Six Pack Sunday: Asheville Eats!

Asheville: It’s a hell of a town.

Even though I was there for less than 24 hours (whoah, didn’t even realize that until now), I certainly didn’t go wanting for food during any of those hours.  My mother flew in on Friday night and, after whipping up a DELECTABLE cream cheese dip which we nibbled on and enjoying several cocktails, we hit the hay hard with alarms set for 7:30 am.

We drove across North Carolina in a few hours, and before I knew it, we were in the mountain hippy HQ, Asheville!

Quality State, that North Carolina

And while I’ll write more about the trip later, I figured a PERFECT Six Pack Sunday would be on the fantastic foods I enjoyed during my stay.

1. Corner Oak Chocolate

Mmm mm good.

Upon arrival at the Corner Oak Manor, our B&B for the weekend, we were welcomed with my FAVORITE of the Ghiradelli chocolate squares.

It was a perfect, pepperminty way to be welcomed to town.

2. Reuben Romance

Oh, it is love.

This photo truly doesn’t do the Turkey Reuben from Julian’s Gourmet Sandwiches in the Biltmore Village.  The hot turkey, the 1000 Island Dressing, the marble rye…. it was a dream come true. AND, in a true game changer, I actually liked the (not-so) sauerkraut. Our first meal in Asheville was served with Kettle cooked potato chips, and fueled massive amounts of shopping.

Wait, this one might do it justice.

Much better, good to the last bite.

3. Pretzel Pairing

Match made in heaven

So it’s not like I didn’t know this before, but something about pretzels and beers together just make both taste exponentially better.

My first trip to the legendary Bruisin Ales was timed right, apparently, as there was a tasting of Sierra Nevada beers.  Word on the street is that the West Coast brewery’s looking to set up shop on the East.  Well, I personally think that Asheville’s got Sierra Nevada written all over it.  Just saying….

4. Olive & Kickin’ (Get it?)

EVOO bar?! Yes, PLEASE!

Ok, after looking at that picture, I want you to read the description of my new favorite store concept.

Olive & Kickin’ sources the freshest extra virgin olive oils and balsamic vinegars from hand selected growers.  They are held in the store in stainless steel containers called Fusties that allow you to sample the individual flavors of each prior to buying them.

So basically it’s a store that sells Olive Oil and Balsamic Vinegar. And you can sample all of it. Chipotle EVOO? Garlic EVOO? Cranberry Pear Balsamic?

I wanted to gargle with it.

The women who run the shop, Karen and Vic, are nice as nice can be, and we could hardly control ourselves as we sipped gourmet oils and b.v. If you go to Asheville, do NOT miss this shop!!

5. Shrimp and Grits that Just Won’t QUIT!

Creamy, spicy, decadent, delightful

Tupelo Honey Cafe.

Recommended by more people than any one spot in Asheville, this establishment lived up to the hype.  Described by the restaurant:

Brian’s Shrimp and Grits » When your chef puts his name on a dish, he has to be pretty proud of it. Such it is with our shrimp and grits – seven large delectable shrimp served over Goat Cheese Grits and anointed with a spicy roasted red pepper sauce

It couldn’t get any better. The creaminess of goat cheese lent itself so well to the grits, and the shrimp, plump and fresh, were spicy in that way that demands you keep eating it.  Don’t worry, I did. I virtually licked my bowl at the end, and that last bite was like saying farewell to a best friend.

A best friend that you’re about to digest.

6. Putting the Breakfast in B&B

From Karen's Kitchen!

Corner Oak Manor was actually the first B&B I’ve ever been to, and I loved the Breakfast B just a little more than the Bed B. Creamy eggs with spinach, tomatoes, and feta served with fresh fruit and pepper bacon was a great way to fuel the long trip back to Durham.

It was a most delicious weekend, and rest assured, I’ll write more about the trip later. Now I’m off to digest and (hopefully) finish my applications.

Asheville, I’ll be back, I promise. And I’ll definitely come hungry.

TYT Featuring a TST

Gooooood afternoon, friends!

So, apparently, with my Treat Yo’ Self Six Pack Sunday, I made a bit of a SMFP (Social Media Faux Pas).  APPARENTLY, the real trending phrase that all the cool kids (on Twitter) use is #TreatYourselfTuesday.

Don’t I just feel like Amber walking into the party wearing Cher’s exact same outfit.

Yup, definitely that outfit.

