The things that were eaten in Spain

Food in Spain is amazing in general but Barcelona was pretty next level…

The best burger I’ve had in my entire life at http://www.granjapetitbo.com/

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Another delicious burger at http://anaucogourmet.es/

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Root Vegetable crisps + honey & sesame seeds at http://www.negrocarbongrill.com/

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Tempura fried veggies, craft beer and rare steak at http://biercab.com/

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Dreamy pina coladas and guacamole at https://www.facebook.com/Pachucobcn/

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Followed by another on on the beach…

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Followed by mojitos…

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daiquiris…

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Then an exquisite dinner of tapas at http://www.betlem.es/

Steak tartare

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Octopus, artichoke & pea

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Crab ravioli

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Roasted Octopus

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Apparently all I eat is Octopus so I decided to order a whole one roasted in paprika in Figueres.
It was the best thing I ate on the whole trip (next to that legendary burger because it was EPIC)!!

It’s a shame I don’t have anything for scale. Let’s say bigger than a rabbit smaller than a cat. I ate the whole thing. Obvs.

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Paris, FINALLY! Part One

I was supposed to go to Paris about a year and a half ago with my friend Nikki and her mother and sister-in-law, but I royally screwed that up by misplacing my passport on my flight home from Nashville and missed the trip altogether.
I WAS GUTTED. So very very sad.

Since then, I’ve been to cities in Slovenia, Austria, Croatia and Italy…but Paris remained an elusive destination forever taunting me for being irresponsible with my travel documents.

I’m thrilled to report that Paris is officially conquered!

My folks flew over for 10 days (they are still here actually!) and we took the Eurostar over for a little Parisian city break!

We rented a beautiful flat in Ternes for 3 nights and had the dreamiest time exploring Paris!
This might be the fastest gimmeyummy photo-taking to blog posting turnaround ever. Split up into two posts – Enjoy!

Our lovely apartment!

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A beautiful first meal near the flat at L’ANNEX.

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I enjoyed a few well deserved glasses of crisp grassy Sancerre…

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Followed by the most gorgeous Escargot…

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Rare Rib of beef…

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And SWEETS!

Apple Tart…

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Panna Cotta with Raspberry…

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http://annexdumarche.wix.com/lannexe

Then a night walk to the Arc du Triomphe…

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…and many many stairs to the top!

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We awoke the next day to gorgeous electric blue skies and had a beautiful little breakfast at Maison Lacombe.

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I had read that people travel all over for their croissants and I completely understand why as I was unable to get a photograph after shovelling the croissant into my face in record speed.

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I shall leave you with these and pick up at Notre Dame and all the rest tomorrow! Stay tuned! xx

Going Home…

After one whole year away from all the beautiful people I love dearly and have MISSED EVERY SINGLE DAY(like you wouldn’t even understand) I simply had to go home.

My life would of course be much easier if all of my friends and family were located in the same city, but like most families, they are strewn out around the United States.

It’s always going to be challenging to see all of the folks that I would like to when I visit. It’s simply not possible. I will also miss weddings, births, and killer dinner parties whilst I’m abroad.

This is just a sad reality of my spectacularly fun new life. ;(

We flew into Cleveland first because that’s where a big chunk of my family live.

My beautiful Aunts did their best to make our stay the most relaxing and fun few days imaginable…

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I even got to spend some quality time with the family pets!

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And no trip to CLE is complete without stopping by Cedar Point.

We rodes some epic and terrifying coasters…

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Ate some massive BBQ turkey legs…

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Then we passed out from jet lag exhaustion!

Followed by a quick flight to Nashville!!

I immediately had a bar party and invited everyone to come out and give me a year’s worth of hugs.

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They complied!

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Toasts were made…

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I was so excited to spend time with some of my besties…

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And baby!

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OOooohhh baby!

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This one made me want one of my own…

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Even with fussy scrunched up sad baby face…

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There were lots of babies being made whilst I was away…

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Big fat squooshy pretty babies!!!

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And some of the babies I knew a year ago weren’t babies anymore, but little tiny people…

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Simon made some new friends as well…Of the furry variety…

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And the wacky-conspiracy-theory-Jesus-loving-rocker-chick variety…

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Crazy girls are the hottest. Always. That is a fact.

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LOVE YOU LALA. Forevs. PS. Her Dad MIGHT be Ziggy Stardust. FYI.

