Eating my way Down the East Coast (Part 2)

…and there we were, face to face with the biggest, slimiest, and ugliest creature we had ever seen.   Oh wait, that’s another story.

Back to the road trip!

Day 3 – Virginia Beach, VA

After a hike through the Norfolk Botanical Gardens we drove to the beach and had lunch at Catch 31 Fish House located inside the swanky Hilton hotel. We ordered the pretzel bread at the recommendations of online reviewers.  It did not disappoint with it’s fantastic mustard dipping sauce.

Which reminds me, I really need to make pretzels soon.

Day 4 – Wrightsville Beach, NC

We planned on driving straight through NC after we left Virginia Beach, but by 10:30pm that night we were in Wrightsville Beach, NC and tired.  We had a hard time finding a hotel since it was Labor Day weekend and ended up getting the last room at a smokey, run down hotel.  The next morning, Jon found a nice restaurant on the pier for us to have breakfast, called Oceanic.  We sat outside, taking in the fresh ocean air and were served these adorable (and warm) blueberry muffins while we waited for our breakfast.

Day 5 – Myrtle Beach, SC

When I wasn’t eating, I was either driving or being the passenger.  Being the passenger allowed me to get some blog time in, even if I did have guest bloggers (thanks again Elizabeth and Kent!)

Day 6 – Savannah, GA

We arrived in Savannah in the afternoon and let me tell you, it was hot and humid!  We walked along the river for a bit, made it through some old cemeteries (complete with a fire ant attack on my foot), and ducked into Huey’s, a cajun restaurant, just in time for it to pour.

I’m glad we found this little restaurant though, because I got to try fried green tomatoes for the first time.  They were fantastic; everything I imagined they would be.  It took everything in me not to raise my arms and yell, “TOWANDA!”

Day 7 – Leaving Savannah and heading for Miami

In case you are ever stuck with figuring out what to do in a strange city, always, ALWAYS check the NY Times “Travel” section articles entitled “36 Hours in…”  If it weren’t for the Savannah article I would have never found my dream bakery: Back in the Day Bakery.

Take a little trip inside with me, will you?

When you first walk in, you notice the case of goodies, of course.  Bread pudding, with bourbon?  Drool.

I’m not sure who Miss Hannah is, but her cookie sandwiches look lovely.

Then, you turn to your left and see this:

Yes. Please.  All of it.

Oh wait, we came here to eat right?

Sweet and crumbly; a perfect scone.

Look at the old scale!

It’s like someone went into my brain, took all my ideas, and made a real life place out of it.  I almost wanted to tell Jon that we couldn’t drive any further.  I just had to work there.  But, since that couldn’t happen, we bought a “drunken” blondie and hit the road, destined for our new home.

Do not spoil what you have by desiring what you have not; remember that what you now have was once among the things you only hoped for. -Epicurus

Eating My Way Down the East Coast (Part 1)

As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, I just relocated to Miami.  Because of this, you’ll probably see many posts with me referencing my new home, the flavors of Miami, and different restaurants.  I still have a TON of exploring to do!

Today, however, I want to share my experience of the trip down to Miami.  Well, mainly my stomach’s trip down to Miami.  So here are a few places we stopped along the way:

Day 1 – Philaphelphia, PA

This photo needs no introduction.  When you think of Philly, the first thing that comes to mind is probably a cheese steak (or It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia or maybe Rocky.)  Jon just had to have one.  So we put little post out on Facebook asking for recommendations and we were told to go to Steaks on South.  As you know, I don’t eat meat so I just took Jon’s word for it when he said it was tasty.  And I believe he ate the whole thing (sans Cheez-Whiz, which is supposedly how you are supposed to eat them in Philly.)  By the way, notice the bite taken out?  You’ll be seeing this in a few of my photos as Jon always got to the food before I had a chance to get my camera out.  Guys get hungry, what can I say?

