I think I jinxed myself with the winter comment in my last post – it’s currently 22 with freezing drizzle! However, Friday and Saturday were glorious, so we still got to enjoy wonderful weather this weekend. On Friday, Matt and I stayed in and opened this lovely bottle of wine we purchased on our last Charlottesville visit. I remember tasting it and really liking it, but the second time was amazing! Seriously in love with this wine. Matt ended up having to work pretty late, so I enjoyed a glass and my novel on the balcony until the sun set. It was a great way to unwind.
For dinner, I threw together an Indian inspired meal with the simmer sauce I love from TJ’s. We caught up on the bachelor (interesting episode….) and called it an early night.
Saturday was breezy and 80, so we spent the afternoon hitting golf balls with one of Matt’s friends. I am terrible, but could definitely see improvement by the end (aka, I could actually come into contact with the ball…). My goal is to be ready to play a real game by the age of 50:)
We continued to enjoy the weather by grabbing drinks on the patio of Barter, where we had a dinner reservation. The patio is small, but very cute and there are really comfy couches with pillows. I chose Dominic the Donkey: Jacob’s Ghost White Whiskey, Fresh Lime Juice, Fever Tree Ginger Beer, and Muddled Italian Basil. Our server suggested ordering it spicy, so I did… I loved the drink, but my mouth was somewhat on fire after I finished it!
We moved inside for dinner and began with the carrot ‘home fries’ with fresno chilies and goat cheese. These were amazing!! We also enjoyed a big basket of cornbread and crackers. I ordered a glass of red wine with dinner, but because my mouth was reignited with the chilies, I couldn’t really taste it.
We also shared the striped bass tostadas with fish sauce vinaigrette, cilantro, serranos and…
the chili crab fajitas with chili sauce (omg, why did I order more spicy stuff!!!?) and crispy basil.
Everything was delicious! I’d highly recommend Barter for both the atmosphere and food. Our server was a bit impatient with us, but then again, the restaurant is new and we are annoyingly indecisive when it comes to food:)
We made it to the coffee shop this morning for frothy drinks and computer time, and then I ventured out to the grocery store this afternoon. Who knew I’d need an ice scraper in order to drive home?! I’m exited to be cozy on the couch. The Oscars, a beer, and a burger are in store for this evening. I’m pumped.
See ya.Read More
The weekend was lovely. I hadn’t really seen Matt in a while because of Key West and his weekend soccer tournament plus weekday travel for work. It was wonderful to go on a date! HG Supply has been on our list for quite some time, so we were both really excited to have dinner there. HG stands for hunter gatherer and the menu is Paleo-inspired; the food is simple and clean, and so was the space! I had a fabulous vanilla cinnamon Manhattan in the lively bar while we waited for our table.
We started with the bacon wrapped pork shanks with chipotle-cider glaze. These were giant and delicious.
HG Supply is famous for their bowls of flavorful combinations of meat and vegetables. Matt wanted to try ‘The Hunted’ bowl consisting of duck confit, sweet potato hash, spicy broccoli & bacon. We both loved it.
We also shared the quinoa burger with olive tapenade and hummus. We will definitely be back to HG supply, not just because we liked the food and atmosphere, but because of the chocolate kettlebell that arrived at the table beside us. It was the size of an actual kettlebell and the server poured hot caramel over it to melt the chocolate and reveal a piece of cheesecake inside. It was insane.
After dinner we watched Blackfish, a documentary about killer whales in captivity. I really enjoyed watching it, but also felt really sad about the poor whales and trainers. I dreamed of being one of those trainers after my first visit to SeaWorld when I was little and had no idea that so much information had been kept from the public:(
Saturday, I baked up a storm! A friend was celebrating her 30th birthday, and I volunteered to make the desserts for the party. I attempted a new recipe for brownie surprise cupcakes, and made an old faithful mint whoopie pie recipe.