Moving on…

My mom was as pretty as I remember her being…

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My brother was still a massive fantasy football dweeb…

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Gorgeous sunny Murphmurph was just as gorgeous and sunny as ever…

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Becca was still awesome and smart and sharing her love of great food…

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She and her fantastic fiance took us out to Dinner at Silo http://www.silotn.com

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Exceptional and elevated Southern cuisine welcoming me home proved to be JUST what I needed…

Especially deviled eggs three ways…

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Deep fried greenbeans…

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And pork belly…

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We even visited my beloved Bombay Palace http://www.bombaypalacetn.com/

They were all super excited to see me too! Awwwwww!

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Actually, we did a lot of eating.

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And of course, we had to work some of it off…

No better place than Edwin Warner Park…

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So that was our trip back to Nashville via Cleveland. A ton of photos I know, but some super wonderful days with friends and family! Hopefully I’ll be back sooner than later and can see more of my loved ones this time! See ya soon Nashville xx

One last Spain post for my foodies…

I just wanted to share some of the food I DEVOURED in Spain for those of you who live to eat…

I promise I’ll be quick!

A simple lunch…

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Followed by a decadent dinner…

Tomato and goat cheese salad

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Beef carpaccio with sheep’s-milk cheese

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Tuna carpaccio with pink peppercorn and dill

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Filet mignon with foie

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Vanilla bean panna cotta with black currants…

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Me pre-FACESTUFF

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Me in action!

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Grilled calamari for another yummy lunch…

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A little scampi party…

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Tasty tapas…

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That is all! I hope you salivated at least a little!

Next up: LONG overdue Nashville Trip posts!!!

TEA. A Love Affair.

I have always loved tea.

Growing up in the South, iced tea is generally part of daily existence.

Iced Sweet tea, Iced Green Tea, Iced Peach Tea, Iced Passionfruit Tea…the varieties are endless.

I’ve never really gotten into hot tea as much (aside from wintry days where my throat is highly unhappy).

A few years ago I stumbled upon Teavana in the Green Hills Mall and developed a very serious crush with the place.

http://www.teavana.com

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But they are SO EXPENSIVE. And they try to up-sell you to death.
It got to the point where I didn’t even want to make eye contact with the sales associates when I went into the store.
They also don’t tell you that the canisters they put the tea in cost extra (or at least failed to mention that to me any of the 50 times I bought tea).
And some of the “teas” don’t even contain tea at all. Just sweetened dried fruit & flowers…but they still call it “TEA”.
(Is there not a rule against this)?

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Anyway, I still love tea.

To be more accurate, I’m pretty much obsessed with hot tea since I moved to the UK.
Specifically Earl Grey.

At first, it’s a little weird that everyone is always going on and on about having a “cuppa” tea all the damn time.
But I quickly realized that I had never had Earl Grey tea with milk & sugar before.

MY BRAIN——-> WAIT A MINUTE! THIS IS EFFING STELLAR!

A hot cup of tea can fix your soul.

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Part of the joy of tea is the ceremony…

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And adorable china…

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And having a hot tea date…

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I can’t stop drinking it. I crave it!
I have even been using agave syrup and soy milk to be healthier.
It has fully replaced coffee in my life.
I know…THAT’S CRAZY TALK!

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I order it everywhere we go.
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I just can’t help myself.

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And people here even drink it alongside their meals. Even with cheeseburgers!
(By the way, I ate a cheeseburger the other day and it was phenomenally delicious).

See? DELICIOUS!

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So, long story short, tea is important. Drink it and feel better.

Now, how about I leave you with some spectacular street art from my travels around Brick Lane in London?

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And of course, lest you forget…The Beginning is Nigh!

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Adventures with Duck

Although my status as a carnivore has for the most part, been on a down trend, every so often I break away and indulge in some good old-fashioned meat-eating.
My favorite animal to eat is duck.
The deliciously tasty and most excellent duck.
The skin especially, is just down right decadent.

Guh.

How can one commit to a life of complete vegetarianism after tasting duck skin?

Tell me this!

My spectacular trip to London this Summer involved my first ever Peking Duck experience, which I shall never forget, no matter how many more brain injuries I sustain in my life.

The started out with no plans of a duck feast in sight.
We did a little sight-seeing…

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Hung out in the park and acted like annoyingly adorable teenagers…

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Met up with QT and consumed some wine on a boat bar on the Thames River…

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Before you know it we were on a tipsy mission, wandering the streets of London in search of the duck feast to end all duck feasts…

Soon enough we were seated in a fabulously elegant Chinese restaurant ordering a duck and a half, and even more wine…

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Moi, patiently awaiting the duck feast!

