Sunday, April 13, 2014

Euro-Trip 2014

My Christmas present from my husband was a trip to Europe! We decided to go over spring break and are going to London and Paris.  We are going for 10 days and I could not be more excited.  I have been planning for weeks and created an itinerary planned and a packing list. ( The two things I am most concerned about :)) I did a ton of research, read a lot on trip advisor and bought 3 travel books.  I also couldn't find very much out there about what to pack!

Here is our itinerary and what I decided to pack.  I will keep you posted on how the packing and itinerary turns out!

London- We are staying in the Kensington Area

Arrive at Heathrow around 10:30am, Travel to hotel, check in, freshen up,  Tower of London, Westminister Abbey, Dinner somewhere in the West End

 slept in, wake up and grab the bus tour, Cabinet war room, Churchill museum

- National Gallery, Nottinghill,  Leicester square for theatre tickets, Dinner  in SoHo

- Changing of the Guard- Buckingham palace @ 11:30, High tea at the Dorchester, Tate Modern Museum, Theatre, Dinner at Sampson's 

Check out west end, Covenant Garden, Trafalgar square: walking tour, Eurrail leaves at 5:30, arrive in Paris 

Paris- We are staying in the Champs de Mars area near the Eiffel Tower

- Historic Paris walk ( AM ),Louvre ( allow 3 hours), Dinner reservation

Versailles, casual dinner out, could stay out there or come back and wander

Notre Dame, Arc de Triumph, Explore, shopping, Muse de Orsay , River Cruise 

Flea Market in the AM ( have map and directions), Rue de Clare walk ( grab supplies for lunch, Take it to picnic on the Eiffel lawn)  Go up to the eiffel tower, watch the sunset, glass of champagne, late dinner, drinks in Place du Trocadero or Rue de Clare

- Left Bank, any other areas we want to go back to, Airport and go home @ 2

Packing List
- 3 pairs of pants; jeans, black pants, leggings
- 2 sweaters, black and gray
- 1 cotton midi dress, black
- 1 vest, 1 trench coat
- 3 scarves; to add some color to some outfits
-3 tops, black long sleeve, 2 diff. striped tops 
- 1 skirt ( black)  and pair of tights
-3 pairs of shoes, Toms, Low heeled boots and tennis shoes

Have you ever done this trip? What did you do and what did you pack?? 

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Chicago Restaurant Week

Earlier this month, we had Chicago restaurant week in the city that loves food.

I usually look forward to this week. It's a chance to go to my favorite restaurants and try some of their newest creations or try somewhere new! 

This year we did...

Ruth Chris: I love their filets cooked in butter. I know this is a chain and some people ( including my husband) might snub their noses but I really like it! Everything was delicious ( unfortunately I forgot to take pictures! )  Downside; tons of people, it was very crowded and it felt like our server was on autopilot. 

RPM: I had been here once and it was fantastic. I was looking forward to trying it again. We went with a big group and I was the only one that did the prix fix.  It worked out because we wound up ordering a lot of different things.  The lobster bruschetta was by far my favorite.   Their pasta is fantastic and if you ever in doubt, I would give that a try.  Downside; we had to wait for over 25 minutes for our table with a reservation and I also had a pork dish which had more fat than meat. 

Tortoise Club:  This was our first visit. I had only heard a few snippets about it and sometimes that is the best way to go into a new experience.   It was very cool location with traditional decor.  They had a live jazz band playing which really added to the experience.   We did one prix fix menu and then the rest of us ordered off the menu.  Our friends had sea bass and trout and they liked their dishes. We also had a salted carmel dessert, very good.   I had a shrimp polenta gumbo and that was excellent.  Very spicy but good. Downside; a little pricey for what you get.

Pictured: salted carmel, shrimp gumbo.

Overall a great experience and a great excuse to get out in this freezing weather and enjoy good food with friends.  

Did you try any new restaurants for Restaurant Week? 


