Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Memorial Day Trip to Charleston

My sister Charlotte attends College of Charleston, and I've been dying to visit! I finally got my chance when we planned a girls' trip to the fun city over Memorial Day Weekend in order to celebrate my Mom's 60th birthday. #SexySixtyInSC

Mom flew up from Austin, and then we were on the same flight for the second leg of the trip.


After Charlotte picked us up from the airport, we headed straight for a late lunch at Fleet Landing. The low-key restaurant sits right on the water, is a short walk away from the Battery, and is known for great seafood. (Pro Tip: I highly recommend a reservation, because even at 2:00 there was an hour plus wait when we arrived.)


Before our trip, I did LOTS of research on restaurants, and specifically where to try the best of certain classic Charleston dishes (shrimp and grits, fried green tomatoes, She-crab soup, etc.). Fleet Landing came up in numerous reviews regarding the best shrimp and grits, and boy did it deliver! I still can't get over how creamy those grits were. 


We also loved the stuffed hush puppies (one of the most Instagrammed items from the restaurant for a reason).



After lunch, we burned off (some of) the calories as Charlotte gave us a walking tour of the city. We walked along the water to the Battery and then up King Street to see all the fabulous old houses. My sister was an excellent tour guide, and I was awed by the history, architecture, and beautiful scenery of the city.
After exploring the city, we checked into the Francis Marion Hotel. Even though it is an older building (opened in 1924) like pretty much everything in Charleston, it was very nice and in a great location. I only managed to take one photo of the hotel: this cool old mailbox...


After freshening up at the hotel and making a pit-stop to see Charlotte and Bru's place, we enjoyed some cocktails on the gorgeous patio at 492 King.


Then it was time for dinner at 82 Queen.


We ordered a plethora of appetizers as our meal, and everything was absolutely incredible. The best being the She-crab soup (which they served with amazing little biscuits) and roasted tomatoes with goat cheese fondue. So. So. Good.
On Sunday morning, since we clearly weren't full from the day before, we headed to brunch at Toast.

Bottomless mimosas and fried green tomato crab cake benedicts for the win!



After brunch, we explored the shops in the City Market before our carriage ride tour.

You don't get to pick your route as they rotate all the carriages through a few different areas. We got the route through the main part of downtown. I only managed to take a couple photos, but all the buildings are churches are so beautiful. 



The tour was fun, but it was soooooo unbelievably hot outside. I also think I would prefer a walking tour (assuming it was cooler outside).

After a little nap and some much-needed time soaking up some AC at the hotel, we embarked on a fabulous progressive dinner adventure.

The first stop was for appetizers and cocktails at the Bar at Husk. The bar is in a building next door to Husk, with its own patio and a different menu. And unlike the main restaurant, it's not hard to get a table. 

Since it was our appetizer course, we went with the cheese plate and freshly shaved country ham (which is served on a piece of a whiskey barrel), along with some delicious and adorable cocktails. Our food was fantastic, but after seeing their famous burger in person, I want to make a return trip as soon as possible. They also offer the biggest individual serving of fried chicken I've ever seen!

For our main course, we made the short walk to Cypress. As it turns out, it was the restaurant's last night open ever. (But its sister restaurant, Blossom, is still open next door.)


For dessert, we walked a few doors down to High Cotton. Upon the recommendation of the hostess when I called to make a reservation, we got a table in the bar area. They have live music on the weekends, and it was the perfect spot to enjoy some wine and a magically delicious (and off-menu) praline soufflé



Finally, we enjoyed some bubbles on the rooftop at Vendue.


The multi-tiered rooftop terrace is so fun, and it offers a fantastic view of the city.

There were also lots of artistic photo props in the hotel lobby, and we clearly had to partake.



After sleeping in a bit on Monday morning, we headed to Sullivan's Island to celebrate Memorial Day at the beach. 

Upon arrival, we got our beach bodies ready with lunch at The Obstinate Daughter. It was all so good!



Sullivan's Island is such a cute beach, and it would be a fun place to rent a house for a family vacation.



After a little nap back at the hotel (can I get an amen for vacation naps?!), we headed out for our last night on the town. 

First, because we clearly needed more French 75s, we went to the Gin Joint


Bru was able to join in on the fun.


Then we walked across the street for dinner at Magnolias


We ate so much incredible food over the course of the weekend, but I think this was my favorite overall meal. And the best part was clearly the friend green tomato appetizer, which comes on a bed of white cheddar and caramelized onion grits with country ham and tomato chutney. Yes, please! 


