I absolutely fell in love with Puerto Vallarta! I can’t believe this paradise is just two hours from Dallas. The food, the people, and the scenery were wonderful. Matt spoke Spanish as much as possible, and we chatted with so many interesting people and got to know the staff at the resort. We ate amazingly fresh seafood, consumed as much guacamole as humanly possible, and sipped margaritas and cervezas a little too often. One of the highlights was a mountain bike trip we took into the countryside. We rode through little villages, saw beautiful birds, and were surrounded by lush forests. If you’re ever in Puerto Vallarta, I highly recommend La Leche and Cafe des Artistes for dinner, and EcoRide bike tours for a challenging excursion!
Thanks for all your kind words and strong opinions on my previous post. I guess you can see why I haven’t shared much during this job search period:) I really appreciate the supportive comments – thank you for understanding that this is a frustrating time!Read More
Even though I love restaurant week, I’ve had some bad experiences with it in the past – poor service, limited menu, or just blah food. When I heard about it in Dallas, I quickly went to OpenTable, but all the restaurants I wanted to try were booked. So after reading some reviews, I picked Salum. I probably wouldn’t have picked it otherwise, so I’m happy that I stumbled upon it!
The weather has been perfect for strolling around the neighborhood! Our reservation wasn’t until 8:30, so Matt and I stopped and grabbed cocktails on the walk to the restaurant. I’ve been drinking way too many margaritas since arriving in Dallas:)
When we got to Salum, we were seated immediately at one of those long two-tops tucked in a corner. We felt kinda far apart, so the hostess quickly moved us to a four top right by the open kitchen.
The bread basket was great – there was an olive focaccia bread that was especially good. For my drink, I decided to go the wine route, and our waitress brought four different reds for me to taste. I love, love it when servers do this unprompted. I ended up with an incredible zin!
My first course was the Texas goat cheese baked with roasted elephant garlic in olive oil. Of course, Matt and I finished off the bread in the basket before I knew I was getting this, so I ended up eating a ton of bread. I asked the server for more of the olive focaccia for dipping though and she brought a fresh basket straight from the oven. It was heavenly.
Everything about this dish was fantastic – the actual mahi was simple and rubbed with some incredible seasoning and the sauce was light but flavorful. The croquette was the best part though, because it was a thick and cheesy and balanced the fish perfectly. I love it when a fish dish comes with a heavier side. The portion size was just right.
Dessert was a duo!!! The chocolate caramel tart with an almond crust and a mini apple and berry crisp. Both were awesome and I enjoyed getting two mini desserts and not having to share either one:)
This was definitely the best restaurant week experience I’ve ever had!Read More
Happy happy Monday!
I’m in a good mood because I’m going to the Ingrid Michaelson and Rufus Wainwight concert tonight! I love Ingrid, and know she puts on a good show, so Matt got me tickets for my birthday. He’s never seen her live, so I think he was pretty excited about this gift too! We’ll probably pre-game with autumn beers, and then I’m going to try my best to stay up way past my bedtime to enjoy the show.
I’ve got to tell you about this weekend’s birthday dinner though, because it was one of the best I’ve ever had. Matt and I have been eating our way through Durham for the past year, so this weekend, we decided to try one of Chapel Hill’s famous restaurants – The Lantern. It won a James Beard Award back in 2011 and since it sounded like my dream combination of flavors (Asian fusion with local NC ingredients), I was really excited to give it a try.
There was a 45 minute wait, so we ducked into Milltown in Carrboro for a beer – Love every single Unibroue beer I’ve ever had!
I don’t think Matt realized what we were getting ourselves into because he was totally blown away by the flavors. We tried 3 small plates and split one entree to maximize taste and minimize cost. First up: fresh black mushroom and cabbage dumplings:
Then, caramelized pork belly with picked green tomatoes (maybe the best PB I’ve ever had?),
Vietnamese-style NC crab and local pork spring rolls with fresh mint, lettuce, and chili-lime sauce,
and our entree: the Chapel Hill Creamery pork shoulder wrapped and cooked in a banana leaf – served lettuce-wrap style with rice noodles, lime, basil, cilantro as well as a chili lime sauce and a caramel peanut sauce for dipping!
On top of the great food, our server was enthusiastic, knowledgeable, and attentive. I really hope we can make it back, at least to sit at the bar and try a few more small plates – definitely in my top 3 favorite restaurants in the Triangle area!
On the way home from dinner, we stopped by our friends’ Great Durhamsby party (aka Great Gatsby themed party). I felt a little silly not being dressed up, but the other costumes were fabulous. There were multiple bars set up around this adorable patio and we drank prohibition era cocktails. It made for a nice Saturday night cap.
I feel like I’ve been wining and dining for four days straight (that’s what birthdays are for, right?), but the rest of the week looks pretty uneventful.
Any news out in the blog world?
What a wonderful birthday it was! I felt like such a lucky girl all day long on Thursday! I actually had a crazy day at work with meetings and dealing with a suspension, so the day flew by. After work, I took myself on a jog and then showered for a night of celebrating. My parents came over, and we opened a Sangiovese from the NY Times Wine list (best present ever from Matt’s parents ~ 2 years ago).
The wine was fabulous and a perfect precursor to a tapas dinner.
It started to rain, but we headed to dinner on foot, with umbrellas in hand. Dinner was at Mateo, a new tapas restaurant in Durham that friends have been raving about. The restaurant is in one of the old brick buildings downtown, and for such a small city, the interior felt very cosmopolitan.
Well, Mateo lived up to the hype!! The food was unique and oh-so-flavorful. The four of us shared everything, and I think we loved every dish:
grilled bread with three dips: romesco, green pea/manchengo, and olive,
pork ribs with espellette pepper jelly,
meatballs and chorizo, in local field pea stew,
blood sausage with creamy potato, apple, and hazelnuts,
fideuá with chorizo, clams, calamares, and butter beans ,
fried catfish with piquillo tartare sauce and lemon,
shrimp with olive oil, garlic, chili, lemon, and parsley,
chicken skewer: moorish spices, orange, pine nuts, and salsa verde (my favorite!),
and manila clams with sherry, garlic, boiled peanuts, and ham.
You guys, it was pure heaven! The only thing in the world that could be better than this dinner is the perfect birthday cake!!
And perfect it was. I requested carrot cake this year and it was the best decision ever. This guy was stuffed with cream cheese icing, but still had buttercream on the outer layer. I am really in love with this bakery!
The cake part was so moist, it nearly melted. I had three pieces, and with the help of the others, we made it through half the cake:
It was The Greatest Day! Of course, Matt and I continued the celebration this weekend, but since I’ve already dumped a million pictures on you, I’ll save that for tomorrow:)
Hope you guys enjoyed the fall weekend!Read More