Oh well, the real moral of the story is that you should Treat Yourself EVERY DAY!!  Then, we all win.

Today, I decided to treat myself with one of my very favorite sandwiches.  It’s called The TST (Tuna, Spinach, Tomato) and it’s a grown up version of my favorite sammy as a little kid.

Big Girl Lunches for Big Girl Things!

Those three little nibbles on the left of the sammy aren’t actually because I always  nibble three bites of bread before making a sandwich (that’d be an irritating and time consuming habit), but because my bread of choice, the Arnold’s Healthfull Nutty Grain (a new favorite!! 80 calories, 5 grams of protein, and 5 grams of fiber per slice) was far too big for the office toaster.

Little kid Jordan would’ve had her tuna sammy on white bread, stuffed with some Doritos for crunch. And while putting Doritos on a sandwich is a trend that will NEVER die with me, it’s not exactly the healthiest option, so, in this case, spinach and tomato provided just the right texture mixup that I needed.

Here’s another habit that I picked up as a little kid that hasn’t changed in all my years.

How many nibbles does it take to get to the center?

I always like to bite around the sandwich (or slice of pizza… or French toast… or breakfast sammy) and save what I designate as the “Best Bite” for last.

Luckily, in some cases, every bite is the best bite.

In those cases, all bets are off.

How about you?

Do you like to eat the best part of your ______ first? Or save it for last?

Thanksgiving DOs and DON’Ts

Good day to you all, and TGIT(before Thanksgiving!)  If you’re as excited about the holiday season as I am (but don’t want to unload all your bank accounts to fund it), check out my Guest Post over at Cynthia‘s blog titled: Rich Girl Living on a Poor Girl Budget!  Curious how I afford my LAVISH lifestyle?  Well ALL is revealed (almost. There’s nothing about the magic beans I got from that shifty salesman when I was a young lass.)

I’m so thankful. This time in two days, I’ll be at home, with my family, maybe even helping out with some sort of recipe. Or maybe I’ll be on our annual Turkey trot (since my family of 7 is made up of a chunk of late sleepers). And, while I’ve had a fantastic past few Thanksgivings with family and friends, this year I’ve decided to make sure that I maximize my Turkey day without feeling awful and sluggish for the next few days. Or weeks. Because yes, that’s happened before.

DON’T get in an accident halfway through your 12 hour ride to Thanksgiving dinner and have to rent a car on Thanksgiving day. 

Uh Oh.

Last year, Ryan and I managed to burst a tire 20 miles outside of Sevierville, TN. 6 hours from our starting point. 6 hours from our destination. On Wednesday night, before Thanksgiving.

You know what aren’t open on Thanksgiving?

98% of rental car places.

A 50 minute cab ride to the airport later, and an all-out, temper tantrum (by me), we got a rental car and THANKSGIVING WAS SAVED!!

DO be able to laugh about it when things go wrong

Oh, Dolly.

In case you weren’t aware, Sevierville, TN is the home of Dolly Parton.

So yeah, if you get stuck, make a new friend! Even if she’s a cardboard cutout of Dolly Parton. Roll with the punches, life’s full of them.

DON’T feel obligated to buy butter in a seasonal shape

RIP Butter Turkey

There’s never any need for a giant thing of butter in the shape of a turkey. And you’ll feel like you have to finish it on Thanksgiving. It’s ridiculous (and hilarious), but spend that money on a sweet turkey shaped…. hat or something.  The hat is much lower in cholesterol.

DO deep fry, smoke, and roast turkeys

Turkey Smorgasbord!

If you can, try a smoked turkey. Try a deep fried turkey. Eat roasted turkey.

They’re all delicious. And all SO different!! Love those turkey options.

DON’T eat every casserole in sight

Six casseroles. Sure, why not?

I think sweet potato casserole is my downfall.

Wait. Scratch that. ALL casseroles. I can’t even control myself. Note to family: If you see me going back for thirds of casserole, grab a wooden spoon and THWACK!

Then, get me a beer. Because that wooden spoon hurt.

DO try a little bit of all your favorites, on a PLATE!

I LOVE variety. I love tapas and appetizer samplers and so Thanksgiving is just my dream holiday. Turkey’s great, but so are mashed potatoes, and mac & cheese and buttery rolls and green beans and I like to try a little of everything. But make sure you limit yourself to what you enjoy on a plate. I’ve found that if I pick and nibble at things without putting them on my plate, I eat MUCH more.