I had such a great weekend exploring the city and stuffing myself silly with fantastic southern food. And I definitely can't wait to go back...when the weather is cooler.

Thanks so much to our wonderful Charleston hosts!


In case you are interested, here is a map of our adventure: https://drive.google.com/open?id=1s2aktvICkdg-Pznxns_i9qZFrYE&usp=sharing. Also, these are the restaurants that came highly recommended from various sources that we just didn't have time to squeeze in: FIG, Hominy Grill, Poogan's Porch, Slightly North of Broad (S.N.O.B.), Cru Cafe, Goat.Sheep.Cow (the south location is just a cheese shop, but the north location has a menu/wine bar), Bin 152, Five Loaves, and Stella's


Thursday, July 13, 2017

Ava's Dance Recital

In May, Ava had her third dance recital, and she performed both a ballet and tap number (True Colors and Swinging on a Star respectively).

She absolutely loved her sparkly, purple costume. 



Our tiny dancer backstage and ready to go.



Ava did so well, and it doesn't get much cuter than baby ballerinas up on stage.


Ava was so happy that Grammie was able to come in town for the big event.


We were all so proud of Ava, and I think Rylan was the proudest of all.








Love, love, love. 

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Popcorn + Wine Pairing

It is well documented that I love wine, and I especially love a good wine pairing...whether it be with cheese, meal courses, or chocolate. I also love me some popcorn. And while I have clearly had wine and popcorn together on many a movie night, I never thought about a wine and popcorn pairing. 

Thanks to the folks at Skinny Pop, I now know how fun a wine and popcorn pairing can be, and they made it super simple with this lovely infographic...

In addition to utilizing the infographic, I highly recommend the store locator in order to find specific flavors.  Jill and Erin joined me for the fun, and they helped stop at stores across DFW to pick up the flavors we wanted. 

With everything set up, we were ready to get poppin.



I also had a small cheese board on hand. Clearly. 

 

 For the Naturally Sweet flavor pairing, I couldn't find a Banyuls wine for the pairing, so we called an audible and went with a rose instead.


I'm a sucker for a salty/sweet combo, so I really liked the slight sweetness of this popcorn. And it paired well with the dry rose (a sweet rose would have been too much). It was a nice, light way to start off the tasting.


Next up was the Sea Salt & Pepper popcorn paired with a Sauvignon Blanc.


This was the crowd favorite popcorn, and the best bites were the ones with lots of pepper (which we analogized to the best Cool Ranch Doritos being the ones loaded with all the goodness). It tasted like a substantial appetizer and paired well with the crisp white wine.



The third pairing was the White Cheddar popcorn with a Malbec. For the Malbec, we opted for "The Show," which one participant described as "peppery and lovely." The flavors went really well together.


 I also love their label.


Finally, it was time for the "dessert course," with the Dusted Dark Chocolate popcorn paired with a Pinot Noir.


The chocolate flavor was my second favorite after the sea salt and pepper, and we all appreciated that it wasn't overly sweet. The popcorn had just a hint of chocolate flavor. 


This was our first time trying Meiomi's pinot, and it is now in heavy rotation at my house. It is a full-bodied pinot noir that packs in wonderful flavor at a moderate price. Highly recommend.


All around, it was such a fun night! 

And my little monkeys even stopped by a couple times to help us taste test. 


It doesn't get much better than best friends, pajamas, wine, and popcorn.


About Me

My name is Catherine, but most of my friends call me Cat. I was born and raised in Austin, went to TCU, and ended up in Dallas for law school (where Josh and I met). I decided that being an attorney was not my cup of tea and pursued a career in legal marketing instead. I am now a mother of two attempting to balance family with a full-time job, which is always an adventure. I love: my sweet babies, handsome husband, very large family, and fabulous friends; trying new restaurants; wine; TCU football; holidays; cooking; pajamas; La Croix; reading; coffee; podcasts; Central Market; carbs; the beach; mani/pedis; Anthropologie; binge-worthy TV shows; trivia; French 75s; Pinterest; cheese boards; The Ticket; dancing; Sprinkles cupcakes; The Texas Rangers; fresh flowers; thunderstorms; naps; Tex-Mex; the Texas Hill Country; porch-sitting; ranch dressing; throwing parties; and my job. I hate: working-mom guilt; snakes; heights; waking up early; ignorant people; stomach bugs; paper cuts; green fruit; bad hair days; snoring; the sound of people eating (Misophonia); Miracle Whip; scary movies; bad drivers; pulpy OJ; trimming baby fingernails; and working out. I think that sums it up.

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