Saturday, May 24, 2014

Ike & Jane: A Match Made in Sugary Heaven...

Sweet tooth? Live in or around the Athens, Ga area? Ike & Jane is your kind of place. As most of you know, Athens is my hometown and I visit often. I heard about Ike & Jane through friends of mine who live and die for their Nutella Sandwiches. Yes, that's not a typo...a Nutella. Sandwich. As I'm not a huge sweets person, although I do enjoy my Nutella, I just never made it over to the Normal Town area to try one of Ike & Jane's signature sweets. Until last weekend. 

I was happy to hear they have breakfast sandwiches and bagels. That's more my speed. I ordered one of there signatures, Roasted JalapeƱo, Bacon, Egg and White Cheddar. This sounded better than it actually was. The bread was the best part, fresh and toasted to buttery perfection but there just wasn't enough filling. It wasn't bad my any means, just not as flavorful or "stacked" as I'd hoped it's be. The bagels looked fantastic. I should've gotten a bagel.

This being said, their sweets were a whole different story. They had rows and rows of fresh doughnuts. Cocoa Pebbles, Fruity Pebbles, Sprinkles. I mean every yummy flavor you can imagine and presented oh so beautifully. I bought a few to take home to my nieces, aka "share" with them. They were beyond were amazing. Two of my friends got the Nutella Sandwich on country bread. Unlike my sandwich, their's was HUGE and full of Nutella. The mother load in my personal opinion was The Elvis. Please see image/major food porn below. A scrumptious doughnut topped with fresh peanut butter, bananas and crispy bacon. OMG. They also have a delectable selection of sweet bars, muffins and other treats as well as some pretty awesome coffee.

Sadly, I would not recommend this spot for breakfast sandwiches (they also have lunch sandwiches, soups & salads but I haven't tried them yet). HOWEVER for any and all things sweet we've got a winner. The doughnuts (for sure) and the Nutella sandwich alone are worth coming back for. 

Those lucky Athens, Ga locals...

The Elvis

Eat Up!

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Everyone has to wait at Joe's ... And it's worth it.

Welcome to sunny Miami friends! I'm going to do a little throw back post to when I was down south last month. Joe's Stone Crab is a South Beach institution. It was established in 1913...that's right as in 100 years old and they've been going strong ever since. Joe's does not take reservations unless you're a party of 20 or more booking private dining. They're notoriously known for extremely long wait times and for serving up succulent, sweet Stone Crab Claws.

A few friends of mine went last year and told me they waited about an hour for a table at dinner which I supposed isn't horrible. Fun Fact: While they were waiting a certain Food Network star (who will remain nameless) checked in and name dropped herself and the fact she was from the Food Network. The host was very kind thanking her for coming in and then proceeded to tell her it would be a 2 hour wait. I love that. Everyone is equal when it comes to vying for a table at Joe's. My buddies told me the food was amazing so I knew I had to make this dining destination a priority. 

When we arrived at lunch on a Saturday there was no wait but they were certainly busy. The space is massive so it's pretty crazy to me they get so busy as they have an insane seating capacity. They're a bit fancier then I expected. I guess I envisioned a chill, beach-y fish shack kinda place. Joe's decor is very sophisticated with dark brown woods, soft leather and a bit of outdoor seating. The servers are dressed to a "T" and the style of service is very formal. Not unfriendly by any means but I did find them a bit stiff. I had on a cute sundress with a hat and although I didn't feel out of place per se, I probably would have taken the time to do my hair had I had known. Whoops.

AnyWho! The food was out of this world. Super fresh EVERYTHING. Even the bread and butter they start you off with is top notch. Although the Stone Crab Claws are the main draw, for me the Fried Oysters and Coleslaw were the serious standouts. One must also get the Key Lime Pie for dessert. Joe's Stone Crab is a perfect spot to hit when visiting South Beach for any crab/seafood lover. Ryan and I will definitely be returning the next time we're in the area. Perhaps for dinner and we'll just be prepared to spend our wait time sipping cocktails at their stunning bar. Drink up!  

The BEST coleslaw you will ever taste. It's served in an almost deconstructed fashion with just the right amount of creaminess from the mayo. The slaw itself is already pickled so the entire dish is full of incredible flavor. 

My slammin' Fried Oysters! The exterior was perfectly fried and crisp but the interior oyster plump and tender. Amazing. To top it off they serve these babies with a house-made cocktail 
AND tartare sauce. 

OMG. A seafood lovers dream.

Chef Jerie with his platter of seafood goodness...and bib of course.

House-made Key Lime Pie to finish off lunch. The perfect ending.

Saturday, May 10, 2014

The Manhattan Cocktail Classic Gala...

