the silver skillet – atlanta, ga

our dad came in town recently for a weekend getaway, and considering i hadn’t seen him since a hometown visit back in march, i was thrilled for the opportunity to have some quality family time.

we were nearly all together while he was here:  kyle, kari, phillip, and i spent those two days hosting dad at some atlanta classics like el taco veloz and the buford market.  when sunday morning arrived, we piled in the cars and made our way to the silver skillet.  dad had heard about this local institution about a year ago on the food network, and considering it had been featured in movies and tv shows like remember the titans and traveling man, he just had to go and see it for himself.

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a childhood treasure

as you may have heard, quite recently french toast crunch made a comeback to the cereal shelves at your local grocery store.  ah, what a miracle!  there was incredible demand from folks of all ages for this general mills classic to be back in our lives.  i won’t say i was a french toast crunch fanatic in my younger days, but it’s one of those staples that you were always wanting but only getting on special occasion, like when your mother just couldn’t handle you three needy children and had to appease you before tossing you out the minivan and onto the shoulder of the road.  okay, let me clarify here.  my mother never did that, and we weren’t really needy kids, but i wouldn’t doubt it if the thought crossed her mind once or twice.

anyway!  phillip and i were at disco kroger the other night, cruising down the cereal aisle on our way to the checkout counter.  that bright red box caught my eye and i demanded it come home with me.  we had a bowl back at the condo and, hot damn, that stuff was as amazing as i remembered it being.  those little cereal pieces taste exactly like french toast, i mean, exactly, people.  run out to the store and get yourself some now.  go on!  relive your 90s and then tell me all about it.  🙂

greensboro, nc – day 2

it was a sleeping in kind of morning on saturday, so there really was no rush to get going.  i think we rolled out of bed and downstairs around nine or so, still rockin’ the pj’s in true weekend spirit.  the coffee pot was fresh and full, so i fixed myself a mug as the sun poured in through the windows.  mary finished prepping the strada and popped it in the oven for some good breakfast eatin’.  just as the oven door shut, her hubby mike walked in from the garage, home depot bag in hand.  ah, yes!  the adventure of the garbage disposal continues, just as i promised!

we gathered in the living room around the fireplace, enjoying our savory breakfast before the manual labor began.  i’ve got the strada recipe over here for you, so if you need a new something to add to your book, enjoy!  it was rich and filling and reminded me a bit of biscuits and gravy, which we know should be a staple in every southern girl’s repertoire.

strata 1

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phyllis’ breakfast strada

a chilly saturday morning in greensboro calls for a tried-and-true family recipe.  enter phyllis’ breakfast strada.  it’s all kinds of easy to make, so here’s the recipe for your cooking pleasure.  shine on, phyllis!

ingredients

2 lbs. breakfast sausage (like jimmy dean’s), crumbled, browned, & drained

8 slices of bread, ripped up into bite-size chunks

2 cups shredded cheddar cheese

4 eggs

2 1/2 cups milk

3/4 teaspoon dry mustard

1 cup cream of mushroom soup (be sure to measure it)

1/2 cup water

directions

line 9 x 13 glass pan (no metal!) with bread chunks and sausage.

mix cheese, eggs, milk, and mustard and pour over bread mixture.  to quote mary willa, “make sure you use your hands to smoosh the liquid mixture down in the bread so it gets nice and soaked.”

cover pan with aluminum foil and refrigerate overnight.

add cream of mushroom soup to the water and mix together.  pour on top of casserole.

bake uncovered at 300 degrees fahrenheit for 1 hour and 15 minutes.  remove from oven and let stand and set for 5 minutes.

thanksgiving casserole

all of ze ingredientz.

all of ze ingredientz.

to all my fellow americans and thanksgiving-celebrators out there, happy turkey day!  let’s give thanks for days off from work and no alarm clocks and good food and tradition.  let’s also give thanks for the family and friends we can see today, while also keeping in our memories those who are no longer with us or cannot be with us.

clark and i came home to birmingham tuesday night, and as they always say, there truly is no place like home.  our childhood is here, our past was created here, and i will gladly return to suburbia nearly any day of the year.  it continues to amaze me that although my life is bustling with adventure and activity, i sometimes crave and cannot get enough of a bit of a slowdown, to ensure that i do not let the most cherished people and moments pass me by.

this thanksgiving is full of pajamas and tradition as always, but we tried something new with our grandmother gaga’s breakfast casserole.  my mom had uncovered this dish in her recipe box, and although it’d been years since she probably received it, there was no question that it was penned in gaga’s handwriting.

from the andrich family to you and yours, happy thanksgiving.  let’s eat!

ingredients

6 eggs

2 cups milk

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon dry mustard

4 slices bread (cubed)

*we just used a loaf of french bread and ripped it up.  keeps you form having to dirty up a knife and cutting board.  plus, it looks cool and rustic when you rip up bread.

