September 24, 2009

A Simple Breakfast

I've never been much of a breakfast person. Well, actually, I should say that I've never been much of an "American breakfast" person. I could never figure out how people could eat 2 eggs, sausages, bacon, hash browns & pancakes all at 7 o'clock in the morning! That much food and grease that early just makes me feel sick. And, yes, I'm aware that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, supposedly. But does that necessarily translate into having to eat an entire farm?

September 21, 2009

Road Trip! (Mostly Food) Photo Diary:

I'm back! OK, so I've been back a few days now but have lagged with the blogging cause we've been busy with the new dog! His name is Bugsy & there's a picture below.

The road trip was... long! Next time we go check on the house, we're definitely flying. But it was fun to do the drive at least once. Got to stop in Savannah and Fort Lauderdale where we played tourists for the day & saw some cool stuff. Finally made it to Key West & met up with old friends. The house is still in one piece, thank goodness! Ate a lot of food along the way, of course. Then on the way home made a pit stop in North Carolina to pick up Bugsy from a trainer's ranch.

OK, enough typying, more pictures (mostly of the food we ate throughout the trip, excluding the likes of McDonald's & Bojangles...)!


Start the day off with a hardy breakfast. Eggs benedict in a croissant.

Look familiar? Add Forest Gump, a bus bench, and a box of chocolates.

Tour Savannah via horse-drawn carriage. Meet Sonny & Cher.

Hey Ya'll, I ate a stick of butter @ Paula Deen's restaurant, The Lady & Sons! OK, maybe not a whole stick of butter, but we did have some authentic southern food.

Outside: people lining up to reserve seats. Can only be done the morning of.

Inside: on the 3rd floor. Rustic, with southern charm.

Complimentary hoecake & biscuit. Pour maple syrup on the hoecake, hot sauce on the biscuit.

Pulled pork butt sandwich with potato fries (sliced russet potatoes, battered & fried; yes, just like fried chicken).

Crab cake burger with creamy cole's slaw.

Found these vintage cameras @ The Paris Market.

And a vintage letter press.

Pearl's Saltwater Grille for dinner @ the suggestion of our upstairs neighbors. Yummy seafood & beautiful sunset views.

Can't be in The South w/out having some hush puppies. With honey butter spread. Crisp on the outside, light & fluffy inside.

Harvest Salad: mixed greens, gorgonzola cheese, apple slices, candied pecans, honey mustard vinaigrette. Love this flavor combo!

Dozen oysters on the half shell. Heaven.

We also had a dozen jumbo peel & eat shrimp sauteed in garlic butter, but devoured them before I could get a picture. Sorry!


Scored a great suite @ Il Lugano Hotel for cheap via Hotwire. Balcony w/ intercoastal view, full kitchen w/ diswasher, washer & dryer en suite, HD tv.

Fort Lauderdale beach.

Sea turtle nests everywhere up & down the beach!


Shelly & Jackson were nice enough to invite us over for dinner the first night we were in town. She made a yummy chili & he grilled up some delicious sausages. But I didn't get a picture of any of that cause I was too preoccupied w/ this adorable little girl! World, meet Maddie!

When we left Key West over a year ago, Maddie was hardly a bump in her mommy's tummy. Look at her now! Just one big bundle of cuteness! Don't you just want to gobble her up?!

A Cole's Peace creation: Pesto Portobello sandwich w/ onions, tomatoes & chipotle mayo sauce. Extension of the fabulously famous Restaurant Store (where I used to work!). It was great to see the crew again!

Dinner w/ Sandy @ Mangia, Mangia! Fresh, hand made fettucini tossed in a tomato based seafood sauce w/ mahi mahi, scallops & conch (the local delicacy). With a side of cuban bread.

Hanging out @ The Inn's gigantic pool (complete w/ waterfall) while the boys work on the house. Ahh, the good life...

Smather's "Beach". It's man made, incredibly shallow, polluted (but don't tell the tourists!), and the water is about 90 degrees. It's a good place to tan, I guess? Cool off w/ a huge cup of Hawaiian shaved ice from the nice old lady in her trailer or sip on cold coconut juice from the coconut man.

I just couldn't leave Key West w/out buying 3 loaves of mango bread and one loaf of french sourdough. Most delicious bread, ever. We're almost through w/ one loaf already! :(

Everyone, please meet Bugsy! He's a 3 year old Boston Terrier that we got from a rescue group in North Carolina. Super obedient, very people friendly, but has a doggie aggression issue - we're working on it. We think he looks like a little Gremlin, but a cute one! :) What do you think?

September 7, 2009

North Carolina Blue Crabs

A few days ago Jason and I took a motorcycle ride down to the Virginia/North Carolina state line to browse the farm stands and to buy these jimmies (male blue crabs). He had heard from his co-worker, Archie, of a good place to buy live crabs that wasn't too far from where we live. Riding down interstate 168, just before passing into North Carolina, we saw signs for "Live Blue Crabs", "$35 a Bushel". I had no idea how much a bushel was but it sounded like a whole lot of crab for not a whole lot of money.

We pulled the bike up to a large trailer hitch parked on the grass off the side of the road. It looked like one of those rentable U-Haul trailers you attach to the back of your truck when you need to move. Except, this one was gigantic and even air-conditioned! Sitting under a make-shift canopy next to the trailer was a friendly couple ready to sell their goods. Inside the trailer were dozens of bushel baskets filled with crabs. By the time we got there that day the Jumbo blue crabs were already gone but they still had jimmies for $12/dozen and sooks (smaller females) for $6/dozen. We went with a dozen jimmies. The nice crab guy bagged them up for us and we gently squeezed them into the bike's saddle bag for the ride home.

Nice crab guy also told us the best way to eat the crabs was to pull off their top shell and steam (not boil) them. Neither Jason nor I had ever cooked live crab before so when we got home we immediately looked up how to prepare and clean live crabs. It took a lot of elbow grease to pry off those shells (Jason did all the hard work, =]) and some more work to pick out the sweet meat but oh, boy was it worth it! By the end of the meal we were two satisfied crab eaters, covered in shattered shell fragments and sticky with their juices.

After prepping and cleaning the crabs, we simply sprinkled on some Old Bay seasoning and steamed them over a water/vinegar mix. The best method for eating: twist and pull off legs and pinchers from the body, munching on any juicy white meat that comes off with them. Then, you can either crack and feast on the lump claw meat or pick out the rest of the body meat. I like to dip the crab meat in a mix of equal parts salt & pepper with a squeeze of lime juice or you can go traditional with simple melted butter.

Next time, we'll definitely try to get the JUMBO blue crabs.

Before: Bright blue, cleaned & ready to steam.

After: Bright pink and ready to eat!

Note: Nice crab guy on I-168 will be there until mid October, when he packs up the crab business and switches over to leading duck hunts.