Sunday, August 16, 2015

Cafe Josie

After living the better part of two years about a block away from Cafe Josie, I'm not sure how or why we have put off a visit for so long. However, after restaurant critic Matthew Odom placed this adorable neighborhood spot on his powerhouse-packed list of top 25 restaurants in Austin, I knew I couldn't ignore it any longer. We of course called ahead to make sure we could be seated outside with the big guy, because that's what sane people do before a nice dinner. 

The ambience of the courtyard is so charming and unpretentious that I can't imagine wanting to sit indoors, even in August, but the food really stole the show. We were very impressed with the drink menu, and the three menu items we ordered left us licking the plates clean within 20 minutes start to finish (oops). I already can't wait to walk down and spend some more evenings here in the early fall.

Grilled Shrimp with Blue Corn Grits, Honey Chipotle Corn Relish and Shaved Scallions
Fried Brussels Sprouts with Rum Soaked Cherries, Candied Pecans, and Dijon Rum Glaze
Grilled Mahi with Sweet Corn Succotash, Fritters and Zucchini Ribbons
Someone else wanted a taste...
He loves me.

Jumpsuit: Sam Edelman, Shoes: Aldo (older), Sunglasses: ASOS (older)

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Keukenhof Gardens

Just a short bus ride from the city of Amsterdam, Keukenhof Gardens is one of the largest flower gardens in the world. Adam and I visited the gardens in April, during the peak season for viewing its seven million flowers in all their colorful glory. The Netherlands is, of course, known for its tulips, which dominate the gardens. There are literally hundreds of different species, each with perfectly cultivated blooms larger than my outstretched hand. For real: tulips larger than my hand!

The gardens are more beautiful than I can possibly describe, and even Adam admitted to having a great day walking amongst the fields and displays. Definitely visit in the spring, as the fields were rainbow-striped as far as the eye can see. Get ready for a barrage of flower + boot photos, as I felt that including my favorite 5050s would help show the colossal size of these beauties.

Monday, November 3, 2014

Healthy Pumpkin Pie Smoothies

I'm not really sure what qualifies as "healthy", but in my book this smoothie definitely fits the bill. With all the decadent flavors of pumpkin pie, but none of the added sugar and junk, this creamy beverage is a perfect breakfast or anytime treat that feels like a splurge, but is actually a pretty smart choice. Woot woot!  Rich and flavorful, it truly tastes like liquid pie... in a somehow not weird way. When you feel like you're eating dessert for breakfast, while still not being a total fatty, how could the day possibly start off on a bad foot?

Healthy Pumpkin Pie Smoothies

1/2 cup canned pure pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling)
1 cup almond milk (I used homemade)
2 bananas, frozen
2 dates, finely diced
1/2 t. vanilla extract
1/4 t. pumpkin pie spice
Cinnamon sticks, for garnish (if desired)

Combine all ingredients in blender and blend until as smooth as possible. I have a Vitamix, so there wasn't a need for chopping. If your blender is less powerful, you may need to finely chop the dates and break the bananas into smaller chunks.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

PCH Road Trip Day 4 {Monterey, Pebble Beach, Carmel, Point Lobos}

Day four was by far the most action-packed one of our trip. I knew the itinerary was a lot to take in for one day, but after three travel-free days in the bay area I knew we'd be up for some adventure. We left San Francisco early in the morning, hit Highway 1 as soon as possible, and started traveling the coast. We had a few quick pull-off stops, all of which proved to be fun breaks, and several places were hours just weren't enough. The highlight for me was Point Lobos State Reserve, which landscape painter Francis McComas described as "the greatest meeting of land and water in the world". While I'm not sure that's true, it was truly fantastic. This day was a whirlwind, but one that I'll never forget.

