24 Hours in Nashville

Chad and I planned a camping trip to the Great Smoky Mountains to take in all that fall has to offer. The mountains are about 11 hours from our door to the first view, so we looked at a map to see where we could stop along the way. Lucky for me, Nashville was right on our path out east, so we planned a one night stay in the country music capital of the world!

I’ve wanted to visit Nashville for a long time after all of the great things I’ve heard about the city, so a 24 hour teaser was just enough to make we want to go back ASAP. With 24 hours in Nashville, we ate REALLY well, spent some time with Mr. Johnny Cash, got our honkey tonk on, and got a teaser of the fall colors.

Our first stop was Whiskey Kitchen, where the whiskey is strong and the sweet potato fries are as good as they come. I obviously still found some champagne amongst the whiskey, and Chad was in whiskey paradise, sipping old fashioneds. We shared their appetizer WK Bourbon Poppers, which was popcorn chicken and sweet potato fries, and we devoured every last crumb.

Next, we met a friend of mine from high school for Mexican food and margs at Rosepepper. We went to high school together in Texas, so it was only fitting that we got our Mexican food fix together in Nashville too. The queso was delicious and the margs were flavorful and strong, and any meal is made better with good conversation.

We also hit some historical honkey tonk bars, Tootsies and Nudies, which obviously included listening to live music and admiring all of the memorabilia from performances past. There’s something about the history that town holds that’s pretty fascinating. Also, how are there so many talented people in one town?!

Speaking of talented people, I couldn’t leave town without saying hello to one of my favorites, Johnny Cash. The Johnny Cash Museum is right off Broadway downtown, and the number of Johnny Cash t-shirts I wanted to buy was out of control. I settled for some Johnny Cash playing cards and a postcard to frame, and just a lot of photos of his face.

The next morning we woke up and obviously had to find some good breakfast before we left town. We went to Puckett’s downtown, and any breakfast is made better with fried chicken! I got a breakfast platter which included fried chicken, a homemade biscuit and gravy, and obviously eggs and bacon. Chad got french toast that had peanut butter and bananas sandwiched in-between. We got mimosas and enjoyed our delicious food until we were stuffed.

To say it was a good 24 hours in Nashville would be an understatement. Chad and I talked about how we loved cities like Nashville, where the city has plenty to do but feels cozy and welcoming. We loved every second, and absolutely plan on coming back to stay longer next time. If you ever have the chance to pay a visit, definitely make it happen! Have you ever been to Nashville?

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Seattle: Where to Eat in Seattle!

I’ve always heard that Seattle has great food and craft beer. So, when I found out I was going to Seattle for a week, my foodie excitement kicked in. Unfortunately, through my first few days in the city, I was disappointed. I was there for work, and eating catered sandwiches and hotel breakfasts just wasn’t cutting it for me. When my work time came to a close and my vacation time with Chad started, I vowed to only eat exceptionally good food all day long. Not just three meals a day. Three meals and at least two snacks in between. I can very strongly say that after our day and a half of vacation ended, I was no longer disappointed in the food in Seattle. I put together a list of where to eat in Seattle, so if you ever find yourself there, you can make sure you’re only eating the good stuff!

Where to Eat in Seattle

  • The Purple Cafe: This is the first place we went once I was done with work. It may have been my excitement for vacation or the fact that I was drinking champagne at lunch, but the atmosphere of this place and the really good french fries made it one of my top favorites. I also got a grilled chicken sandwich with super organic chicken that was so tasty and fresh. I was also having serious food envy of the people sitting next to me who had ordered lobster mac and cheese….PLEASE ORDER THAT IF YOU EVER GO!
  • Biscuit Bitch: Yes, that’s actually the name. We got the “Basic Bitch” which was a biscuit sandwich with egg, cheese and bacon. The biscuit was amazing, which you would expect considering the word is in the name of the restaurant, but it was really amazing. The perfect amount of crunch, while still being so soft and fluffy on the inside. You should definitely go. You can also pick up a biscuit to go if you’re in a hurry!
  • The Pike Pub: This place was right near the Pike Place Market, so we went in here to get a quick snack. We ended up sitting in this place for two and a half hours, trying 12 different beers and eating huge soft pretzels with amazing beer cheese and mustard. The beers were amazing and the pretzels were delicious, but it was one of those places that really facilities social eating/drinking. We loved just sitting there with nowhere to be, drinking really good beer.
  • Yardhouse: Chad and I actually went here for a super late night dinner after one of my days of work, and we really enjoyed it. Best moscow mule of my life. Also, the queso was delicious. It was not your Tex-Mex queso, it was real, thick, melted cheese in a cast iron skillet. Yes please.
  • Serious Pie: We ended our trip on a freaking high note. This brick oven pizza was so delicious that we almost ordered a second pizza after we had already finished our first one. The ingredients were so fresh, and the pizza was cooked absolutely perfectly. I don’t really know how to express how good it was, except to say that I barely spoke to Chad the entire time we were eating.

