Domenica: Indulgent Eats in New Orleans

I’ve been to NOLA now a total of four times. Thrice on trips to fraternity formals, and this last time for a conference. Whenever I go, though, I make sure that food and drink are priorities (then again, I could probably say this about anywhere I go. It’s who I am.)  From beignets and hand grenades to alligator sausage and turtle soup, from crawfish to oysters and, always, back to Abita… It’s a hell of a town to eat, drink, and be merry.

My first beignet! 2008

My first beignet! Cafe du Monde, circa 2008

This last trip, though, I had an opportunity to get super classy with one of my meals. Academic conferences are a great time to schmooze and network, and everyone knows that’s best over delectable dishes shared with colleagues. So here’s a tip: If you’re going for class, head into the Roosevelt Hotel and go straight to Domenica (bonus points if it’s from 2-5pm for half-price happy hour) and don’t skimp on trying as much as you can. For instance, we started with vegetables.

Fried Tuscan Kale with pine nuts, tomatoes, and Parmigiano Reggiano

Fried Tuscan Kale with pine nuts, tomatoes, and Parmigiano Reggiano

If all kale tasted like this, the french fry business would go bankrupt.

Wood fired eggplant filled with olive oil braised vegetables & tahini

Wood fired eggplant filled with olive oil braised vegetables & tahini

My fault for focusing on the fork over the eggplant. My hunger was getting the best of me… But that housemade tahini just WOULD NOT QUIT. It was like a rich, creamy, blend of all that is right with the world. Who needs the bread when the eggplant tastes that good?

I’ll tell you who. Me.

The true star of this veggie show was the cauliflower, though.

Fried whole head of cauliflower? Sure.

Whole head of cauliflower? Sure.

Simply listed on the menu as Roasted Cauliflower with sea salt & whipped feta… this was just so much more. We learned the head of cauliflower undertook some sort of brining process before roasting. A coworker referred to this dish as “The type that ends friendships”. I get it. Slap some of that whipped feta on there, and I don’t really know who I wouldn’t slap to get that last bite…

And then, after all that, we figured: let’s keep going.

Pizza party

Pizza party

This pizza, while picturesque, was probably the part of the meal I was least inspired by. Roasted carrots with goat cheese, red onion, Brussels Sprouts, beets, and hazelnut, it kind of tasted like a salad on top of a crust. Would’ve preferred the ingredients off of the crust, but who am I to tell John Besh how to top a pizza? Luckily, we weren’t done yet…

Lasagna bolognese with pasta verde, bechamel, mozzarella, pork ragu

Lasagna bolognese with pasta verde, bechamel, mozzarella, pork ragu

That casserole dish, right there? That is a SINGLE SERVING OF LASAGNA! Major props to the individual that eats this all on their own. The pasta verde was PERFECTLY al dente, and, unlike so very many lasagnas, it didn’t sloppily give up after one cut into the cheesy mass. But I couldn’t eat too much, as I had my eyes (and fork) glued to another dish.

Come to mama.

Come to mama.

Black squid ink tagliolini with blue crab & herbs. If I could put all the fish and wave emojis into this post, I would, but you’re just going to have to believe me when I say that I’ve never known what “tasting the sea” would be like. Until Monday afternoon, when I lived it. If mermaids made pasta, they would make this for Christmas under the sea. Triton would request it for his birthday. And Ariel would convince Sebastian to dabble in cannibalism for the crab bits flecked throughout. If you’re only going to get one dish…. get two. This, and the cauliflower. Invite a friend. Don’t leave a speck behind. Lick your lips, and then come back to this post to relive it all.

New Orleans, yet again, you delivered on the food front. I’m counting down the days until I can come back… In the meantime, this photo collection will have to do.

Harpoon Brewery Tasting: Drink Up, and Welcome to Boston

Yes, the main reason I went to Boston was to be with my fraternity. But, when in Rome, right?

Harpoon Me.

Harpoon Me.

While I didn’t get a chance to visit Sam Adams or Night Shift, I did manage to worm my way over to Harpoon Brewery for their legendary 2pm tasting. Basically, folks show up to the bar, they describe the beers and, for one hour, carte blanche to drink all you can drink care to drink. And, with so many options, it was hard to resist….

