Friday, December 27, 2013

Lasagna Roll-ups

I hope you all had an amazing Christmas, celebrating with friends and family! Matt and I had a quiet Christmas, just the two of us, and it was perfect. We cooked a delicious meal on Christmas Eve - glazed ham, brussel sprouts with a balsamic glaze, mashed sweet potatoes, and chocolate pudding pie. On Christmas day, I was given an amazing present from my love - a new camera! I can't wait to learn the ins and outs of it and I really really can't wait to start taking awesome pictures for my blog!

Matt was craving lasagna right before the holidays so I decided to try a spin on traditional lasagna by making lasagna roll-ups! They were really fun to put together and even better to eat!

After cooking the ground beef/onion/garlic mixture and the lasagna noodles, it was time to layer each roll-up! This was the really fun part, being so hands on while cooking. Sometimes I forget the fun you can have with cooking and then a recipe like this comes along - such a great refresher to just slow down and get your hands dirty! The first layer was ricotta cheese, topped with pasta sauce, a sprinkling of parsley, and finished with the ground beef. Are they ready yet? I was so ready to eat at this point!

They were really easy to roll up, without all of the ingredients popping out the side, and twelve roll-ups fit perfectly in a 9 x 13 casserole dish. When I was getting to the last batch of three, I was a little worried they wouldn't fit in very easily, but it was perfect fit!

My favorite part was the ease in removing each roll-up when they had finished cooking. It's always really hard to get a nice piece of lasagna out of the pan without the cheese and sauce melting all over the place, making for an unattractive presentation. This was perfect - each portion stayed intact and looked really pretty from the side. I hope you enjoy!

Friday, December 13, 2013

Dried Cherry and Orange Peel Bark

Wow, it has been such a whirlwind during the last few weeks! Our two week vacation started with a week in North Carolina, a wedding in Tampa, and a week lounging on the beach and drinking out of coconuts in the Dominican Republic - it was just what we needed. It felt like we had been gone for a month, with all of our flight hopping to new places. After all the traveling, we were happy to come back to New York and get in the holiday spirit!

Hello DR!
We bought our Christmas tree the day after we got back to jump right in! Decorating the tree, listening to Christmas music, and having a Home Alone night (large cheese pizza and Coca Cola are a must!) kicked us right into holiday mode - especially with some snow last Sunday evening!

I got even more into the Christmas spirit during my book club. We decided to have a favorite things gift exchange, where you bring three of your favorite thing (all the same item), draw names, and hand out your gifts to your friends while explaining why they are your favorite thing. My favorite thing was a hand painted mug and a box of English Breakfast tea! We had a great time, complete with wine, prosecco, and of course, a holiday spread of delicious goodies!

I had a busy week so I knew I wanted to make an easy, but delicious sweet treat. And what's easier or better than holiday bark?! There are limitless combinations of chocolate and toppings to make any type of holiday bark you fancy. 

Bark before going in the fridge to harden
I knew I didn't want to go with the classic white chocolate and peppermint, so I looked for a recipe with dark chocolate and pops of flavor. I found a great recipe for dried cherry and orange peel bark that was beyond easy to make.

After I melted a pound of semisweet chocolate, I poured it into a 9 x 13 casserole dish covered in parchment paper (a baking sheet of the same size would also work - I just didn't have one that size). I then added zest from one orange and 1/4 cup of chopped dried cherries evenly on top. I wanted to add a little extra crunch element so I toasted some slivered almonds, chopped them up a little, and sprinkled them on top too.

After firming up the bark in the fridge for at least an hour (I did mine for about 1.5 to 2 hours), you can break it apart into random shapes. The flavor is really great - the chocolate is sweet and a little bitter, the almonds add a nice crunch and nuttiness, and the dried cherries add a chewy element and sweetness. The best ingredient by far was the orange zest. The touch of citrus and acidity really made all of the elements of the bark really come together. I highly recommend bringing this to your next holiday get together - it will definitely be a hit!

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Happy (Almost) Thanksgiving!

I know I've been a bit neglectful to my blog, but it's for a very good reason! I'm currently back home in NC for the week of Thanksgiving, followed by a lovely week lounging with my husband in the Dominican Republic. Once I return from my two weeks of rest and relaxation, I'll be back at it! Especially with Christmas right around the corner, I have plenty of homemade dishes and gifts for friends and family to make! I'll be posting a list of some of the holiday food gifts that are catching my attention.