We ate at several other delicious places while we were in Seattle, I just can’t remember the names of all of them. These few were absolutely the best of the best. If you’re ever in Seattle, make sure to add a few of these to your list of places to go. I love food so much that it’s always a highlight of anywhere we travel. I love trying new places, new things, and just enjoying my time with Chad while also really enjoying a tasty meal or a tasty drink.

If you’re going to be in Austin soon, be sure to check out my where to eat post from there as well!

 

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Kansas City: What We Ate!

A lot of our friends live in Kansas City, so Chad and I decided to make a weekend trip there to spend time with them and eat some good food. We succeeded at both of those things. We ate too much and laughed a lot, which was so refreshing since we live so far away from some of our best friends. You honestly can’t beat sitting on a patio on a perfect summer day with good company. Except when you add delicious soft pretzel bites with beer cheese, then it made for the most perfect afternoon.

Friday night, at Cooper’s Hawk, was one of the best meals we’ve had in a while. We had wine flights (major win), the best brussel sprouts I’ve ever tasted in my life, lettuce wraps, an amazing flatbread, the BEST pretzel bread, and some dark chocolate truffles (with another glass of wine) for dessert. If you’re ever in Kansas City, I would highly recommend paying Cooper’s Hawk a visit. It was the full dining experience which facilitated such high quality friend time that we ended up staying there for four hours. Not only did we lose track of time, but we also were so consumed in the conversation and food that I didn’t take a single photo of the delicious goodness…

Saturday we visited the Boulevard Brewing Company’s brewhouse and went on their tour. We ate all the pretzel bites with beer cheese, drank all of the samples, and got some of the best views of Kansas City. After that signature Kansas City experience, we had to continue the trend and go for BBQ. When we showed up at Joe’s Kansas City BBQ, the line was to the door. We winded our way around the restaurant until we finally go our big plates of BBQ, and it was absolutely worth the wait. The brisket was delicious, but I could have eaten two more orders of their french fries.

Food and friends make for really great weekends, and we are so glad we got to combine the two on our weekend in Kansas City!

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Tulum: Where We Stayed and What We Did

For a long time Chad and I were dreaming of the perfect beach vacation. Our last few trips together have included endless adventures and pure exhaustion by the end of the vacation. This time, we were going to be lying by the beach whether it was in Florida, Bahamas, Mexico, or a beach themed hotel pool. Luckily, we didn’t end up with the beach themed hotel pool, and we actually ended up in Tulum, Mexico.

Papaya Playa Project

Tulum is a small beach town not far from Cancun, Mexico, and it was everything we had dreamed of. The softest, whitest, sand beaches with crystal (and I mean CRYSTAL) clear blue water. Endless palm trees, fruity drinks, trendy restaurants and beach resorts. The whole package, all tucked away in a quiet little town.

We decided to stay in an Airbnb that was halfway between the beach and the town, because despite wanting some relaxation, our adventurous spirit still wanted to explore outside the beach. We were perfectly nestled in the jungle, with an amazing pool that we jumped in daily, and a condo with hammocks in every room.

When we weren’t relaxing at the beach or at our pool, we explored the Mayan ruins, swam in the freezing cold cenotes (natural river pools), and went snorkeling with sea turtles. Our urge to explore and our need to relax were both satisfied on this trip. I’m thankful for opportunities to see beautiful new places with my favorite travel companion.

To see more of our adventures, check out the videos on our YouTube channel!

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Hiking Arkansas

Living in Arkansas means being surrounded by nature. Lately, Chad and I have been trying to take advantage of our surroundings and go on one hike every weekend. This time we went to Hawksbill Crag, which is a signature overlook in Arkansas.