1 pound sausage, hot or mild

*we had some frozen, fully-cooked sausage patties that we just plopped right on top.  worked perfectly!  but, if you prefer to cook and crumble your own sausage, be my guest.

1 cup grated cheddar cheese

*i highly recommend you use at least 2 cups of cheese.  1 cup looked so wimpy, so i said, “to heck with one cup!”  it was a very good choice.

directions

cook sausage and drain.

beat eggs.

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add salt, mustard, and milk.  then get an action shot of the tori, because who doesn’t love to be photographed in their pajamas?

in a greased baking dish (a glass 9 x 13 should do you just fine), layer the bread, sausage, and cheese.  ooh, baby, that’s the stuff.

pour milk mixture over the top and refrigerate overnight.  bake at 350 degrees fahrenheit for 45 minutes or until set.

eat with a fork, but make sure it’s just like milo is doing here, with a side bite, or else it won’t taste the same!

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folk art – atlanta, ga

folk

well, folks, it has finally happened:  our first weekend excursion for nrw!  and who was the lucky host?  folk art restaurant in the heart of inman park.  shelby had heard about it from a friend and bolted over to my cube one day at work to insist we go.  “well, let’s!” i told her.  and just like that we had sunday brunch planned for the crew.  ah, sometimes life is that simple.

folk art is a “rustic” “feel good” breakfast, lunch, dinner, and brunch eatery led by chef-owner jason hill of the sister restaurant wisteria.  the menu boasts big drinks and generous food, things up the alley of a typical 20-something after a weekend of raucous fun.

the atmosphere is bursting with charm; it actually reminds me of the eastside jittery joe’s in athens with all of its local art, exposed brick, and “weathered wood floors.”  it is comfortably eclectic and mildly hipster with its american pickers-inspired décor.  the magnetic refrigerator letters are nostalgic and homey alongside the mason jars lining one wall.  it’s all just ultra southern girl basic, and we were soaking in every bit of it.

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but that’s enough about the décor.  although ambience is a big factor for me when trying a new place, the food is really the reason we come.

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brian, a bride, and a moh

yesterday was so fun-filled and enjoyable that i just need to tell you all about it!  i first started off the lovely morning with my cousin brian.  he was in town from san francisco this weekend for kyle’s bachelor party, and in an effort to not crash the events, he and i met up for an early breakfast before their festivities geared up for the day.  i picked him up from his rented loft in downtown atlanta, and then we zoomed off towards memorial.  as we pulled up to ria’s bluebird café, we sadly realized that it wasn’t open.

“but the web site said they were open beginning at eight o’clock saturday mornings!?”

i know, i know.  it’s heartbreaking!  for this little place looked quite original and quirky, just what we were craving.  well, maybe next time?  maybe…

brian quickly hopped on foursquare and read aloud some other recommendations.  “this place highland bakery has an even higher score than ria’s.”

“we can definitely go there!” i assured him.  “it should just be right down the road.”

even though it was quite early in the day, there were plenty of folks already at their tables on the sidewalk.  the sun was beginning to peek up over the horizon with its warm rays, so we opted to eat inside instead.  it was a fine choice to dine indoors, for we were perfectly placed to visit and enjoy the atmosphere.

brian is one of the coolest people i know but is someone with whom i never get to spend enough time.  considering he spent his childhood in san pedro, moved to new york for a few years, and is now in northern california, you can see how it would be hard to get together.  thanks to more frequent family events and reunions, though, we’ve been pretty good about seeing each other at least once a year.  ah, he’s just so cool that it still isn’t enough!

our genial waitress brought the coffees and between sips, brian and i caught up on anything and everything.  his job at apple is going well, he loves his new apartment, and he is stoked for the wedding in october.  he’s one of the groomsmen for kyle, and you can bet he will be tearing up the dance floor at the reception.  brian definitely has a wild side, and we’ll see just how far it is unleashed next month.

per foursquare’s recommendation, brian ordered the fried chicken benedict.  he had mentioned he didn’t want anything too heavy, but i think this plate weighed a good bit.  those little fried tenders were smothered in a jalapeno cheddar cheese sauce that looked unreal.  brian said the dish certainly lived up to its hype.

brian!

brian!

i really didn’t know what i was in the mood to eat that morning, but the sweet potato pancake caught my eye, and i figured that it would be quite delicious with my café au lait.  first, the café au lait was very well made.  it didn’t need any sugar or cream, and that, in my opinion, means you’ve got a great mug of coffee in your thirsty little hands.  the pancake was dense and sweet and even more delicious with the caramelized brown sugar butter; and the side of bacon was thick and crispy.  sometimes i like chewy bacon, but this crispy serving of pig was a great choice.

our time together was coming to a close, as i had to meet up with some peeps around ten for an alumni event.  it had been so wonderful to catch up with brian, and it makes  my heart ache that i only get to see him every now and then.  i suppose i’ll just have to make it out to san fran sometime soon.  challenge accepted!