Taps a Plenty!

Taps a Plenty!

Ciders, Rye IPAs, UFOs… Oh baby.

Highlights for me?

Chin chin!

Don’t mind the lack of makeup. This was the first thing I did after a 7 hour bus ride.

100 Barrel #44 El Triunfo Coffee Porter – I can’t get enough of coffee porters lately.

Rich & Dan’s Rye IPA – Wow. Never expected to like this. What a great surprise.

Chocolate Stout (Though I can’t imagine drinking more than a little bit of that sweet stuff!)

Their Bourbon Barrel Aged Fig Porter was a little bit less flavorful than I expected, but I loved the concept. Maybe they’ll give it another try sometime.

Hmmm, better luck next time.

Hmmm, better luck next time.

Even more of a treat? Hanging with not one but TWO of my buddies from UNC!! Fiona (the tiny one on the right) was my roomie all weekend and Patty (the tinier one on the left) JUST SO HAPPENED to be visiting Boston for the weekend. Fancy meeting y’all here!



And, once we got a little silly off of tasty brews, the most essential part of the day happened. My ONLY real meal of the day, from the most-delicious Yankee Lobster for an infamous Lobster Roll.

I could eat seven of these. Easy peasy.

I could eat seven of these. Easy peasy.

The verdict?

Such a harsh judge

Such a harsh judge

Couldn’t get enough. The fries were crisp and well seasoned, but the lobster roll…. So meaty, still light (not too heavy on the mayo/sauce, which I can support), and the side of coleslaw was top notch.

If these lobster rolls weren’t a little steep in price (read: $18), I think I would’ve ONLY eaten them all weekend.

Alas, we had to get back to Cambridge and start partying….. Free tasting, insane lobster roll, cocktail parties…. tough life, right?

If you’re in Bean Town on a weekday, get thee to a tasting (2pm or 4pm). AND, if you’re there on a weekend, check out one of the tours! I didn’t have a chance to check it out, but I’ve heard only good things.

Also, if you’re trying to have a lobster roll party, please don’t hesitate to invite me.



Megabus or BUST!

When I decided on an impromptu journey to NYC for the weekend on Friday morning, I never thought I’d be waking up Sunday and Monday mornings to this ugly mug:

Hello, you fool. DON’T LOVE YOU!

But, other than a furry alarm clock that woke me up a few hours too early each morning with a scratchy tongue and a desperate Meeyooooowwwwww, this was just the most pleasant little surprise trip to visit my buddy Claire.

Goals of the weekend?

  • Eat good foods
  • Avoid any/all football games (televised, IRL, college, NFL, Fantasy, foosball…)
  • Don’t spend too much money
  • Get outside

Mission: accomplished.

Scenes from the Megabus Experience

After my first actual floor shift at Athleta (my new employer, in case you missed this post), I hauled booty over to Philly’s infamous 30th Street Station to hunt down the Megabus stop. After walking around like a sleepwalker for a bit, unsure of what I was doing, I spotted a Bolt Bus and figured it couldn’t be too far…  And, after chasing a bus turned fruitful, and the Megabus was about 20 minutes late, I hopped on and secured a window seat.

If you follow me on Twitter, you might also know that I secured my own row on the bus.  This was achieved by looking generally surly and standoffish and pulling my hood up over my eyes. I’m pretty sure no one on that bus wanted to be my friend.  That’s fine, I didn’t wanna be their buddy either and about 2.5 hours later, I pulled up to the stop in Chelsea to meet Claire!

After a long week for both of us (first full week of school, first few shifts of work for me; she’s apartment hunting and working full-time), any pipe dreams of GOING OUT!! TO THE DISCO!! MAKING MOVES FOR A NYC PARTY WEEKEND!! were kicked to the side as we both looked at each other, then down at the container of pimiento cheese in my hand. Cheese party for two? Bring it on.

Gorgeous, much?

The next morning, we slept in, but the sun did not, and it was a PERFECT day to head to Brooklyn for one of my favorite parts of the city, Smorgasburg! I was introduced to Smorgasburg last November, and basically dream about it every weekend. And, after reading all about the Vendy Awards this weekend, I was itching for some goodies. Sunday Smorgasburg delivered.

