Category Archives: Blogger Meet-Up

Atlanta Underground Market – Brunch Version

Yesterday, I went to the Atlanta Underground Market with Laura, her friend Felix, Heather and her husband Kirk. The Atlanta Underground Market is a monthly event where 30-40 different vendors, mostly home cooks and small businesses, sell their goods to people that otherwise might not get the chance to try them. The location is revealed in an email the day before the event. The entrance fee is $5 and the dishes are anywhere from $1-$5 each and are of various sizes.

Even though this event is somewhat secretive, a lot of people seem to be in the know and there was a line around the building to get in.

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Fortunately, it moved fast once people were let inside. I’d been to the Underground Market once before, but this time was different because this month they focused on brunch foods. Now, truth be told, I’m not the biggest brunch fan. Don’t get me wrong; I like it just fine, but it’s not my favorite meal of the day. That said, I was still excited to try some new foods. And new foods I did try!

First were some gluten-free pancakes from Dr. Sweets Cake Emporium. Laura and I split an order of two and tried both the apple-jalapeno jelly and the raspberry lime jelly.

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Next was a Bloody Maria mini cupcake from S’more cupcakes. Sounds kind of weird, but tasted delicious. It was savory, despite looking like it’d be sweet.

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After the savory cupcake, it was time for another sweet treat, this time in the form of a Strawberry Margarita cookie from Cookie Underground. These cookies actually contain vegetables (this one was Lime Beet thin with Tequila Strawberry Cream rolled in Turbinado Sugar, to be exact). You would never know it though, because they were delicious.

#Cookie Underground Strawberry Margarita Cookie#

After stopping at a few tables, we wandered around some to see our options. Last month was the first time I went to the Atlanta Underground Market and I didn’t have a strategy. I ended up buying the first five or so things that I saw and got too full to try some other things. This time, I knew that I needed to conserve my hunger until I figured out all my options.

Here’s an option that I didn’t try…

#Dad's Nads#

…it’s what you think it is.

We decided to wait in line for the most popular item in the market – arepas from Arepa Mia. Last month, I opted to not wait in the very long line for an arepa, but after hearing everyone rave about them, I decided that it was time to try them. We waited in line for at least half an hour before making our way to the front.

#Arepas from Arepa Mia Atlanta#

I was sort of worried that they might run out of the vegetarian arepas, but fortunately, they did not.

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After that, we were tired and full and we parted our separate ways. My separate way included to my bed, where I spent the next two hours in a food coma. Well worth it though!

Resolution Run

Jason made it home from work last night with about ten minutes to spare. I had some champagne ready to go.

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We watched the countdown on TV and when 2012 arrived, we popped the bubbly. Can you see the cork?

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Originally, I wasn’t going to drink at all, but in the spirit of celebration, I had a glass.

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So, the reason that I wasn’t going to drink last night – I signed up for a somewhat impromptu New Year’s Day 10K. I have been sort of thinking about the idea of starting the New Year in a healthy way instead of with a hangover. It’s kind of hard to focus on health goals when you feel like crap, right? I hoped that doing a January 1st race might set the tone for the entire year.

When I looked up New Years Day races a couple of weeks ago, I found three in the Atlanta metro area – one in Norcross, which is by my house, one in Kennesaw (45 minutes away) and one in Stockbridge (also 45 minutes away but in a different direction). Originally, I was going to do the Norcross one just because it was the closest, but then Lindsay said she was thinking of running the one in Stockbridge, so I decided to do that one with her instead and signed up on Friday night.

The race, The Resolution Run, had both a 5K and a 10K. Even though I haven’t really run more than four miles at a time during entire month of December and probably most of November, I signed up for the 10K figuring I’d just take it easy, not race for time and walk if I needed to.

The nice part about this race was that it didn’t start until 1pm. Since I had plenty of time, I decided to make pancakes. This was just from a mix that we had and I added a chopped pear. Decent pre-race fuel, I thought. Jason and I split what you see here.

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After breakfast, I got into my running clothes, put the address into the GPS and was on my way. I’m not very familiar with the south side of Atlanta so I didn’t really know what to expect. The race started in the parking lot of a Publix shopping center which was nice because there was plenty of parking.

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After some weird group aerobics, the race began. There wasn’t much of a formal start. Lindsay and I were making our way to the start line and we heard someone say GO! and that was it. The first half mile was along the side of a main road. They were doing construction on the road to widen it, so the runners had a nice lane to run in that didn’t have any traffic. After about a half mile, we turned into a neighborhood.