I hope you all have a great Thanksgiving and stuff yourselves full of turkey, stuffing, and sweet potato casserole!

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Tea Time: Andrews & Dunham Caravan Resurrected Tea

I recently tried a tea that I had purchased at the NYC Coffee and Tea Festival earlier this year. I have no idea why it took me over six months to try it for the first time, but at least it was kept fresh in its sealed canister!

Andrews & Dunham Damn Fine Tea, started by a duo of quirky but very friendly guys that I met at the festival, started their company in 2008. Due to their company's high tea standards, they only offer a few teas for purchase on their website (currently there are four available). Luckily, I was able to try all four and my personal favorite, the one I purchased, was their Caravan Resurrected tea

It is a delicious smoky black tea from China, not for the faint of heart who don't appreciate bold flavors. I started with the recommended brewing time of 4 minutes since I have the tendency of leaving my tea bag/infuser in the cup the entire time I'm drinking it, but had a feeling this one could make a turn for the worse if it's brewed too long. I definitely enjoyed the flavor, but since I generally like a strong black tea, I brewed for 5 minutes the next time. 

This was a good brewing time for me (I may even push it to 5.5 minutes!) - great smoky flavor without being too overpowering to make it difficult to enjoy a full cup. I don't know why it took me so long to try this tea again, but I'm so happy I have! It'll definitely be in my regular tea rotation now!

Monday, November 4, 2013

Spiced Butternut Squash Soup

I really don't think I'm ready for the effects of daylight savings ending and the onset of late fall into winter. Do these sound fun to you? 
  • Heading to work in the morning in mid 30 degree weather
  • Leaving work at 5pm when it's already really dark out
  • No longer being able to comfortably wear flats (although I'll continue to do that as long as I can stand it)
I don't think so! Despite my whining, I'm always looking on the bright side and that means I can look forward to making really comforting soups to warm myself and the hubby up! I bought a butternut squash at the farmers market this weekend so I knew I wanted to make butternut squash soup.

There are so many butternut squash soup recipes out there that I didn't know where to begin! Luckily, I remembered a recipe I found in the Meatless cookbook that I recently checked out from the library that sounded delicious - spiced butternut squash soup. I was able to find the same recipe online since it's a Martha Stewart recipe, which made me very happy since I really didn't want to type it all out.

That's going to be my soup very soon!
This soup has a lot of very satisfying, warm spices - turmeric, cinnamon, cloves and cardamom. I didn't have any ground cardamom so I added some extra cloves and put in a bit of ground coriander. The combination of these spices smelled unbelievably good when I mixed them in with onions, garlic and ginger so I knew the flavors would be delicious once everything cooked down.

The soup turned out beautifully after puréeing everything together with my immersion blender. It was a great consistency, the perfect thickness. The spices are definitely assertive and pack a punch in every bite, which I really like. There's a little tartness from the apple and the subtle sweetness from the squash and carrot.

This is just the first of many cold weather soups to come! I love the feeling of warmth coming over my body with each spoonful. What's better than that? Let me know your favorite fall soup recipes so I can build up my soup reservoir!

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Bread

As fall continues to set in and the weather cools down by the day, all I want to do is make comforting fall dishes and satisfying baked goods. With my constant craving for sweet treats, I decided to knock another dish off my pumpkin list - chocolate chip pumpkin bread! The combination of sweet and spice makes for a perfect fall treat, especially with a cup of tea to start your morning.

This recipe makes two loaves of bread, but unfortunately I only own one loaf pan, so this turned into a long baking endeavor. Lucky for me, I had twice the time to enjoy the great smells coming from my oven. Once the first loaf was baked to wonderful golden brown perfection, I couldn't wait to try a slice!

The pumpkin and mix of fall spices balances really well with the sweet, melting chocolate embedded throughout the bread. I was a little worried that the chocolate would overwhelm the bread, but it was just the right amount to satisfy my sweet tooth.

Although Matt and I definitely could have eaten a whole loaf between the two of us, I tried to practice some self control and brought almost a loaf and a half to work to share with my coworkers. I love sharing baked goods with my friends and coworkers, especially as it's getting closer to the holidays. Who doesn't love an unexpected sweet treat to make it through the work day? Let me know some of your favorite baked goods to make during the fall so I can try them too!

Sunday, October 20, 2013

NYC Wine and Food Festival!