Plate your victuals, and don’t go pickin!!

DON’T forget about dessert!

Pie in the Sky

While I’m no Ed Levine (Read: Don’t fantasize about an all-pie Thanksgiving), I do love pie. In fact, when I was 10, I won a pie-eating contest with pumpkin pie! The prize?

More food (namely a GIANT tub of caramel corn.)  Delicious.

DO spend as much time with your family/loved ones as possible!!

Sisters, Aunts, Cousins, Nieces

That’s what I’m most thankful for, without question.

And even though Ryan will be celebrating his family in Key West (hard knock life, right?) I’ll be thinking about how thankful I am to have such a great beau in my life! (Especially one that will brave Dolly Parton-land with me.)

What are your favorite parts about Thanksgiving?

Any Thanksgiving DO or DON’T you live by?

The Blog World is a Wonderful World

Long ago (long = 4 months ago, it’s all relative, right?) I started Food, Sweat, and Beers. It’s obviously my favorite place on the internet, but I never really thought it’d amount to too much.  I figured, hey, a place to write about my 3 favorite things (one guess as to what they may be) as well as an outlet to meet new people and try something out. It’s not like I’d never had a blog before.  There was my infamous tumblr when I started Weight Watchers back in March 2010. But I feel like this is different.

Yesterday, I got a triple dose of awesome to remind me how glorious folks have been/continue to be re: my blog.

First off, a package from the beautiful Laura, filled with all the flavors that Texas has to offer.  Since it was through Foodie Penpals, I’ll save that post for a later date, but trust me, you’re in for a treat. And by you, I mean me. Unless a treat for you is being insanely jealous of someone else’s goodies.

Her packages bring all the boys to the yard.

Second up is the package I’ve been waiting for since my Great Tour De Pumpkin (Beer) Tasting . Hannah mentioned that Schlafly Beer put out a pretty sweet Pumpkin Ale that I simply had to try.  Since Schlafly is in St. Louis and I’m here in Durham, I was at an impasse.

Unless this fancy kilt-man from Schlafly's website intends to bring me some...

You know what that violining vixen suggested?

A beer swap!

Well, who am I to say no to beer from far off lands?

Especially from women who dress like pumpkins

Well, after ripping the (incredibly well-packed) box to shreds, guess what I found?

The Halloweeniest!!

Not only did Miss Hannah send me beautiful Pumpkin Ale, but Pumpkin Spice kisses and my ONLY SEASONAL HALLOWEEN DECORATION!!

Jealous?

You should be.

I’ve already made a serious dent in the kisses (and put them in my Saturday pancakes) and intend to drink the beers once they’ve had some time to relax after their long trip.

In other news, from blogging enablers, my beau and friends decided that they wanted my blog photography to be more “artsy”.  You know what that meant?

Black and White Beer Photoshoot!

Oozing with class

I call this one: Sad cork-toothed walrus

Clearly, it's all about the angles

Three cheers to blogging friends, pen pals, lovers of spice and beer and, as always, my friends and loved ones who support my silly, sweaty, boozy adventures every step of the way.

Got any fabulous blog-love stories?

Wedding Shower WIN!

Gooooood afternoon (or morning, depending on when you read this) friends!

I’ve been on a hiatus with lots of traveling (NC to PA to NJ to PA and back again) this past weekend and yesterday was overwhelmed with business and action. Airport to work to the Apple store to home to dinner to two volleyball matches. By the time I got home (around 10pm) after a 5am wakeup call… Writing was the last thing on my mind.

Wanna know the first?

Zzzzzzzzzz

But now I’m back after a fantastic sleep, and a fantastic lunch, to regale you with the awesomeness that was my cousin, Whitney, and her hubbytobe, Ted’s Wedding Shower!

These two love-bugs have a fantastic NYC wedding planned for this October, and invited me to do a reading at the ceremony, so I felt especially excited to help make the party fantastic and extra-special. And, in lieu of sharing every single aspect of the whole wonderful wedding weekend a la my friend, Caitlin‘s Whirlwind Wedding Weekend, I think this time I’ll just choose the highlights that I felt like made the party absolutely PERFECT!

1. Why Segregate when you can all CELEBRATE?!

A Boy Girl Party!!

