A Long Weekend

My two best girls Rebecca and Lindsay both graduated college this semester and we decided we want to take a long(ish) weekend away to just relax, drink, eat, and just take the time to breath. I know, I graduated last year, but I recently had my one year mark at TracyLocke and I figured we could all celebrate something important in our lives.

We headed to Brigantine, New Jersey for the weekend. Brigantine is a small island right outside of Atlantic City with an amazing beach and a Wawa! Why have I never been to a Wawa before? I now get the hype behind it all. The majority of the weekend wasn’t that great weather wise but we did take one trip to the beach. Other then that though, it was just what we all expected it to be. A lot of drinking games, a lot of movies, and a lot of bad (BUT SO GOOD) food. I can’t wait to go back when it’s warm and we can just sit on the beach all freakin day long!


Thanks Lindsay for the polaroid!

After a 6 hour ride home (that should have been 4, thank you GWB for sucking so bad, I hate you.) I came home and crawled in to bed with my cat and wanted nothing to do with food since we ate so much this weekend. But, my stomach knows me, and by 8 I was starving. I didn’t go grocery shopping this weekend so, I had to scrap something together. I had a craving for nachos, but no cheese, and no chips. So, I got crafty and decided to make my own chips. Easy and quick, and I’m already full and back in bed.

Homemade Corn Tortilla Chips
Prep time: Psh, none
Cook time: 5-10 minutes

6-10 Corn tortillas
Oil spray
Salt

Preheat oven to 400°. Cut your corn tortillas in to 6ths (or 4ths if you want them larger). Spray your non stick pan with Oil and place your corn tortillas on the pan. Spray with more oil and then cover with as much salt as you like. I have high blood pressure and I’m not even 24 yet, so we all know I like a lot of salt. Whatvea, I don’t hate it. Throw in the oven for 5-10 minutes. It really depends on your oven, mine took about 7. Just make sure that they’re a little brown around the edges. And poof! Done! I ate mine with my favorite Trader Joes salsa.

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Lion’s Memorial Pool


I just wrapped up some cover art for a good friends Connecticut based band. Lion’s Memorial Pool defines themselves as “an acid-country speed metal collaborative with dashes of Final Fantasy fight music”, and I think that about sums it up! You can listen to their cosmic folk undertone on soundcloud, and if you live in Connecticut or New York you can come out and see them May 20th at Plan B in Simsbury or on May 21st at the Brooklyn Infringement Festival. So come out and see them, buy their CD, buy them shots, give them your number!

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Which came first

The chicken or the egg? I don’t really know the answer to this, but I’d like to think it was the egg. Mainly because this is one of my favorite foods, after french fries of course. I can eat eggs for breakfast, for dinner, green, poached, scrambled, in any way at any time. My favorite, by far, is Eggs Benedict. Preferably with a mimosa, a side of hast browns, and at noon on a Sunday in the city with my best girl Rebecca. Can I have this every Sunday please?

If it is not for brunch, or even breakfast for that matter, this is my favorite way to prepare my eggs for dinner. I like to start with a bed of lettuce. The I fry up some onions and red peppers, or whatever vegetable I have on me with some basil and oregano. Then, fry up one egg, and throw it on top of the lettuce and sauteed veggies. This is a great gluten free and healthier alternative to having an egg over a piece of bread. Mopping up my yolk with lettuce may sound strange, but it is one of the best things ever. Trust me on this one!

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This is the whirlwind way

Things have been quite crazy these past few weeks. Work has picked up quite a bit, I have been going in to the city a lot more frequently to see my lovely friends there, celebrating a ton of birthdays, visiting family, trying to make appointments, just busy busy busy! On a night like tonight by the time I get off of work, run an errand or two, and work out, it is 9pm. Then I stop and think, what can I possibly make that won’t take much effort, much time, and is still delicious.

That’s when I go for my go to chicken sausages. I really love Trader Joe’s Mango Chicken Sausages. The mango bits are just the right amount and I can really pair these with anything and they won’t be overwhelming. I like to bake mine with onions, carrots, and a little bit or black pepper and rosemary (on everything lately).