I had an amazing weekend volunteering at the New York City Wine and Food Festival with my friend Aleiya! Despite being completely exhausted today after volunteering at four events in three days, I had a great time seeing so many of my favorite celebrity chefs in person and tasting so much delicious food!

We started the weekend volunteering at Morimoto's Rockin' Dumplings and Rollin' Sushi event. I was so starstruck with the number of celebrity chefs I saw - Robert Irvine, Guy Fieri, Andrew Zimmern, Jacques Torres, and, of course, Masaharu Morimoto! There were also several chefs from Food Network Star - Damaris Phillips, Justin Warner, and the Sandwich King himself, Jeff Mauro! I tried my best to contain my smile and excitement every time I saw one only a few feet away. One of the best moments (other than Justin Warner singing 99 Problems during karaoke) was getting a picture with Morimoto, a foodie's dream come true! We were able to sample all of the dishes as well and the food was fantastic. I was so stuffed as we only had a limited time before going back to volunteering so we made the most of our time.

Masaharu Morimoto, Andrew Zimmern, Jacques Torres and Ming Tsai (pardon the phone photo quality)!
Aleiya and I with Morimoto - amazing!
On Saturday, we volunteered at the Four and Twenty Blackbirds pie making class. This was a quick two hours of our time, registering and guiding attendees to the event itself within the International Culinary Center. Later that night, we volunteered at Bobby Flay's Tacos and Tequila. This event was fantastic, with so many delicious dishes and tequila cocktails. I ate so much that I physically could not fit any more food in my stomach. If only I had more self control!

The Sandwich King! Such a nice guy :)
My final event, which I did on my own, was Dale Talde's Dim Sum Party at Buddakan. There were two floors of dim sum style dishes to try, and although I was only able to try a smaller selection of dishes since it was closer to the end, they were still delicious. My favorite dish was a kabocha squash dumpling with lobster bubble tea - I had three!

It was an amazing and very tiring weekend, but I definitely can't wait to volunteer again next year! I know I'll be sleeping well tonight!

Saturday, October 12, 2013


In celebration of Oktoberfest, Shake Shack has a special menu of delicious German foods, like bratwursts, Polish sausage, and a new burger that has a bratwurst on it...yum! Matt and I couldn't miss the opportunity to chow down on some tasty food and wash it down with an ice cold beer!

I tried the currywurst, which is a Bavarian brat with curry ketchup and crunchy fried shallots. The ketchup was perfectly seasoned with a good kick of curry, but not too much to overwhelm the brat. The shallots added a great crunch and tasted delicious on their own too.

             Currywurst and Shackmeister Ale                   Chedder brat burger and an ice cold Oktoberfest hiding in the background

Matt tried the cheddar brat burger, which is a beef patty topped with a griddled cheddar bratwurst, crispy shallots and ShackSauce. The burger was full of flavor from the perfectly cooked beef patty and juicy cheddar bratwurst, a needed crunch from the fried shallots, and rounded out with the creamy ShackSauce. Mmm, what more could you want on a burger?

                             Ready to dig into that burger                                       Burger love!

I would definitely recommend trying some of their German goodies before they're all gone - you only have until October 13! Guten Appetit!

Thursday, October 10, 2013

My Favorite Creamy Tomato Basil Soup

Well, I think it's time to share another one of my all-time favorite recipes, especially since the fall weather is kicking into high gear. I actually had to bust out a legit coat today because the high was only in the low 60s! This weather just swooped in out of nowhere, especially since we had to use our air conditioner this past weekend because it got up to 80 and was way too humid for October weather.

In honor of fall weather and craving warm, delicious comfort food, I share with you my favorite recipe for creamy tomato basil soup. This is yet another recipe, like my turkey chili, that I, at one point in time, found online or in a magazine so I have no idea where the original source came from to give them credit. Sorry whoever provided this recipe to the world - I hope you know how much I enjoy it!

Some of my favorite recipes are very simple and pretty quick to make, just like this soup. The minimal number of ingredients in this recipe, which most are pretty common to find in the kitchen already, really allows each component to shine. I couldn't imagine omitting any of the ingredients as they all play an important part as the flavors meld together.

Mixing up my bowls for this photo shoot
I don't know anyone who doesn't love the smell of onion and garlic cooking in a pan. The release of smells that fill the kitchen (apartment too when you're living in NYC) are mouthwatering and definitely lead to the anticipation of the dish to come. This dish starts off in exactly that way and the final product is definitely worth the wait!

