Weekend Recap: Staycation

This weekend was fun and BUSY. My bff since first grade came to visit from New York and we had a blast with a mini-Baltimore staycation. We did a staycation in DC last summer, and followed the same pattern this year by choosing a hotel with a rooftop pool. Backing up a bit, Friday night was low key with a frozen chicken parm meal from Trinacria. Saturday morning I woke up early for a mani/pedi followed by my favorite gyro salad for lunch at Samos before picking up my visiting bff from the bus station.

Then the real fun began as we checked into our room at the Hyatt Regency. This hotel was definitely a bit of a splurge, but worth it for the outdoor pool and location. We quickly changed into our swimsuits and headed to the pool deck to post up for the afternoon. The pool was small but perfect for our needs and surrounded by lots of comfy couches and lounge chairs. The view of the harbor was awesome and we enjoyed a lovely afternoon in the sunshine alternating between soaking in the pool, laying out and sipping bay breezes.

After a few hours by the pool we were craving Mexican food and ended up at Blue Agave for guac and enchiladas. Following dinner we ended up back on the Hyatt pool deck for s’mores at the fire pit! We bought a s’mores kit at the front desk complete with graham crackers, marshmallows, chocolate and a long stick for marshmallow roasting. It was a gorgeous night and we has a blast acting like kids and setting our marshmallows on fire. I can’t remember the last time I had a s’more and it was delicious.

Saturday morning we woke up early for the Baltimore Women’s Classic 5k.  I ran the race last year and was excited to participate again. It was another great experience and we enjoyed the supportive, inspiring feeling that comes from a women-only race. It was a HOT morning and we certainly worked up a sweat during the race. After the race we went back to the hotel for much-needed showers and checked out before post-race refueling brunch at Metropolitan. I ordered a croissant sandwich with egg, cheese and turkey sausage that hit the spot!

To cap off the weekend with more eating, we got carry out pasta from Grano. You choose your noodle and you choose your sauce. Hello drool-worthy spaghetti Bolognese, house salad and bread with olive oil.

 

What was the highlight of your weekend? Have you ever done a staycation?

Advertisements

Weekend Recap…a little late

Weekend Recap…a little late, but we’re just rolling with it.

man vs pho

Friday: After a week of chilly rain, we were ready to warm up with some pho at Pho Saigon in Catonsville. We are huge fans of the ramen at Mi & Yu, but sometimes we just want the traditional pho and for that we always go to Pho Saigon. We started with summer rolls and then I had a small bowl with tofu and veggies which hit the spot. We spent the rest of the night watching old episodes of the Office (we’re re-watching the series) and I couldn’t stop laughing during “A Benihana Christmas” which is one of my favorite episodes.

Saturday: Nothing like waking up before 6am on Saturday morning. We piled into the car and drove to DC for Race for the Cure with my mom and cousin. Even though we registered ages ago, we never received our race packets which is why I am rocking the vintage shirt in that pic. Like every year, I was wowed by the celebratory nature of the event and the waves of people rocking their pink outfits.

race for the cure 2016

After the race and festivities, we walked up the street for brunch at Old Ebbitt Grill. I branched out and had the corned beef hash cakes with sunny side up eggs and breakfast potatoes with toast on the side. I can’t have gooey eggs without toast! My mom and cousin stuck to their usual orders: the fried oyster eggs benedict and the eggs Chesapeake which is a benedict with a crab cake. Even though we had to wait a longggg time for our food, everything was delicious as always and the potatoes were particularly crispy and fantastic.

Saturday evening we had friends over to watch the Kentucky Derby and we munched on a spread of snacks and sipped mint juleps. After the race and a few more rounds of drinks (and snacks) we walked to the 8×10 to see our friend’s band Slow Lights perform. The band was great and venue is small and bare bones which made for a great show.

slow lights 8x10 baltimore

Sunday: I celebrated Mother’s Day with my mom by getting dim sum at Oriental East down in Silver Spring. If you like dim sum or want to try it for the first time, you definitely should make the trip down for it. We waited an hour and a half for our table and it was well worth it – that’s how good it is! We enjoyed fried taro dumplings, shumai, spare ribs with black bean sauce and several other tasty dishes. The rest of the day was spend in true Sunday fashion – grocery shopping, gym, laundry.

