Food Porn

kicking off the week

Good food and time with good people are my key to a good life! (Those, and not having a bunch of crap in my space I don’t need or use:)

Here’s what we business brainstorm Monday noshed on today, lunching in the sunshine:

Zio Charlotte

Zio Charlotte

If you haven’t been to Zio yet, I highly suggest you make your way there to dine in deliciousness sometime soon.

What do you eat?

#Feast #Collaboration #Community

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no undies, no eaties

I’m away from home base and having what I consider a most incredibly gluttonous amazing perfect day; porch, sun, palm trees close enough to touch, laptop, book, work, and quiet. For a girl like me who doesn’t allow herself nearly as much “me” time she needs, yet does a great job teaching others how to take it, and take it often, I’m in heaven right now.

Let me just go ahead and call myself out here again. Just trying to keep all of us on our toes, baby:)

I’m visiting someone who’s stuck at work longer than he cares to be today, but that stuck is a good thing in this case because it means I get the best of all worlds…a me fiesta, coupled with good bits of fun company at lunch and later tonight. (Win, win!) I just got scooped up for lunch and we went to one of those fascinating dive joints that I’m always on the search for. You know, the place that’s just the perfect amount of grimy and always filled to the max with locals, and blue collar friendly everyone?

Giant sandwich

Lunch

Did I mention I ordered the small veggie “round” sandwich? Mmmm…

My favorite part of our visit was the sign on the door as we walked in:

Door signs

Oh travel, new spots, and good food, you are my besties!

How are you taking care of yourself today?

#AlwaysLookingUp #EverydayAdventure #LifeUnstuck

*(You know what would be extra special and awesome? If you scrolled to the bottom page of this website and subscribed to my blog posts, so you can get them in your email inbox, that’s what. You know what else would be awesome? Ice cream for dinner. You can have it all! YAHTZEE! Treats left and right. Fantastic.)*

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what road will you choose for 2017?

I think I’ll take this one:

Road

…this one:

Feast

…this one:

Spanish treats

…this one:

Sunshine in Segovia

…and lots of others like these, because:

Don't wait

We wake up each day and have one of two CHOICES:

1.) Ignore the clock.

2.) Honor the clock.

None of us can beat Father Time, not even those of us with good looks, charm, buckets of money, or who are strong as an ox. While this mighty beast of a timekeeper has full control, holding his finger on the button that decides whether we are here or gone, the one thing he cannot control is what we do with the minutes we’re gifted.

Don’t wait. There’s never the perfect or right time for anything in this crazy life. The time is now. Make a toast to honor yourself in this new year, and continue to toast to every day.

As Humphrey Hops says…

“You’re right Skinny Pete, it’s time that I do it. What am I waiting for? I better hop to it!”

#HopToIt #LessWaitingMoreDoingHappyLife #RespectTheClock

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pour some sugar on me

Meet my friends, Jon & Dana:

Cheers to syrup

These two started making maple syrup as a hobby a couple years ago. (You’re looking at a toast of the good stuff, above.) They’re now cranking out a serious production as a tiny team. As far as I remember, it takes 25+ gallons of sap to make one gallon of maple syrup. That’s right, twenty five plus gallons of sap! Talk about a labor of love:

Schoolhouse treats

*(Side note: Jon has been a travel buddy of mine for a long time. We’ve back-country camped, hiked, and road tripped across the USA together. We’ve both been writing our respective books for many years, and we’ve shared much great conversation about life over good beers. We’ve eaten Mexican food for Easter in Pueblo, Colorado after getting a speeding ticket as we drove through the middle of nowhere Kansas. Oh the adventures! Imagine my delight when he found and married Dana. It’s totally awesome when your bff guy friends find the coolest women to share their lives with. Lucky me to have such great friends.)

So what did these friends send in the mail last Friday?

I love snail mail

A mega maple syrup surprise!

Maple Syrup Goodness

Do you see the drops on the outside of the jug? Don’t tell anyone, but I definitely took a little taste of those because I was so excited. Finger-lickin’ good!

Saturday morning we made a huge batch of pancakes and found that our jug was so full, we had to dip some pancake pieces first:

Breakfast

…to make some room to pour. Mmmm:

Pancakes

(As you can see, I got so busy eating, I almost forgot to snap this photo.) Ohhh…sooo…good!

Are you jealous? You should be- this stuff tastes amazing!

Do you want to get your own? You can! Sweet! (See what I did there?:)

Jon & Dana’s School House Maple is still available to buy from this season. Here’s what they have:

Plastic Jugs:
Sampler ~ $3
1/2 Pint ~ $5
Pint ~ $10
Quart ~ $17
1/2 gallon ~ $32
Gallon ~ $58

Glass Growler or Tin:
Sampler ~ $5
Half Pint ~ $8
Pint (tin only) $14
Quart ~ $22
Half Gallon ~ $36
Gallon ~ $62

These prices are crazy good, so get some while it lasts! If you have any questions, you can email Dana directly: danaeclay@yahoo.com

Thanks Jon & Dana! You guys are the best!

What’s your labor of love?

#MapleSyrup #Sweetness #BestKindOfFriends

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holy crawfish boil

They say don’t play with your food, but I couldn’t resist the other day when the first of two crawfish boils began:

Crawfish playtime

Those suckers didn’t have long to live in that bucket before getting boiled up and spread out for the feast:

Bayou Feast

And I thought I got excited about food? Well, this sweet Cajun could give me a run for my food love money diving in the way he did:

Louisiana Crawfish Boil

Could his face be any closer to the table? I love it the pure focus. Three men put down 15 pounds of crawfish that night, and the next night? Another 30 pounds with a different crew at a camp site:

Crawfish Boil

I’ve been to Louisiana before, but boy this time I realize, it is indeed like a whole different country down here. My “No thank you, I don’t eat any fish/seafood” responses to meal-offerings, have left many of these kind, generous locals horrified (but I think secretly glad they can have my share of the clawed crustaceans:) I’ve opted to indulge in the 9 billion doughnuts available at various unexpected roadside shacks we’ve encountered:

Road Food

Here are two of the four we noshed on in the sunshine at the picnic table:

Breakfast

Needless to say we aren’t going hungry this week here in Cajun Country.

