Food Team: Baru, NOLA

So I was recently in NOLA for a workshop. And I could never go to NOLA and not see one of my bestest friends, Sara. She took me to an awesome restaurant that is now at the tip-top of my favorites list. [REMINDER TO SELF: Make a Favorites List]. It’s called Baru and it’s a Bistro and Tapa’s Bar. The food was exsquisite and I was the perfect amount of happy when I left. Here is what we ordered… and NO judgements… it was a girls night.

TAPAS >> CEVICHE: gulf fish| leche de tigre | cilantro | pickled onions | avocado | chips

TAPAS >> MAZORCA: roasted corn | salao cheese | pink sauce | potato sticks

TAPAS >> OSTRAS FRITAS: deep fried louisiana oysters | cilantro aioli | carmelized onions

TAPAS >> CHUZOS de CARNE: grilled skewers of skirt steak | chimichurri | bollo

SALAD >> CAMARONES: coriander crusted louisana shrimp | mango | julienned red onion | avocado | tomato | greens | citrus vinaigrette

DESSERT >> DOLCE LECHE: off the menu and it was yummy

DRINK >> MANGO PINNAPPLE JUICE: an off the menu specialty

The atmosphere was perfect. The staff was incredibly friendly and helpful — and judgement free! The food – oh, the food – was DIVINE. What was my favorite? The fried oysters, BY FAR. It was the perfect balance of sweet and savory. My least favorite… probably the CEVICHE. It was a little too citrus-y for me. The MAZORCA was the perfect balance with all of the other spices on the table. And the DRINKs were incredibly refreshing. I expected to walk away stuffed. But instead, as my father likes to say, I was content.

You like how there is a big bite taken out of my dolce leche? I have a problem remembering to take the picture… until after I have eaten what was on my plate!

Oh yeah, that’s my girl.

Today I am thankful for: a date night tonight. AND the frozen pina colada mix my dad gave me. He’s so awesome.

Stuffed Shells

Pesto Chicken Stuffed Shells

20-25 jumbo pasta shells

4 oz cream cheese, softened

1 cup of freshly grated parmesan cheese + 1/4 cup for topping

¼ cup of feta cheese

1 large tomato

3 tablespoons of homemade pesto (you can use storebought)

2 cups of shredded cooked chicken

2 cloves garlic, mince

salt and pepper and onion powder to taste

In a large pot over high heat, boil water and prepare pasta shells as directed on package. Drain the pasta shells and set aside. The original pesto chicken stuffed shells recipe suggest to cook the pasta shells until al dente; however, I like my shells softer and I found that even after cooking them longer, they still came out a litte hard after baking the dish. Cook your chicken. I only ended up using 1 1/2 chicken breasts about a pound and a half. I will suggest that you undercook your chicken slightly so that they’re still a little pink. It will go back into the oven. Core and chop up your tomato. In a large bowl, mix in all ingredients except for the cooked shells and the 1/4 cup of cheese for the topping. Fill the pasta shells with the filling and place in a baking dish.  Sprinkle the remaining 1/4 cup of cheese over filled shells. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and bake shells uncovered for 30 minutes or until shells are bubbling hot and cheese melts. Original recipe can be found here.

This was one of those recipes that’s really simple and everyone enjoys. My boyfriend said that this is his all time favorite. Easy to please, I tell you.

Today I am thankful for: getting to see my dad tonight! And in other news… I found out that my pasta won’t expire for another 202 years.

That’s weird… right?

7th Annual Sloss Furnace : Stokin’ the Fire BBQ – Day 2

What a fun weekend. The shot above has to be one of my favorites. It was taken during some of the down time that we had while things were cooking. That was the worse part… the wait. Why is it that Ribs take 4 hours? Oh the anticipation. Look at what our finished product looked like!!

The chicken.

The ribs.

The pork butt.

The man with the plan. And “The Dave” behind him. You see that bear claw he’s holding? Wolverine wanna-be.

The job that gets the most respect because the least amount of people want to do it. Garnish Queen. We were in charge of making everything look beautiful. It’s apart of the scoring process. It’s time consuming, tedious, and requires a lot of patience. Lord, help us.

One of my favorite picture of the boys. [Left] Chicken Cooker [Right] Official Meat Turner-Inner.

And the happy couple. Who’s Dave you ask? Look behind the man with the bear claw. It’s the cookin’ machine! What a great weekend we had. More pics to come of Sloss. And we took some really good ones.

