Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Restaurant Review: Kosaka (NYC)

Over the New Year's Day weekend, one of our out-of-state friends came to stay with us and visit NYC. For his last night, we met for dinner at Kosaka (YelpWebsite) in NYC. This Japanese sushi restaurant opened in mid-December, and Cory and I were both excited to try their omakase dinner. Priced at $145 per person for 15-18 nigiri pieces, this is not the most expensive omakase you can get in NYC by a long-shot, but I would group it as mid-to-high-end for omakase.

Spoiler alert: it was awesome, and possibly the best omakase we've had to date. For context, we have had omakase at Ichimura at Brushstroke, 15 East, Cagen, and Kura in the city.

Here are my pictures from our meal, with my notes (but I may have jotted a few down wrong). Let's be honest, ya'll are just going to scroll down without reading anyway. And that's OK. More thoughts after the picspam.

A demure exterior

Saturday, January 9, 2016

2015 Favourites

As cliche as it sounds, 2015 passed by SO quickly, but I had a wonderful year, and wanted to post my annual Favourites list! Hope you enjoy this post!


Rachel Kozlowski Fireside Animals Raccoon Cake Stand (West Elm, sold out)

I added this whimsical cake stand to my Christmas wishlist, and received it from my brother-in-law and his girlfriend! Just look at it.

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Restaurant Reviews: A few more eats before leaving Charleston, SC

For our last day, our flight out of Charleston was in the afternoon, so we walked around a little more and picked up a few souvenirs.

Black Tap Coffee (Yelp, Website): This coffee shop is very close to the College of Charleston campus, and there is definitely a hip student vibe here :)

Front door

Restaurant Review: Zero Bar and Cafe (Charleston, SC)

The night of our tasting menu at Zero George's restaurant (WebsiteYelp) was finally upon us, and after all the "drama", I was still looking forward to what Chef Vinson had in store for us. We opted for the 5 course tasting menu for $115 (including 4 alcoholic beverage pairings). I was tempted to go with the 9 course to try more things, but realized I would probably burst from overeating. Since I don't really drink alcohol, I had mine without the beverage pairings, but I think that only knocked off $15-20 (I remember thinking the pairing was good value!)

The dining room is the same area that is used by the hotel for breakfast in the morning, but they throw some white linens on the tables and light candles, so it's very romantic. The lighting is very low, though, so if you are a keen food photographer like I am, you may struggle a little (ISO 12800 for these pics O_O)!


Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Travel: Sullivan's Island and Brookgreen Gardens (near Charleston, SC)

For our third day in the Charleston area, we decided to get a car rental and drive out of town a bit. We decided to check out Sullivan's Island and then even further out to Murrell's Inlet to visit Brookgreen Gardens. We weren't interested in visiting plantations or anything, but that's something else that seemed popular for the area.

Heading across Arthur Ravenel Jr Bridge

Restaurant Reviews: Eating through Charleston, Day 2

Here are our eats from our second day in Charleston (the one we spent walking around the Historic District).

Husk (Yelp, Website): We had lunch at Husk, and it was simply phenomenal. So tasty. We also ordered fruit shrubs which were interesting! And our server seemed like a very nice Southern boy. I'm glad we loved our food here, and I'm glad I didn't let that snotty girl at our hotel sway us from canceling here completely. Highly recommended.

Front sign

Restaurant Reviews: Eating through Charleston, Day 1

For our first day in Charleston, we dropped off our bags at our hotel, and headed out for lunch and a bit of walking around. Then we swung back to our hotel to check in, before heading out for dinner and dessert!

The Grocery (Yelp, Website): Great brunch, not too noisy. I loved the fried oysters in my omelet. Would recommend!

No wait on a Sunday around 1pm, pretty empty actually

Travel: Charleston Historic District

The Charleston Historic District is a fun place to walk around for a day. Here are pictures from our walkabout! Hope you enjoy!

Accommodations Review: Zero George (Charleston, SC)

After my conference in Atlanta (November 2015), my husband and I flew to Charleston for a little getaway. We had been wanting to visit for a while, and since Atlanta was such a short flight away, it seemed like a perfect idea!

We stayed at Zero George Street (TripAdvisorWebsiteYelp), which is a very charming, luxe (and pricey) hotel. The property is gorgeous and the rooms are very nice.

I really enjoyed their continental breakfast. I meant to take pictures, but didn't get around to it. I didn't find any specifics about it online ahead of time, so here's a list of what we had at our breakfasts:
  • Biscuits from Callie's Hot Little Biscuits (regular, cinnamon, ham and cheese)
  • Bread
  • Quiche
  • Boiled eggs
  • Fruit salad (all-berries, or mixed)
  • Smoked salmon or prosciutto on little toasts
  • Yogurt
  • Juices, coffee, cereals

Pros and Cons after the pics!

Monday, January 4, 2016

Restaurant Review: BoccaLupo (Atlanta, GA)

I managed to snag a last minute dinner reservation at Bocca Lupo (YelpWebsite) in Atlanta on a Saturday night, but the plan otherwise would have been to grab a seat at the bar (first come first serve). The food was outstanding!

Main entrance

Travel: National Center for Civil and Human Rights (Atlanta, GA)

I was not originally that interested in visiting the National Center for Civil and Human Rights (TripAdvisorWebsiteYelp), but my work conference had an activity afternoon and this was one of the choices. The other options didn't appeal to me, so I figured I would give this one a go. Only a handful of others from my conference were on this tour; the majority went to the Coca Cola tour. Honestly, they really missed out.

This museum was so well done (I hesitate to use the word "enjoyed", given the type of content), I came back for a second visit when Cory joined me in Atlanta over the weekend. As a Canadian, the American Civil Rights movement is (was?) not part of our curriculum, and almost everything in the main exhibit about Civil Rights was new to me. I found it to be utterly fascinating, and frankly, shocking.

Here are pictures I took from my second visit.

The Passage Water Sculpture (designed by Larry Kirkland) outside the museum, inspired by Dr. King's words: “until justice rolls down like water”.

Travel: Georgia Aquarium (Atlanta, GA)

In November 2015, I had a work conference in Atlanta. This excited me because I had been wanting to visit the Georgia Aquarium (TripAdvisorWebsiteYelp) for quite some time! And it did not disappoint. FYI, you can get a 20% discount on the admission price by purchasing your tickets online (pre-select a date).

The aquarium has a very different layout than other aquariums I have visited in the past: as you enter the aquarium, each exhibit is off the main lobby area. The advantage of this layout, is that it's easy to get to where you want to go most without having to go through a maze. The disadvantage (to me) is that there is not much sense of exploration. But regardless, if you are a fan of zoos and aquariums like I am, and find yourself in Atlanta, you should definitely check this one out!

The most impressive exhibit, by far, is the whale shark tank. This is the only aquarium outside of Asia that has whale sharks, and they really are amazing creatures.

The enormous tank for the whale sharks and friends.