May 21, 2010

Simple Syrups I like to consider myself a “foodie in progress” in that I love to eat, I love to try different foods, and I like to cook.  For the record, I’m an expert in none, but the joy for me is in the trying.  One of my favorite things to do when I am out of town is eat.  I started the trend in Chicago on my last visit, hitting up Friends Sushi restaurant, and really, truly enjoying it.

I spent my first two days down in Atlanta with a co-worker/friend of mine who appreciates food much like (if not more) than I do, so I was in good company.  Sometimes, I think it’s tough to travel with The Boy, because I get the feeling like it’s a race to see who can hold out longer when it comes to food, which often leaves me cranky and deprived.

But not my co-worker: I’d turn to her and say, “I feel like having a snack, how about you?” And she’d say, “Sure.”  Or, as is the case with our drinks, she asked me, “You want to have a drink at the bar?” And I’d say, “Absolutely!”  Hence, the Lavender Drop and the John Daley.

Alas, I did not get many/any pictures of my food, but I thought I would post some recipes/links that are very much inspired by my trip to Atlanta.

Sweet Carolina Tea Vodka (you must be 21 to view this site)
The principal ingredient in the John Daley, this is a vodka infused with the taste of traditional southern sweet tea.  My co-worker and I are now on the hunt to find a vendor in Ohio.

Simple Syrup
Simple syrup is the most efficient way to flavor cold drinks.  I was offered four different simple syrups with my iced tea for breakfast at the Loews hotel.  Below are some recipes that you might enjoy.
Simple Syrup, care of AllRecipes
Peach-Infused Simple Syrup, care of eHow
Ginger-Infused Simple Syrup, care of Martha Stewart Weddings

Corn Bisque
This delicious soup was served at the final day’s luncheon at the W Hotel in Midtown.  It was fantastic, but a little salty.  I’d like to reproduce this recipe so I can taste it not as salty.  Here are some variations on the recipe I had:
Crab and Corn Bisque, care of AllRecipes
Bacon Corn Chowder, care of Good Housekeeping

By far, my favorite food-discovery on my trip, and my new instant-breakfast staple.  There are many variations on grits, but here are some that I’m planning on trying in the future.
Shrimp’n’Grits, care of the Deen Brothers
Fallen Grits Souffles with Tomatoes and Goat Cheese, care of Bon Apetit
Sausage Cheese Grits, care of Gourmet

Restaurants I Recommend:
South City Kitchen – wasn’t busy on a Sunday, but I still think that by the grace of our bartender, Jimmy at Bar Eleven, did we get a reservation for seating for dinner.  I had the Vegetable Plate, and my co-worker had the Buttermilk Fried Chicken.  I tried okra for the first time, and I enjoyed it.  My late granny’s edict still stands, oddly slimy.
Bar Eleven, Loews Hotel – great drink selection, great service.  I had bisquits and gravy for breakfast, and this is where I was given the four different simple syrups for my iced tea.
RA Sushi, Midtown – I didn’t realize that this was a chain of sushi restaurants, but perhaps that’s the best condition.  We ate the Viva Las Vegas Roll, the Tunacado, and RA Chips and Salsa.
Shout Restaurant – the company I work for treated us to dinner on Tuesday night at this restaurant, which was right around the corner from the W.  I ate the Caprese salad, the 10oz NY Strip, and had Blueberry Cobbler for dessert.

I’d like to state for the record that this is still an Ad-Free blog, and will continue to always be ad-free.  I do not get paid for the endorsement of any product that you have seen on this site.  All of the opinions of the items I show on this blog are solely my own and not influenced by other blog-writers or the companies whose products I showcase.

May 20, 2010

My company was gracious enough to fly me down to Atlanta for a business meeting, but didn’t specify that I had to fly down on a particular day.  So, like my Chicago trip, I spent some extra time in the city so I could see some of the sights.

I really, really enjoyed Atlanta, even the airport, which is the busiest in the world.  I found everyone I ran into to be friendly and nice.  At one point, I was taking a walk in the sunshine on my lunch break, and looked to a car that was stopped at a light.  The passengers saw that I was looking at them, and called “hello” to me.  This doesn’t happen in Cleveland!  And while I absolutely love Cleveland, a big part of me wants to grow up to be a Southern Lady.

I did find out, though, that asking for my tea “unsweetened” caused the waiters to look at me like I had two heads.I don’t mean to be gauche, but I find sweet tea to be way, way too sweet.

I also found out that I love grits.  I cannot believe that I have been on this planet for 26 years and have never eaten grits.  I even have Southern relatives and I’ve never eaten grits.  Did you know that Quaker Oats makes instant grits that you can throw in the microwave?  They do!  They are awesome.  I’m getting on Amazon after this post and ordering myself some instant grits.

By the grace of Priceline and the generosity of my company, I was able to stay in two four-star hotels.  Let me tell you, if I can make it happen, I will be staying in four-star hotels care of Priceline every time I travel.

I really enjoyed both the Georgia Aquarium, and the World of Coca-Cola.  If I may make a recommendation, do the VIP tour of the World of Coca-Cola, and buy your tickets in advance for both attractions.

Last time I was in Atlanta, I had to pay $50 to get my bag home (I was using the suitcase my brother took with him to Japan, let’s be fair).  This time, my bag weighted 45#, which is an improvement, but I’ve learned a few things about traveling:

  • Don’t bother taking the workout clothes.  As much as I wanted it to happen, I was too tired and the schedule was too tight.
  • I need a better carry-on bag.  I’d bought a purse since I needed it to be a makeshift camera bag, but it was too much of a damn hassle to get pertinent items in and out of it at the airport.  There has to be a better way.
  • Streamline, streamline, streamline!

I had a really nice time, but I am so glad to be home.  Business/pleasure traveling is rough!

May 6, 2010

Image via Nooks

Do I have anything on my 101 list about being greenthumby?  33. Grow an herb garden. Okay, sort of.

I don’t have herbs going yet, but I do have my eye on this greenhouse from Harbor Freight…

Anyway, the herb garden really segues into my post now:

For Mother’s Day, my aunt bought my mother a Phalaenopsis Orchid from Carter & Holmes.  My mom doesn’t really know how to take care of an orchid, and would rather be taking care of outdoor plants, not indoor plants.

In college, The Boy fronted me cash for no less than three orchids, all of which I completely destroyed, because I didn’t have the foresight to think that orchids are a little more tempermental than cacti.  Go figure.

I have taken this plant under my wing, and I am determined to make this thing thrive.  I read up on the care of a Phalaenopsis orchid, bought the correct fertilizer, and have Parminder (I named it) sitting in the living room, soaking up the (indirect) sunlight.

Keep your fingers crossed.  If I can get this plant to live, I might actually tackle that whole greenhouse thing.

May 5, 2010

Wow, how timely is this post from the Clutter Diet Blog?  Unleash Hell on Your Closets

I have known hundreds of people who wrote out there [sic] goals in their fancy leather planners and are always on the go yet they are in the same place. Albert Einstein once said, “Never mistake motion with action.” A lot people are busy. Yet being busy is not the goal. You must take specific actions towards the goal.

I’m filling out the paperwork today for the Hale Farm Opening Weekend 5K.

Edit: the orginal quote was mis-attributed to Albert Einstein.  In fact, Ernest Hemmingway is the correct quotee.