Recapping: Restaurant Week(end)

Greetings Earthlings! Let’s get right into a recap shall we? After Zach and I got back from a beautiful wedding in NYC we had all of 1 night before having my sweet friend Sarah come visit for a long weekend. This was her first visit back since Maria & I moved her down to DC in August for her brand new big girl life so it was great to have her back in town and the fact that it fell during Vermont Restaurant Week was a great coincidence!

Thursday afternoon we got our gossip on while getting our nails done before heading over to Pizza Barrio. I had been to Barrio Bakery many times during the day for some great coffee & delicious sweet treats but had never actually made it for the evenings that they open up for Pizza.

IMG_6459

How cute is this place??

The restaurant week deal looked great but we ended up breaking it up a bit to try a few things between the three of us. The Focaccia and bacon marmalade was an awesome salty-sweet combination that we were all big fans of. My favorite part of the meal was the chopped salad that we decided to split. I loved how fresh the lettuce, avocado, and cherry peppers were and the buttermilk dressing perfectly accompanied the goat cheese. It’s been 4 days and I’m still dreaming about it. Will need to recreate…

IMG_6461

We tried two pizzas for our entrees, the Tricolore and the Green Mountain. The Tricolore was topped with mushrooms, fresh mozzarella and Prosciutto di Parma which was great but the Green Mountain pizza with it’s fresh apples and honey drizzle was the show stopper. Honestly you can throw apple slices and cheese together on anything and I’m in love, it’s the Vermont way.

IMG_6468

It also helped that Heady Toppers were $5 and our server though clearly incredibly busy and maybe the only one working (?) was fantastic. I’d highly recommend this cute neighborhood favorite.

After dinner we rushed over to the Vermont Comedy Club to catch “Belly Laughs” performed by the hilarious Unmentionables improv group. I know I have discussed many times how strongly I feel about free shit so you can only imagine how excited I was to walk into the show and receive a badass canvas bag filled with swag from various Vermont Restaurant Week sponsors.

IMG_6472

It’s quite difficult to have a bad time at a comedy show (plus the free shit high that I was riding helped) but this was particularly funny. I love the comedy club itself, it feels low-key and comfortable while still seeing top-notch performances and really fits what Burlington is all about. True to form the Unmentionables crushed all the glorious awkwardness that comes along with improv shows. They based their sets off of two interviews with people in the local restaurant/cider game which I thought was a cool way to connect to restaurant week.

IMG_6508

Check this swag out folks! #chevreforevre

We spent the rest of the weekend drinking *arguably*  too much alcohol, waking up  semi-hungover and hiking a mountain with growlers from Fiddlehead because, welcome to Vermont. We started Saturday with dinner reservations at Pizzeria Verita as classy ladies and finished the evening by eating delivery Domino’s pizza and watching Gary the Goat youtube videos on the Big Comfy Couch. 26 is a real transition year.

IMG_6501

It was a great time to have visitors and totally worth the fact that I am now exhausted to begin the month of May.

Do you participate in Restaurant Weeks around you?

 

Recapping: Quebec City Part One

Hello all and welcome to one of my favorite types of posts… travel recaps!

Warning: This post is decently long, I’ve tried to put as much character in it as possible but if you want to just scroll through the pictures I don’t blame you.

A couple of weekends ago Zach and I joined our friends on a last minute trip up to Quebec City and let me tell you, it was incredible!

Friday Night

We arrived at the Quebec City Marriott Downtown and were immediately greeted by a valet who helped us with our items and led us into the quaint but beautiful lobby. The rooms were on the smaller side but had all of the items we could possibly need for a weekend away. Once we got all settled in to the hotel we headed back down to the lobby for some recommendations for our Friday evening. I can’t for the life of me remember the valet’s name but let’s call him Isaac. He gave us the breakdown of the city and gave us some suggestions for dinner as well as a few local pubs to try out afterwards.

Dinner @ Café Au Bonnet D’âne

Roughly 15 minutes walking distance from our hotel we ended up at this cozy little corner cafe on Rue Saint Jean-Baptiste. The highlight of the menu was their extensive list of poutines which we all decided would be the perfect dish to warm up with. For those of you who haven’t had poutine it’s typically french fries, cheese curds and gravy… it’s also a heart attack waiting to happen but is quite delicious in moderation (aka once every 7 years). The poutine section had everything from traditional brown gravy to a cajun cream sauce and a even a red sauce. I went with the traditional and their take on the Mexicain burger which was topped with onion rings, chipotle sauce, brie and tomatoes. It was a total showstopper of a meal.