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late-night brinner

as they almost always say, those short weeks seem so long, and i’d say these past four days were no exception.  i was glad when happy hour finally rolled around…at seven o’clock this evening.  it was about time!  after a modelo and some laughs with the coworkers, i headed home to the condo.  although the monthly pizza friday at the office was delicious, it was time for some dinner.  but tonight?  tonight i was craving breakfast for dinner, alas, brinner!

what’s the key to a good brinner?  including everything you love in it.  i mean, it’s breakfast for dinner for goodness sakes.  eat whatever you want!  although pancakes are probably one of my favorite breakfast dishes, it’s not fun to eat those all by yourself.  so tonight i kept it simple with some cheesy eggs (oh, yes), sausage, and an english muffin.  shall we?  yes, let’s!

our cast of characters.

our cast of characters.

my kitchen is quite tiny, so i had to shuffle some of the appliances around to make space for everything.  it doesn’t help that there are only four plugs, three of which are regularly occupied by the refrigerator, keurig, and microwave.

look at all that counter space!

look at all that counter space!

first things first, gotta get that english muffin all toasty.  i have had this toaster oven for, hm, about seven years now.  it was passed down to me when my old roommate shanna moved out of our dorm at uga, and it is just wonderful.  i’m glad i’ve kept it ever since.  doesn’t that little fella look perfectly toasted?  i agree.

 

while the muffin was toasting to golden perfection, i whipped up those eggs.  i love to make scrambled eggs when i’m cooking them, but when i go out i always want them over-easy so that i can get that runny yolk all over the plate.  mm, yesssss.

eggs

with the ding of the toaster oven, it was time to top the english muffin.  now, some days i like it with peanut butter.  other days i like it with just butter.  but most days i like it with cream cheese and preserves or jam.  today was one of those days.  if you have never tried this combination, i suggest you do, right now.  get up out of bed and make yourself some brinner!

breakfast for dinner hit the spot tonight.  perhaps it was even a little bit better because i was drinking my milk out of a purple wine glass?  perhaps…

plate

august in atlanta: hot and fun

i let myself sleep in yesterday, but it wasn’t too late before i was up and about tending to chores and errands.  there was much to be done for kari’s upcoming nuptials; it comes as no surprise that i am taking them to the extremes and going a bit over the top.  but hey, this wedding is the only one i’m planning on kyle and kari having, so it’s now or never.

my first stop was at henri’s bakery to do some taste testing and space scoping.  the patio is going to be perfect for our event, and everything just looked and smelled so delicious.  javier was incredibly helpful with the design details, and i cannot wait.  i had to grab a little treat for myself as i hustled out the door, so i figured a cup of coffee and a chocolate doughnut were good choices.

i zoomed up and down peacthree in the mazda as i made my other stops.  i cannot share all the specifics now because there needs to be some mystery and surprise!  the rest of the morning was a flurry of activity, and it felt great to mark some items off the to-do list.

i had just enough time to stop home and gather myself before sarg showed up.  he was in the redcoat marching band with me at uga for a few years, and we have been good friends since we met.  he and my dear friend lisa actually got married just this june.  the couple was beautiful, and the reception was a blast.  what more can you ask of a wedding?

sarg and i zipped on over to lindbergh to pick up my brother, and then we headed down to orpheus brewing.  a fairly new spot in town, orpheus brewing opened memorial day weekend and has been hosting beer drinkers ever since.  we were a touch early, as were bank and liz, so we took refuge in the shade as we waited to enter.  it was a warm and muggy afternoon (all that rain from friday offered a very brief reprieve from the typical summer weather), and we were eager to slurp down some refreshing brews.

the line of patrons grew quickly, and i was glad we would not have to wait outside too long.  we swiped our cards, adorned our armbands, and quickly took our glasses and tickets to the bar.  i first tried the atalanta, a tart plum saison, which i liked just fine.  however, i don’t think a whole pint of it would have been enjoyable.  good thing their tasting glasses are small!

everyone had their first pours, and we were able to snag a hightop around which we could congregate.  the inside space at orpheus brewing is not too large, and with the limited number of tables, it’s a good idea to get there earlier so you can grab one for your group.

even with folks out on their double-decker patio (which actually is quite nice) and others on the brewery tour, this brewery was still hot.  not one person in there wasn’t sweating like a greased monkey, but it is august in atlanta after all.  i’d say, though, that our group still managed to have a good bit of fun.