The race was typical Atlanta hilly. It wasn’t OMG this is awful and I want to die hilly (which is an official category of hilliness), but it wasn’t flat either. I walked up some of the bigger hills. Hill running is something that I really struggle with. Probably because I never really do it.

The 5K was a loop that started and ending at the same point. The 10K wasn’t a different route, it was just a repeat of the 5K. It was kind of a tease to see the finish line and know that you had to run the entire thing again! Most people were doing the 5K and the crowd really thinned out when the 10Kers started the second loop. I kind of started to worry that I was going be last because the slower runners would have all done the 5K. (Spoiler alert – I was not last.)

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The good thing about running the 3.1 mile loop twice was that I knew exactly what I was in for. Lots of uphills and lots of downhills and lots of big houses to look at for scenery.

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I might have walked a little bit more during the second loop of the course. I didn’t really care about my time that much (otherwise, I wouldn’t have taken pictures.) and just wanted to enjoy myself. I wasn’t wearing a Garmin and had absolutely no clue what my pace was, but I ended up crossing the finish line just shy of 1:05. Considering the walking and the lack of training, I’m okay with that time.

Doing this race was a very good idea. I could have spent New Year’s Day lying on the couch with a hangover, but I’m glad that I didn’t.

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On the Eve of New Year’s Eve

Since Jason has to work until 11:30pm tonight, we decided to celebrate New Year’s Eve last night by going out to dinner and then getting a few after dinner drinks. I knew that I wanted to go out in Decatur and a quick Yelp search told me that there was a new restaurant that sounded good – Harbor Bar and Fish House.

Unfortunately, this restaurant is in a sort of doomed location. Isn’t that weird how that happens in every city? There will be locations that restaurants just can’t stay open in. This space is cool, it’s an old house, but in the past maybe 5-7 years it’s been an ice cream shop, a Mexican restaurant and I think something else. I didn’t even know that it had been changed into a seafood restaurant. Nevertheless, we decided to give it a try.

Sorry for the terrible photos. I don’t know how to shoot pictures in a restaurant without using the flash or bumping up the ISO until they look incredibly grainy, which is what I did here with my point and shoot.

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Jason started out with oysters. I don’t like oysters but I tried one to make sure. Yep, still don’t like them. I don’t particularly like them cooked either.

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For my meal, I had the Thai Shrimp Salad. It was huge and came with eight pieces of shrimp. Nice.

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While the food was good, our only problem with this restaurant was that they didn’t really have a lot of grilled seafood and what they did have was on the expensive side. All in all, a decent choice though.

After dinner, we decided to stay out and have a few drinks. We walked over to Mac Mcgee’s on the Decatur Square where some friends joined us.

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I texted Alayna to see if she and Jeff wanted to join us since they live in Decatur and like to go to a lot of the same places that we do. Turns out they were on their way out the door to go to a different bar, so they changed their plans and met us instead.

I had three drinks at Mac Mcgee’s before calling it quits. Not exactly as wild and crazy as some of my New Year’s Eves in years past, but just as fun.

Friends in the Carolinas

Blogging is a funny thing; somehow I feel like I’ve become friends with a ton of people that I don’t actually know. But when it comes to meeting them in person, they are always exactly like I thought and conversation always flows very easily. I know that people might find it odd, but I feel like I have friends all over the country.

Dinner on Saturday night was with some of those friends. Kelly, Jen and I made plans to have dinner at Soul. Unfortunately, there was a really long wait and they didn’t take reservations. We ended up going next door to another bar and hanging out while we waited. I didn’t even realize it, but somehow almost two hours had passed and we still hadn’t gotten a table. I never saw the layout of the restaurant but I’m assuming that it was because we were a group of eight (everyone’s husbands plus Sean and his girlfriend Jackie.). At this point, we were all pretty hungry. Kelly had run 20 miles that day, Jen is 7 months pregnant and I’d run 13.1 So we scrapped the Soul plan and went to another restaurant nearby – Bistro Le Bon.

I ordered some mussels as an appetizer.

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I prefer a red sauce, but this creamy, curry sauce was good too. For my entrée, I had the turbot, which actually came with more mussels. Bonus! By the time we ate, we were pretty exhausted so we went straight back to the hotel.

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Blogger meet up photo fail, I know.

The next morning, Jason and I decided to have one last meal in Charlotte before we headed back to Seneca to get Murphy. I used my Yelp app and we set off for Common Market. Yelp made it seem like a restaurant but when we got there, it was actually a market. So we went to Bad Daddy’s Burger Bar instead.

