Wednesday, February 29

the lion's share

More often than not, I'm craving something. Not chocolate or ice cream, but usually a beer. And not a Bud Light or a Blue Moon or even a Red Stripe [though I do enjoy the latter two on occasion] but a delicious, filling, maybe even "overly" hoppy beer. Recently, my co-worker / new favorite person Amanda and I ventured downtown and with Jade's recommendation, checked out The Lion's Share. The lighting was dim, the decor was ornate and fabulous, the people were lively and the beer list was impressive. Obviously, I was hooked.
in addition, an array of eclectic art hung on the walls throughout the bar and restaurant

parmesan french fries with mustard aioli and ketchup

THE BEST FRENCH ONION SOUP I'VE EVER HAD

so good it warranted a close up

amanda's duck confit flatbread... also a winner

Aforementioned, the french onion soup was... wow. Incredibly comforting, the perfect amount of cheese and bread on top and a TON of broth and onions, all baked together to create a cheesy, warm, melty dream in my mouth [and served with a couple crostinis]. Seriously guys, this was like THE burger experience that [again, in typical dramatic-allie fashion] changed my life. Yum dood.

{the beer was pretty darn good as well...from duvel to manzanita chaotic, i was stoked!}

Sunday, February 26

our own backyard part two

In the spirit of traveling within the U.S.A., I did a little online 'window shopping...' 

...leave it to Etsy to keep me inspired.



{back to your roots}




{this might be my fave}

our own backyard part one

After obsessing over traveling abroad and - thanks to my super cool job - excessively researching and hypothetically planning my next international adventure, I was finally able to write about a great country I strangely don't think about very often: the U.S.A. I think we sometimes forget just how special and important our own country is, and I know for people like me, planning a vacation or trip almost always entails fleeing the U.S.A. and going elsewhere. While it's enriching and exciting to visit cities abroad, I think sometimes we forget about the incredible places we have in our own backyard. Now I've seen the major cities, I've done the touristy things but sometimes the best trips aren't to the biggest and most talked about but rather to small-town cities or attractions that have big things to offer. Currently, I'm compiling my own list {suggestions and tips are more than welcomed} of...

'must-see' places in the united states
the grand canyon, arizona
joshua tree national park, california
charleston, south carolina
savannah, georgia
yellowstone national park
zion national park, utah
new orleans, louisiana
blue ridge mountains
encinitas, california
[yes its super close and yes i've been for a hot second but i'm dying to explore]
vail, colorado
boulder, colorado

So in honor of 2012, the year of the Allie, I'm trying to check off as many of my 'must-sees' as possible. Who wants to help... I'm all about road trips.

Tuesday, February 21

snooze

I know I know I know. All I ever talk about is how these restaurants are my "new favorite place" and the "BEST FOOD EVER"!! [in true dramatic-allie fashion, of course.] But Snooze, located on Fifth Avenue in Hillcrest, really does take the cake for my new favorite breakfast eatery. Besides having [at the very least] an hour wait, the food is UNBELIEVABLE and the service...unbeatable. My advice? Don't let the wait deter you. No matter what the wait, put your name in, and then go to Urban Outfitters [conveniently next door]. Before you know it, it'll be time to feast - and you'll be super stoked that you waited.




taking advantage of the extensive booze list
[grapefruit and orange mimosas]


free pancake of the day appetizer [tres leches] i'm not usually in to sweets for breakfast but this pancake was seriously incredible [and more like an actual cake than a pancake].


blt


MIX AND MATCH EGGS BENEDICT.


my choice: snooze spuds deluxe. picture this... a giant helping of hashbrowns with chicken sausage* covered in melted cheddar and jack cheese and topped with a scrambled egg and avocado*
*just two of MANY toppings

{THIS PLACE ROCKS.}

Monday, February 20

neighborhood

I had been hearing about this place for quite some time, but for some reason never ventured downtown to try it. to put it simply, I had been missing out. for five years. Neighborhood, located in East Village downtown, is actually my new favorite place - in the world. From the large decal of Jesus on the door out front to the dim lighting and eclectic art around the bar and sitting area inside, Neighborhood quickly won me over.



to make things better, we stumbled upon pliny the younger; the hard to find, not overrated, triple ipa.
 [and no it was not overrated]

entire dipping sauce section on the menu

jalepeno mac n cheese.

the. best. burger. ever. i had my way with it. it left me wanting more. and i talked about it for about 24 hours straight afterwards. incredibly soft bun, gruyere and bleu cheese, caramelized onions and arugula.

friezzzzzz


{if anyone wants to try it, i am always down}

Sunday, February 19

this week at work...

I particularly enjoyed writing 'Special Destination Luxury Cruise Vacations,' for the sole reason that I got to include India [and also flip through photos to choose an appropriate one to accompany the text].


Hope everyone is having a great, feastly weekend!