When you take your first spoonful, there are so many flavors and textures going on in your mouth! The bite from the onion that has cooked down most of the way, but still has a little crunch to it. The anise flavor from the pieces of basil. The chunks of diced tomato that pop in your mouth. And, most importantly, the creaminess of the soup as a whole from the heavy cream. This soup just wouldn't be the same without the cream - it really makes this dish and brings everything together. What better way to enjoy a generous bowlful of this soup than with a grilled cheese? I highly recommend it - you won't be disappointed!
My Favorite Creamy Tomato Basil Soup

Serves: 4 servings


  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1/2 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 cans of tomato sauce (14 oz. each)
  • 1 can of Italian style diced tomatoes (14 oz.)
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil, finely chopped
  • Salt and pepper to taste


Drizzle the olive oil, covering the bottom of the pot, over medium heat. Sauté the onions and garlic in the olive oil, until tender. Stir constantly to prevent scorching. Add basil to the sautéed onions and garlic. Allow to cook for at least 5 minutes.

Add the 2 cans of tomato sauce and the can of diced tomatoes to the pot. Decrease heat to medium-low and cover the pot to allow the flavors to blend for at least 15 minutes. 

Add the heavy cream to the soup mixture and stir well. Raise the heat to medium and stir constantly until soup begin to boil. Add salt and pepper to taste. Lower heat to a simmer for at least 10 minutes before serving.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Pumpkin Spice Pancakes

It was a very pumpkin filled weekend (don't forget about our really fun pumpkin ale blind taste test!) and even more pumpkin loving this week! For our four year wedding anniversary, we took off last Friday to celebrate, kicking it off by making a delicious breakfast at home. Along with bacon (some of the best bacon I've had!) and eggs, we made the pumpkin spice pancakes I included in my list of pumpkin recipes to try. Boy, were they delicious!

Based on the proportions listed in the recipe, the batter was definitely too thick. I thinned it out a bit with some more milk, but not enough in the end as the pancakes were a bit denser than we would have liked. Despite the density, they had a delicious pumpkin flavor and the spices used in the recipe really came through. I was so happy with the punch of flavor these pancakes packed.

Since we had such a filling breakfast, there was batter left over for the next day. How lucky is that? After thinning it out some more, which required quite a bit more milk, the batter was a perfect consistency and the second batch on Saturday was even better!

We had a great anniversary day, going on a sailboat ride down at South Street Seaport. The weather was absolutely perfect, 80 degrees and sunny with some beautiful puffy clouds in the sky. We then headed to Park Slope, where we lived our first year in New York, and ate at our favorite Vietnamese restaurant, Hanco's, to chow down on some delicious and incredibly flavorful bánh mì sandwiches and wash it down with a refreshing Thai iced tea. If I only I could have this meal every day! Well....we may have eaten at their other location the following day because it was so good. Don't judge me - you would do the same if you tried it!

If you love pumpkin and the flavor of all the spices that come along with pumpkin pie, you'll love these pancakes. Just make sure to thin out the batter to make them nice and fluffy! I also made a few loaves of pumpkin chocolate chip bread yesterday so stay tuned!

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Blind Taste Test: Pumpkin Ales

One of my favorite things about fall is the selection of pumpkin ales I can try throughout the season. I've come to realize that I'm fairly picky, and rightfully so, wanting a beer with full pumpkin and spice flavor. It's always disappointing ordering a beer that is just so mild that you can barely taste the delicious pumpkin and mix of spices (cinnamon, allspice, cloves, ginger, nutmeg) that you fully expect out of it. 

Matt and I decided to put a selection of six pumpkin ales to the test, trying each one blindfolded and ranking them from the best to the worst. Who knew this could be so fun (and make you feel so bloated)? After browsing the awesome selection of 15 to 20 different pumpkin beers available at City Swiggers, these are the six pumpkin ales we chose for our tasting, from left to right:

  • UFO Pumpkin
  • Blue Point Pumpkin Ale
  • Shipyard Pumpkinhead Ale
  • Ithaca Country Pumpkin Ale
  • Cisco Pumple Drumkin
  • Captain Lawrence Pumpkin Ale

Since I've tried my fair share of pumpkin ales in the past, I always considered Blue Point one of my favorites, so I knew I had to include it in the mix. I chose some of the others based on reading about recommended pumpkin ales. The definite wild card was Pumple Drumkin, mainly because of the name and the adorable picture on the label. Well, here it goes, blindfold and all!