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you never know who you’ll see or meet when you’re out and about in the city, and kyle and i had the most serendipitous moment of the day:  a married couple from auburn saw kyle and thought he was clark!  they ended up introducing themselves to us, and we had the loveliest of chats:  the wife bonnie knows clark because she is also an accountant, and the husband joe was in the auburn singers show choir with him.  such a small world!  isn’t it fun to make a couple of new friends?

me, joe, bonnie, & kyle.

me, joe, bonnie, & kyle.

throughout the afternoon i tried more of the brews.  i of course cannot remember the name of my favorite, but i liked it so much i got it twice that day!  if you were to ask other folks, though, they would say it tasted like watered-down orange juice.  i guess i like the taste of watered-down orange juice…?  on the other hand, i could not stand the transmigration of souls, which was too much of an ipa, or the peace.war.truth.lie, which had an unbearable aftertaste.  something i did like very much was the labeling for each brew.  very crafty and creative.  back to the beer, though, i felt like the flavor profiles of their brews were not terribly varied.  you can imagine i probably won’t be begging for another pint of theirs soon.  oh well!  onto the next microbrewery!  just kidding, no more breweries that day.  we were a very hungry brunch, so we dallied over to hobnob at the corner of piedmont and monroe.  i was about to call ahead and let them know we were on the way, but then i remembered it was only 4:30 in the afternoon.  ah, right…

hobnob.

hobnob.

we were easily seated inside, and our waitress kate quickly brought plenty of water for the table.  we were parched and hot and desperate to quench our thirst!  we didn’t take too long with the menu, either, and a few folks were hungry enough to order starters, myself included.  there’s a quinoa salad on the menu, and it proved to be just as delicious as it sounded.  it was a small bowl full of light quinoa, red peppers, corn, and edemame.  there was the slightest kick of heat, and it was a great dish to tide me over until dinner.

quinoa salad.

quinoa salad.

the other end of the table shared a plate of soft pretzels with warm cheese and beer dip.  i didn’t get a taste, but based on sarg’s face and the empty tray, i’d say they enjoyed them.

man hungry.

man hungry.

before too long our early bird dinners arrived.  liz and i both ordered the chicken tenders, and i think we were both a little caught off guard.  don’t they look like fish’n’chips instead?

beer battered chicken tenders.

beer battered chicken tenders.

these were some serious chicken tenders, and you can bet i was full by the time i finished.  you can dip it in a habanero honey mustard or homemade beerbq sauce, but because those tenders were so dang hot, i politely requested a ramekin of ranch and went to town.  as they cooled off, and as i doused those bad boys, they became quite a filling meal along with those very tasty french fries.

everyone else at the table went with a burger.  alison and sarg were very pleased with the lamb burger.  nathan liked the bbq version of the taverner double decker burger.  kyle and bank both had the morningside.  although kyle liked it just fine, both the burger and egg were a little overcooked to his preference.

the lamb burger.

the lamb burger.

hobnob is the latest venture by brothers sean and gilbert yeremyan, their start being gilbert’s in midtown.  even though they are cultured world travelers from turkey, they have been excited to bring comfort pub cuisine to you with friendly and sincere service.  they want hobnob to be your local watering hole where the inviting and comfortable atmosphere and food keep you coming back again and again.  i would certainly come back again if someone were to recommend hobnob, but, as it seems to be the trend lately, i will definitely keep trying new places first.

we strolled back to our cars, enjoying a lovely skyline view along the way.  it had been a fun and sweet saturday afternoon.  good food, good drinks, and even better company.  you can bet that by the time we all got home around seven o’clock, though, that we were quite content with calling it a day.  man, we’re getting old!

strolling.

strolling.

a feeding frenzy – dallas, tx

i’ve recently spent time in dallas, texas for work, and although we have been keeping quite busy, we always find time for a good meal.  cranky consultants are not happy consultants.

dallas is quite the foodie town, and i feel like we’ve done a decent job of exploring it.  of course, i wouldn’t be opposed to a return trip to find and try even more local spots.

these restaurants are presented in no particular order.  and i am warning you now, we did a lot of eating.

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