Cafe au Bonnet D'ane

   Cafe au Bonnet D'ane

A pint @ Nelligan’s Pub

After our hearty meals we headed back towards the hotel in search of the small Irish pub we were told had a great low key vibe which is exactly what we were looking for. The Nelligan’s crowd was eclectic to say the least, everyone from old men throwing back shots and laughing at each other to college aged kids huddled in the back room trying to get a buzz going. Seating was limited but we were lucky enough to have two gentlemen offer to move over so we could get the bench by the bar. We had a blast sitting and chatting with them for an hour, I couldn’t believe how nice everyone was to us. I’ve been to Montreal many a times and each time (in my experience) you count your lucky stars to get one friendly waiter let alone a couple of locals. I tried their namesake ale and thought it was really good but it was the atmosphere that won me over.

Nelligan's Pub

After a few more stops on the pub crawl list we headed back towards the hotel but made sure to stop first at the ice rink located across the street and take photos/run across the empty ice. Shh don’t tell anyone.

De La Place D'Youville

Quebec City

Saturday Morning

As you can see from the photo above our hotel was located just outside of one of the gates entering the old city. Saturday morning we ventured down through the winding cobblestone roads to find the historic district of Petit Champlain.

Old Quebec Funicular

Petit Champlain is located so much lower than the rest of the city that you have to take a serious set of stairs or this funicular. We gladly paid the $7 for the four of us to ride down.

Petit Champlain

The minute we stepped out of the Funicular it was like we had just walked into an old European city. I kept comparing it to stepping out of the Tardis because I couldn’t get over how beautiful and different this part of the city was. I’ve finally made a Doctor Who reference on the blog… so happy!

Brunch @ Le Lapin Sauté

My job was to find the brunch locations for the trip (a task I take incredibly seriously) and after reading a ton of reviews online had settled on this gem of a spot.

Le Lapin Saute on Petit Champlain

The entire restaurant was the size of my apartment’s kitchen and so perfectly decorated to be someone’s home in the country. The service was unbelievable, they were so friendly and welcoming. They gave us menus in English (bonus points) and the menu was expansive but fairly priced. Our meals included coffee or tea, fruit smoothie shots, and the entree for around $15 on the higher end.

Le Lapin Saute Brunch

I ordered the maple sauteed apple omelet which came with potatoes and this warmed up slice of baguette. It was all so delicious but that strawberry jam was the best part of the meal. I wish I could have taken it home with me. The servers were so attentive and helpful, they really seemed to enjoy themselves. I would love to go back there in the summer and enjoy my meal on the restaurant’s patio!

Maria and I

We spent the rest of the morning popping in and out of the stores on Petit Champlain which ranged from authentic fur shops to your typical souvenir shops and candy stores.

Bear Attack

Couldn’t resist.

Zach and I Quebec City

This photo is one of my favorites from the trip! I love that you can see the Château Frontenac as well as the Funicular and the streets of Petit Champlain 🙂

So that was the first half of our trip, hope you guys enjoyed it! I can’t recommend Quebec City enough, we had such a surprisingly amazing time! Stay tuned for the second half which includes a behind the scenes tour of Hôtel de Glace, ice skating, as well as a restaurant featured by Anthony Bourdain.

Have you ever been to Quebec City?

Have you ever had Poutine?

Recapping: An Overnight in Saratoga Springs

Hello all!

I wrote out this entire post on Sunday to be able to post Monday and then of course my computer crashed without even saving a single draft… #bloggerproblems. So anyway sorry it took a couple of days to post but in any event Sarah and I had a great time during our little getaway to race country Friday night.

First stop was to Olde Saratoga Brewing Co where I managed to walk in on someone using the restroom immediately upon arrival. Where there is an awkward situation, there is an incredibly awkward Kari finding it. Sorry dude! After that adventure I spent 5 hard earned dollars on choosing 6 beers to sample from their impressively long list. The tasting room was really cool and they even had some doughboys for sale from a local company.  The beers ranged from Lagers to Stouts and everything in between. I really liked their Saratoga Lager but the IPA stole the show. The Moonpie Oatmeal Stout was surprisingly delicious and Sarah and I both liked their Peanut Butter & Jelly Stout.

Olde Saratoga Brewing Company

We made a quick stop at the Courtyard we were staying for the night before the chilly but easy walk downtown. While most of the shops were closed on Broadway you could tell that this would be an incredibly fun spot to hang out in during the warmer months. Very similar to Church Street in it’s design and even some of the shops they had mirrored the ones here in Vermont.

