Monday, November 30, 2009

All I want for Christmas is...

Dear Santa,

I have been a good girl this year. These are some of the items I'd enjoy seeing under the Christmas tree.

*Tori Burch Reva flats - size 6

*Quilted jacket similar to the Burberry jacket in khaki/tan (or if you strike it rich, the Burberry jacket would be fantastic) - size small (here's one from Eddie Bauer to help you out)

*Cute slippers such as these from J.Crew or L.L. Bean

*Photo albums (leather or suede, no crazy colors, something very classic and simple)

I'm a pretty simple gal. Of course, if you want to drop a hint to my husband that I'd like a pair of diamond sparklers for my ears, feel free. I think those will have to wait a few years considering we bought a house and a car this year. And, if the above list isn't enticing to you, gift cards to home improvement stores or home decor stores (Pottery Barn and Crate and Barrel) are always much appreciated, as we are still doing plenty of work on our little home. Oh, and if you're going to put anything from Bath & Body Works in my stocking, I'd appreciate travel size Coconut Lime Verbena body splash and/or Aromatherapy Sleep lavender/vanilla dream bath and pillow mist.


Monday, November 23, 2009

Random Monday Thoughts

  • We had NO intentions of buying a car on Saturday, but we did. May I introduce our new baby, the 2010 4Runner Limited. Her name is yet to be determined. Pardon the rainy cell phone picture.

  • two day work week. Two Day Work Week. TWO DAY WORK WEEK!!!!!!!!!!!
  • My "niece" Madelyn makes me very happy. I got to play with her for a bit on Saturday evening. She's just a joy. I kind of like her mom too.
  • I was gifted with two FOURTH ROW seats on the 10-yard line for the SEC Championship. I really don't know where this streak of luck on the football tickets front has come from, but I'll take it. Look for us on TV. I think I will make a sign, but I'm not yet sure what it will say. The game is on CBS, so if you have any suggestions, let me know. Some early thoughts were "Can't Beat Spikes" and "[CBS logo - the eye] [heart] T[bow]." That's sort of hard to understand, but it would all be symbols... eye heart T-bow (a bow).
  • This article was in the NY Times today. All of this stuff is right around our house. Fun!
  • We're heading to KCMO for Thanksgiving on Wednesday, and in addition to spending FIVE WHOLE DAYS in a row with Matt, I'm very excited to see his family. We haven't seen his parents since Christmas... that's way too long.
  • I made a pre-Thanksgiving feast for two of our friends last night. Butternut squash soup with maple croutons, turkey meatloaf, sweet potatoe puree, and sage stuffing. It was good, but I should have made some gravy for the meatloaf. Next time...
  • Speaking of food, I really like it. I like just about all of it. But, I could stand to lose a few lbs, which means I might have to put my love affair with food on hold for a while (after the holidays, of course!). Actually, I think if I put my love affair with wine on hold, I'd see results. Hmmmm... either way, something's gotta give.
  • That's all for now! If for some reason I do not blog again before Thanksgiving, I hope each of you have a blessed holiday with family and friends and find plenty of things to be thankful for this year. I know I have plenty of reasons to give thanks.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Woodfire Grill - A Review

Matt and I give the Woodfire Grill a solid A. The restaurant has a very laid back vibe and does not have a trendy feel or really any wow-factor in the decor. The wow-factor comes from the solid service and great food. Upon arrival, we checked in with the hostess who told us they'd be seating the 8:00pm reservations shortly and to feel free to have a drink at the bar while we waited. The restaurant has a great bar area, as far as size, with a lot of high-top table seating. Very shortly after we sat, a bar waiter appeared to take our drink order. Just as we got our drinks, our table was ready so they transferred our tab over. First impressions as far as service are key, and the front of house understands how to deal with the customer and make you feel welcome.

You walk right by the open kitchen with a wood burning oven to the dining area, and I was beyond pleasantly surprised (okay, let's be real, I was downright giddy) to be seated at a table RIGHT IN FRONT OF THE KITCHEN. I mean, I could have reached up and slapped high five with Chef Gillespie. Since Matt and I are (obviously) really into food and cooking, it was quite a treat to be able to watch the kitchen work.

Now, I want to get back to the service. It was truly impeccable. I'm really not sure what they could have done better. Each person who visited our table, whether our server, food runner, or busser, was warm and professional. Our waiter was fantastic, but I really enjoyed our food runner, because he was the one who explained the dishes to me. I decided to order the chef's tasting, which is a blind tasting... meaning I have no idea what I'm getting. I will try just about anything, so this was a great option. Plus, Matt ordered off the menu, so we were able to get some things we knew we both wanted to try.