I had only heard of the Manhattan Cocktail Classic in recent years. I think it's one of those fabulous NYC events that only foodies, mixologists and people in the hospitality industry know about as I became "in the know" when I was working in food PR. It's similar to the Lucky Rice Festival or NY Food & Wine in that it's a series of events focusing on food/booze. Being it's the cocktail classic, the focus is more on the booze and less on the food. The big event to kick off this hangover induced weekend is the Manhattan Cocktail Classic Gala. This black tie soiree is held at the timeless New York Public Library, an epic space for large scale events and swanky social gatherings. It's literally four floors of bars cranking out 25,000 (yes, that's 25,000) handcrafted cocktails and tasty spirits. Not only is this a cocktail connoisseur's dream but you can also find tasty treats such as savory veggies from Jacobs Pickles and sweet, boozy bites from Tipsy Scoop. To "top off" the evening, there's the unlimited entertainment lurking inside every corridor. Live bands, fortune tellers, acrobats, celebrity performances (this year Big Boi from OutKast preformed!!!), countless step & repeats and more. It was like walking through a wonderland fun house for the 21 and up. 

There are still tickets available to this week's MCC events and they can be found on their website (An Afternoon of Cocktails and Chocolate is calling my name...) but you'll have to wait until next year to experience the amazing-ness that is The MCC Gala. FYI-Gala tickets run about $195 for regular entry and $295 for VIP. Either ticket is 150% worth the experience and they sell out fast. The MCC is always held in May so mark your calendars and set a reminder to buy your tickets early. This is one of those "only in New York" experiences you do NOT want to miss.  

The bustling first floor of the New Public Library

The hubs double fisting a couple of Hangar One Vodka cocktails. So proud:-)

A little fresh coconut water to re-hydrate.


Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Cha-Cha-Cha Chia Seeds!

Chia seeds! One of my favorite “superfoods"! I know I’ve mentioned my love for Chia Seeds in past posts but now I want to get into all the reasons why I sneak chia seeds into my daily diet and why you should do the same...

1.) Nutrition: These little guys are packed full of everything you need in life, a little protein, some fat and tons of dietary fiber. Plus they’re a mineral providing powerhouse with calcium, magnesium, iron, and phosphorous. This alone is a good enough reason to keep Chia Seeds around, but let me continue...

2.) Weight Loss: I mean, everyone is trying to keep a healthy weight right? Chia Seeds absorb a ton of water so they make you feel full longer and keep you nice and hydrated. Want to lose and/or maintain your weight? Eat Chia.

3.) Omega 3’s: They're high in Omega-3s
. If you’re not eating enough fish, they’re a great alternative. Like the omega-3s in flax seeds, the chia omega-3s are more difficult to digest than fish omega-3s so it's best to use ground chia seeds. It makes it a little easier on your body to get the goods it needs.

4.) Staying Regular: Did I mention they were high in fiber? They promote a healthy digestive system, which is always a beautiful thing.

5.) Easy To Find & Consume: You can find these guys at any health food store and even some chain ones. There's also a variety of brands on so you can get them delivered right to your door. My favorite way to eat my Chia Seeds is blended in my fruit and spinach smoothies but you can add them on top of salads, oatmeal, granola or really any dish, as Chia Seeds do not have much of a flavor on their own. I hear they can even be used as an egg replacer! Crazy!

My fave brand of Chia Seeds!

Healthy goodness. Eat.them.up.

Sunday, May 4, 2014

What's Cookin' at Tenth Ave Cookshop...

“I love Cookshop!” one of my old bosses said with incredible enthusiasm. This was the first time I had heard of this Chelsea favorite. This was about 2 years ago and since then I’ve heard this same statement come from many of my colleagues. Yes, yes I know. For those of you who have eaten there you’re probably wondering why the hell it took so long. Well, about a week ago Ryan and I were going to be in the neighborhood. We both adore Chelsea Market and were going there to shop and walk around and figured we needed a place to have dinner. Cookshop is about a five minute walk away...done and done. This just happened to be one of the first spring-y days in NYC and Cookshop has abundant outdoor seating. Huge bonus. The scene is very cool. Crowded with what seemed to be a pretty hip crowd and an attractive staff. We of course opted to sit outside. 

We loved it. The menu is seasonal and Chef Mark Meyer executes a beautiful menu. Our favorite items were the Deviled Eggs (a must order), the bread (yes, the free bread that comes before your meal. So.good.), The Raw Veggie Salad (super fresh and healthy), The Split Chicken and the Ball Park Sundae.  The service was also wonderful. If you’re in the hood an/or looking for a great place to dine outdoors, then head to Cookshop for a drink and a tasty meal.

They do take reservations but not for outdoor seating so if it’s a nice day and you’re looking to dine al fresco then arrive early. Eat up!

The best bread. Some how it’s fluffy, moist and chewy all at the same time with a flavorful, onion exterior. Delish.

Tasty little Deviled Eggs with and onion relish. Clearly we dig onions. 

The Mulled Dates with creme fraiche. Ryan liked this dish but this was actually my least favorite. The dates had a very strong wine flavor as if they had been poached a tad too long. Again, Ryan liked them, they just weren’t very friendly to my personal palate. 

Our tender little Gnocchi’s. I wish the portion was larger, I could’ve eaten 3 bowls. Yum.

Split Chicken with torn bread croutons. The chicken was unbelievable. So juicy and the sauce was divine. I have to say however the croutons were my favorite part. They were INSANE. 
Homemade goodness. 

Ball Park Sundae with caramel popcorn and brownie bits...nuff’ said.