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Everything Guacamole

The longer version of this headline would be, Everything but the Kitchen Sink Guacamole. I like to put every ingredient possible that you can put in to guac in to mine. Avocados to start (of course), red onions, tomatoes, fresh lime,  fresh lecmon, salt, and cilantro. I willingly admit that I ate this entire bowl in one sitting, on my own. No shame in loving my guacamole!

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Holy Moly Shepherd’s Pie

All Winter I wanted to take my first attempt at a Shepherds Pie. I never got around to it until now (yes, I know it is Spring now), and I am glad that I did! After work today I was rushing around like a mad woman getting my errands done. I would usually have gotten those done on the weekend but I was in New York visiting friends and celebrating birthdays and just having too much fun to think about my adult things. Today I got out of work at a decent time and I was able to do laundry, go grocery shopping, clean, work out, and make my huge Shepherd’s Pie. And I still have time to write this blog post and relax a bit! Oof! I love feeling productive on a Monday, it really makes me feel good about the week ahead.

With this being my first attempt at this dish, the only thing that I would have changed was I would have put some Worcestershire sauce in with either my potatoes or my ground turkey and vegetable mixture. It just lacked a bit of flavor that I think the Worcestershire sauce would have cured. In the end, this is true comfort food at it’s finest and this was exactly what I needed to make after a really tough week. What is your favorite comfort food?

Shepherd’s Pie
Prep time: 30 minutes
Cook time: 20 minutes

2 russet potatoes
1 pound of ground turkey
1 white onion
1 bag of frozen peas and carrots (I used a mixture that also had green beans, corn, and lima beans in it. What ever your preference is, use it!)
1 1/2 cup of chicken stock
2 tbsp of butter
1/4 cup of light sour cream
Salt and pepper to taste
1 tbsp of dried rosemary

Preheat the oven to 400º

While the oven is preheating prepare the pie! Start by cutting your potatoes and throwing them in to a pot of boiling water. Cook your potatoes until soft. Drain the water and mash your potatoes in a bowl with 1 tbsp of butter, your sour cream, dried rosemary, salt and pepper. Set aside.

Heat the remaining tbsp of butter in a large skillet. Put in onions until translucent. Add in your frozen veggies and cook until tender. Add in chicken stock and your ground turkey. Cook until your turkey meat is browned.

In a large 13″x9″ glass dish spoon in your turkey and vegetable mixture and then top with your mashed potatoes. Pop in the oven for 20 minutes and then enjoy!

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Atlanta

The day had to come when I got back on the plane to go home. Atlanta was an amazing, but way too short, of a trip. It was great to see my best friend, talk and laugh about almost nothing all the time, eat good food, be around good people, nap during the day, hang in the park with Sid, and just getting out and having a great time. Writing about my trip is seeming to be a bit difficult because it was such a lovely 5 days that I can’t even put them in to words. I will go day by day because that is the easiest way for me to separate the days and the food and the adventures.

Wednesday
Wednesday I got to Atlanta around 2pm and tracked down Angel at the baggage claim. It was SO good to see her. I haven’t seen her since last December, and going that long without seeing you best friend can do crazy things to a girl, I’ll tell ya. Angel drove me around a lot of Atlanta to get a good feel of it, she showed me where she worked, and then we went back to her place to get ready for our luxurious adult meal.

We arrived at the Woodfire Grill at 8pm and as we were being seated I instantly spotted Kevin Gillespie behind the grill. I am such a fan girl! When Angel made the reservation she had mentioned both of our dietary restrictions. I am gluten free and she, after being a vegetarian for almost 6 years now, has started to eat poultry. So no gluten for me and no red meat for her. They were so accommodative, it was such a pleasurable experience. We went forth with the 5 course meal, and I could not have made a better decision. The lighting in the the Woodfire Grill was quite dark, and I got way ahead of myself and my stomach and didn’t manage to take all of the pictures I wanted to, but this is as good as it is going to get.

Amuse.
(No picture because it was way too blurry)
Compressed celery root. Lemon marinated raisins. Pecan aioli. Micro celery.

First course.
(No picture because it was way too blurry)
Olive oil poached Florida Rock Shrimp. First of the season snap beans. Roasted golden beets. Lemon emulsion. Spring onions. Sweet pea tendrils.