Shortly after we placed our order, the food runner brought us an amuse bouche of deconstructed Waldorf salad over a blue cheese aioli. After that little bite, I knew we were in for something good. The sweetness of the apple and tanginess of the aioli were perfect together. Matt ordered veal sweetbreads for his first course, and they were unreal. I've only had sweetbreads one other time, and Woodfire's sweetbreads ran circles around the ones we had in California. They were served with their natural juice over a potato emulsion, roasted chanterelle mushrooms and an herb salad. My first course was a pan seared diver scallop served over sauteed lima beans with lamb jus and pureed black olive olive oil. You have to be a pretty bad chef to do a scallop wrong, so I wasn't surprised that it was absolutely delicious. For the main course, Matt got the wood grilled Sonoma artisan duck breast over smoked collards with braised pistachios and candied garlic. I am not a huge duck fan, but OHMYGOSH! It was divine. Ohhhhhh, sooooooooo goooooooooood. My mouth is watering just thinking about it. My main course was grilled quail with pears, turnips and apples. (I have the luxury of having the menu in front of me for Matt's dishes, but my descriptions are from memory or little notes I took since they were off-menu items). I don't think I would have ever ordered quail in my lifetime (though I would definitely try someone else's), so I am so glad I got to try something new. The quail was a light meat bird with a slightly gamey flavor and the juices from the apple, pear and turnip side really complimented it well. I probably won't order quail again, but not because I didn't like it, there are just other things I like more. Oh, and I almost forgot... in between the first and main course, the chef sent me an oyster from the coast of Washington (some sort of sustainable oyster) over a fennel pepper jelly in the shell and sitting on a mound of rock salt and cloves. Oysters are one of my favorite indulgences, so that was quite a treat and it was so tasty and fresh. Matt didn't order dessert, so we shared mine, which was a banana layer cake with banana BACON buttercream and fried banana ice cream with a garnish of banana chips. That's right, I said there was BACON in the buttercream. Matt said he couldn't taste it, but I most definitely tasted the saltiness and smokiness and it really cut through the sweetness of the cake, ice cream and frosting.

As I'm sure you can tell, we really enjoyed our evening and are saving our pennies for our next trip. Even though we brought our own wine, we still spent a pretty penny but it was well worth it. I definitely recommend Woodfire Grill for a wonderful dining experience.

Sorry these pictures stink... we took them using Matt's iPhone without the flash.

scallop appetizer


quail (after I'd already started eating and forgot to take a picture... I really shouldn't even include this but at least you can see what quail looks like if you haven't had it before)

banana cake

P.S. Holler! Chef Gillespie won the elimination challenge last night on Top Chef and won $30,000!!!!! and a chance to compete to represent the US in Bocuse d'Or. Crazy!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Chef love ♥

Until I have time for a real review, I will leave you with this.

And let you know that I'm in love with a cute, chubby chef with red hair. ;) The food was fantastic. I took a few pics with Matt's iPhone that are admittedly pretty bad, but I need him to send them to me. Too bad you can't taste via a picture, because the meal was divine.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Top Chef

Not to make any of you non-Atlantan foodies out there who watch Top Chef jealous or anything, but I am eating at Kevin Gillespie's restaurant, Woodfire Grill, tonight and I CANNOT WAIT!!!!!!!!!! I might even bring my camera and take food pictures, and I will try my darndest to get him to take a picture with me. I'm sort of obsessed. He's my favorite Top Chef contestant EVER.

P.S. Who am I kidding? Of course I'm trying to make you jealous! ;)

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

North Cackalacky

First, OH.EM.GEE! I figured out how to edit pictures! Well... sort of. I don't have photoshop, but I figured out how to spruce them up in my Canon software. Okay, it's ridiculously easy, but I just had never played with it before. I haven't figured out yet if I can save actions... I don't think so, but that would be awesome.

Now on to the matter at hand - the beautiful North Carolina mountains. We had a great time this weekend, and it was awesome to get away and spend some time with family. Aunt Luanne's home is very nice and cozy and has a great view, so if any of you want a getaway in Brevard, let me know and I can put you in touch with her rental agency (it's a 2/2 + loft and sleeps 6 very comfortably... we had 9 this weekend - little ones on air mattresses in one of the bedrooms and one on the couch).