Jack Birthday

And now it’s Tuesday and we’re celebrating our favorite furball’s third birthday. Happy Birthday Jack!!

Friday Five (Spoons Cafe)

If you’re looking for breakfast in Baltimore, Spoons is where it’s at. While I’m not a huge breakfast person (and am afraid to admit that I really don’t like brunch), I’ve enjoyed some amazing meals at Spoons lately and I feel like every time I go I learn a new tip or trick so I thought I’d share them for today’s Friday five!

  1. Go early! As I mentioned I…ahem…don’t like brunch, so I don’t mind an early get together on the weekends. Spoons can have upwards of a 30 minute wait and they don’t take reservations, so if you want to beat the crowds, try to arrive by 9:30am. Spoons Baltimore - Salted Caramel Latte
  2. Skip the coffee…go for the espresso drinks. Hello you beautiful salted caramel latte. The coffee is OK, but the lattes and chais are amazing.
  3. Speaking of lattes, you can get your drinks to go! If you’re looking for a quick morning caffeine hit, head straight to the coffee bar and order your espresso drink to go. It’s about the same price as Starbucks and more delicious because it comes from your neighborhood joint.                                   Spoons Cafe - ONuts
  4. Don’t skip the O-nuts. Worth every calorie, these powdered sugar covered gems are Spoons’ twist on a traditional beignet. Deep fried and DELICIOUS. They come in perfectly small portions too- get 3 or 6.
  5. Spoons doesn’t have serve liquor so if you’re looking for the kind of brunch where you stuff your face and pound bloody mary’s, this probably isn’t the place for you. They do serve wine and champagne so you can get mimosas and bellinis (an cheap ones at that!). Spoons does have their own twist on a bloody – Asian-inspired and made with sake. It’s not bad, but no substitute for the real deal.

You may notice that I didn’t even touch on the food and that’s because everything I’ve tried is delicious – you can’t go wrong! Most recently, we tried the hangtown fry: fried oysters over scrambled eggs with smoked paprika aoili. The oysters were fried perfectly and had amazing flavor that was enhanced by the mild sauce. They also have a build your own omelette or scramble option if none of the menu items are striking your fancy. I’ve designed myself a tasty egg white omelette chock full of veggies and gooey cheese. And the breakfast potatoes. For your choice of side, always go with the breakfast potatoes – so, so good! I mean, just look at that plate below. And wake up tomorrow morning and get yourself to Spoons. Stat.

Spoons Baltimore Fried Oysters

Spoons Cafe

Location: Federal Hill, 24 E. Cross Street

Highlights: Affordable breakfast entrees, sweet O-nuts and delicious espresso drinks.

Happy Friday and happy March Madness! Go Terps! And because it’s Friday, we’re linking up with Heather, Mar, Cynthia and Courtney.

Abby and Jeanette’s Weekend of Fun (TOL)

Happy Thursday! We have almost made it through the week before Christmas – I don’t know about you, but things have been crazy busy in my office as we work to finalize a bunch of projects before the holidays. I’m actually heading to Boston today for a quick day trip for work which should be fun, but also a little stressful since it’s up and back in one day. Luckily, it’s not all work work work over here – we’ve also been doing a lot of cool stuff.

Linking up with Amanda for Thinking Out Loud Thursday.

Last weekend kicked off with the O’s holiday party. There was tasty food, open bar and casino games and all of the Orioles players attended who were in town for the weekend’s fan fest. Adam’s a big baseball fan and it was a really cool experience! We snagged the below pic with O’s manager Buck Showalter.

Orioles Holiday Party Buck

On Saturday, Jeanette and I went to a pottery class at the Clayground in historic Ellicott City. J had given me a groupon for two spots in a byob pottery wheel class and we had a blast learning the basics of “throwing a bowl.” There were only eight people in the class and our instructor did a great job of slowly explaining all of the steps. I can’t say my bowl turned out all that well, but I had a lot of fun and I’m excited to go back and glaze my bowl after it gets fired in the kiln. We followed our pottery class with lunch at a nearby sandwich place where I had a bomb turkey avocado sandwich.

Clay Pottery Baltimore Girls Clay Pottery Baltimore

Sunday we had a holiday brunch potluck and my talented friends made some delicious food. Jeanette and I were in charge of drinks and struggled a little to make this cranberry prosecco cocktail (the syrup turned out way too chunky). We munched on tiny gingerbread donuts, egg cups, french toast casserole and pumpkin jam Greek yogurt parfaits. We also watched Love Actually which is one of my absolute favorite holiday movies.