Whitney and Ted (the couple in the bottom right of that picture) decided to have a wedding shower open to couples, not just the standard bridal shower. This gave the event more of a party feel and led to fun times for all!! Though my better half couldn’t make it, the fun of having loved ones there was only magnified by all the folks, both girls AND boys!!!

2. Heartfelt and Homemade!

So many tasty treats

I know this is a HORRIBLE photo, quality-wise, but the food was OUT OF THIS WORLD!  I get the feeling it had something to do with the fact that everything (with the exception of these cheese for the cheese plate) was made by my family members. We had Aunt Mary’s pizza dip, Rietz’s Meatballs, Barbara’s tortellini sticks, Maggie and Katie’s mushroom puffs, and Aunt Judy (the mother of the bride)’s crab balls! The entrees were sausage and pepper sandwiches and chicken/asparagus/tomato/spinach SOMETHING. Either way, it was all tastier than the last bite. Perfect. And the meal was cooked with love, down to the last drop.

3. Wanna Wine Down?

By resident Sommelier: ME!

We had a wine tasting! 3 different types of Cabernet Sauvignons, 3 different types of Sauvignon Blancs, and lots of new wine to try! Paired with four different fancy cheeses (including my new favorite: drunken goat cheese!!) I made little rating sheets for everyone to use and, though not EVERYONE was interested in the wine (many went straight for the cocktails), it was a fun way to break up the night a bit and try something new. It also split the tent area so that not everyone was scrunched next to the bar (as often happens during parties, I’ve noticed.)

4. Pinata? Why not-a?

Ted and Whitney Effigies? Sure!

My mom and aunt picked up Whitney and Ted’s likenesses in the form of a pair of pinatas! (I’m pretty sure my mother wasn’t aware that the little boy she bought was Diego, Dora’s happy-go-lucky buddy, and I’ll admit, Ted looks nothing like an adventurous Hispanic boy, but it totally worked. They were filled with Hershey Kisses and it was HILARIOUS to watch Ted bat the ever-loving KISSES out of those bad boys (er…. bad boy and girl.)

Wow, you can see the blond head flying!!

Whitney also tried.... A for Effort, Whit!

5. We are the Dancing Queens

Yeah, that giantess in the Tarheel sweatshirt? That's me.

If there’s one thing that pretty much ALWAYS happens at my family parties, it’s dancing. And we may or may not have definitely got a noise complaint after midnight for partying too hard (we just don’t know any other way). The dancing continued later at a nearby bar (where the noise won’t ever be complained about) but let’s just say that the last 2 hours of my night were spent dancing my butt off. The best.

6. All You Need is Love

Tiny cousin and Giant cousin

Beautiful speech by my Aunt Judy

The happy couple showing off their moves!

Luckily, my family’s got that in droves.

So much fun was had, and it was different from any shower I’ve ever been to… But it was just right for the Maurer clan.

Typical post-shower aftermath, right?

What makes a great wedding shower, in your opinion?

If you’ve ever been married, what were your favorite parts of your shower?

 

Healthy Living Summit Weekend: The Eats

As well received as my Healthy Living Summit Cocktail Party recap was, I decided to hold off on a recap of day two until I have time to fully devote myself to a complete writeup of the Saturday sessions.  However, that doesn’t mean you should miss out on everything.  And who doesn’t like food posts?

Before my trip, I wanted to enjoy a tasty little treat, so I whipped up my traditional pre-flight beer and snack!!

Weyerbacher Hops Infusion? Don't mind if I do.

Turkey and Cheese and Lettuce on a sandwich thin! Beer! Carrots! The best.

I also did my best to eat the rest of the spinach before I left.

I felt like a straight bunny, nibbling on leaves. But it got the job done.

At the home of Ali, we whipped out all the stops (aka the baked goods):

I promise, we didn't eat all of this. Some. Most. but not all.

Let’s just say that it was a bit of a smorgasbord.

Wawa: The stuff my dreams are made of...

For dinner:

  • Wawa Shorti with Roast beef, cheddar cheese, light on the mayo, lettuce, tomato, onion, salt, pepper, oregano. I always get this when I go to Wawa. It is like a second nature, entering it on the touchpad.
  • Wawa Diet Raspberry Iced Tea

Can someone PLEASE explain to me why there is no raspberry iced tea, diet or otherwise, to be found in North Carolina? I can’t even get the Snapple kind…. If you know where to get some, PLEAES email, call, text, or tweet me. ASAP. This is not a joking kind of request. This is so heartfelt I feel it deep in my heart.