We got up after dark on Friday evening, but we got to see some beautiful scenery on the drive before the sun set. There really is nothing like the sun setting on fiery red, bright orange and golden yellow trees. Unfortunately, we missed the peak foliage, but it was still beautiful. We had a lovely dinner Friday evening, plenty of wine, and after the girls went to bed, we engaged in a game called Apples to Apples. I recommend. It was very easy and fun to play. On Saturday, we were up early (hard not to be with a 2 and 4 year old that are up with the sun), had breakfast, and then headed out for a lovely hike through part of the DuPont Forest. We saw some beautiful waterfalls and got a bit of exercise to burn off some of the calories we ate and drank the night before. :) After the hike, we headed into town and had burritos at a great little place that I can't remember the name of. After a trip to a really neat toy store, it was home where Matt and I took a nap. The women all headed into town to shop, but I just really hadn't slept well the night before and was pooped. It was the perfect nap and I woke up rejuvenated and ready to watch football. We just hung out and watched the LSU vs Alabama and Vandy vs Florida games and the beautiful sunset. We put our game on mute since it was during dinner and the birthday celebration, and I'm kind of glad I wasn't paying too much attention, because we didn't look so hot on offense... again. (DEAR STEVE ADDAZIO, GET YOUR BUTT INTO THE BOOTH SO YOU CAN REALLY SEE THE GAME. THANKS IN ADVANCE, KRISTIN). And, of course, we had a wonderful dinner and yummy cake in honor of Tony's birthday. After more wine and games, it was off to bed for a good night's sleep so we could get back to Atlanta at a good time.

So, that's it in a nutshell. :) Now for the pictorial evidence. I'm sure you can tell which pictures I edited.

Sarah Ruth decided to put her hat on herself... and this is what she looked like. So cute.

Miriam, the little model.

The gang besides Luanne and me.

A different perspective.

That may be the first (and possibly last) time I've gotten a piggy back ride from Matt!

Okay, now that I see these uploaded, they don't look that great. :( Well, I promise they look better full sized on my computer... they get fuzzy when I upload them to blogger for some reason. Oh well.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

There's a hurricane a-blowin'

The view from my office window.

Don't worry. I've got my hard hat!

I'm a super dork, and I'm okay with that. This was sent to me by a guy I worked with on one of my deals who just started his own construction management business. Very smart marketing ploy, in my opinion. I mean, who doesn't love a hard hat? Or maybe it's just me since I grew up with a dad in construction, a mom who ended up in construction (in the main office of a large contractor... not out in the field :) ), and I married a civil engineer turned construction manager. The best part of this, BY FAR, is that someone used a label maker to put my name on it. YES! Double score!

But for real, Hurricane/Tropical Storm Ida or whatever it has become now has been raining down on us all day. I heard the rain start in the middle of the night and it's been beating against my office window all day. It really makes me want to go home and curl up with a bowl of soup and a good movie... or since it's Tuesday night, So You Think You Can Dance... dance... dance... dance. I love that show. Hope you all are experiencing better weather!
P.S. The weekend was great, and as soon as I find time to get the pictures off my camera, I'll post them here. Missed most of the good fall foliage but still captured some pretty scenery.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Mountain Momma

Family, food, wine, fall foliage, highs in the low 60s, lows in the high 30s, sunshine, mountains, hiking, and celebration await us in Brevard, NC tomorrow. It's Uncle Tony's birthday, so we're heading up for a mountain celebration at Matt's aunt's aunt's (did you follow that?) mountain home in Pisgah Forest. With the Master Chefs at the helm (Matt's aunt, aunt's mom, and aunt's aunt are all fabulous cooks) and the wine lovers, we're sure to eat and drink well and aplenty. Also looking forward to seeing our adorable nieces, Miriam and Sarah Ruth, and just enjoying some time away from the city lights.

Hopefully we have some good photo opps, so we can practice and add to our collection of artistic prints by Matt & Kristin that will some day be featured in our house. :)

P.S. You KNOW you're loved when your family gives up a bedroom for the youngest couple because, oh you know, we see each other all of 56 hours per week. Family of four in one room, Don & Gayle (Aunt Rachel's parents) in the loft, Aunt LuAnn on the couch (IN HER OWN HOUSE), and us with a room all to ourselves. :) Looking forward to the comments that will be made... haha.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009


Go Gators! We had a great, albeit short, weekend in Jacksonville. Got to spend some time with the family, watch the Gators play, take my sister to her first Gator game, and see my nephews in their Halloween costumes. James was an awesome pirate and Brody was a penguin, but he was not a fan of the costume. Those kids are so dang cute, I can't stand it. My mom took some pics of me with them, but she hasn't sent them to me yet. In the meantime, here are some pictures from the day... record heat for FL/GA!

We clenched the SEC East Championship this weekend, so now it's time to start planning for our "Tailgate of All Tailgates v.2"! Looking like a rematch of last year against Bama, which will be a tough game! Go Gators!