Now for dessert!  We walked past little store front and the pink just drew me in.  We decided to step inside and check it out.  We met Roz, the owner of this cute little shop called Homemade Goodies by Roz.

The kitchen is open for you to see and there were bakers peeling apples and pulling things out of the ovens.  Roz explained that they are a Kosher and non-dairy bakery.  I was interested in trying the buttercream icing because of this.  We ordered a mocha cupcake and it was delectable!   The cake was so moist (I’m not afraid to use that word) and not too sweet.  The icing was soft and flavorful.  To be honest, it tasted a bit more like maple than mocha but I’m not complaining because it was that good!

Day 2 – Ocean City, Maryland

Maryland is known for their crabcakes so I was on the hunt for some.  We walked the boardwalk in Ocean City looking for the right place to go.  Everyone boasted to have the best so how was I supposed to choose the right one?  I turned to Yelp, which is my favorite food finder, and was told to go to Captain’s Table.  The cakes were fantastic!  The tartar sauce had a bit of dijon mustard in it that complimented them so nicely.  As you can see below, the food bandit hit once again.

While in Maryland, we were told that we had to try the Fractured Prune for the best donuts ever.  I hadn’t had donuts in so long and my mouth was watering just thinking of them! (My mouth is watering NOW just thinking of them.)  We got there and they were closed!  I guess they close at noon because who would ever think about eating donuts in the afternoon?  I mean, that’s just crazy.  So, if you’re ever in the area, please go there and let me know how it tastes, or kindly ship me one.

To be continued…

But even if I’m left high and dry at the end of this wild journey, just taking it is a great feeling.  -Olivia Wilde

A Trip Home

So remember last week when I told you that I had a MILLION things to tell you?    I kind of lied.

It’s really only a few things to tell, but they are things that have been going on in my life and I like to share them with you, my friend.

Jacob coming to visit was the 1st thing.

Onto my 2nd thing:

About a week after my photo shoot with Jacob I traveled back to Kansas City to visit my family and friends.  I hadn’t been home since my wedding and figured it was about time to visit.  Of course, I picked the hottest week to be there!  I left the 105° in NY for the 106° in KC.  The good thing about KC is that you ride in cars and not in subways, so this makes for a much cooler commute.

So let’s see, what did I do while I was there?  I ate.  Visited with people.  Ate some more.  Ate again.  Then slept and woke up and ate some more.  The only reason I like vacationing is because I get to ditch my homemade meals and get down on some greasy, grimy, fatty food!  Ok, and I like to see everyone too!

The first day, my mom picked Jon and I up at the airport and we went to Houlihan’s.  They are everywhere but for some reason I only go to them when I’m home.  For being a chain restaurant, I was really amazed at their plating.

On the third day, we celebrated my little brother’s 21st birthday.  How strange to see him with a beer in his hand.  It seems like only yesterday he was talking about yumpf-yumpf (oatmeal) and calling me Oxney (Ashley.)  Not having time to make a cake myself, nor my mom having any proper baking supplies (we seriously need to upgrade your kitchen, mom) we picked up some cleverly cute cupcakes at Target.

I must say, I am super impressed with the way grocery stores and shopping centers are stepping it up.  No more star tips and air-brushing!  I even saw this cute cake:

Then I got to have some of my favorite pizza from Minsky’s.

It’s my own concoction: whole wheat crust with alfredo sauce, monterey jack cheese, and almonds.  Don’t judge.

The next day I met up with my friend, Jeanne from ThreeWishesStudio.  She lent me some jewelry to wear during my photo shoot with Jacob and I had to return them although I desperately wanted to “misplace” them because they were just SO adorable! Below are the two pictures that Jacob took.

Don’t tell her, but I may have worn the flower one out to dinner the next night.  It was just too cute!  I did get lots of compliments though.  You should totally check out her Etsy shop.  She does some amazing things and even made my wedding jewelry for me and my bridesmaids!