The highlights of the cocktail party food were already shown, minus one: Philly Cheesesteak Empanadas. I didn’t take pictures of these, because I was shoving them down my gullet. Imagine a philly cheesesteak. then fry it.

You get the idea.

Breakfast in the morning was sponsored by Attune Foods, and featured mostly a wide array of their cereals, fresh fruit, hardboiled eggs, and yogurt.

Pineapple. Cereal. I forgot how delicious real milk was, especially from Lehigh Valley.

Oh. A pluot. I had no idea what this was until I bit it.

I could’ve eaten the lunch for days.

Roasted veggie sammy, caprese salad sammy, cous cous and chickpeas, and Perrier. Oh, you fancy.

GIANT ups to Great Harvest bread. Which filled my belly totally and heartily.  The mozzarella was so creamy, and the onions in the cous cous…. ooh, girl.

Snacktime was not really my favorite, but I partook because who don’t want no free foods?

Cinnamon raisin nut butter = the poo. So take a big whiff. The hummus was a little watery for my liking... oh well.

To be honest, though, there was a much more important meal waiting for me at home, after the summit. Something I’d been seeking out since I arrived in Philly.  The holy grail of Philly cuisine.

We belong together.

I went a little off the beaten path with the Buffalo Chicken Cheesesteak and was rewarded handsomely with spicy, cheese, chickeny goodness.  Something about the rolls up North, they just know how to do it right.  And, even though it wasn’t in empanada format, it was at least as (if not much, much more) delicious.

What’d you eat this weekend that was delicious? 

Do you have any favorite foods/drinks from growing up that you can’t get now wherever you live (due to a move or [gasp!!] someone stopped producing them?)

The 61 Hour Wedding Whirlwind Weekend: Rehearsal Dinner at Monterey Bay Fish Grotto

Hey all! Made it through Monday, unscathed.

Another day, another DELICIOUS lunch!!

So hot and steamy!!

On the menu today:

  • Steamed broccoli with some cajun seasoning on it for spice
  • Flatout wrap in Light Italian Herb containing: a fried egg, some fat free cheddar, a piece of turkey, spinach, and salsa
  • Diet Lime Pepsi (not pictured)

Still struggling to get enough sleep, but had a great time last night at Carolina Ale House so it was worth it!!

Back to the good stuff.  In case you missed it, check out the Wedding Rehearsal Recap of Caitlin.  After we finished up at the Chapel, and having only nibbled on some healthy snacks it was obvious that most of us were STARVING! Luckily, on the agenda was the Rehearsal Dinner at Monterey Bay Fish Grotto on Mt. Washington.  This spot was way up high (we’re talking so high your ears may pop in the elevator up), but offered up a most beautiful view of the city, so I’ll take the trade-off.

City of Steel, City of Bridges

I was glad to finally meet up with Ryan, who’d been enjoying the scenery (read: bed) at the hotel.

Hey there, studly boyf! I missed you!

In typical beer brat fashion, I started pestering our waiter(s) about their beer selection.  I, of course, was immediately read off a lengthy list of light lagers (ooh, beer alliteration!) reminding me of that post I wrote about Women and Craft Beer.  I gave him a quick head shake, and asked what other beers they had (wink wink… let me at the good stuff!)  I was rewarded for my persistence with an ice cold bottle of Dogfish Head 60 Minute IPA, one of my very favorite IPAs.  Ahh…. that’s what I was talking about.

The menu for the night was promising, and I was excited at what I saw:

So many options!

I went with a Roti grille style Salmon, marinated in Teriyaki sauce, chargrilled and topped with a honey lime glaze.  Also, I ate both my and Ry’s salad (I’m a salad disposal, basically).

Complete with fried wonton strips and an asian dressing!

Served with another Dogfish Head, veggies, and a very moist and flavorful wild rice mix

It was UNBELIEVABLY delicious, and I cleared the plate completely.  We’re talking not a grain of rice on the plate.  I was hongry (that spelling is intentional to describe just how hungry I was. I promise.)!

While we were waiting for the food to come out, though, we noticed a very strange trend in the gentlemen in attendance.  I’ll precede this by saying there was no formal dress code for the meal.  Yet, here’s what we got:

The groom and friend looking dapper.

Fellows chatting it up.... noticing the trend yet?

