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Posts Tagged ‘groupon’

Completing one item on our 101-in-1001 list in a week is awesome, but completing two is downright spectacular. Not only did I finish my mitered square blanket this week, Bart and I unexpectedly knocked out a very delicious list item yesterday.

One of our food-related goals was to have fondue. Neither of us had tried it before, so it seemed like a fun thing to experience sometime. When we overnighted in Zurich last September, we thought it would be an unparalleled way to experience some local cuisine. However, we didn’t have much time and weren’t able to find a place for fondue (we did have schnitzel, though…winning!).

We still had plans to make it happen sometime, though, either at home ourselves or at a fondue restaurant. The latter option is typically pricey, so I wasn’t sure I’d be willing to shell out the cash for it unless it were maybe for a birthday or anniversary. However, early this week I snagged a social coupon on Amazon Local for two-for-the-price-of-one classic four-course fondue experience from The Melting Pot in Gaithersburg, making it a much more affordable way to complete our 101-in-1001 experience. So Bart and I decided to give it a go for a mid-week date on Wednesday.

(I should write a whole post about how social coupons, like Groupon and Amazon Local, have been an awesome vehicle for getting out and about in a new town and for helping us accomplish some of our fun goals.)

I assume most Melting Pot restaurants are about the same, but this is the first one we’d ever been in. It was quite dark, and the two of us were seated in a uniquely shaped, private booth for two, making for an intimate setting (and also poor cell phone photography…apologies in advance!). It was just Bart, me, and the fondue pot on a hot plate on the table.

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Our deal was for the classic four course experience: cheese fondue, followed by salads, the classic main entrée, and dessert. How we were going to eat all this food was beyond us, but we were determined to give it our all.

For cheese fondue, we chose the classic Swiss style with gruyere and emmenthaler (the stereotypical “Swiss cheese,” though it all came grated for easy melting…no holes). Our waitress prepared our fondue table side, which I didn’t anticipate. Once melted, we proceeded to dip away with some crudités, some fresh apple slices, and the traditional and oh-so-yummy chunks of bread.

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The cheese fondue was quite yummy, but once we had our fill of that course, it was on to the salads. Nothing too notable there.

Finally, it was time for the main course, various bite-sized pieces of raw meat that you stab with your fondue fork and boil to cook in a simmering broth or oil mixture–we opted for the traditional broth. We had chunks of chicken, pork, shrimp, and two kinds of beef along with some veggies, with six different kinds of sauces to top them off. Insanity! Delicious insanity.

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We ate until we were stuffed and couldn’t eat any more. And then it was time for dessert.

While preparing for our one evening in Zurich, Bart and I were sad to learn that chocolate fondue is, in fact, not a traditional Swiss development. I’m sure most would consider it a sacrilege. But to us Americans, it is utterly transformative. Bart and I had our choice of multiple melted concoctions to chase out entrée, and we went with the Flaming Turtle, a flambéed milk chocolate and caramel concoction topped with candied pecans and served with a ridiculous assortment of chocolate delivery vehicles: marshmallows, brownies, pound cake, Rice Krispy treats, cheesecake, bananas, and strawberries. Oh still my beating heart (probably insulin-induced palpitations).

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Needless to say, this was my favorite part of the meal.

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I guess Bart enjoyed it well enough, too. 😉

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We were so miserably full at the end. There’s no denying that this place is usually saved for a splurge-worthy event, considering price and the sheer amount of noms. However, there are other options than the four course experience; you can come just for cheese fondue or dessert or whatever suits your fancy. If we return, it will probably be for a scaled back meal or just dessert. It would also be fun to experience with friends or family.

Social coupon deal = total win on this one. If you’re looking for a unique experience for a special night out, consider giving The Melting Pot or a fondue restaurant a try. And if you haven’t had fondue before, maybe put that on your own bucket list. Along with a trip to Switzerland. And have some schnitzel, too.

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For Bart’s birthday in April, I purchased a Groupon for an hour of batting cages in Gaithersburg. We went to one a few years ago with some family back in Arkansas, and it was on our list of things to do again. So when I saw the deal come around, it seemed like a natural thing to do.

Unfortunately, it took us a while to get around to it, since right after Bart’s birthday we got busy with travel and house hunting. But after a rough commute home today (you’re seriously going to close one entire lane of northbound Connecticut Avenue on a Friday afternoon during rush hour? Seriously?), I knew that beating the crud out of something was just what the doctor ordered.

Now, despite watching baseball all the time these days, neither of us know anything about actually playing it. But we grabbed our bats and balls and headed out to our cage. It took a whole 5-gallon bucket of balls each before we got our stride, but before too long we were making contact.

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I’m a big wuss, so I whined a lot about the balls being too fast or too slow or too close together or whatever. But I managed to finally get quite a few solid smacks. Take that, road construction.

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By the end of the hour, we had blisters on our hands from gripping the bat with our dainty palms. Next time, we need some batting gloves. But we had a good time, and who knows? Judging by the number of players on my fantasy baseball team that keep going on the disabled list, the major leagues might be desperate for some hitters in the near future. You just never know.

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