Matt and I both sampled all six beers, going through the first tasting to put them in a rough order of best to worst. We sampled them all again a second time, starting with our least favorite, and working our way up to our favorite pumpkin ale. As we tasted each one, we made adjustments to the order before solidifying our final lists! 

The first impression

Initial tasting

Palate cleanser between beers

Here are our final lists (brewery name only) after the delicious, but very filling, blind taste test:
Emily's List
  • Ithaca
  • Captain Lawrence
  • Shipyard
  • UFO
  • Blue Point
  • Cisco
Matt's List
  • Ithaca
  • Shipyard
  • UFO
  • Captain Lawrence
  • Cisco
  • Blue Point
Ithaca was the clear winner for both of us. It had a very well rounded pumpkin and spice flavor (a bit more of the spices than pumpkin itself) and a touch of brown sugar. I haven't really seen this as a pumpkin option in bars, but I'll definitely be on the lookout this fall.

My second choice was Captain Lawrence, which had a really spicy smell before the first sip, which had a good kick of pumpkin and spices with a little hoppy note to it as well. I love IPAs so I'm not surprised that I ranked this one so highly. Shipyard had a major punch of cinnamon and raisin flavor, more reminiscent of a Christmas beer/cocktail (I had an amazing gin cocktail at Gin Palace that reminded me exactly of the flavor of this beer), without really tasting any pumpkin. I personally loved the flavor, but couldn't rank it higher because it didn't scream pumpkin to me at all. UFO also had a well rounded pumpkin spice flavor, but could have been a little stronger and have a longer lasting flavor. Both Blue Point and Cisco were very disappointing, both having very little flavor at all. Who knew that Blue Point would rank so low when I thought it was one of my favorites?

We had so much fun trying a range of pumpkin ales! I think in the future, we'll be doing other blind taste tests of other types of beers. IPAs are by far my favorite (not so much for Matt) so I would definitely want to try a variety. However, IPAs can taste drastically different whether they are more on the bitter side or have a lot of floral notes. It would definitely make for an interesting taste test! I think our next set of seasonal beers will be around the holidays so stay tuned for Christmas ales!

What are your favorite pumpkin ales? Let me know in the comments section so I can try them myself!

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Pumpkin Love

Fall. Is. Here. Is anyone else as excited about this as I am?!? The cool weather, changing leaves, need for cozy sweaters and cups of tea, and endless baked goods to make and eat! Since I automatically go straight for pumpkin flavored everything when it comes to fall, I put together a list of 10 delicious recipes I can't wait to make in the coming months.
  1. Pumpkin spice chai latte - since my two favorite drinks at Starbucks are the PSL and chai tea latte, this is the perfect combination of both to make at home!
  2. Pumpkin thyme macaroni and cheese - cheesy, pumpkin-y and a hint of herbs sounds like a winning dish to me
  3. Pumpkin pie baked oatmeal - I love a tasty bowl of oatmeal in the morning, especially one I can prepare the night before and tastes like pumpkin pie!
  4. Turkey pumpkin chili - well you know I love chili so why not add pumpkin to it?
  5. Pumpkin pie popsicles - what a perfect fall after-dinner sweet treat
  6. Pumpkin pie energy bites - a perfect no-bake work snack to satisfy my pumpkin cravings
  7. Pumpkin ice cream - time to put my ice cream maker to use!
  8. Pumpkin banana muffins - good mix of pumpkin and banana bread, in muffin form!
  9. Pumpkin spice pancakes - already planning to make these tasty pancakes this weekend!
  10. Chocolate chip pumpkin bread - chocolate and pumpkin, need I say more?
What pumpkin recipes are you dying to make this fall? Let me know in the comments section so I can see all the creative ways you're incorporating pumpkin into your dishes!

Happy pumpkin-ing!

Monday, September 30, 2013

My Favorite Turkey Chili

Over the past few years, Matt and I have compiled our own personal book of favorite recipes. Usually a recipe won't make the cut until we've made it a few times and both agree that it's something we'd want to keep in our regular rotation of dishes, ranging from crepes to tomato basil soup to peanut butter chocolate chunk cookies.

