Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Restaurant Review: Fukumoto (Austin, TX)

For my last night in Austin, post-conference, I went out to Fukumoto (YelpWebsite) with 3 of my colleagues. We ordered some more items than pictured here, but I was too busy eating to take pictures.

Seasonal veg (okra, cucumber, tomatoes)

Restaurant Review: Barley Swine (Austin, TX)

For my last dinner with Cory (which happened to be Canadian Thanksgiving!), we made reservations at Barley Swine (YelpWebsite) for their tasting menu. This restaurant is from the same guys at Odd Duck, so I was very excited! The price is also very good at $85 for 14 courses. Here we go!

Really cool interior - casual, but stylish.

Restaurant Review: Dai Due (Austin, TX)

For dinner, we met up with one of my colleagues from the Seattle office who was also in town for the conference, and we had dinner at Dai Due (YelpWebsite).

They are a butcher shop with some seating for their restaurant. I loved the decor. We got a cute booth for the three of us.

Restaurant Review: Odd Duck (Austin, TX)

Links: Yelp, Website

For our Sunday brunch, we headed over to Odd Duck. It was a really popular place - it seems like a hip place to go. I usually prefer places that are a little more low key, but the food here was pretty good, so no complaints from me!


Cool interior with U-shaped bar seating.

Cory's coffee came in a cute mug!

We grabbed this pecan croissant from their pastry selections. Very nice and flaky.

Breakfast sausage corn dog, fried egg foam, chile maple

Cory having a bite

Et moi

Soft scramble duck egg, eggplant, squash, shishito, sunflower sprouts, apple

Smoked chicken hash, duck egg, cornbread

Cream filled doughnut, apple, mesquite, sorghum

Bottom Line: Food was good, but it's not really a quiet Sunday morning brunch spot. Better for groups of friends, I think! Food was tasty though! I would consider coming back for dinner service to see what they've got.

After brunch, we headed over to the Flagship Whole Foods on North Lamar Blvd to see where it all started... (we shop at Whole Foods for our weekly groceries, hah).

I couldn't help myself.

A fun selection of weird squash for Halloween.

This one looks like an octopus!

Restaurant Review: Olamaie (Austin, TX)

Links: Yelp, Website

For our first dinner in Austin, we made reservations at Olamaie. This was actually our first foray into Southern food, and we really enjoyed it! I suppose it's not quite traditional Southern, but it was still lovely, if not a little bit loud in the dining room. A lot of first dates and family dinners!

Super cute restaurant

Salad of Late Summer Tomatoes lemon basil granita, TX olive oil

Salad of Chilled Gulf Crab creme fraiche, tarragon, cucumber jelly, kieffer pear

Summer Pepper Purloo green farro, Thomasville Tomme, chicken jus

"Hoppin' John" zipper peas, pole beans, smoky scape likker, marinated soft egg

Off menu biscuits with honey butter

Lemon meringue ice creameditDelete caption

Bottom Line: The hoppin johns and biscuits were the stand-out stars for me. The tomato salad was a bit boring (good tomatoes taste like good tomatoes), but everything else was super nice. I really enjoyed all the dishes though. The biscuits were SUPER filling. When we finished, our server came over and he poked the napkin in the basket and said "Oh good, you guys finished. I wasn't sure you'd be able to" XD

Since it cooled off, we decided to walk back to our hotel. I don't think we happened upon another soul until we got closer to the capitol... it seems like Austin is not much of a walking city! Here are some pretty pics from the Capitol.

Food Truck Review: La Barbecue and Pueblo Viejo (Austin, TX)

So in October 2015, I had a work conference in Austin TX, and Cory came out the weekend before it started to get in some sightseeing eating.

I thought I would post about two of the food trucks we tried first! There's quite a significant food truck culture in Austin, which is pretty fun.