At this point, I was freaking out.

HOLY MACKEREL EVERY SINGLE BOY (3 exceptions) WAS WEARING VARYING SHADES OF BLUE BUTTON DOWNS AND KHAKI!

Yeah, I know. I wonder if they got ready together like we did… probably.  It was a very hilarious realization, at least to me and my tablemates (some of them were participating in the uniform).

I finished the meal off with (probably 2) more Dogfish Head and this delightful slice of cheesecake:

Mmmm peach accents. Heavenly!

Thank goodness my dress was very forgiving, because I was stuffed to the brim.  Luckily, we had Lindsey’s beau, John, to drive us back to the hotel where we crammed our VERY full bellies into the backseat.

Cozy, guys? (Photo credit to Lindsey!)

I fell asleep relatively early, thank goodness, because the next day was CAITLIN’S WEDDING DAY!

Stay tuned for the next post where I talk about the PRIMPING at the salon (aka maybe my favorite part of any experience ever.)

What would you have for your rehearsal dinner (or, if you’re married, where did you have your rehearsal dinner?)

Is your tummy full just reading this post?

Mine is… but I think it’s due to lunch.  I guess it’s back to work for Jojo!

Top of the Hill Goes Green! And a beer review!!

Good evening ladies and gentlemen!!

I actually went to Chapel Hill’s Top of the Hill last night for dinner with the beau.  I’ll admit, I’m a huge fan of Top of the Hill (or TopO as most of us Tar Heels call it).  However, to be totally honest, most of my nights there look something like this:

Sucking back lemon chasers post birthday-cake shots...

Stalking Tyler Hansborough (or any other UNC superstar)

You know… the usual.

The drinks are a little more expensive than your average UNC/Franklin Street bar but, honestly, you get what you pay for: the food’s good, the beers are handcrafted, and the view… well you can’t beat it.

Love it. Source

However, last night, thanks to a LivingSocial deal from a while back, we had a date night to TopO followed by a viewing of Harry Potter 7:2 (it was amazing… but that’s a post for another day.)  I decided I wasn’t in a beer mood, and went with a diet coke to drink.  I stepped out of my box in other way, too, and ordered this:

Edamame Burger, if you please!

On the menu tonight: The Edamame Burger, a house-made soy bean vegetarian patty with lettuce, tomato, red onions, tzatziki sauce & sweet potato fries. And for my stepping outside of the box… I was rewarded!  The burger was delicious!!  It certainly didn’t taste anything like a burger, but it was light, it was flavorful, and the tzatziki sauce paired nicely with it (though the sauce was a little thin for my liking.) The rest of the toppings (onions, tomato, lettuce) were crisp and fresh, good quality. On the side, the sweeet potato fries, which I love in a romantic sense.  Normally, I’ll get the sweet potato fries appetizer, which includes the fries covered in cheese (cheddar and gorgonzola!!!!!!! AHHHHH!!!) but I knew that the fries stood strong on their own, so I enjoyed every last bite.  I’d recommend this to anyone, vegetarian, meatatarian, pizzatarian…. it’s just a superior dish, and a steal for less than $10 (but only by 1 penny.)

Since I didn’t have a beer last night at TopO, Ryan and I decided to pair dinner tonight with a new beer we’ve never tried!!

Cottonwood Endo IPA, in a Harp glass. Don't get confused.

The Cottonwood Endo IPA from Carolina Beer Company (the website is very weird/confusing, but there’s the link if you’d like) poured a lovely gold color, lots of carbonation, and honestly, I was just excited because it was from Mooresville, NC (not even 3 hours from where I live, and the hometown of a friend of mine!!)  The smell was hoppy, and I was pumped to take a sip.  It was the sip, though, that burst my bubble.  It’s not that this is a bad beer, don’t get me wrong.  Even at first taste, I thought I tasted maybe some sort of citrus flavor somewhere.  But after letting it sit on my tongue for a bit, the taste went away and was replaced with a bare bones beer flavor (or lack of flavor).  Basically, what I’m saying is that the flavor was short lived, and there was little to no mouthfeel of any sort.  Like a pale ale that just kind of gave up…  It’s a shame, because I wanted to love this beer.  Alas, there’s plenty of love lost.

The only redeeming quality of this beer: drinkability.  I am already on my second one and think, if I wanted, I could have another.  I don’t want to…. but if I did, I’d be set.  I still have hopes for Carolina Beer Company… but not high ones.