On our final day there, my in-laws had a small bar-be-cue with the family; Jon and I got to cut into our wedding cake.  It hasn’t quite been a year, but I don’t think the cake would make it back to Jersey and I knew we wouldn’t be back on our anniversary.  I hope that wasn’t bad luck?

Chocolate-strawberry marbled cake with vanilla buttercream.  I was weary of eating it but it was actually really moist!

It was a great trip and so wonderful to see my friends and family but it is great to be home!  Our trips are always so jammed pack that I feel like I need a vacation from my vacation!

Travel and change of place impart new vigor to the mind.  ~Seneca

Summer: Watermelon and Shortbread

Good morning my foodie friends!  Did you know that today is the official first day of Summer?  a.k.a Summer Solstice a.k.a. Longest Day of the Year?  What will you do with these few extra minutes of the day?  I plan to eat Watermelon.  Why?  Because it’s what you do in the summer.  I went to the grocery store today and bought a personal sized (ok, maybe couple sized) watermelon just for the occasion.  Every year I plan to do something to celebrate the start of Summer but I always fail.  I never spend the extra minutes of daylight doing anything productive.  This year I’m doing it.  I’m going to eat watermelon.  And if the rain manages to stop by then, I will eat my watermelon outside.  In the park.  With my husband.  Don’t worry, I’ll avoid the black seeds.  Don’t want any watermelons sprouting in my tummy.

So this morning I found myself in Hoboken, NJ (home of Frank Sinatra, The Cake Boss, and many episodes of A Baby Story) for an appointment.  As usual, I arrived ridiculously early because of the fear I always have of being late.  With an hour to spare I found myself wandering around.  Of course, it’s 9:30am and the cute boutique owners don’t like to get up that early so the only thing open were coffee shops, bakeries and drugstores.  I made my way past all the cute little local bakeries and into one of my favorite chain bakeries  Not a chain with only 3-4 shops, but a national chain.  As a baker I am a bit embarrassed; to me, going in there is the equivalent of using boxed cake mix.  I should be supporting these local bakeries, not even bakeries, but local shops!  Maybe I’m being too hard on myself.  Maybe I’m being too hard on them.  Maybe it’s just a guilty pleasure.

Let me give you a few reasons why I love this particular chain:

  1. Fresh brewed iced tea.  This is a very hard thing to find on the East Coast.
  2. A Cinnamon bagel like you would not believe.
  3. The best shortbread cookie I have ever had.
  4. Vegetarian soups

Today I had an Iced Tea and Shortbread cookie.  The shortbread cookies are thick and buttery.  They are crispy around the edges but soft in the middle.  I can’t resist.  I have yet to find a shortbread cookie that  can beat this one.  It’s amazing.

 

The moral of my story:  Don’t be like me!  Don’t feel ashamed to eat a chain’s baked goods!  Sometimes it’s just better.

Have a happy first day of summer and thanks for stopping by.

 

A life without love is like a year without summer. – Swedish Proverb

 

Key West Bakeries

I’m in Key West for the weekend! The island is beautiful, but unfortunately the air is a bit chilly. It’s ok though, now I have an excuse to find nice warm bakeries to dip into.
I’m sitting at Island Joes’s right now which is located on Fleming Street. It has the island feel, with a laid back owner sporting his long pony tail and khaki shorts and the counter boy with dreads. I got here right as they opened and right as their delectible puff pastries were coming out of the oven! There are so many flavors to choose from: chocolate, white chocolate, apple, and everything in between. I chose the strawberry banana kiwi (just to stick with the island theme.)

The pastry was nice and flaky (and still warm!) The fruit was a bit tart and I’m thinking maybe a little sugar added when cooking the fruit would help. Of course I also ordered and chai latte, and I must say that it is up there on my list of best chai!

I definitely recommend this place to any out of towner visiting the island of Key West. I hear they are also known for their coffee!

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