Second course.

Pan roasted diver Scallop. Crispy red potatoes. Local arugula. Spicy tomate frito.

Taste.
(No picture because it was way too blurry)
Chilled potato soup. Crispy country ham. Chives.

Third course.

First of the season English pea and carnaroli risotto.

Fourth course.

Wood grilled grass-fed Colorado bison. Roasted red potatoes. Turnips. Sunchokes. Maple sweet potato puree. Smoky greens. Sage butter.

Dessert.
(No picture because I got too excited and ate it before I could take a picture)
Vanilla bavarian. Strawberry water. Strawberry rose sorbet. Pistachio brittle.

I can not tell you how good this meal was. I’ve been dreaming of it since the night we had it. My favorite part of the meal was the Main course, the Bison. I have never had Bison before and it was just so soft and the sweet potato puree accompanied it so well. After our meal, I had to ask to get a picture with Kevin. He was such a sweet heart about taking a picture with us and even chatted with us a bit before finishing up his night.

Thursday
Thursday was gorgeous outside. It was sunny and around the high 70’s. We decided to go eat at The Flying Biscuit before heading to the park with Sid, Angels dog. I got the Eggstra-Ordinary Breakfast which was two eggs my way (scrambled, please!), with creamy grits, “moon-dusted” potatoes, and a biscuit. This was my very first biscuit and I was not that satisfied with it. It was just too dry for my likings. Angel got the Turkey Hash that came with potatoes and two eggs topped with cheddar cheese. Sadly, this did not sit well with my luv and she got some mild food poisoning from it. Dang you Flying Biscuit!

Despite her tummy we headed over to Piedmont Park with Sid. We took some cards, some hard cider, and a bag of candy with us. The park was gorgeous and it was nice to be able to enjoy the sun since there hasn’t been any of it in Connecticut yet!

After a quick nap to rest up our stomaches, we headed to 97 Astoria for Fried Pickles and couple of Yuenglings. After that we headed out to a bar to meet up with some of her friends, which I forget the name of, but the night life there was great! It was super young and the bars all stayed open until 3am which is a huge change from them closing at 1am here.

Friday
Friday morning neither of us were too hungry considering the day and night that we had. We decided to head to The Dekalb Farmers Market to grab some Gin-Gins to soothe the stomach, Almonds, Bananas, and Apples for our hike up Stone Mountain. Stone Mountain was a nice 30 minute hike up to the top up, literally, stone! It was gorgeous at the peak of the mountain where you could see all of Atlanta.


After our hike we headed to Alon’s Bakery to grab some food, and desserts, to go. I got the Tuna Nicoise Salad and Angel got a Chicken Ceasar Salad.

My Tuna Nicoise Salad was a bed of mixed field greens with haricots verts, poached farmhouse eggs, house-made saffron poached potatoes, caperberries, tuna and nicoise olives dressed in an aged Sherry vinaigrette. I have not had such an amazing salad in a long time. I’m used to plain salads with no substance and this filled me right up after our hike. We also got some sweet treats, of course! Angel got a fruit tart and a key lime pie, and I got pistachio macaroons and a raspberry chocolate mousse cake.

After our lunch we relaxed a bit before heading to Yeah! Burger to pick up some take out. Not only do I love their identity design but all of the people who were working there were great and the food was amazing. The had gluten free buns and fries too! Two burgers and two shakes to go and we were on our way to the Starlight Six Drive-In. We saw Rango, and I was actually really surprised at how good the movie was! I love animation for it’s art, and Rango delivered on that plus the wit, the charm, and the humor. It was also nice to be able to sit in a car, eat food, laugh, and just enjoy some relaxing with your best friend with the windows down in some good weather.

Saturday
Saturday morning we headed to brunch for some mimosas, grits, biscuits, and a cute atmosphere. We found that at Treehouse . Half of the building, if the weather had been good, was outside. Since it was sprinkling that day it was covered, but the restaurant was built around trees which was awesome for the decor. I got Salmon Benedict, which is one of my favorite brunch orders. Angel got a plethora of different small bites including the best biscuits I had while I was in Atlanta. They were soft and warm and with some honey on top they were exactly what I wanted, and everything that I knew a biscuit could be.

