This is better than I thought it would be. Truly, when I went to put together suggestions for this year’s festivities I thought it would be slim pickings. That there wouldn’t be much to choose from because I hadn’t gotten up nearly as many posts as planned. I’d been behind, slacking, negligent about my duties and responsibilities. Turns out, that wasn’t (entirely) the case. It’s rewarding to look back on the year and see what’s been accomplished. I got more up than I planned! And a lot of it would fit nicely on the Thanksgiving table, if there’s still room.
Working on my piping skillz. (And boy do they need work!)
Julie & Julia is on Netflix now! So even though I own a copy of it, I immediately watched it on my laptop the other day in the kitchen. Because that makes sense.
Time has been moving so oddly since we returned from vacation. It moves slowly one day and then is sped up the next. Like jetlag? But not? Seth is experiencing it too!
Deer season opens tomorrow so you know what that means – venison stew for everyone! I’ve got some in the oven right now that should be out and photographed and up within the next week or so. Stay tuned!
This weekend, Edgar and I are going to another doggo’s birthday party and I’ll be making her a batch of pupcakes to celebrate!
Not actually. But I didn’t like how she made me feel. Behind, inexperienced, and so uncool it was painful. Of course, this had nothing to do with her or her actions towards me, and everything to do with myself. And my insecurities. It was a new job, I was still unhappy in SC, everyone else in that kitchen knew the rhythm and how things worked. How they worked. I didn’t. And it killed me not knowing.
There were inside jokes I wasn’t a part of, techniques I’d never heard of before, a storage system in the fridge that was entirely new to me. Next to her – tall, blonde, round blue eyes behind the hippest glasses – I felt as if I could bathe in a thimble. And often wanted to hide under one during my shifts.
My dislike for her was solidified the day she showed me how to make gnocchi (something I’d never done before, phony food connoisseur that I was). Her technique was simple and quick and almost effortless. She was as fluid as the water simmering between us. I was green with envy at her abilities. During conversation, I found out she was a few years younger than me and turned the deepest shade of forest. I felt so behind, she seemed so ahead.
And then, one day, she messed up. She left granola in the oven too long. Way too long. It was burnt. Charred. Inedible. She’d ruined a dish.
I swear, I tried. I really did. I hauled my camera all the way to SC with every intention of being that annoying person in a restaurant setting up shots and climbing on chairs. But, that didn’t happen. I was too busy enjoying my time with Seth and too self-conscious to really commit to the full “foodie” (ugh, hate that title) obnoxiousness.
So, my iphone photos will just have to do. Here’s a partial list of the places we went and the foods we ate on our trip. Mostly in Greenville, and a few fantastic places along the way. After today, I’m officially back to work and things will return to normal around here. For better or for worse.
Obviously. We got lunch here on our first full day in town and then had an amazing dinner our second to last night (all courses specially prepared by Alex, god bless him). The burger is a must (get a side of burger sauce to go with your fries) and dinner is exceptional – especially dessert! Jen took over the duties when I left and she’s doing a better job than I ever could. We stopped by the morning before we left and she gifted me lemon pound cake with fresh strawberry ice cream.
The Village Grind
Right across the street from GB&D (and owned by the Alex’s sister), we stopped here every morning for a jolt. The space is gorgeous and the friendly faces are even moreso. Plus, they put up with my tedious request of things being “half-caff” (I’m the worst).
Swamp Rabbit Café & Grocery
Another place I used to work! Purveyors of local produce and some of the best scones around. Seth was a huge fan of their stecca (a sort of freeform, Italian baguette). We stocked up on local honey and kombucha before hitting the road. Plus, my former employer, Mary, took this lovely shot of Seth and I <3
Technically in Travelers Rest, this is one of my absolute favorite breakfast places in all the land! Sweet and savory crepes that are just the ticket after a bottle and a half of wine the night before. Or so I’ve heard.
Oh, Pita House, how do I love thee? There’s no better place to get lunch. It’s both affordable and flavorful and the staff are some of the friendliest around. Plus, they make a tahini salad that makes me forget I don’t really like tahini. I’ll say one last thing: BAKLAVA.
The Kennedy, Spartanburg SC
My cousin Maria has started working here recently and while I can’t attest to anything but the deliciousness of their burnt chocolate spoon bread (omg) and the intricacies of their cocktails, the ambiance and décor alone make me want to return!
12 Bones Smokehouse
We were only spending one afternoon in Asheville and I knew we had to lunch here! It had been over two years since I’d had their ribs and truly, they were better than I remembered. I got a half rack of blueberry bbq basted and a half rack of Cheerwine bbq basted. With mac n cheese and a big ol’ slice of cornbread on the side, naturally.
Summit Coffee Co.
Literally 100 yards from 12 Bones, Seth and I found this amazing coffee shop filled with local artwork and fresh brewed drip coffee that gave us enough energy to finish the final leg of our journey. (Truly, the amount of coffee we consumed on this trip was astounding.)
And the rest
Stock & Barrel, Knoxville TN
We made it a point to stop at local, non-fast food places while driving and I’m glad we did! We pulled into Knox jonesing for a burger and ended up finding a really good one here. There happened to be a Vols game at the same time so downtown was packed. But, we were blessed with a parking spot and snagged the last table on the patio. Sure, we had to keep our coats and hats on and my red wine was inadvertently served chilled, but any place I can get onion strings on a burger is good in my book.
Munster Donuts, Munster IN
Open 24/7, this place is slinging doonies left, right, and center. The flavors are simple staples but done oh-so-well. And all less than $1 each!
Quills Coffee, Indianapolis IN
I’ve heard nothing but good things about Quills from Em over at Today’s Letters so I was over the moon when I found out there was a location within walking distance from our AirBnb. We got there right when it opened and once again the barista put up with my difficulty/decaf nonsense. Plus, they had whole bean decaf for me to take home and an adorable astronaut cat mural across the alleyway.
Garden Table, Indianapolis IN
When I worked at a place that did brunch, I was always envious of people who got to have brunch. We more than made up for it on our way back home at Garden Table. Local fare, the freshest (and softest) bread, super quick and friendly service, cold-pressed juices. This place had it all! And it was all presented in the hippest/chicest/trendiest setting. Plus, I had my first oat milk latte and it was a treat! I’m a convert!
Until the next time we travel (which will be Europe in March, omg)!
The amount of hugs I have given and received this week is unreal. So many good squeezes from so many good people.
Seth and I are getting massages today! He’s never had one and I haven’t had one in nearly a year. Truly treating ourselves on this trip.
My cousin Elizabeth was kind enough to take some simple engagement photos for us to use on our save the dates and invites. We dressed up and walked around a lake and I only started bawling once because I just love Seth so much.
Also, if you like goat soap check out her shop! She’s a scent wizard! And very good goat herdress.
I’ll be making a variation of my pecan pie for my aunt tomorrow. Instead of a regular pie plate, I throw the mix in a rectangular baking pan. It produces a thinner, chewier bar that’s so easy to snack on. It’s her favorite thing I bake and the family deserves a treat after letting us crash all week.
Bunny got me to eat chili last night. And it was delicious! Because there weren’t any beans in it.
It was the fifteenth anniversary of Elf earlier this week. Can’t believe I’ve been enjoying the antics of Buddy for over half my life. ‘Tis (about to be) the season!
When I’m visiting somewhere – either totally new or a place I used to call home – the last thing I want to do is be stuck in a giant building full of hallways staring at things I can’t touch or taste or buy.
I realize this may make me sound like an uneducated, classless plebian…well then, ok.