Lunch of Champions

Lunch was a Coconut Chicken Curry bun from Bite Size Kitchen and a Baja Asada (grilled fish!) taco from Choncho’s. I FINALLY tried a direct squirt of Sriracha, and I’m chomping at the bit to get to the store and get a bottle (or four) of my own.

And dessert, of course.

Dessert was sweet and refreshing. Miniature maple butter tart from Cutie Pies NYC and, my favorite new treat, Kelvin Natural Slush!! Arnold Palmer flavored with a bit of Raspberry added in, and ideal on a sunny afternoon laying out on the grass.

Since we were (sort of) in the neighborhood, we headed over to Brooklyn Brewery for a little Sunday Funday.


This might be my favorite brewery scene I’ve ever been to (this was my second visit) and we enjoyed tasty beers and fantastic company.

MANY tasty beers.

Rainbow of beers! Rain-beer?

After galavanting about Brooklyn a little longer, the sun had sucked out the last of our energy. The night was spent eating more (what else?) CHEESE!

Tallegio, goat cheese x 3, and fig jam? We fancy.

I secured another entire row for myself this morning on my bright and early Megabus back and I’m basically FLOORED by the ease of getting to/from NYC. I’ve had more trouble getting to South Philly….

Megabus goes from Philly to Boston, Baltimore, State College, DC, and Toronto. I wonder where I’ll go next.

Any suggestions?

What’s your favorite method of long-distance transportation?

How about your favorite food to eat in NYC? Mine is everything

Six Pack Someday: Tropical Storm Debby Does Destin

What day is it?  What time zone? Wait…. where am I?

Ah. Ok. It’s Friday, 4:51 pm EST and I’m (blissfully) in Ocean City, NJ, my favorite place on the planet. And after scampering from Costa Rica to Pennsylvania (for a quick nap) then to Durham for a hot second (or four days), I headed even further South for a little vacation with the beau and his family. Though we’ve been dating for over four years, I have just recently met a number of Ryan’s relatives (who reside in exotic Texas, thus mostly out of my regular travel grasp) in Destin, Florida. And Tropical Storm Debby had the NERVE to join me on my vacation.  Luckily, she migrated after a little more than a day, so I still nabbed my fair share of sun and sand (too much on my backside I think…. I’m basically the Coppertone Girl right now.)

Sweet Booty Burn, right?

ANYWHO, I know it’s not Sunday. But since, when you’re funemployed, days don’t make any sense (and I haven’t produced a Six Pack Sunday in AGES), let’s bring it back for old time’s sake.

1. Tiny Baby Plane

Perhaps you’ve flown US Airways…. But have you EVER had the pleasure of flying US Airways Express?  Because (and correct me if I’m wrong), I’m pretty sure they’re the same airline, only they use toy airplanes meant for children to play with instead of real airplanes to get passengers from one destination to the next.

Here’s an awesome shot of my head pressed against the ceiling (roof?) as I uncomfortably await my deplaning.


Normally, being 6’1″ is the JAM. In the case of the tiny airplanes… less so.

2. Debby’s Demise

Double the rainbow, double my joy

Only rainbows after rain, right?

Take that, Debby.

3. The Donut Hole Diet

The Donut Hole is a quaint little spot (or two, I think I saw a second location) in Destin, Florida that’s known for donuts and serving breakfast foods well into the evening.  But I think what I’ll remember best about it was their “Diet” Plate.

Healthy, yes?

Luckily, I went with a much healthier option.  Giant slices of homemade french toast filled with walnuts, raisins, and drowned in syrup.

Much better.

4. Polish Party

When there are rainy days at the beach, there’s not much to do.

Mojito Madness by Essie!

We may all have had the same color polish on by the end of that first day. Lucky the storm didn’t last much longer, or the boys may have gotten pedis.  And maybe the puppy.

5. The Ultimate Spot for a Hermit

Ah, oysters, ambrosia of the sea.  And, apparently, a not-so-great spot for a Hermit Crab to try and make a home.