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Snacks!

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THE DUCK!!!

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MMMMmmmmmmm…

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Duck Skin…

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The spread…

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So here is what you do to make your taste buds have the biggest most fantastical explosive party in your mouth ever…

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You take a pancake, you spread some plum sauce on it, you add cucumber and spring onions…

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You grab a nice tender chunk of duck meat and top it with a crispy crunchy lacquered duck skin crackling and you roll it up as quickly as possible; inhaling it like you are in a prison camp.

Because it disappears fast!

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QT tries to hide the shame of shoveling duck into his mouth…

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Oh! And they clean the rest of the duck and stir fry it with bean sprouts!

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There is no shame! Only joy!

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Wow. That was an awesome day.

So the other night, I attempted to make my first duck and roasties using the UK fan oven.

DUCK!

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Check out those taters atop my new Acacia chopping block…

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And the finished product!

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MAGNIFICENT! CRISPY SKIN, TENDER DUCK!

Super easy to make!

Simply sear the duck legs for a few moments on a hot skillet til the skin gets nice and brown and transfer to the oven with raw sliced potatoes for 1.25 hours on 190 degrees Celcius
(for UK fan ovens).

You can season the potatoes however you wish, although I just opted for simple salt & pepper.
As the duck legs cook, the fat seeps out of the duck and cooks the potatoes to the most gorgeous crispy golden brown, while also enriching it with a truly sinful flavour.

Here is the US equivalent…375 F for 1.25 hours
(Remember, I’m all British now)

Okay y’all…more later! Back to veggies and soymilk for me!

Time Machine to London-Borough Market!!!!

Have you heard of Borough Market? Have you been there!?

Well, if the answer is “No” let me introduce you to the culinary braingasm that is London’s Borough Market.

It’s basically a farmer’s market on steroids, with a past stretching back to 1014!
Ummm….yeah…That is seriously old.

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It is impossible for me to do this place justice in one post.
I didn’t have the opportunity to take as many photos as would be needed to really explain the massiveness and sheer volume of edible delights waiting within.

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But I would love to share with you the photos I did get, and the spoils that I took home with me!

Where to begin?!

The Juice Bar!

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Of course, being the juice lover that I am, I cut a path through the insane swarms of people directly to the juice bar without any previous knowledge of its existence.

I have the gift.

This finding was quickly matched by my next discovery of the Indian spices/chutney stall where I sampled very very spicy things and made happy/painful faces.

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Which was followed by the joyful arrival to the chocolate area, where my face-making turned to lustful amazement.

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And the gigantic vats of Paella! And the samples of Paella! Yummmm

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Mussels!!

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I had to have my own!

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This place is simply unreal.
I could spend an entire day here. Just eating. Everything.

Look at those Tomatoes. Just look at them! With your eyes!

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Fungi!

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Squids!

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Exclamation Marks!!!!!

My Personal Spoils!

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Tomatoes, the most delicious lemon & garlic olives on Earth, crusty sourdough round, baguette, elderflower & apple juice, brie, local honey, local raspberry preserves, drunken cheese, and lemon & rose turkish delights…

SNACKY TIME!

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This…

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is…

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the Life.

This is all I have, FOR NOW. Trust me, there will be so much more Borough Market coverage in the VERY near future.

http://www.boroughmarket.org.uk/

So where were we six months ago?

Ah! Arizona! Yes. I went to visit my best friend Abigail…it’s all coming back to me now.

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There were lots of treats consumed in Arizona.
Specifically Sedona, Jerome, & Cottonwood.
Home of everything magical, mystical, and holistic.

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I ate quite a bit of yummy vegan and vegetarian fare and visited the cutest little breakfast/gelato cafe.
Also, a visit to candy mountain (sort of) and a cute wine bar with an insanely scrumptious foccacia appetizer.

Let us begin!

The following delights are from New Frontiers in Sedona…

Kale salad that made my face happy.

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The best cold falafel I have ever eaten, also from New Frontiers grocery store.

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Deviled eggs (because they are delicious)

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Pear and Mesclun salad.

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Magic healing bars!

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Now, onto my breakfast at Crema Cafe in Cottonwood, AZ.

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THINGS TO EAT! Just my kinda place!

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Quick and gorgeous little egg & cheese croissant delivered by the sweetest server.