Today I am thankful for: getting to see my dad! We’re in Gulfport. I have an interview tomorrow in Fairhope! Wish me luck!

 

GUESS WHAT??

Guess what, y’all? I made a REAL Green Monster today!! You remember this post? Well I have finally figured it out…

Here’s the recipe:

  • 4 Banana’s (I like for my smoothies to have a little “girth”)
  • some milk (about a cup maybe)
  • 2.5 handfuls of spinich
  • some oats — about a handful
  • 1 container of Chobani Greek yogurt
  • about a tablespoon of honey
  • and then for some added weight I added some frozen mango’s

Get into it! It’s sooooo healthy. I think. I mean it doesn’t have any fake sugars and it’s made up of things that everyone can pronounce. What’s not to love? Get involved. Get behind the movement!

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Today I am thankful that: my baby monster dog is feeling better. He is still at the doctor but he is eating and drinking again.

AWESOME BURGERS

My boyfriend has a gift — making what we have deemed an AWESOME BURGER. I won’t share what the secret is. But I’ll give you some helpful hints with these pictures. This is the stovetop edition — it was just too cold to be outside. We usually do them on the grill but since I got this awesome Grilling Plate from William-Sonoma we did them inside… and they might be one of the new secrets to keeping your burger yummy and juicy. If you love to grill I would suggest you add one of these bad boys to your Christmas wishlist. It really has made a difference!

1/4 lb. patties. Oh how yummy. Here the are simmering in their juices. DE-licious.

The beauty of a grilling pan. **hint hint — that’s feta cheese melting over those burgers.

Placing the burger onto the bun and looking good!

And then all the final touches! OMG — how yummy!

Sloss Furnace : Stokin’ the Fire BBQ and Music Festival

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All I can really say about this BBQ competition is that these guys take food and cookin’ seriously. Their cookin’ is a Labor of Love. All the chefs were out in the blazing heat, with temperatures in the high 90s, all day and all night. And I have to say, our team — Blue Creek BBQ — did a mighty fine job. I can’t wait until next year!

Pics are compliments of NR and AC.

Atlanta, GA : The Varsity

There are so many wonderful things going on in the “Dirty Dirty” aka Atlanta. But one of the most touristy and best things in Atlanta has to be–without a doubt–The Varsity. A. They have awesome fast food B. You can pull up and order your food to a bellhop (or whatever you might call them) — cash only C. They have Coke products (lately I’ve noticed along the East Coast specifically in the Carolinas; their love for Pepsi Products — gross) D. They yell at you when you don’t order quickly enough E. They have orange drink aka “Frosted Orange” and F. They have CHILLI DOGS!!! What more could a girl ask for??

Drive-In

Here’s the Menu for all of those inquiring minds out there.

Yummy Yum

And then the Money Shot…

Oh so Beautiful.

For more information on The Varsity, check out their website here. Y’all have a great day.

GOOD DOG : Chattanooga, TN

GOOD DOG

I love Chattanooga! And this restaurant has to be at least one reason why. Read what GOOD DOG has to say about their own awesome place:

GOOD DOG is a quick-service restaurant that serves great food in the form of all-beef, natural casing hot dogs, the very best veggie dogs, homemade chili, hand-cut twice-fried fries, fresh salads with hand-crafted dressings and freshly baked cupcakes.  We are committed to making fresh, fast food accessible to all while keeping it affordable, fun and socially responsible.

GOOD DOG believes in GOOD things, GOOD food, GOOD folks, GOOD times and a GOOD earth.  Our restaurant was built using re-claimed and re-purposed materials.  We strive in daily operation to minimize waste, promote recycling and create the smallest environmental footprint possible.  Our french fry oil is collected and used as bio-diesel fuel.  We believe that one fry at a time, we can help to make a difference.

AWESOME, right? We were off in the North Shore District in Chattanooga (checking out 1 of the 6 gear shops we looked at during our awesome road trip) and I pass by a door way that looks something like this…

ummm… yes please.

So, I see a Cupcake with a halo and then a Hot Dog with a halo and I’m as good as done. This is where we were meant to be. Check out the menu.

I got the BBQ Dog and my boyfriend got the Chicago dog. They were EPIC. So epic that I forgot to take pics of them (sad day, I know). I was just way too excited.  But check out my other pics.

Crown Molding and Door Frames

Their counter tops are accented with old crown molding and old door frames. I love this.

Yes Ma’am – GOOD CUPCAKE

I LOVE CAKE.

These guys rock! Check out the main website here and check out their blog here and make sure you show your support and go there.