Tri-Foodie Tweetup: Jujube Style

Hey all you crazy dreamers out there….

So, I’m sure a few of you out there like to enjoy that wonderful social network of the Twitterverse.  And if you haven’t, you’re missing out on a lot (namely: following me!!) But honestly, Twitter’s given me the chance to go from just an onlooker of food, beer, and wine events in the NC Research Triangle to an active participant. And one of my big goals with this year, as well as this blog, was to become even more active in the awesome world of food and beer in this blossoming culture.

To sum it all up in layman’s terms: I wanna be more of a mover/shaker and less of a parasite sucking off the teet of the shakers and movers out there.

One of my favorite recurring events that goes on is called the #trifoodietweetup. In the past, they’ve been hosted by such fantastic Triangle locations such as Four Square, Six Plates, Fearrington Village, and (most recently) Jujube in Chapel Hill! Andrea Weigl and Johanna Kramer know how to get great venues, and set up some classy evenings.  Tonight’s theme: Asian Tapas and Artisan Rum Cocktails.  I believed, when I was going, it’d be more like a small sampling of cocktails and tapas all included in the cost (a bit more than $11) but when we showed up, the menu listed the food as included and the drinks were separate.  Also, nothing felt all that Asian (except some spring rolls they served later in the night, but that weren’t on the menu).

Tasty menu offerings!

I couldn’t resist one of the drinks, listed, a Traditional Daquiri with white rum, luxardo maraschino, lime, and cane syrup for $8. I have to agree, this was a delicious cocktail, and I was pretty happy to pay for it, I think it was worth it.

Close up on the drinkies!

I also saw there was a Dogfish Festina Pesche that I knew would be my last drink of the night.  But anyway, onto the foods.

First Course: salads

The pink salad on the right was a Watermelon Cucumber salad with piqant mint dressing and Johnston County country ham. This. Was. Brilliant. Seriously, I was so surprised by how well the watermelon paired with the ham. It was almost as if it drew out the natural flavor and maybe some sort of spice in the fruit. The cucumber was nice and crunchy (which actually was a wicked bummer with this tooth infection, but would’ve been enjoyed otherwise). The salad on the left was an Octopus-arugula salad with orange and sorrel. The octopus… was not worth writing home, in my opinion. Loved the orange and arugula mix though, good little wilted quality.

Won ton (and some progress on the cocktail in the back...)

Up next was a fried lobster-shrimp won ton with lemon, miso butter. The first batch of these were great. Alas, when I got another one a little later, it was more won ton and less filling, and was just too much crunch for my liking, like the flavor was fried right out of it.  The blend of lobster-shrimp inside was fantastic though, and left me very excited for the next offering.

Been spending most our lives living in a fried-stuff-paradise...

This is where the party really got started. Clockwise from the upper left: Tempura fried prawn (and okra, eaten already) with a little heirloom tomato conserve; Porcini and tellegio stuffed rice fritters (the tan fried balls of awesome); Shrimp-zucchini fritters with grilled chile aioli (cute pink phone… that’s mine.)  The breakdown: the tempura fried prawn was great, mostly because it was so simple. Just a prawn, covered in fried batter. hooty hoo. That being said, the fried okra was no bueno, just too dried out.

The rice fritters: ethereal! The tellegio cheese inside kept the fritters moist and delicious, and though I’m not normally a fan of mushrooms (pretty sure that’s what porcini is, right?) they just blended into the tastiness.

The shrimp-zucchini fritter might have been my very favorite, though. The chili aioli added the perfect amount of spiciness, and made me wanna guzzle down my daquiri (which I did. Classy.)

The star of my show

I’ll admit, I’d been waiting anxiously to try the Dogfish Head Festina Peche.  From the brewer:

It is delicately hopped with a pale straw color and served as an aperitif or summertime quencher. To soften the intense sourness, Berliner Weisse is traditionally served with a dash of essence of woodruff or raspberry syrup.  In our Festina Peche since the natural peach sugars are eaten by the yeast, the fruit complexity is woven into both the aroma and the taste of the beer so there is no need to doctor it with woodruff or raspberry syrup – open and enjoy!