The girl at the brewery recommended Boca Bistro for it’s fantastic tapas menu. The space itself was awesome! From the exposed brick to the tin ceilings, they really did rustic meets modern so well. I have had a small huge obsession with pigs since I was a kid so the metal pigs scattered through the shelves were my favorite part. Sarah and I were beyond impressed with the staff, everyone we encountered was so warm and welcoming. The food itself was delicious and it came out unbelievably fast. We tried the ham croquettes as well as the pork belly for our plates. The croquettes were good but I don’t think I’ve ever had pork belly that well done. We could have easily bellied up (pun intended) to the beautiful bar and reordered that one plate 10 times that night. Instead we asked our friendly waiter, Mark where we should head to next.

Boca Bistro Tapas

Don’t be fooled by my horrendous plate photo abilities, that sweet potato puree mixed with the tomato relish was perfection.

Mark suggested we try out Seven Horse Pub for round two of appetizers and other beer options so off we went. I can’t say too much about this place other than your typical bar/restaurant. The beer was pretty good, the spinach and artichoke dip was standard but it definitely seemed like a fun place to get out and watch a game.

Our lovely friend Chelsea suggested we hit up Circus Cafe for a cocktail during our trip so that was the next step. It was a little dead in there but that was easily overlooked thanks to the amazingly funky atmosphere! To be fair though we were there about 5 hours before I assume real people go out (we had a self-given curfew). We just ordered a couple of drinks but the menu looked so fun! I would love to go back to try it out for lunch or dinner (if I can pull myself away from that tapas menu that is).

Circus Cafe Margarita

The final stop of the evening was to Henry Street Taproom a place that if it relocated to Vermont I would without a doubt become a regular. This place was at the top of my to do list going in and every single person confirmed that we needed to try it out. So many beers, an awesome fireplace, such a great casual place for the locals and non-locals to hang out.

We had a blast exploring downtown and I can definitely see many more trips to the area in the future… like when the weather is above zero degrees. My only regret is not taking a picture on the horse statue outside of the hotel. You avoided me this trip horse statue, next time you won’t be so lucky. There you have it folks, I’ve officially run out of synonyms for “delicious” and “awesome” so I guess I’ll end this recap here.

See ya later, Saratoga Springs 🙂

Have you ever been to that area of New York?

Do you have any trips coming up? Zach and I will be joining another couple for a trip to Quebec City this weekend and we can’t wait!

New York Dog House

Happy Monday Folks!

To read this post you must understand that I don’t exactly consider myself a “foodie.” You see to be a foodie you apparently have to like orange flavored things and nuts, both of which I find repulsive. I do however enjoy a good meal and even better service and at the Dog House in Astoria, that’s exactly what I got.

Pete recommended it by saying “awesome beers on tap, french fries with buffalo dipping sauce and sick hot dogs.” We were definitely on board.  I don’t know if you remember that little old I love hot dogs more than I should thing from when I started this blog but it’s a real problem. (Or is it?)

We started the meal off with an Ithaca Beer Co. “Flower Power” IPA which I enjoyed way more than I thought I was going to. It was a wicked blend of fruit while staying true to the bitterness that I love so much from an IPA. Seriously how did they get it to balance like that??? Probably why they are in the big leagues and I’m a basement brewer… Sigh …

Per recommendation we shared a basket of fries with buffalo and sesame chili paste dipping sauces. Buffalo sauce is obviously a gift from the gods (I keep a bottle of Frank’s at the office) and this one in particular was delicious. If they bottled it, I’d have it at my desk. Imagine the possibilities!

New York Dog House

For the main attraction I picked out the “Slaw Dog” with house made slaw and apple slices on a “Kicking Kielbasa sausage.” I basically could have eaten seven more if they would have let me, it was so good!

New York Dog HouseLight on the mayonnaise, heavy on the apple slices, just as a slaw should be. These iPhone photos just do not do it justice.

As I mentioned before, the service was outstanding. When I say outstanding I mean water glasses always full, witty banter with our table, and of course quick with the food. People seemed genuinely happy to work there, it was like the restaurant was this shiny new toy that they wanted to show off. It was awesome. Then this magical thing happened when I mentioned (in a ramble) that I had a tiny little blog our waiter brought out their signature “Far East Dog- sesame chili paste, pickled daikon, scallion, peanuts on a Num Pang sausage”

IT WAS UNBELIEVABLE.

I didn’t get a photo because the boys started eating it the minute it was put on the table but I don’t even blame them, it was that good. None of us had even thought about ordering it originally but after he brought that out I can’t imagine getting anything else. The fact that I only had a third of it made me genuinely sad inside. Sweet but tangy, a hint of spice and that pork sausage… can you send that pork sausage to Vermont please?

Speaking of sending to Vermont if they could just open up a location up here in Burlington that would be great… the killer ambiance would fit right in around these parts. If I lived in Astoria I would be a regular, you can bet your ‘Far East’ dog on that.

New York Dog House

And that my friends, is a post about hot dog heaven. Hope you enjoyed 🙂