Pigeon Point Lighthouse Hostel - this is actually a real hostel just south of SF that you can stay in, which is pretty adorable. We didn't, but it's just a quick stop along the highway for a picture. The skies on this morning made the whole scene look isolated and moody.
Natural Bridges State Park - a nice stopping point about 1:45 outside of downtown San Francisco. We stretched our legs and took a nice (cold) breezy walk along the coast.
Natural Bridges State Park
Monterey - we stopped for a seafood lunch and a walk around Monterey's Fisherman's Wharf.  It was definitely touristy, but had a fun, slightly cheesy beach-town feel that was different from any other stop on our trip.
Random acts of pastel.
View from the wharf in Monterey
After lunch, we drove to the nearby entry gate for the 17 Mile Drive at Pebble Beach. There was so much to see around Pebble Beach, and this drive was a really fun and beautiful part of the trip. All in all, we spent about an hour doing the drive.
The Lone Cypress at Pebble Beach

Adam getting an even higher than normal vantage point. We left through the gate through Carmel to Highway 1, so we got to spend a bit of time in the most charming town ever: Carmel.  I didn't take any pictures here, but it's definitely a worthwhile stopping point to see this adorable place.
We then drove on to Point Lobos State Reserve; this was by far the best surprise of our entire trip.  I didn't have any expectations for this stop, but we were both totally blown away by its beauty.  This is Whaler's Cove, the first stop after entering the park; we sat in this exact area for what seemed like hours just taking it all in.
Just dressing like some kind of forest nymph.  {Dress: Free People}
Ugh, take me back.
Have you ever seen a more hipster photo in your life? I doubt it. This was intended to be a photo of Adam but when I zoomed in, I couldn't help myself. #soartsy #notactuallyartsy

More beauty around Point Lobos. There was so much to see in this park, and I have about 1000 more pictures, but I'll spare you at least a little bit.
We popped back out onto Highway 1 and headed for the famous Bixby Bridge.  The first picture on this post is one of my favorites, and you can see just a hint of the bridge, but here's a closer shot. From Bixby Bridge, it was over an hour drive to our lodging at Treebones resort. This drive went through Big Sur, and past many of the sites that prompted this trip to begin with, including McWay Falls and Pfeiffer Beach. Ideally, we would have had plenty of time at these places on this day, but instead we went to Treebones and backtracked just a big during our full day in the Big Sur area.
...that being said, we did stop at McWay falls on the way to Treebones for a few minutes, for the sole reason that I wanted to make sure I got to see it twice; more on that next time.

Monday, October 13, 2014

PCH Road Trip Day Three {San Francisco}

After a day trip to Napa, we had one final full day and night in San Francisco before picking up the rental car and heading down the coast. Our morning started with a long, cool walk to the Ferry Building for a coffee, followed by a quick drive around downtown via an interesting form of transportation (see below). Indulgence was the theme of the day, as we stopped for some food in no less than five places. We decided to find a little balance today after the yesterday's vineyards, and by balance I mean switching to a tour of some San Francisco breweries. It was a great full day that allowed us to both relax and see a lot of aspects of the city; by bedtime, we felt we had done SF proud and were ready for the next day's adventure.

Inside the Ferry Building
Delicious lattes at Blue Bottle in the Ferry Building
So, this happened. We took a one hour GPS-guided tour of downtown SF in this bad boy.
When traveling, one thing Adam and I both love to do is find city's best hidden gems, even if they may lead you into some questionable areas like the Tenderloin. In case you can't tell from this sexy photo, Adam literally could not wait until he got outside to start eating his our pork sandwich. My first bite of this sandwich may actually have been the best bite of food we had our entire trip, and for less than $4! A seriously amazing find, and the best Vietnamese food I've ever tasted.

After lunch, we decided it was brewery o'clock. We started at Southern Pacific, where the building was incredibly cool and the beers were just as good.
We then went to try Humphry Slocombe ice cream, because much like my precious Jeni's Splendid Ice Cream, I have their cookbook and wanted to try it straight from the source. It was fantastic, especially the Harvey Milk & Honey.
After some beer and ice cream, we took a breather and got ready for dinner.  I took this pic to show off my awesome Brit & Belle jewelry c/o Janice. 
21st Amendment was our favorite brewery of the trip both for the beer and the food. (Note: we wanted to go to Anchor Brewing, San Fran's far and away most popular brewery, but it books ages in advance for tours).  
This butternut squash soup with bleu cheese and candied pecans was everything.

Shirt: Urban Outfitters, Skirt: Anthropologie, Shoes: Shoe Mint, Jewelry: Brit & Belle
After 21st amendment we did a little shopping and finished our night with, shock of all shocks, a third brewery. Since "bears" are kind of a thing with Adam and I, this spot just had to make our to do list. We had a nice dinner here which included samplings of beer and cheese pairings, an idea that I of course loved. The food wasn't spectacular, but the beer was nice and we had a great time.