I wouldn’t recommend the brownie surprise – freezing the brownie batter was supposed to keep it from cooking all the way through so that it would remain gooey, but it didn’t work at all. The brownies still cooked until they were dry and cakey. They weren’t bad at all, but I’m just not a chocolate cake person and that’s basically what they tasted like on the inside. The peanut butter icing on top, however, was incredible!!!
And the whoopies were good!
The party was awesome – they had one of my favorite wines and a wonderful spread of Mexican food from a local restaurant. I could not stop eating the sweet potato chips with salsa verde!!
Sunday was nice and relaxing. Matt and I took a long walk to the tennis courts, but were sad to find them packed because of the nice weather. We eventually gave up.
I picked up some cajun turkey burgers for dinner and we sipped on rose to end the weekend.
And another week begins.Read More
Happy Monday! We’ve got freezing rain on the way here in Dallas:( I’m heading to the east coast tomorrow to visit my family, and I hope I can get out! For now, a recap of my weekend.
Friday was cold and wet, so Matt and I opted to get cozy on the couch and not do a thing. We opened a bottle of Italian pinot grigio and watched Cloud Atlas, which was super weird. Loved Tom Hanks though!
I made a glorious bbq chicken pizza with sheep’s manchego, Stubb’s spicy sauce, banana peppers, and cilantro. So satisfying.
Low key Fridays make for the best Saturday mornings! I was up bright and early and enjoyed breakfast and tea before bootcamp. Matt and I ventured into the warmer temps with an afternoon walk, and I scored a pair of black dress pants for $14 at the Loft.
We headed down to the new Trinity Groves development to check out Local Urban Craft Kitchen (LUCK) for a beer before dinner. The beers on the menu are exclusively from Texas and all $5 (prices for high abv craft beers seem to really be rising these days). I enjoyed a cherry chocolate double brown stout from Deep Ellum Brewing Co. It was heavenly.
For dinner, we tried at Resto Gastro Bistro, a few doors down from LUCK. The space was dark and elegant with exposed brick and a wooden bar and tables. My camera died at this point, so I had to use my phone for the pictures:( We started with the above tempura rock Shrimp wraps with vermicelli noodles, black truffle aioli, and ponzu vinaigrette. I didn’t expect them to be fried, but they were pretty darn good that way!
Matt and I shared two entrees! The pan-seared lemon sole with piquillo pepper hummus, and the oven roasted pork shank with lemon goat cheese polenta, crispy pig, and balsamic-pomegranate glaze. The sole was tasty, but a little plain, but the pork was incredible! I’m not a huge pork rind person and there were a boat load of onions to get rid of, but the actual meat with the glaze and lemon polenta were a killer combination!
Unfortunately, our waiter was very short with us, and definately didn’t want to answer questions about the wine list or the food. I ended up with a lovely cabernet, and the waiter cleared it from the table when I still had some left – that’s the worst! So, overall, I’d highly recommend the food, but I’m not so sure about the service – will have to try it again some day.
Sunday involved a little bowling action with friends at Bowlounge. I wish I could say I’m getting better, but I’m not quite yet! Soon, though:)
Have a happy week.Read More
Lots and lots of good eats and fun with friends with weekend! Friday was warm and beautiful outside, so I met my friend Liz and her new pug (!) for a drink on the patio at Common Table just as the sun was setting. I love dusk!
I had a hearty brown ale. Matt met up with us, and after saying goodbye to Liz, we continued on to dinner at new burger bar. Grub is in a bit of a random location in the bottom of an office building, but it’s cheap and the menu looked great, so I wanted to give it a try.
I can highly recommend the burgers and the service, although I would skip the four dollar rita next time – tasted like mellow yellow with no trace of tequila!
Our friends had a ridiculous set-up, so I spent the evening in this recliner:)
Hope yall had a good one too. See ya.Read More
You guys are the best. People have been coming out of the woodwork since last week – I really appreciate the support!
It was nice relaxing in Dallas this week – we had great weather and lots of good eats.
Matt and I grabbed tacos at Mr. Mesero on Friday night. My pork and shrimp tacos were kinda boring, but I loved all the sides and the chips and salsa. I think Urban Taco is still the winner for cheap tacos!
