Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Life Lately | F is for February & Food

Lately I've been feeling like there's not enough time to get everything done that I would like. I haven't had much time to devote to my blog, chores around the house, cooking, planting my spring flowers, the list goes on. It gets especially harder as the weather gets nice and all I want to do is spend my free time doing fun things outside. I can't complain though, life has been busy, but in a good way. And my robust calendar is by choice. I've been enjoying attending events, spending time with friends and family and just staying busy socially. With that being said, I thought I would share a look at what February looked like for me through the lens of my iPhone. There were too many fun things that took place not to share. 

First and foremost, we now own a boat! Boats in Charleston are like taxis in New York, they are everywhere. It was around 40 degrees the day we got it, but that didn't stop us from taking it out. 
We reminisced on the old college days at a Corey Smith concert at the music farm. The only difference in then and now is we were much less intoxicated and made it home much earlier.
Whit and I had the pleasure of attending an amazing event called Outstanding in the Field. The full recap can be read  here
Cru Catering hosted a fun Chinese New Year event at Harborside East
 There were plenty of strong cocktails, delicious eats and fun entertainment.
And this amazing view, which the photo doesn't do justice.
Whit and I celebrated Valentine's the way we know best — Mellow Mushroom pizza! If you haven't had the holy shitake, you're missing out!
And the traditional Krispy Kreme donuts for the Mr.
I went to The Royal American for the first time for a casual happy hour with coworkers.
A group of us spent the afternoon at the Sewe festival in Charleston. There are several events that go on throughout the festival, but we chose to go to the dockdogs event at Brittlebank park.

I changed up my workout a bit and went to a pop up Barre Evolution class at Loft. I also did a little shopping afterwards.
I'm on new kick of trying out different local coffee shops instead of always just turning to Starbucks. Vintage Coffee Cafe is so adorable and their avocado toast with tomato-onion marmalade is delicious! They also have the perfect outdoor seating to enjoy a snack and your caffeinated beverage of choice.
Another awesome guest chef event in the books! Chef Michael Toscano of Le Farfalle prepared a few delicious bites for us at the office. 

Who needs to travel all the way to New Orleans for Mardi Gras when you can celebrate Folly Gras at Folly Beach.
Lots of fun things packed into a short month!

Thursday, April 13, 2017

24 Dresses to Wear to a Spring Wedding

I have a bad habit of feeling like I need to buy a new dress for every wedding I go to. I'm not the only one, right? I have a closet full of dresses but sometimes it just feels good to put on something new. Last weekend Whit and I traveled to Jacksonville, Florida for a wedding and this was one of those times where I wanted something new. I had ordered a dress I loved a few weeks ago and unfortunately when I tried it on, it just didn't do anything for me. So last Friday night before we left to go out of town, I found myself in a dressing room, frantically trying on dresses. I found several gorgeous ones, but not all of them fit my petite frame and others were out of stock in my size. But I did find not one but two, that I really loved. Needless to say, my dress mission inspired this post. I figured if I couldn't buy all the pretty dresses, I could at least share them with you all. The one I'm wearing in this photo is linked the below. So if you're in need of a dress to wear to an upcoming Spring wedding, I've got you covered. 

Monday, April 10, 2017

New Orleans Travel Recap | Part 3 + Top Places to Dine

I'm sharing part three of my New Orleans trip a bit later than planned, but better late than never I suppose. If you're just tuning in, you can find part one here and part two here. I didn't intend for this recap to be this long, but there were so many good things to share, I didn't want to leave anything out. 