See the pot of chili hiding in the background?
One of my favorite fall dishes in our  recipe book is a really simple, but delicious turkey chili. Unfortunately I don't remember where I got the recipe from a few years ago so I will be including the recipe in this post, but I am definitely not taking credit for creating this recipe. It's just too good to not share with you all!

As the ground turkey and onions are cooking, you really start to get the first delicious smells from the kitchen. Right before I was going to add the beans, tomatoes, and mix of spices, Matt already told me that the apartment was starting to smell really good. Well, he was in for a treat seeing as the big punch of flavor and smell was about to come! 

I really love the smell and taste of all the spices in this chili. The combination offers a nice kick of heat and smokiness that transforms this dish from just a regular chili to one packed full of flavor. The kidney beans and ground turkey add a great texture to the chili, making it really hearty and perfect for a cool fall day. 

I always feel so happy and satisfied eating this dish. I feel like I should be at a campground, eating a bowl around the fire. Maybe that's because I was just at a campground a few weekends ago...oh, how I miss it already! Until I can make it back, I will enjoy this chili from the comfort of my own home and reminisce. And for all of you out there - enjoy! I can guarantee your stomach will be very happy after you've filled up on a bowlful of this chili!
My Favorite Turkey Chili

Serves: 8 servings


  • 1 1/2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1 pound ground turkey
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 (28 ounce) can canned crushed tomatoes
  • 1 (16 ounce) can canned kidney beans - drained, rinsed, and mashed
  • 1 tablespoon garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper


Heat the oil in a large pot over medium heat. Place turkey in the pot, and cook until evenly brown. Stir in onion, and cook until tender.

Pour water into the pot. Mix in tomatoes, kidney beans, and garlic. Season with chili powder, paprika, oregano, cayenne pepper, cumin, salt, and pepper. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer for 30 minutes.

Friday, September 27, 2013

I'm Coming Back!

Sorry wonderful blog followers for the hiatus in posting. I've been traveling the past week to a beautiful campground in upstate New York for a good friend's bachelorette weekend and then off to Atlanta for a work conference. I'll be back up and at it this weekend so stay tuned!

Since I didn't get a chance to say it a few days ago, happy fall! I'm so excited that my favorite season is finally here!

Monday, September 16, 2013


Last weekend, I went to visit my sister, Lisa, and her fiancé, Jarod, in Charleston to accomplish one of the most important wedding planning tasks - choosing a wedding dress! As the wedding madness is starting to ramp up for their April 2014 wedding, I was so happy to be there when she found the one. After going to several wedding dress boutiques with a group of her girlfriends, there were a few top contenders at the last boutique. Luckily, she was able to think about the dresses all day Sunday before we returned first thing Monday morning to try them on once more. Seeing Lisa in her future wedding dress was so special and made me even more excited about being her maid of honor!

Can I live here, please?
In addition to wedding dress shopping, we were all able to relax and enjoy the charm of Charleston for the weekend. The stars must have been aligned because restaurant week started a few days before I arrived! We went to dinner at Muse the night I got there, which is a really cozy two story house that has been converted into a restaurant. Unfortunately, the restaurant didn't seem prepared for the influx of customers since it took us almost three hours to eat three courses, but at least it gave us plenty of time to catch up! The best course of the night was by far the entree, marinated butcher steak topped with bacon jam and served with sage polenta and broccolini. The steak was cooked to a perfect medium rare and the polenta was creamy and earthy from the sage. Jarod and I both got this entree and agreed that it made the long wait more tolerable in the end.

We all had brunch at Hominy Grill, which was fantastic. Jarod and I both ordered the Big Nasty Biscuit (clearly, we both make really good food choices), which has a fried chicken breast and cheddar cheese inside a fluffy biscuit, smothered with sausage gravy. You really can't go wrong with a breakfast like this. Fluffy biscuit, crunchy fried chicken, flavorful creamy gravy that soaks into the bread...I wish I was eating this right now. I also had a side of cornbread, which was very moist and just the right amount of subtle sweetness.

Before I had to go back to New York, I was able to see their wedding reception location! The Wickliffe House epitomizes the Southern charm associated with Charleston, making it a perfect location for a spring wedding.

I'm beyond excited for my sister's wedding and the festivities to come before the big day! Lisa is going to be such a beautiful bride and I feel so special to be her maid of honor. Can't wait for the big day!