That’s right, we found this little nugget inside of an oyster we got during Happy Hour at Mitchell’s Seafood Market. Luckily, it was spotted BEFORE anyone swallowed it.  Apparently this hermit wanted the ultimate getaway.

RIP Hermie.

6. Do Not Adjust the Settings on Your Computer 

Is that our love burning, or just our skin?

Both Ryan and I ended up about the shade of your run-of-the-mill boiled lobster.  That Florida sun is no joke.

And now, here I am. Another beach, only this one’s the shore.

It’s good to be home.

Weirdest thing you’ve ever found in your food?

Hermit crab TOPS the list, hands down.

Word-short (Dark) Wednesday

Hey folks!! Glad you enjoyed my Thanksgiving DOs and DON’Ts from yesterday, I’m so hyped for Thanksgiving but, with packing and working and traveling, I only have a bit of time to blog.  Here are some of the best things on my Pre-Thanksgiving Wednesday.

Stormy Day for Beer Lovers

Since I’m not in Pennsylvania yet, my baby brother, Connor, is doing me a HUGE favor and picking up some of Victory Brewing Company’s Dark Intrigue, a bourbon aged Russian Imperial Stout, which has been hyped up for the past month or so. It’s pouring rain there, and he’ll eventually be out there for over an hour for Dark Wednesday, the epic release of the beer!

That’s love, right there.


Since I’m traveling tonight on one of the (or is it THE) busiest travel days of the year, I knew I wouldn’t have time after work for fitness. So I woke up bright and early this morning and head over to crank out a quick half hour on the elliptical.  Early morning workouts, while leaving me sweaty and out of breath in the AM, are the BEST because you start the day off in such good spirits!!

Also, when you have a recovery drink of Drink Chia, it’s that much better. The folks at Drink Chia (who I actually met during the Healthy Living Summit Cocktail Party ) were kind enough to send me some of their new Mango Tangerine Drink Chia (along with their classic other flavors) and, I must admit, the new flavor is definitely my favorite. With only 40 calories and 4 grams of sugar, it’s like a dessert smoothie with the benefits of antioxidants, omega-3, and all that good stuff.

First class, baby!

Just in time for Thanksgiving weekend, I received my A-List card from Southwest in the mail today!

No lengthy lines for this girl (MUCH more important in Philly than in Raleigh Durham airport).

I feel like a baller.

Are you traveling for Thanksgiving?

What would you wait in a rainy line for?

The Scariest Flight of My Entire Life and a Trader Joe’s Treat

Oh, neat. It’s Monday.

I know, that sounds like the least enthused beginning of a post ever, right?

Well, I’ll be honest, Mondays after traveling to/from home in Pennyslvania are always a little rough. For financial reasons as well as a love of spending Sunday nights watching CSI with my little brother and sister, I like to return to the Raleigh-Durham airport on Monday mornings. Unfortunately, that tends to lead to a 5 am (or earlier) Monday wake-up call.

In case you missed it, you should check out my Six Pack Sunday: The Science of Beer  edition. It’s pretty much one of the coolest beer events I’ve ever experienced in my life.

Luckily, I had a tasty surprise just waiting in the freezer for a Monday where “cooking” was the last thing on my lunch-mind.

A little spice is nice!

4 minutes in the microwave, and you have: Trader Joe’s Green Curry Infused Rice!!

The ingredient list is beautiful: Jasmine rice, green bell pepper, carrots, coconut milk, basil leaves, green curry past, light soy sauce, sugar, sunflower oil, holland chili pepper, and key lime leaves. Not too shabby, right?

While the taste was perfect, I thought it was missing something….

Vegetable Fiesta!

I was craving a few more veggies and had some leftovers in the fridge to add to the mix. Broccoli, mushrooms, red pepper, more carrots, and baby corn!! Add this to the warm, spicy slow burn of a quality curry, and you have yourself a colorful lunch to fuel me through the day!

Chances are, though, if you made it this far, you’re not just interested in my Trader Joe’s mouth-party.  You wanna hear the juice.

This Friday, on my way to Philadelphia, I experienced the absolute scariest flight of my entire life. That’s really saying something, too, considering I fly anywhere from 1-2x a month and have been for almost 3 years now (before then, I flew less frequently, but still more than your average bear. Or person.)