La Barbecue (Yelp, Website): Of course, Franklin's is the most well known BBQ place in Austin, but as we were flying in Saturday morning, I wasn't terribly keen to wait in line for 3-5 hours after landing, so we headed to the #2 recommended spot: La Barbecue. I also received a tip from the Chowhound boards that they accept email pre-orders, so I made sure to secure a beef rib and minimized our wait time :)

It's hard to tell from the picture, but the line is actually really long. They have free beer on Saturdays, which is nice of them! We didn't partake in the free beer though, since our preorder was ready in just a few minutes.

Sweet baby jesus! Beef rib, a 1/4 lb of brisket, and a small side of potato salad. Delicious!!!!

Afterwards, we walked around a bit and grabbed an iced coffee. Passed this pinata store and recognized one of them...

It was too hot for me, even in October, so after our iced coffee, we got into a Lyft (or was it an Uber) back to our air conditioned hotel.

Pueblo Viejo (Yelp): A few days later, we went to a taco truck and enjoyed some tacos for lunch between my conference sessions. They weren't mind-blowing tacos, but they definitely hit the spot. I saw a few other conference attendees there as well!

Travel: One last day in Portland, OR

For our third and final day in Portland, we stayed in the city and ate and shopped our way until our flight that evening.

Ole Latte (Yelp, Website): We actually came to this coffee cart a few times in the prior two days, but I only took a picture on this third day. They're located on Alder St alongside a number of other good looking food carts :D

Travel: Columbia River Gorge and Mt Hood (Portland OR)

For our second day in Portland, we decided to head in the other direction, through the Columbia River Gorge and to Mount Hood for another hike. We grabbed breakfast at Mugshots Cafe again, and set out!

Our first stop was the viewpoint at Portland Women's Forum, then a pitstop at Multnomah Falls (very crowded, even at 10am on a Friday!). I was interested in seeing the Oneonta Falls, but the super cold weather combined with the need to wade through water to get there made it a pass for us. I also read it was very busy there as well.

Portland Women's Forum - A little foggy, but still pretty

Restaurant Review: Le Pigeon (Portland, OR)

For our first dinner in Portland, I had made reservations for Le Pigeon (WebsiteYelp). I wanted to try the tasting menu which I had read so much about.

We went with the smaller, 5 course tasting menu. Cory got the beverage pairing, and I opted for the non-alcoholic beverage pairing (the first time I've seen that!). The food was excellent, and the drinks were also really fun. The price was also very good (living in the NY-metro area for 6+ years changes a girl's perspective, I tell ya) at $80 for the 5 course tasting menu, $45 for the bev pairing, and $25 for the non-alc bev pairing.

The food was fantastic; not a single miss. The pacing was also great as well; we tend to eat quickly, and we were glad the kitchen could keep pace!

Le Pigeon from inside the restaurant

Food Truck Review: Altengartz Bratwurst (Portland, OR)

A late lunch / pre-dinner appetizer after our trip to the coast. We love us some wurst, so we were thrilled when this food truck, Altengartz Bratwurst (YelpWebsite), popped up on my Yelp search right near our hotel :3 We decided to just split one (so as to not ruin our appetite for dinner), but I almost wish we just ate here for dinner XD

Travel: Cannon Beach and Ecola State Park (Portland, OR)

For our first day in the PDX area, we headed out to the coast. It was quite cool, so we popped into the City Target near our hotel and picked up some long-sleeved shirts to layer up. Glad we did, because it was very windy that day (and even colder the day after!)

First, we went to see the Haystack Rock on Cannon Beach! We parked at Tolovana Beach State Park (near the Mo's), and walked down the beach. It's actually a lot farther than it looks! On the side of the Haystack Rock, they have a cute marine garden. And yes, this is where they filmed the intro scene to Goonies!!

Haystack Rock

Restaurant Review: Mugshots Cafe (Portland, OR)

We found this little coffee and breakfast stop, Mugshots Cafe (WebsiteYelp), close to our hotel, and I think we came here two more times over our trip. Great food (homemade and not too heavy), coffee, prices and opens EARLY! I would definitely recommend this place!