We spent our last full day exploring the city by foot, starting with breakfast in the neighborhood we were staying in. I loved all of the cute colorful houses that lined the streets.
We had a quick breakfast at Elizabeth's Restaurant, a small dining spot with quirky local art covered walls, serving country classics with a little something extra.
This French Toast burrito is the perfect example. Scrambled eggs, bacon and sausage stuffed in a french toast battered tortilla, topped with powdered sugar and syrup  — a winning combination!
After breakfast we headed to the Garden District to explore more of the historic area. And to be quite honest, we also heard there were some celebrity homes in the area as well. Like this charming Victorian house below that belongs to Sandra Bullock. Too bad she wasn't home.
 We added a quick pit stop at Cochon to our itinerary as we made our way back. 
The appetizers were amazing! I can only imagine what an entire meal would have tasted like. We ordered the fried alligator and the wood-fired oysters. There was so much flavor in both of these dishes.
I'm almost embarrassed to admit that after we left there and got back to Bourbon Street, we went back for another round of charbroiled oysters at the Bourbon House. It's all the guys wanted to do, and that was fine by us.
 Best. Charbroiled Oysters. Ever!
We did a little afternoon shopping for souvenirs which was successful until we later realized that evening we had left all of our things in the cab we took to dinner. We were so bummed. The entire trip we had beein taking uber everywhere, which would have given us a record of the driver. Of course, the one time we decided to take a cab and pay cash this happens. #fail
The wine before dinner may have contributed to our forgetfulness. 
We enjoyed our last meal at one of my favorite places in New Orleans, Pêche. I had the pleasure of meeting the chef a few years ago at a guest chef event at my office. I was completely blown away by the food he prepared for us and was thrilled when I got the chance to eat at his restaurant last year. I just knew that we had to have our final meal here so that our friends could get a taste of all the hype. We went a little overboard with ordering, but it was worth it. 
Pictured above, delicious bite size shrimp toast and a warm bowl of classic gumbo.  Below, a plate of hushpuppies, because we were told we needed to order these. 
This steak tartare was the dish I fell in love with when Chef Prewitt came to Charleston. This is seriously the best I've ever had. An enormous amount of flavor packed into the heaping piles of steak, drizzled with oyster aioli on top of crispy, toasted bread. That's the stuff dreams are made of.
These crawfish rice croquettes were also really good. I definitely began to change my view on crawfish after this trip. You can't go wrong when you add cheese and rice to the mix.
By the time our main entree made it's way to the table, the food coma was starting to set in. I'm glad we didn't throw in the towel because the baked drum with mushroom broth and cala was incredible. 
An awesome dinner and a great way to end a wonderful trip! 
I can't say enough about how much fun we had. Most of the trip was spent eating our way through the city and that's why New Orleans was the perfect place to visit. Good food is always better when shared with great friends. I'm looking forward to planning our next adventure!

If you're looking for a new dining destination, the Big Easy has it all. Here's a list of my favorites from my past two visits. I  promise they're worth the trip.

Ruby Slipper Cafe- This fried chicken eggs benedict is amazing. 
Café Du Monde- You can't visit New Orleans without having a few beignets!
Bywater Bakery- Grab a breakfast "go" cup, coffee and something sweet.

Willa Jean: This place should be on the brunch and lunch list. Beautiful space and delicious food. Don't leave without having a milk money latte.
Acme Oyster House- Sit at the oyster bar and watch them shuck away. 
The Carousel Bar & Lounge-  Liquid lunch...I can't speak for the food, but go for a cocktail.
The Bourbon House- This place will fulfill all of your charbroiled oyster dreams. Plus plenty of po boy amazingness. 

Pêche Seafood Grill- The steak tartare is a must.
Luke - amazing shrimp and grits
MOPHO- a little further out, but definitely worth the drive! Brussel sprouts, Mopho Tom Sam Salad and the slow roast lamb in green curry, so good!
Brennan's- A great place for happy hour outside in the courtyard followed by dinner in the restaurant. 
La Petite Grocery- romantic setting and great food. 

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Charleston Dining | Poke Tea House

If there's one thing that we can all agree on, it's that Charleston has no shortage of great places to eat. Restaurants come and go around here like seasons change. I like to keep a running list of all the new spots I want to try. My list seems to grow faster than I can check places off, but I did have a chance to check out a new spot in Charleston before it was even added to my checklist. 

Often I come across delicious and colorful photos of poke dishes on Instagram, most of which are from trendy spots in California. Which is why I was so thrilled when I heard that the Poke Tea House was coming to Charleston. Finally, our very own local place to drop in for a quick,  fresh poke bowl! If you're not familiar with poke, it's raw fish served as an appetizer in Hawaiian Cuisine, also the Hawaiian verb for “section” or “to slice or cut”. Poke Tea House has a nice selection of bowls on the menu or you can customize one yourself. I chose the latter. A delicious bowl filled with brown rice, ahi tuna, edamame, avocado, cucumber, sesame seeds, scallions and classic poke sauce  — you can't go wrong! 
If you're not into the raw stuff, there are cooked options as well, like this bowl below. Did I mention you can choose your rice? This one consists of sushi rice, chicken, avocado, mango, cilantro, sesame seeds, fried onions and classic poke sauce. Customizing your own bowl is definitely the way to go.
Or, if you are a fan of the raw stuff, you can double up on your protein. This bowl has a spicy tuna, ahi tuna, avocado, edamame, cucumbers, cilantro, fried onions, and sriracha mayo.
The options are endless, and overwhelming if you're indecisive like me. But I definitely think customizing your own bowl is the way to go.  You choose your base, one or two proteins, three main ingredients to mix in,  a flavor and two toppings and you have yourself a colorful masterpiece. I'm looking forward to my next visit so I can try out a few other combinations. Bowls aren't the only thing Poke Tea House is serving up, they also have poke salads, sushi burritos and bubble tea. 

If you're local to Charleston, I definitely recommend stopping in and seeing what they are all about!