To say this place is in the middle of nowhere is the understatement of the century. Miles of gravel roads are the only way to reach the trailhead, and the original road we took to get there was more like a very VERY steep, VERY bumpy, and VERY terrifying four wheeler off roading trail. Luckily we were in Chad’s truck or we never would have made it. The hike to the actual view was very similar. Very rocky and very bumpy.

But overall, absolutely everything was worth the view. There’s something about being able to see for miles on a sunny day that puts everything into perspective After a few crazy weeks, these fresh air moments are exactly what I needed.

 

And of course we had to end the afternoon with margs and chips and queso. The only way we knew how to celebrate surviving the backroads of Arkansas!

If you love queso too, don’t forget to read my Austin post for all your queso dreams.

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Austin, TX: What We Ate

When I mention Austin, TX to anyone who has been there or heard of it, the two things people always seem to talk about are the music and the food. My favorite of those two things is obviously the food. So, when we spent our weekend in Austin, I made sure that we hit up some of my favorite restaurants, but we also tried quite a few new places that were just as amazing. I left 10 pounds heavier than when I arrived, but it was worth every dang calorie.

The first restaurant we went to the morning after we arrived was Kerbey Lane Café. Honestly, there is no better breakfast. I am mildly obsessed with their cinnamon roll pancakes, and anywhere that you can get queso with your breakfast is a 5 star restaurant in my eyes.

Another one of our favorites is Rudy’s. While this is a chain BBQ place, I’ve never had better brisket or better BBQ sauce (go order some at that link immediately!) anywhere else. You eat your heaping pile of meet off of butcher paper while drenching everything in Rudy’s Sauce, and it’s all pure joy. Also, don’t forget the potato salad.

We ate Mexican food a handful of times. Between Gloria’s and Torchy’s, we were taco snobs by the end of the week. One thing I love about Austin is that you can go to any restaurant and find queso that is above average. I could drink it all.

Also, can’t forget Shake Shack. Heart eyes.

The long weekend was full of good food that we stuffed our faces with without hesitation.

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Kansas City!

Last weekend I made the short drive up to Kansas City to stay with my cousin and my sister. My sister is moving back to Texas, so we decided we needed one last weekend together while the travel time was only 3 hours instead of 9. It was a short trip, just Friday through Sunday, but it was the perfect girls weekend.

As a family that loves pizza, we ordered two large pizzas on Friday night and laid on a blow up mattress in the living room and watched Grease. My sister quoted over half the movie to my right while we all sang every song in our best karaoke voices. We devoured 3 pieces of pizza each before nearly falling asleep mid movie due to full happiness. Honestly Pizza Hut thin and crispy (pepperoni lovers) is a winner every time.

On Saturday we went to brunch! Shocking. We went to Summit Grill and had bottomless mimosas, which is the greatest thing anyone has ever invented. Not to mention the food was amazing. I am picky when it comes to toast, and my whole grain wheat toast was thick and the perfect amount of crispy. Also, I don’t like grits, but their cheddar jalapeno grits were actually really good. Maybe it was the mimosas…but they were probably just that good.

After brunch we went home to change into park sunbathing attire because it was a beautiful 75 degree day. We also stopped by the grocery store to get cheeses and crackers and fruit and hummus. A snack spread is one of my favorite things, so a snack spread in the park on a sunny day was the perfect Saturday afternoon. I ended up with somewhat of a farmers tan, but it was worth it.

We basically spent the whole weekend eating and laughing and catching up, so you could say it was ideal. We ended our weekend with Sunday morning donuts on the porch and it was a moment that makes you wish you could have weekends like that, all together, more often.

And one for fun….

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Oklahoma City!

Oklahoma City is one of mine and Chad’s favorite weekend getaway spots. We usually go to watch an Oklahoma City Thunder game and then stay to eat all of the good food and explore the city.

This weekend we went to a Saturday afternoon game and got out while the 80 degree sunshine was still shining bright. We walked around Bricktown, which is the little downtown community, and decided to stop by one of our favorite restaurants along the waterway. Knucks Wheelhouse is a super cool restaurant with chalkboard walls and old, cozy booths. They have sports playing on all of their TVs and have tons of beers to choose from. But, probably the most important thing is that it’s a pizza place. That sells pizza by the slice. And has the cheese bread of your dreams.

Since it had been a long week and we were experiencing carb overload, we went back to our favorite hotel, the Aloft Bricktown, and watched all of the March Madness games from bed.