I’d seen this restaurant on several Charlotte blogs. We have a ton of burger places here in Atlanta, so I wasn’t really overly excited about it, to tell the truth. Well, I quickly changed my mind when I realized that not only could you build your own burger, but you could build your own salad!

My version of the perfect meal:

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Romaine lettuce, avocado, feta cheese, tomatoes, mushrooms and red pepper with a veggie patty and peanut soy dressing on the side. This was by far the best thing I had to eat in Charlotte.

As soon as we got back in the car, I reclined my seat back and in the blink of an eye (really two hours), we were in Seneca. But before we got to Jason’s parents house, we had another meet up to attend!

Jaime, my twitter friend, happened to be visiting her boyfriend who is getting his PHD in physics at Clemson, which is literally minutes from Seneca. We met her at Starbucks and had a quick cup of coffee while we chatted.

Again, meet up photo fail! I don’t know where my picture taking brain was this weekend!

Lots of running, lots of food and lots of friends, both new and old: A great weekend!

10 Course Vegetarian Tasting Dinner

I had a fabulous dinner last night with a group of Atlanta bloggers. Laura sent out an email a few weeks ago asking if we were interested in a blogger get-together, maybe a tasting dinner at Rosebud. While the idea of a tasting dinner is nice, it’s usually something that I don’t like to participate in because aside from the occasional fish or seafood dish, I don’t eat any other meat. So tasting dinners and tapas restaurants and things of that nature always end up being a lot of money for not a lot of food. So, I asked Laura if she could ask about the possibility of a vegetarian tasting.

Rosebud’s chef, Ron Eyester, is known for his meat dishes, so we were all pleasantly surprised that he readily agreed to do a veggie meal! Apparently a few people on twitter were surprised too. (And I felt famous because people were tweeting about a meal that was being cooked for me and my friends!)

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When we got there, we were seated in a small room in the back. We were originally told that we were going to have a 5-course meal but it turned into a 10-course one! This was Ron’s first foray into vegetarian cooking and I think he had fun with it! He told us a little bit about each course as they came out and emphasized the restaurant’s relationships with local farms in the area. I love the whole farm to table concept and everything tasted very fresh and flavorful.

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I was joined by: Laura, Laura’s friend Corinne (who coincidently just moved here from literally less than a mile from my mom’s house), Stacy, Alayna and Heather. Kristy was supposed to join us, but she had to work late. (We missed you, Kristy!)

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First off, we were given a cocktail. This was tomato infused vodka with soda, cucumber shrub, heirloom tomatoes and agave nectar. I had no idea what it would taste like upon hearing the description, but it was light and sweet.

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Our first course was a pink eyed pea pate topped with radishes. I loved this. It had a great hint of spiciness to it.

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The second course was a piece of mozzarella cheese (made in-house) with tomato, cilantro and apricot. There was almost a soup-like sauce underneath and we were encouraged to eat it with a spoon after we finished the cheese. We did not need much encouragement!

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The third course was also tomato based – ripe summer heirloom tomatoes with an olive oil and sriacha sauce.

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The fourth course was a combination of two soups. The yellow soup was potato and in the middle, under an egg, was a creamy broccoli.

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The fifth course was Brussels sprouts topped with fried wontons and served with a curry sauce, this was served family style.

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Rosebud is known for Southern style food, so it was no surprise that a plate (again, served family style) of mac & cheese came out. It included Sweet Grass Dairy goat cheese, dinosaur kale and cauliflower. Very good, but very rich.

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The next course was supposed to sort of mimic a meat dish – tempura eggplant topped with yellow filet beans. I normally am not an eggplant fan (something about the texture) but I thought this was delicious.

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Nope, still not finished! I noticed that I stopped cleaning my plate at this point, though. Our next course were rice grits with oyster mushrooms and leeks. This tasted similar to a risotto and was quite filling.

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Next we had the start of the desserts. Our server (who was great, btw), brought us a sliver of blue cheese topped with balsamic drizzle and blueberries. I’ll straight up say it: I hate blue cheese. I tried a little tiny piece to confirm that, which I did, so I just ate the blueberries.

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And finally, we were served a large bowl of salted caramel ice cream (not pictured) topped with a bruleed peach.
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Then, to top it off, Ron brought over a bottle of bourbon from his bar across the street, The Family Dog. I’m not much of a liquor drinker (especially straight up), so I didn’t really drink much of my glass, but it was a very nice gesture.

I was very, very full at the end of the evening (we were there for almost 4 hours!) but I had such a good time. Blogger dinners are always fun, but I really think this one took the cake! I will definitely be going back to Rosebud in the near future.

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