet as I am, I volunteered to give up my lunch break and take the money to Capital One where there's no charge. Hey, it's for charity, right?
It takes a LONG time to count $600+ in pennies and whatnot. Also, change (and money, in general) is so gross and dirty and it smelled SO BAD. I'm talking completely sour and raunchy - like a dead mouse smell.
So afterwards, I went back to the office and returned the money to her in large bills. I told her how horrible the money smelled. She goes "Oh, yeah, I had my lunch in the same bag last week and yogurt spilled all over the money. Sorry!"
I had to remind myself: Hey, it's for charity, right? .... yuck!
A bad storm hit near my parents' house over the weekend. With no power, we decided it was a perfect excuse to go shopping. My mom LOVES this place called The Christmas Tree Store. In my opinion, it is the least desirable place to shop. It's completely filled with junk made in China. However, I found three pretty cool mirrors that were marked down to $1 and thought "hey, this is your chance to shine! be crafty! do a really cool blog post about it!"
My cheap frames quickly turned expensive. I spent $51 on supplies - everything from fabric to spray paint. With the help of my brother's girlfriend, Melanie, we peeled off the old leafy paper a tried several ways to re-do the frames. IT WAS A COMPLETE FAILURE. Apparently my dad thought so too because I woke up the next morning to him throwing everything away in the dumpster:
A few weeks back, I caught onto the buzz of eating clean. I actually liked this green shake - and so did my 4 year old - so I am sharing the recipe with you :)
Here is what I threw together:
3 cups spinach
1 tbsp all natural peanut butter
1/2 cup water (you can adjust this depending on your blender and your preference of thickness)
1 - 1 1/2 cups ice
I also tried making the same recipe and adding 1/2 of an avocado. I didn't like the creamy consistency... but you can adjust to your preference.
Shout out to one of my readers, Amanda, for the idea!
To celebrate the start of Redskin’s season, BGR is hosting a family-friendly tailgate party on Monday, August 19. Guests will enjoy live music, outdoor games, half-priced beer and BGR-branded giveaways during tailgate hours from 5 to 8 p.m.
As no tailgate is complete without great food, attendees will get a variety of complimentary gourmet toppings to customize their very own LEGEND burger. All guests wearing Redskins gear will receive a $5 gift card and have a chance to win tickets to an upcoming Redskins game.
Event Details: Monday, August 19 from 5:00-8:00 pm @ BGR Outdoor Patio, Cascades Marketplace Shopping Center, 46230 Cranston Street Sterling, VA 20165. Call for more info: 703-444-4646
With kids integrating technology into their daily lives – 95% of U.S. teens use the Internet, 78% have a cell phone and 47% have a smartphone – parents need to keep abreast of their kids’ activities.
This is especially important as kids head back to school – and spend more time away from home, whether they are spending time with friends after school or off to the next sports practice – less parental supervision means more opportunities to test boundaries as they explore the Internet, on both the home computer and their mobile device, talk and text with friends on their smartphones, and scan countless viewing choices on TV.
How to become a responsible “Digital Parent:”
Pay attention. Know where your kids go online and what they’re doing there.
Impart your values. Cheating, lying and being cruel online are not acceptable. The concepts of right and wrong should extend to a child’s online and mobile life.
Establish limits. Set clear time or texting limits and time of day restrictions so children know when it’s appropriate to use mobile phones or technology.
Encourage balance. Support their interest in offline activities that don’t require a gadget or mobile device.
Make kids accountable. Using digital media is a privilege. Consider asking your child to complete more essential tasks, like chores or family time, before letting him get on the internet or text with friends.
Explain what’s at stake. Remind little ones that what they do today can be used against them tomorrow, especially when their actions are online.
Do your homework. Research the websites your kids visit, the songs they download, etc. Stay tuned into how and why they’re using technology so they don’t have free reign.
For more resources, tips, and recommendations, visit www.ATT.com/smartcontrols.
*guest post on behalf of AT&T.
This is not a sponsored post -- just helpful tips I feel are worth sharing
Hi! my name is Andrea and I'm a not-so-average Northern Virginia blogger, mom, and transplant from the Midwest. I host Girls Night Out events, meet ups, and write about events and my adventures in the DC area. I love to travel, brunch, and drink wine with my neighbors! I'm known to live on the wild side and order Venti iced double shots at 5pm.
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