The highlight of our weekend was meeting friends for dinner at the Meddlesome Moth! I had been once before last spring and was excited to go back because the beer selection is ridiculous. I had a Belgian-Saison hybrid and a Belgian quad. Mmmm.
The menu is mostly small plates, so we shared some chili mussels,
a shrimp and crab chopped salad,
the collard greens with cornbread,
and the agave ribs. Everything we ordered was fantastic, but the ribs were especially delicious with the sweet glaze.
Sunday was 70!!! I was super sore from a bootcamp class on Saturday and knew a rest/walking day would feel good. Matt and I walked to the coffee shop for a fun drink and a couple of hours or work, and then later in the day we walked to The Rustic for a beer. Though I had been talking about this place for months, I had never set foot inside. It was packed, but there was plenty of room in ‘the yard’ to sit in the grass and enjoy the live music.
Relaxing in the sunshine with a summery beer was the perfect way to wrap up the weekend.
I’m home from New Orleans, and already missing the incredible food. Exploring new places through restaurants is a huge part of travel for me, and New Orleans is one of the most unique food cities in the US! I was in heaven the whole time! I ate some traditional dishes as well as modern interpretations of classics too.
Our first stop was an adorable little bar/music venue on Frenchmen St. called The Three Muses. It’s no secret that Matt and I love small plates, so when I read about this spot, I knew we had to try it. Little did I know that everyone else knew about it as well and there was a 2 hour wait on a Sunday night! We decided to stick it out and I definitely think it was worth it in the end.
We shared the yucca fries with Cuban mojo dipping sauce (fries were kinda cold, but the sauce was amazing),
the Angry Orchard cider braised pork belly with apple chutney and potato pancakes,
the fried oysters with grits, wilted spinach, and a bloody mary sauce,
and the seared scallops topped with grapefruit and a vanilla citrus reduction served over swiss chard, butternut squash, and mussel risotto. All three dishes were absolutely divine (this may have been my favorite food of the trip!) and most items were between $9-$12. For a city that has surprisingly expensive restaurants, The Three Muses is a gem!
Of course we had to try the famous Commander’s Palace!! We decided to go for lunch to save money and because there were so many other places we wanted to try in the French Quarter. I think this was a great call because the atmosphere was a bit more relaxed (but sill quite fancy!) and the food was as delicious as I imagine it is at dinner time.
We started with the shrimp & tasso henican: wild Louisiana shrimp, tasso ham, pickled okra, sweet onions (they forgot to remove these!), pepper jelly, and Crystal hot sauce. The flavor combination of the hot sauce and the sweetness of the pepper jelly was so incredible!
Both of our entrees came with soup, so I tried the gumbo and Matt got the turtle soup. The gumbo was pretty typical, but Matt’s soup was something special. I wasn’t too keen on the idea of eating turtle, but I got over it and was happy I tried it.
I ordered the seafood cakes as my entree – they were made with crab, shrimp, and fish and were a tad spicy. I loved them, although I didn’t get the full entree experience because they were served with something cheesy and I got vegetables instead. I was so full though, that I didn’t really mind.
Matt’s pork, sausage, and white bean cassoulet was really tasty too.
I’m glad we fit in Commander’s Palace because I’d say it lived up to its reputation and it was a great place to get a taste of classic Louisiana food.
Despite our fullness, Matt and I had a long walk home from lunch and couldn’t resist when we saw a donut shop.
Just look at all those flavors and they change every day! We went with the butterscotch pecan and it was perfection.
While we were working out in the hotel gym on the last day, Matt started having visions and cravings for more donuts on the treadmill, so we gave in and stopped by on our way home:) This time we tried the salted caramel and Japanese yuzu fruit. These really helped to sweeten the almost 8 hour drive home!
The NOLA food tour continued at Jaques-Imos on our second night! My brother-in-law’s little brother, Andrew, is my age and lives in New Orleans. He took us out in his neighborhood and we had a blast.
