Saturday evening Ben and I got to babysit my niece and nephew, and what started out as a drawing with sidewalk chalk and making funny faces in the mirror kind of night, ended with Ben talking Evie off the proverbial ledge after a too-tired-to-sleep, too-hungry-to-eat, full-fledged baby meltdown.


We split up and while I fixed Finn spaghetti then played with him at bath time, Ben the baby whisperer jiggled, swayed, and shushed poor Evie til there were no more tears and sleep finally came, then stood planted in the dark playroom not moving an inch, lest she wake up and start crying again, until my brother and sister-in-law came home.


Uncle Ben was ready for a drink after that! ;)


Truly not feeling like going home after babysitting duty, we decided to go grab a drink and dinner at a new bar in town – The OP!


The OP is my JAM, y’all!* Short for “The Other Place”, the OP is a bar/pizza place that started in Cedar Falls, home of my alma mater the University of Northern Iowa, that recently opened a new location here in town. I could NOT be more pumped about this!

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Afterall, The OP is where my friends and I spent a healthy chunk of time in between classes and studying (you know, all the pesky business involved in getting a higher education,) making some of my favorite college memories.


FAC? The OP. Ace a test? The OP. Break up with a boyfriend? The OP!

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It was 1 in 1 out nearly every night of the week, (gosh, remember 1 in 1 out?) but the ones in the know knew not to leave before the closing song played, when the whole bar sang, chanted, and cheered along before piling out and then on home.

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While the new OP in town is a tad more family friendly shall we say, they’ve still got an awesome menu, and hey, a cold beer’s a cold beer!

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Normally I order a Taco Pizza and The OP’s famous breadsticks whenever I’m back in Cedar Falls visiting, but Ben and I were in the mood for something light when we arrived on Saturday night, and the California Quesadilla with Honey-Balsamic Dipping Sauce on the new menu was calling my name.

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Melty mozzarella cheese, seasoned chopped chicken breast, chewy sundried tomatoes, tangy artichoke hearts, and creamy avocado slices are sandwiched between gluten-free or regular flour tortillas, cooked until golden brown, then sliced into wedges and served with a quick honey-balsamic dipping sauce.

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With food this good, I can see myself making many more “grown up” memories at the new OP!



The combo of these ingredients is really light, yet super tasty. Grown up bar food, if you will!


I sort of want to smother myself in this dipping sauce too. It is SO good.


Kind of tangy, kind of sweet, it’s the perfect accompaniment to these quesadillas.

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*Honorable mentions also go out to Suds and Tony’s Lounge, (RIP).