How do you feast locally?

#RoadFood #CajunCountry #LifeOnTheBlueLollipopRoad

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because today is mardi gras

and my boyfriend is from Louisiana, and it is a snow day here in NC:

Beignet Breakfast

…we made beignets of course. And Chicory Coffee with our eggs for this lazy cold Tuesday breakfast:

Mardi Gras Breakfast

As you can see from the top corner of the photo below, my sweet partner in crime takes no prisoners when it comes to noshing on these deeeeeee-lish French doughnuts:

Kevin's Beignets Breakfast

…he usually has powdered sugar all over his hands, up his arms, on every button of the stove, every drawer handle, and of course- all over his face by the time the whole make and eat process is done. The kitchen often looks like a white powder bomb went off, as if a 2 year old, or the family dog found a 10 pound bag and just shook it all over the place.

A small cleaning price to pay to be able to have these treats if you ask me. I’ll clean up that mess any day to have a snuggly, warm, yummy breakfast like this with my sweet, messy, Cajun partner in crime.

How do you snuggle in on a snow day?

#MardiGras #BeignetLove #Winter

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nola, jazz fest, and a beignet addiction

As promised…our road trip to New Orleans!

The weather was perfect for our trek to The Big Easy the first weekend in May. We rolled in for our long weekend on Friday:

New Orleans welcome sign

…dropped our bags off at the hotel and walked (safety first!) with mimosas to to Jazz Fest. Pit stop at Whole Foods for the bathroom along the way, and naturally I couldn’t resist this photo from their bathroom:

Whole Foods Bathroom

Can you see the “dance flo” text? BHAHHH! (I’m easily entertained. Translation; cheap date:)

Onto the festival, with people, parades, and music- oh my!

New Orleans Jazz Fest

New Orleans

New Orleans

New Orleans

New Orleans

New Orleans

Relaxing Jazz Tent:

New Orleans

New Orleans

I would’t necessarily think of Christina Aguilera when I think of jazz, but that girl with her big pregnant belly got me dancing:

New Orleans

New Orleans

Great long day at the festival, trolly ride back to hotel, and sunset:

New Orleans

After a shower and prep for dinner, we ran into this crazy fun and awesome parade of a wedding party one block off Bourbon Street, celebrating their nuptial NOLA-Style:

The next morning, completely random tree/sky/building “up” photo as we wandered around:

New Orleans

(If you’ve been following me for a while, you know I became slightly obsessed with sky/skyscraper/cloud photos while living in Chicago, and took a lot of photos there.)

We probably walked 20 miles on Saturday, just wandering…people, streets, and food:

New Orleans

New Orleans

New Orleans

…which is a good thing, because we at beignets 3 times that day. Three. Oh the heavenly beignets at Cafe’ Du Monde:

Beignets

Beignets

Jackson Square was a fun stop:

New Orleans

…for a balcony glass of vino and a perfect people watching spot at Tableau:

Tableau New Orleans

..and of course, a most random street “band” for entertainment:

Next up was R Bar where we met hometown chef Newton Blanchard, stirring up an enormous pot of gumbo:

New Orleans

New Orleans

This guy pulls to the side of the street, every Saturday, preps this giant serving of New Orleans best that’s ready for the taking “around 6pm” and people flock. No charge, just a donation. We chatted with Newton and sat around outside for a good 2+ hours and stuffed our faces. I mean stuffed:

The Big Easy

My sweet, sweet, boyfriend, who’s straight from French-Cajun Country himself- was in heaven:

Gumbo

(Yikes…I think this is the official first photo of us I’ve posted on BLR. Actually, I think this is the first photo I have ever posted of  my love life here and It’s been nearly 6 years. Clearly I’ve held out for someone who was well worth the wait:)

The food was super hot (temperature & spice) I could barely take little bites, but I had to dig in immediately after Newton served us:

New Orleans

New Orleans

I will say it here first. I have eaten and posted here about a lot of food over these years, but holy moses was this roadside, stirred from something that looked like a shovel and served in a styrofoam bowl with a plastic fork some of the best ever. (Good thing I’m living with a Cajun. I’m sold!)

*Side note the striped can in the background above is my total summer favorite. It’s Radler actually, by Stiegel. Beer + grapefruit extra cold = heavenly delicious and refreshing. It’s hard to come by, so if you can get your hands on a can- do. Then bring me one, please.

After the feast and time with the locals, I played with sidewalk chalk at the Frenchmen Street Market:

New Orleans

New Orleans

New Orleans

New Orleans

…and laid on the ground because it seemed like a good idea at the time and I was already filthy from walking around all day, anyway. I’m not scared of a little New Orleans, funk:

New Orleans

Love me some life on the Blue Lollipop Road!

One last stop for our 3rd round of beignets after-dark and our day was complete:

New Orleans

We made a good samaritan practice while noshing round 3, and tracked down a guy who had left his wallet at our table. He came back, the group next to us cheered, and missing wallet man from Tennessee gave us hugs. All love at the end of a day in The Big Easy with a full belly, a face full of powdered sugar, and the best travel partner in crime by my side.

I’m already ready to go again.

Where are you traveling to?

#NOLA #JazzFest #LifeOnTheBlueLollipopRoad

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