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Close-up!

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Pretty much the lightest, fluffiest, most breakfasty cloud of sunshine you could possibly introduce your taste buds to.

Oh, and the super sweet server!

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Isn’t she just adorable?

AND, there was gelato!

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Unfortunately, I didn’t get to sample the gelato as the croissant was the size of my face and very filling!

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Scones & biscotti

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Who wants to take a trip to candy mountain?

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Rock candy in everyone’s favorite flavor “BLUE”

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SCOOPS!

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There was a time in my life where I would have attempted to eat all of these lollies in one sitting.

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Finally, the Focaccia to put all other Focaccia to shame at Grapes Restaurant & Bar in Jerome, AZ.

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It doesn’t look like much, but trust me, a little olive oil or marinara dipping action and you have a masterpiece of textures and flavors that satiate all carb-loading desires.

Crunchy, pillowy, buttery, sweet, savory…

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MOUTH MAGIC!

http://grapesjerome.com/
http://www.cremacoffeeandcreamery.com/

Shameful lack of food photographs…but super fun Indian wedding!

So….

I went to an Indian Wedding, with tons of catered food, but due to the open bar situation…I sort of forgot to take pictures of the food.

Ooopsy!

Here is my buddy Ernie and myself clearly enjoying the open bar…

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And My lady friends Rebecca and Melissa enjoying some light reception snacks…

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And the wedding cake…

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I know!

All those curries begging to be photographed and I was too busy taking pictures of my friends dancing their asses off.

What a failure!

Next time, less dancing, wine, and socializing! More Food photography!

Congrats Dana & Hitesh! Super fun and gorgeous wedding!

Is there anything as delicious as a warm taco?

Yesterday was a seriously super rad day.

Work was bearable.

There was a delightful afternoon rain shower that kind of cooled off the hot nasty summer day.

I went and saw “Inception” (THAT MOVIE IS SPECTACULAR…except for all that unnecessary snow-mobile crap at the end)

And to top that all off, the lovely and talented Teresa of Mas Tacos was sweet enough to offer me an invite to the trial run or “soft opening” of her new stationary Mas Tacos shop!

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First of all, the design aesthetic of her new place is beyond awesome.

Definitely Retro, but done in a smart way with a minimalist approach.

Her juke box is basically the best thing ever because:

1.) It’s free
2.) There are no record/song titles listed, so you just choose a letter and a number and see what happens! FUN!

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The cacti situation was basically perfect.

This one made me wish I had flowers up in my do’.

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This one was your typical “lean to the lefty”… AHEM.

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And this guy was my buddy. He’s pretty.

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ALSO, check out the light fixtures….so freaking smart…

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It is truly the details that make a place interesting and beautiful.
Mas Tacos felt like home.
That sort of communal feeling of a tiny cafeteria or eating in a friends awesome living room.

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WHO WOULDN’T WANT TO BUY TACOS FROM THESE ADORABLE LIL LADIES?

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I asked Teresa if she was tired and this was her response!

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Awwww….She’s so happy!!

Oh yeah. Delicious creamy-dreamy-magical-cool-that-fiery-mouth-off Hor Chata.

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Always order this. It is god’s super special gift to the universe.
Trust.

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And now, THE TACOS!

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TACO #1: Quinoa with roasted tomatillo salsa, potato, jalapeno, corn, red cabbage, sour cream, lime, and cilantro!

TACO #2: Fried Tilapia with spicy dill yogurt, red cabbage, red onion, fresh lime, and cilantro!

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I took a lot of pictures. They are just so pretty.

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So pretty IN MY MOUTH!

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Don’t ask me to pick a favorite because I WILL NEVER PICK A FAVORITE.

I was pretty much in Taco Heaven.

Because baby jayzus loves me despite my persistant disbelief in him, she opened her shop up two blocks from my house!!!
That means there will be a lot more taco consumption in my future.

Like, I may stop cooking altogether.

The restaurant is gorgeous.

The jukebox helps you take your taco experience to the max.

I love the gold paint. I love the layout of the place.

I love the retro-tastic trash can that I didn’t get a photograph of but will at some point.
(Again, trust me it’s wicked cool.)

I think you have a winner here Teresa. Congrats!
I’ll still be looking out for the taco truck, but I’m so excited to be able to get tacos on MY schedule now.

Mas Tacos will be opening officially this coming Tuesday July 27th at 11am til 8pm!
732 McFerrin Avenue
Nashville, TN
37206