Accommodations Review: The Sentinel (Portland, OR)

In September 2015 (I am catching up!!), we went out to Portland, OR for a few days. We stayed at the Sentinel (WebsiteYelpTripAdvisor) in downtown Portland for our trip, and loved it! Great style and d├ęcor. Would definitely stay here again :)

Bonuses: the hotel is super close to a City Target, a row of food carts on Alder St, and a SmartPark parking garage.

Minor gripes: bathroom shower and tub could be renovated to be a little more modern/luxe, and some wall hangings seemed to vibrate slightly against the wall in the night.

Monday, December 28, 2015

Restaurant Review: Oiji, NYC (Korean)

So... we visited Oiji (YelpWebsite) in July 2015 for dinner with a friend, and between the three of us, we ordered quite a lot of the dishes on the menu.

The food was good. Not your traditional Korean place, but a lot of really nice dishes. Since it's been 6 months since I ate here, this is just a photo dump. The beef tartare was awesome, and I'm not even a huge fan of beef tartare!

Cold Buckwheat Noodle with Preserved Spring Ramps

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Restaurant Re-visit: Cagen Japan Restaurant, NYC (Japanese)

About a year after our first visit to Cagen (YelpWebsite), we came back in May of this year. There were more than a few repeats compared to last year, and I don't know if that's because we ate at the same time of year, or if the omakase does not change too much. Regardless, I enjoyed it just as much as the first time, as the food is all super yummy.

Cagen received a star in the 2016 Michelin Guide as well - well deserved!

Here are the pics from our second visit:

Gazpacho amuse bouche with okra, chia seeds, corn

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Travel: National Aquarium in Baltimore, MD

The second day of our weekend DC-Baltimore trip, we stopped by the National Aquarium (WebsiteYelp) in Baltimore, which I had been wanting to visit for a few years. The aquarium here is actually very, very good. I enjoyed it thoroughly. Here are a few of the many pictures I took!

This reminded me of the Progressive "rate suckers" ads!

Travel: A day in DC

Welp, this post is 6 months late. We went to DC and Baltimore as a quick weekend getaway for my birthday in May. Here's a bit of a photodump of the DC part of our trip!

We decided to skip the usual tourist spots this time, and just take it easy.

Dinner at Rasika in Penn Quarter (website, Yelp): overall very tasty Indian, but everything was a little bit too salty. The decor is nice, and they put us in a quieter side room per my request!

Palak Chaat

Monday, June 29, 2015

Travel: Weekend in Seattle continued

Finishing up my extremely overdue posts about our Valentine's Day 2015 trip to Seattle...

Monorail Espresso (Yelp): Cory got his daily fix here which was close to our hotel. He was very satisified with his espresso based drinks, and the older Italian barista was very nice as well.

Friday, May 29, 2015

Travel: Pike Place Market (Seattle, WA)

I'm long overdue on this post (and the posts that will follow). We went to Seattle for a quick 3 day weekend trip back in February (on Valentine's Day weekend) and had a great time there!

Our flight got in a little before noon, and we met up with one of my friends at Pike Place Market. I usually avoid super-crowded places like this while on vacation, but the potential for high quality noms won me over.

A beautiful, but crowded Saturday afternoon. Actually, it was Valentine's Day, now that I think about it!

Saturday, January 10, 2015

2014 Favourites

This post is a little late, but I decided to put together a list of my favourite things from 2014! I love putting together lists in general, and putting together a list of the best things over the last year is a fun way to re-visit the year!

House and Home

Jonathan Adler Whale Pitcher (Shopbop.com, sold out): A completely impulse purchase during Shopbop's 25% off F&F sale, but I am so happy I got it. It's mostly decorative, as I never have enough people over to actually need to use a pitcher for anything, but it also works as a flower vase (and it looks like my whale is projectile vomiting flowers)