I’ve said it before: I love summer seasonal ales, especially if they’ve got some fruit in there somewhere. And this was one of the finest I’ve tried. The peach was there and more reminiscent of a peach I had last year from the Durham Farmer’s Market, fresh and even a little earthy. Not all all like I imagined it would be (which would be like when a candy company tries to make a peach flavored treat… overly sweet and chemically). Coming from a bottle, I didn’t have a glass to check the color, but it had a nice medium amount of carbonation and was tart enough to compete with my fried frittery treats.  It rounded out this evening perfectly.

Big thanks to Jujube and the fine ladies who threw this event together (even though I didn’t win a cookbook) and it just goes to show you the moral of this story:

Even if you have an aggressive gum infection on your wisdom tooth, you can utilize half of your mouth to enjoy the flip outta some fried Asian tapas and badass cocktails/brews.

A Lunch Fit for a… First Grader.

Hello hello, friends and neighbors!  Hope everyone’s starting their week off on the right foot, and enjoyed my Six Pack Sunday post yesterday, tying up any/every loose end that could possibly exist from my week.  Unfortunately, rounding out date night last night, I started to feel… a bit off.  Part of my gum is swollen (maybe a piece of food stuck in there, maybe an infection, I am at a loss) and my throat is a little swollen, and I’ve just been feeling a little… light.  When I went to dinner with the beau, I assumed it would pass once I got some food in my belly.  To my chagrin, the opposite happened. I felt a little dizzy, like I was going to float off my chair and into outer space, so we took the rest of the food to go and rushed me home.  Luckily, part of that food was a fried ice cream and since my boyf suggested maybe my blood sugar was low, we nibbled on that slowly when we returned to the apartment (blood sugar is helped by actual sugar, right? Math.)

This morning, when I woke up for work, I knew I couldn’t go in at 8:15 as usual, so I slept for an extra hour-ish, packed up some stuff, and head off to work.  The very worst thing about this gum problem is that I have nearly no drive to eat at all, primarily because… well, it just hurts.  Breakfast was a few bites of beans from last night, as well as a wheat thin or two (anything that made me feel like a person again) and lunch… Well, here it is:

Don't worry, I didn't steal it from any kids on their way to school...

Sandwich thin with some lowfat cheese melted on it, some Progresso Vegetable and Barley Soup (a personal favorite), and a sugarfree Jell-o Berry cup. I felt like such a little kid making cheese toast, but I knew it wouldn’t upset my stomach too much, and that it’d just be nice to get some food in my belly.  As far as eating it, it’s been slow going, but I’m chugging along and can’t wait for that sweet Jello to get in my mouth.

Sidenote: yes, those are Camel advertisements on my desk. No, I don’t use any tobacco products, but I do try to educate kids about substance use and boost prevention for a living!

Anywho, today’s workout will obviously be an easy one, taking it light on the elliptical maybe, with some biking thrown in there.  Not trying to push myself to sickness here.

In other news, has anyone heard of this Dr. Pepper Ten craziness?

MANLIEST OF ALL DIET SODAS!

From the site:

Introducing Dr Pepper TEN. 10 bold tasting calories with the same authentic 23 flavors of Dr Pepper. That’s a whole lot of taste in one can. Try it today and see why Dr Pepper TEN is not for women.

Wait a minute. What?  Did y’all catch that?  Try it today and see why Dr Pepper TEN is not for women. Ok. I’ll admit, I’m not a big soda drinker. Sure, I’ll have a cocktail with diet soda every now and then, but for the most part, I live and die by whatever comes out of my Brita filter (and whatever comes out of a keg).  But now, part of me wants to make this my new drink of choice, if only to say to the folks at Dr. Pepper, “Hey, dudes. Suck it.”

I just don’t understand what their thought process was behind this.  “Women hate calories… even 10 of them?” “Putting the word BOLD on a can will make men flock to this?” It’s a mystery…  Sort of like how Pepsi advertised the “skinny can” for their diet soda, trying to appeal to women and suggesting that “skinny is better.”

Wow, this can is tall AND sassy. ::rushes off to buy out Target::

I kind of think that this type of advertising is a little sexist, and a little sneaky.  But, having worked with media literacy for the past 2 years, I feel a little hyper-aware of any suspicious activity in the media world…

What do you think about this kind of advertising?

Would you buy a product advertised at women or women just because of the advertisement? Do you want to try this Dr. Pepper 10?

Here’s an interesting article about the different Dr. Peppers undergoing a taste test, if you’re into that kind of thing: Serious Eats Taste Test