{lots of feasts comin' your way}

Tuesday, February 14

be mine valentine

Many consider Valentine's Day a scam. Overrated. A hallmark holiday. The list goes on. But even as a serial single lady, I have always liked this day. It's a fun opportunity to go to dinner with your friends... and who DOESN'T love homemade valentines and chocolate. My good friend and blog idol, Sam, has been doing diy valentines for several posts now and it inspired me to get crafty this past weekend. This is what I came up with:

orange crush bottles with homemade tags that display various messages such as "i'd be crushed at work without you" or "i gotta crush on you" and so on...

in honor of new year's resolution #1, i'm supporting local artists like my friend, lori, and her adorable creatures. they made fabulous valentine's day presents! visit her etsy store [here]

& a serious amount of cookies and candy, duh

Plus, one of my best friends in the entire world, AJ, came into town today for work And I think, even if I was madly and deeply in love, that I would much rather spend this day with her and my other incredible friends.

So let it be said. Even as probably the most hopeless of hopeless romantics, this day doesn't have to be a disaster. It doesn't need to be a day to reflect on lost loves or failed relationships. Spend it with your friends, the ones that will be there for you as guys come and go... cherish the people who cherish you in return... let yourself be hopeful [instead of hopeless] even if only for one day and be excited for what may come in the future.

{and, of course, enjoy all of the treats!}

Sunday, February 12

saltbox for brunch

Today, I was honored to have lunch with two of my favorites: Sam & Annalisa. [Almost] as food obsessed as me, we chose Saltbox, the restaurant attached to the Palomar Hotel [where I've always wanted to spend a night]. The atmosphere was classy, but surprisingly, the menu prices were not reflective. 


beautiful decor



mimosas $9

english muffin breakfast sandwich + potatoes $11

brisket + hash browns + poached eggs + mustard-infused fraiche 

breakfast burrito $12


fact: this was my first EVER breakfast burrito.
[and it definitely won't be my last]

I was always skeptical of the eggs in a burrito thing, but let me tell you, it was TO. DIE. FOR. And also the size of a small child. But that didn't stop me [I literally scraped my plate clean]. Filled with hash browns, cheese, scrambled eggs, chicken sausage [which I added instead of bacon] and topped with salsa and a generous helping of avocado, this California breakfast burrito was quite the treat and will definitely be a repeat! Hope everyone had a fabulous weekend!

{i'm cooking tonight! so stay tuned for a semi-healthy recipe}

Saturday, February 11

carnitas snack shack

Carnitas Snack Shack, which recently opened off of University Ave. in North Park, is pretty close to perfect. They use local ingredients. They deliver. They're open until midnight. They're just around the corner. AND they have a giant metal pig on their roof. [did I mention the food is pretty incredible too?]




So far, I've tried the carnitas tacos [garnished with the traditional toppings and made to order - I ordered mine extra crispy] and the fries. After stalking their ever-changing daily menu, which is now a link on my bookmark bar, and impatiently waiting for something cheesy to be posted, today [finally] they had mac n' cheese. HOLY QUESO. It was made with the traditional elbow macaroni, combined a medley of different cheeses, potentially a bit of bacon grease or something that gave it that flavor and topped with chives. Talk about heaven.


I also tried the brussels sprouts, my new favorite veg, and they were quite tasty. a little spicy since they were made with serrano peppers, but the hint of lemon evened out the flavors.


{winner winner carnitas dinner!}

Friday, February 10

latest gems and by gems i mean work products

I kinda love my job. Getting paid to research the world's greatest cities and quaintest towns, the most popular attractions and pretty much planning my next vacation? Yeah I'd say it rocks. check out my latest articles below:


{stay tuned for some absurdly good weekend eatin'}

Thursday, February 9

nutty tacos

continuing on with "inspired veganism," I whipped out an old favorite, an influence from one of my best friends, Hillary. when i visited her hometown, we went to an adorable all-natural food stand called Sunflower Drive-In. known for their nutty tacos, Hillary swore on her life that they'd change mine. skeptical, I agreed to try them. Turns out she was right... they did change my life. I have tried, time and time again, to recreate them. They'll never be quite like sunflower makes them, but I think I've gotten pretty close.


{p.s. it's almost Friday!}

Monday, February 6

vegan schmegan

Since I totally cheated in my month of veganism with my pizza feast last night, I decided to create a new situation: to try to eat vegan... several times per week... a vegan-inspired lifestyle, if you will. I feel a little guilty for bailing, but, I tried and that counts for something... right? But I'm continuing on with vegan dinners with my friends and tonight, Tim made an absurdly incredible Asian feast and I had to share [recipes to come, I hope]!


tofu and veggie summer rolls


steamed rice and homemade peanut sauce


GREEN CURRY [!!!]


no really, i wanted to dunk my face in the whole thing.


{wonderful end to a stressful work day}

Sunday, February 5

urbn

Sometimes, you just need a little pizza and beer with your friend. So I did it. My hungover self threw veganism out the window [just for one meal] to indulge in a feast of epic proportion. urbn, located on University Ave. in North Park, has to be my new favorite place... in the world. From sobbing to the bar tender at 2 p.m. [alone] while ordering a giant pizza to eat [by myself] to having the best time ever with my best friends there on a saturday night to pizza and beer on a sunday, this place has become my home away from home. The bar tenders are cute and genuinely awesome, they have quality, not crappy, beer and the pizza...oh the pizza... is for sure the best in the area [maybe the world]. I'm semi opposed to tomato sauce on my pizza [don't ask me why] and their white pizza option makes me probably more excited than it should.





hope everyone had a lovely, food-filled weekend!