I flew Southwest, as I always do, because it’s fast, it’s cheap, and their seating system rewards aggression.  It’s kill or be killed sit or be sat on, out there, and I was a lucky duck who got a primo windo seat. I had a great book on hand, a handsome boyfriend I was flying to, and a few of these bad boys to whet my whistle…

Drink tickets, anyone? (click for source)

Though there was a bit of rain in the forecast, both in Philly and RDU, the drizzles weren’t getting me down.

Then, as luck would have it, the pilot announced over the intercom system that, due to weather and possible turbulence, there’d be no drink service. AND NO PEANUTS!

That’s a bummer, but really, not the end of the world.  I was peeved (and thirsty), but just trying to get to the PHL.

I sat to read my (incredibly emotional and intense) book and was approximately halfway through the (very smooth) flight when the silence was broken.  It was broken by screaming:


A huge lump surged in my throat as I, along with every other passenger, turned to see a flight attendant running through the aisle, waving her hands.

Having watched thousands of episodes of TV shows where that inevitably means one of a few select tragedies, I was petrified.


a) we had all just contracted meningitis, a la that very special episode of House

b) there was a terrorist on board, and maybe the president, a la Air Force One

c) there was…. something on the wing. A la Twilight Zone

NBD, just an Airplane Gremlin that wants to eat my heart.

Either way, in my mind, my plane was doomed.

As I watched a white haired fellow (who I’m PRAYING was a doctor) leap out of his seat, seemingly shouting FINALLY! MY DAY HAS COME! with his body language, I prayed to all things holy (and some things unholy, like that airplane gremlin) that my life wouldn’t end on this plane (or before I finished ROOM.)

Then, as suddenly as the screaming began, the silence returned. My fellow passengers and I craned our necks back, hoping for some indication that a life hadn’t ended in the exit row, and that the rest of us weren’t infected. We looked to the flight attendants, who bustled about in an orderly fashion, as if nothing was amiss, plastic smiles glued to their face.

What the FORK AND KNIFE had just happened?

Well, when that grinning attendant strolled over so nonchalantly to collect our trash (though, since none of us had gotten beverages or snacks, there wasn’t much trash to be collected) I gestured for her to come and collect my apple core (a self-brought snack, thank goodness!!

“Excuse me, ma’am, would you mind telling us what all the commotion was about? What happened back there?”

“Oh, don’t you worry sweetheart! It was nothing! Just some fellow who woke up and wasn’t feeling too well, he’s doing fine now.”

…………………………………………….wait. What?

Color me confused

So you mean to tell me that, when someone doesn’t feel too well after groggily waking up on a plane, you race through the aisles screaming bloody murder for a doctor?! Was that in the training somewhere?!

I certainly hope not.

Needless to say, the rest of my day was spent jumping at every loud sound made and clutching my chest at the hint of turbulence.  The train ride, thankfully was a little less adventurous, and, when I finally reached the beau, I hugged him like a spider monkey clinging to a branch mid-tropical storm (factual basis of that statement is up for debate. I don’t know if spider monkeys even live in tropical areas. Just go with it.)

I haven’t started coughing up organs or bleeding from my eyes yet  so I’m pretty sure I’m okay, but just keep an eye on me y’all. If you don’t see somewhat regular tweets and posts, chances are, I’m living out the plot of Contagion.

Either that, or the airplane gremlin got me.

What'd you say your address was, again, Jordan?

Squeezing it all in….


Rough lunch break

My best friends wedding is on Saturday. Before then I need to be Supa tan, Supa fit, and Supa prepared for travel.

To do: lunchtime suntan session (check), oil change in the ol’ car, workout, eat clean and yummy, and pack. Oh, and help host a baller Girls Pint Out first event (at Tyler’s Taproom in Durham, at 7:30 pm on Thursday!! Come join us if you love beers! and ladies! or are a lady even if you hate em!!), and a glass night at Rockfish (at 6pm on Thursday, then caravan to Tyler’s? Duh.).

Then drive 8 hours on Friday from NC to Pittsburgh. no big, I got this.