When we woke up on Sunday, the first thing on my mind was brunch. Obviously. If you haven’t been to Whiskey Cake for brunch, you absolutely need to go. The atmosphere is so cool and creative, the food is delicious and fresh, and the french press coffee and mimosas aren’t too shabby either.

Weekend getaways are my favorite, and Oklahoma City is the perfect place to go. If you live nearby and haven’t paid it a visit, it is definitely worth the drive to explore the city and get away for a few days. Until next time, OKC!

 

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Torontooo

Canada has been on my list of places to visit for a while, so I was extremely lucky to have been given the opportunity to go to Toronto for work. Just because you are on a trip for work doesn’t mean you can’t also have some fun (and eat very well) while you’re there, and that’s exactly what we did. I ate plenty of delicious meals, but more importantly, I think I ate more sweets in a four day span than I have eaten in the last year combined. Cookies, donuts and ice-cream were among the Canadian staples that I tasted while visiting our super friendly neighbors to the North, and I can verify that Canadians know how to make a mean donut hole (aka Timbit).

So, here are all of the pictures I took on my phone of the food I ate and the views I saw. I basically fell in love with the city and would move there in a heartbeat if I could (or would settle for another trip full of exploring). Thanks Toronto for the sugar rush, carb overload, city views and subway rides.

Poutine, aka fries with gravy and cheese curds. Apparently a Canadian must, but if you don't like gravy (like me) I wouldn't suggest it.
Poutine, aka fries with gravy and cheese curds. Apparently a Canadian must, but if you don’t like gravy (like me) I wouldn’t suggest it.
Taquitos!
Taquitos!

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Tim Horton's Timbits. Dense little balls of cake that are justified to eat for breakfast. Yes please.
Tim Horton’s Timbits. Dense little balls of cake that are justified to eat for breakfast. Yes please.
Lasagna at Cibo!
Lasagna at Cibo!

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I try pizza everywhere I go.
I try pizza everywhere I go.
Apparently in Canada, they eat waffles for dinner. With maple syrup icing. I love you Toronto.
Apparently in Canada, they eat waffles for dinner. With maple syrup icing. I love you Toronto.

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Sweet Jesus soft serve ice-cream is a necessity if you ever visit Toronto. Bangin' Brownie did not disappoint.
Sweet Jesus soft serve ice-cream is a necessity if you ever visit Toronto. Bangin’ Brownie did not disappoint.

Like I said, Canada, and Toronto in particular, was just as good as I imagined. I loved it all. The subway. The food. The skyline. The cleanliness. The sweets, obviously. Everything. I will be back.

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Day cation: Eureka Springs

This last weekend, Chad and I took a “daycation,” which is a day trip vacation and a made up word. It was our last weekend of summer together so we decided to go on a few fun adventures. We went to a drive through safari first, which was basically just acres upon acres of animals roaming and me wanting to hug every single creature I laid eyes on. Let me tell you, the baby deer and cows were in abundance and absolutely huggable. The park also had a petting zoo, which is when my happiness level went through the roof. I became best friends with a few goats who gave me kisses and chewed on my camera strap. Chad became best friends with a little baby cow who wanted nothing more than for Chad to continue to scratch his chin.

cow friend zebras pig friend

All of that petting and swooning can really make someone hungry. So, we set off to Eureka Springs, which is a tiny little artsy and historic town known for its’ good vibes. (Side note: we were fully stocked with a car ride snack of an apple and Justin’s chocolate hazelnut butter deliciousness: Click Now, Thank Me Later ) I had done some research beforehand to figure out a lunch spot with delicious food options and great drink options, because, like I said, I eat my way through anywhere I visit, so I like to plan ahead.

LOCAL FLAVOR CAFE. Blood orange mimosa. Rum runner. Spinach Artichoke Dip. And those good vibes I mentioned before. When you start off a meal that well, you know you’re in for one of those experiences where you leave the restaurant way more full than you had planned to be but you would happily turn right back around and try another thing or two on the menu. A chicken chipotle pita was devoured by me (with a really damn fresh side of avocado) and Chad inhaled a meatball sub and was genuinely upset when the sourdough bread bun ran out before the meatball. Ratios are key when building a bite. He will learn one day. See the foodie pictures below, and absolutely make a stop in the cute little town if you ever get the chance.

Processed with VSCO with a6 preset spinach artichoke dip chicken pita Processed with VSCO with a6 preset

Oh, and then we saw the Christ of the Ozarks! Humans have built some pretty remarkable things.

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