Holiday Brunch Donuts Egg Cups Yogurt

My busy work week was also punctuated with a lot of food: pizza party and omelet bars in the office, holiday cookie deliveries and a team dinner at Cinghiale. Our dinner was great – we started with wine and charcuterie and I had a delicious pasta with wild boar bolognese.

cinghiale dinner pasta

And I think that just about catches us up on the last week’s activities. I laid low last night and watched Amy Schumer’s special. I don’t usually love stand-up but I thought it was really funny. Yay for funny women.

Oh and to complete this post with one more food pic, I made some Hanukkah spice cupcakes for a family gathering Saturday night.

Chanukkah Hanukkah Cupcakes

What is your favorite holiday movie?

Thanksgiving Recap

Rabbit rabbit – Happy December! I hope everyone had a fabulous/relaxing/productive/whatever you wanted it to be Thanksgiving break. I love hearing/reading about everyone’s different family traditions. I know a lot of Baltimore folks do raw oysters before their Thanksgiving meal and some families have a yearly touch football game.  We have our special traditions to like having cheesecake for dessert instead of pumpkin pie, playing hours of bridge and having a giant turkey balloon. Here are the highlights of my Thanksgiving and some of my favorite traditions:

Food

Thanksgiving Plate

Like I mentioned, I was in South Carolina and enjoyed two Thanksgiving feasts with various aunts, uncles and cousins. As always, the food was delicious with my faves being the candied sweet potatoes and the brussels sprouts and root vegetables. The desserts were also exemplary with my aunt’s using family recipes to bake a cheesecake and pineapple upside down cake. As per yearly tradition, second Thanksgiving on Friday included the addition of a green bean casserole which I always look forward to!

Pulled Chicken Taco Salad

We also went out for a couple delicious meals in Columbia: salmon and cheesy grits (they just never taste as good up north) at Mr. Friendly’s and a taco salad with pulled chicken from Cantina 76. Cantina had a fairly limited menu compared to some tex mex places, but touted their extensive taco selection. Adam tried a Thanksgiving taco with fried turkey and cranberry salsa, a Peruvian shrimp taco and a fish taco. He loved them all!

 

Turkey

Turkey Balloon

No, not the food, the traditional giant Turkey balloon! We had quite a full car on the ride down with three humans and one dog so I brought a deflated Turkey with me and took him to Publix to get him his helium fix. We had a fun time making Turkey take silly pics and tracking his holiday on social media. #turkeygoessouth

 

Staying Active

Cheetah Yoga HandstandsYoga Crow Pose

With all the aforementioned food, we tried our best to do something active every day whether it was going for a jog or just a long walk. We also did a mini yoga class Thanksgiving morning since my cousin is certified as an instructor. She showed off with handstands and helped us practice our crow (yes, I know Adam’s is better than mine). We also took the traditional post meal walk and took family photos.

 

Playing Games

Bridge Card Game

We are big game players in my family and there’s nothing we love more at Thanksgiving than hanging out around the house with a cocktail and a card game. We played a lot of bridge, apples to apples and a game called Vices from the 80’s that was essentially a dirty version of trivial pursuit.

 

Catching up with Friends

Spoons Baltimore QuesadillaSpoons Baltimore Pulled Pork Benedict

We came home from South Carolina on Saturday, just in time for Adam’s 10 year high school reunion at Barcocina.  They had a nice private space and an open bar where I probably had one to many gin and gingers. We had a lot of fun spending time with Adam’s friends who were visiting from out of town. On Sunday, I met up with my friend Jessie (who you may remember from my trip to New York) for brunch at Spoons. Remarkably we were seated without any wait and enjoyed a tasty meal and some girl talk. Jessie had the pulled pork benedict and Spoons’ version of a Bloody Mary (made with sake) and I had a goat cheese, chorizo and spinach quesadilla (sans drink because of Saturday night’s open bar).

All of that fun plus some holiday shopping, laundry, cleaning and decorating the apartment made for the perfect Thanksgiving week! Now on to all of the holiday festivities that December brings to Baltimore!

What was the highlight of your Thanksgiving? What are your special traditions?