The restaurants were crazy because of the tourists in town for the Sugar Bowl, so we faced a two hour wait at this famous nook. We passed the time drinking local beers at the dive bar next door! Then we moved over to the restaurant and I got a watermelon mojito. So summery!
Jacques-Imos is super casual and serves all the classics in giant portions. We all wolfed down the cornbread and fried green tomatoes the minute we sat down:
Matt and I shared the duck and andouille sausage gumbo, the pan fried drum with pecan sauce, and red beans and rice and mashed sweet potatoes on the side. The gumbo was standard and pretty similar to the one I had at lunch (can’t remember why I ordered this again), but the fish was wonderful and the sides were fantastic too.
And that brings me to New Year’s Eve! We wanted to do something low-key and didn’t feel like making a reservation for a big dinner, so we bar hopped and tried some of the city’s famous cocktails.
Our first stop was at the Bourbon O bar on Bourbon St. I had a twist on the Sazerac (rye whisky, peychaud’s bitters, simple syrup, absinthe rinsed glass, lemon), which included benedictine and vermouth in addition to the classic combination. It was hands down one of the best cocktails I’ve ever had – best sweet-to-alcohol ratio ever!
Our second stop was the French 75 bar at the famous Arnaud’s restaurant. I ordered a rum drink with Mount Gay and a few different bitters and juices and it was pretty similar to a dark n stormy. I loved the old timey vibe of this bar, but it was smoky:(
Our third stop was at a restaurant that had a good-lookin’ menu, so we snagged seats at the bar and had dinner at SoBou.
My cocktail here was ridiculous, but I can’t remember what was in it because it was a special drink. It was a twist on King’s Cake though, so imagine liquid cake batter with bourbon!!!
We started with the shrimp and tasso pinchos served with grilled pineapple and pickled ghost pepper jelly – I really loved how this was presented and I’m a huge pineapple fan.
Next, were the sweet potato beignets with chicory coffee ganache – loved these fried balls, but they weren’t as savory as were described, so we saved them for dessert:)
We also had the rich girl po-boy, which was a savory Maine lobster lady finger layered with champagne lobster mousse, bowfin, paddle-fish and ghost pepper catfish caviars served with a shooter of drunken lobster bisque. This was so cool, but just a little too out-there for me. Caviar is just kinda scary.
The best thing we ordered at SoBou was the simplest – just pan-fried fish with apple cider and braised greens with creole beer nuts. A couple of different bartenders recommended this dish – it was perfectly seasoned and cooked.
It was raining when we left the restaurant, so we quickly found a spot to ring in 2014. We landed at the Carousel Bar at the Hotel Monteleone!!
The bar stools rotate around the bar – so cool! We ordered two Kir Royale’s while we made one rotation and then headed to the dance floor about 10 minutes before midnight.
There was a great live band, but we were too tired to stick around for more than a few songs and called it a night.
On New Year’s Day, we had a really hard time finding any place serving brunch, but managed to find some pancakes for a sweet start to the year – these had a bananas foster syrup on top!
Our final dinner was at a new restaurant called Kingfish. I was happy that it was on the casual side – at this point I was tired and ready to be in bed after another day of cold, rainy weather and miles of walking. There was a festive wrap-around bar in the front of the restaurant and a cozy back dining room.
We shared another favorite small plate of the trip – a sweet potato waffle pirogue filled with New Orleans style bbq shrimp,
and then shared two entrees: boneless duck tossed in ramen noodles, roasted peppers, mushrooms and preserved lemon sauce (above) and the shredded slow roasted pork pot pie with crab boil potatoes, english peas, and carrots (below). The duck ramen was a clear favorite, although both were great and different from anything else we’d already had in New Orleans. The portions were huge and reasonably priced and we ended up brining both home.
The not-so-grand but incredibly tasty finale was a muffuletta from Central Grocery. I had mine on the car ride home and was in heaven. Since the honeymoon, I’ve come to love olives and enjoyed the sandwich much more than I was expecting. I wish I had ordered the giant size!
There ya have it, my tastes of New Orleans! I promise we did more than just eat while we were there, but I’ll have to share the rest in another post. See ya.Read More