Sunday, February 16, 2014

Crock Pot Pulled Pork

So I have made many meals in the crock pot, especially with this cold weather we are having!  We  were hosting friends for dinner and I wanted to do a Southern pulled pork recipe.  My Dad makes an amazing pulled pork in the crock pot so I asked him for the recipe.  He walked me through it over the phone.  It turned out fantastic!

Here's the recipe and my step by step, Enjoy!

Dad's Spicy Carolina Pulled Pork Recipe
1 bottle of Pork Rub ( I used Stubbs, only enough to coat the meat) 
1 cup of red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons of Worschesthire Sauce
1 tablespoon spicy brown mustard
2 teaspoons of cracked red pepper
1 tablespoon of brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon powdered cayenne pepper ( can leave out if you don't like it to have a little spice) 
2 red onions, quartered
1 bottle of dark beer ( I used a porter) 
5 lb. pork shoulder ( I used boneless) 

1. Rub the pork with the pork rub, then wrap it tightly in saran wrap and refrigerate for 3-4 hours.  ( I did it overnight) 
2. Place the quartered onions in the bottom of the crock pot.  Unwrap the roast and place on top of onions.
3. Drizzle the red wine vinegar over the roast, and the bottle of beer.  
4. Combine brown sugar, worsteshire, cracked rd pepper, cayenne pepper and mustard.  Distribute evenly in the crock pot and over meat.
5. Cook on low for 7-8 hours
6. Remove the meat and onions to a cutting board.  Remove any skin. Using 2 forks, pull and shred the pork.  Strain out or pour out most of the liquid in the pot.  Chop the onions and mix into the shredded meat. Place it back into the pot and leave on warm until ready to serve. 
7. Serve on warm buns ( I used Pretzel rolls) and top with your favorite sauce.  

Our favorite is Montgomery Inn, my husband is from Cincinnati and that stuff is amazing! However, my Dad recommended the Carolina gold BBQ sauce from Trader Joes so I put out both for people to choose from.  Normally I am 100% the Montgomery Inn but the other sauce was DELICIOUS!

I served it with Jalepeno cheddar corn bread  from Lemon Sugar and Baked Mac and Cheese from Delectable Edibles.   For dessert, a homemade trifle. ( The picture below was stolen from the internet, I forgot to take a picture of mine). 

Mom's Trifle Recipe
1 angel food cake
2 bananas (sliced) 
1 pckg of cool whip ( I used fat free) 
2 pkgs. of cheesecake pudding ( I made it with skim milk)
1 can of condensed milk ( her recipe called for making the pudding with that but I felt like it was too fatty so I didn't use it.) 
1 package of strawberries ( sliced)
1 package of blueberries

Make the pudding first and let it sit. 
Layer ingredients in the trifle bowl. 
Rip or quarter pieces of Angel food cake to coat the bottom. 
Cover that with the pudding 
Then an even amt. of strawberries, blueberries and banana slices
Top with a layer of cool whip. 
Repeat! Twice :) 

What's your favorite BBQ sauce? Do you have a favorite southern speciality?


Saturday, February 8, 2014

Eataly Review

First off, let me begin by saying if you haven't visited Eataly yet you need to.  I went twice over the holiday.  We ate a million different types of cheese, meats and wine, my idea of Heaven.

We ate at the Piazza, and had the risotto balls, oysters, giant cheese and meat platter and 2 different types of red wine.

Hand rolled pasta. If you don't believe it is hand rolled, you can just watch the person rolling it, amazing! At first I was a little skeptical of the price, but after tasting it I really felt like I could taste the difference. 

We even purchased our meal ingredients here. Fresh Atlantic salmon, olive bread, olive oil and pasta. Everything tasted fresh and delicious. 

I will be returning here again for a unique grocery and eating experience! Check it out! 

Have you been here yet? What's your favorite Italian dish? 



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