After brunch we headed to the Georgia Aquarium. I love aquariums no matter how big or small, but the Georgia Aquarium was something else. What I was most amazed by was their 6.3 million gallon tank! I could have sat there and watched that tank for days.

Other exhibits that I always enjoy at aquariums are the seahorses, and the jelly fish. Their colors are both gorgeous.

When we were leaving the aquarium it started to downpour. Apparently the storms in Atlanta have been at their worst in a long time lately. We decided to head out to a vegetarian restaurant called Green Sprout for my first taste of bubble tea! While we were there we realized we were pretty hungry and also grabbed an order of the Fish Fillets.

I got a mango bubble tea and Angel got the coconut. While I was so turned off by the texture of the tapioca balls at first, I have to say that I really enjoyed the bubble tea! Now I get what this craze is all about. Hopefully, I can find a great place in Connecticut that serves it as well. Since it was started pouring even more when we left Green Sprout, and I had stepped in a puddle so big at Publix with my flats that they were completely soaked, we decided to stay in for the night. We grabbed some drinks, some treats, and worked on a puzzle and watched Fantastic Mr.Fox for the rest of the night.

Sunday
My last day in Atlanta was a sad, sad day. We started out by heading to West Egg. West Egg was another restaurant with an amazing identity. The way they stored their coffee and tea supplies in a library book case, the greys and burnt orange painted walls, the glass jugs of water on the tables, the menu design, it all just fit and worked so well together. West Egg was by far my favorite restaurant to be in because it just felt comfortable and homey. I got the Peachtree Plate. This had two poached eggs, pimento cheese grits, brown sugar bacon, fried green tomatoes, and a biscuit. The fried green tomatoes were coated in corn meal and were perfection. I only got two slices but I could have eaten a full plate. Angel got the Ham and Brie sandwich that had a tomato jam and was served on a french bread.

After brunch we headed to Liberty Tattoo to get our matching tattoos that we had been planning on getting for a while now. Angel and I have been friends since high school and meeting her has sincerely changed my life. She is my rock, she is always there for me, and I am always here for her. We decided, after a few different ideas, to get a little bow knot on each our wrists.

I could not be any happier with the way these turned out! They’re so simple yet signify so much to both of us and I am so glad that we decided to get them done while I was visiting. After getting our tattoos, we decided that we needed to look at some vintage shops. The one that I really loved was Kudzu. It was set up so nicely, divided by sellers, and each little set was designed by them. It was mostly housewares and little trinkets. I wish I could have bought some things! The big yellow lamps, which I have been looking for the perfect one for my new place, were taunting me! There were so many, and yet I could not have them.

After Kudzu, both Angel and I had a kick for something sweet. We tried to go to Chic-Fil-A to get a Banana Pudding milkshake but quickly realized that they were closed on Sundays! BOO! Next time I will have my shake. Instead of shakes, we headed to Yofuria, which is a self serve frozen yogurt bar. My favorite!

I like a lot of fresh fruit, shredded coconut, and gummy bears on my frozen yogurt. Yoforia definitely hit the spot for my sweet tooth! After Yoforia we relaxed a bit and decided that our last dinner had to be spent at The Vortex in Little 5 points.

Yet another restuarant that I fully enjoyed the feel of. From the witty menu write ups to the decor, The Vortex was the perfect last meal for Angel and I. I finally got to try Atlanta’s brew, Sweetwater, and stuff my face with more burgers and fries. I got the Black and Spicy burger with sweet potato fries and Angel got a classic Cheeseburger. After a long day of eating and tattoos and vintage shopping, we turned in early so that we could wake up early so that I could catch my flight in the morning.

 

All in all my trip was amazing and I am so glad that I finally took the chance and traveled alone. I had such a great time with Angel, and such a fun time enjoying a city that I have never been to. Not only was the weather great, and the people great, but the food was great as well. We all know that the food is a huge part to me. While most of the food that I ate was not gluten free, it was well worth it. I can not wait to go back and visit Atlanta again and be able to see my best friend more often.

What is the best city that you have been to? And what was their “famous dish” that you just had to have?

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