Dining in Durham

Ok you guys, I don’t know what to tell you, because I ate more donuts in North Carolina. My sister spent a couple weeks there last year and said I had to go try Hole Doughnuts. Then I went to the lunch with Lainie and Warren, and they reiterated that I really should get some for the road. Unbelievably, I was feeling tired of donuts by that point, so I could ignore one recommendation, but I certainly could not ignore two recommendations.

Hole Doughnuts Asheville

This time it was a full-on snack experience, because they cut the dough circles and dunk them in the frying oil right in front of you. Then they dust them with powdered sugar, toasted almonds and sesames, or cinnamon and sugar. Wow! Also the bakers are very friendly and serve excellent coffee, too— added bonus!

{  via  }

{ via }

As I told you, I wasn’t hungry for more donuts at this point, so I was able to ride the 3.5 hours in the car with them from Asheville to Durham. I would bring them to my friend Matt and his lady friend for her birthday. This ended up being a semi-mistake, because I think they would have been a lot better fresh out of the fryer. They were still pretty tasty at night, but they did taste like donuts that had been obtained in the morning, ridden in the car with all day, and delivered in the evening. Ya know?

Hole donuts Asheville

Did you know that the Raleigh-Durham area has become pretty cool and hip? I didn’t officially know, but every time I visit, things are looking better and better. My friend Matt recently purchased a house there with a sweet front porch swing and a big backyard. I know, what? People my age are buying houses and here I am carrying all my belongings in my car? Anyway…

Matt took me to dim sum (my favorite!) at the best restaurant in Raleigh, Brewery Bhavana. I love dim sum because you can share many little things and therefore incur less risk on ordering stuff you don’t recognize or know how to pronounce. Just like my old favorite restaurant in Philly, Kingdom of the Vegetarians, that is now closed. Tears. Ironically, I do not feel this same affection for trendy fake tapas restaurants where hummus is, like, $18.

Brewery Bhavana is perhaps actually not the best restaurant in Raleigh; it’s in the top 5 or so, but it is the #1 best in my book because look at these bookshelves:

{  via  }

{ via }

Look at this most aesthetically-pleasing bar I’ve ever seen in my life:

{  via  }

{ via }

And even look at this women’s bathroom wallpaper:

Brewery Bhavana

We also went to this equally hip bar/music venue and, the next day, did unwelcome but necessary work projects at a little coffee shop with a very cute name (Cocoa Cinnamon).

{  via  }

{ via }

Thanks Matt!

Napping in Nashville

I stayed the night in Nashville with my friend Nate, whom I had forgotten is the ultimate host. I’m sure most Tennesseans are that way, from what I’ve seen so far in this life. Sadly, during this visit, we were like ships passing in the night, because Nate had to work late and I had to leave early in the morning. However, sleep seemed less important than catching up on life events, hopes, and even yoga teacher training dreams. It was good to find a friend in the middle of the long road.

{  via  }

{ via }

It goes without saying that the next morning I had to make a stop at Five Daughters Bakery. Of all the donuts, this one, pictured above, is the donut. It’s really something—this 100-layer, croissant donut, maple glazed, buttercream-filled concoction. I don’t even understand how it can exist, and I’m glad I don’t live in Nashville so it can only be a special-occasion-type-of-thing.

It was only about four hours from Nashville to Asheville. What a treat after those ten hour days! And an equally delightful treat to have lunch with my friends Lainie and Warren. Would I ever tire of stuffing my belly full of donuts and bbq?!

Asheville NC

Lainie just started a master’s program, and she had a test the next day, so it could only be a quick lunch and coffee break. Luckily, my mom’s friends slash my godmother agreed to host me for the night. They took me out to dinner, for which I was very grateful, although I was still pretty full of barbecue at that point.

What luck to have so many amazing places to visit across this route and friends to share the adventure with! More to come (and many more food posts) as I slowed down the driving across North Carolina…


I made the sad decision to leave Austin a night early so that I could break up the drive between Austin and Nashville. I booked a hotel in Dallas and only spent about eight hours there, but you can bet that I went back to the breakfast buffet for thirds to make sure I got my money’s worth. At that point, I was getting antsy about spending so much time in the car, but I still enjoyed watching the landscapes change from dry plains to lush greens, and stopping in silly places like Texarkana.

{  via  }

{ via }

My original plan was to stay and camp for a night in Hot Springs National Park, but I’m glad I cut that out of the agenda. Perhaps because it seemed like one of the least natural parks I’ve come across, or perhaps it was because I was listening to the national park abductions episode of Wine & Crime and one of their warnings was to never visit a national park alone. Moving right along…

The food tour continued at Central BBQ in Memphis, and the barbecue honestly was to die for, so if I happened to be abducted or murdered in a national park, I would be content that this was my last meal.

{  via  }

{ via }

A Weekend in Austin!

The drive from New Mexico to Texas wasn’t nearly as entertaining as the previous day’s, but it did allow me to stop by my old stomping grounds of Torchy’s Tacos in Lubbock to help break up the drive. I had a Trailer Park taco, which is fried chicken with lettuce, tomato, and shredded cheese, and you can bet I ordered it trashy, which means add queso, yes, please and thank you. Oh yeah, I also stopped at Chick Fil A because I couldn’t decide, and that was the way I was living my road trip life.

{  via  }

{ via }

Anyway, it was five boring hours to Lubbock and five boring hours after that, but I finally landed in my previous home: Austin, TX! We popped open some drinks right away and went out to Rain dance club, which was shockingly one of the first bars I ever visited in Austin during my first trip there back in 2011! Life hath come full circle.

Obviously, there were many more tacos to eat. As much as I love that trashy trailer park taco, I do think Torchy’s is a little overrated (*gasp*), and I prefer Tacodeli (my number one fave) and Tacos Veracruz (they now have a brick and mortar up north, hallelujah!) Thank you for coming to my Ted Talk.


I took a class at BFree Yoga with my teacher Shelby because she’s the best. Then we spent a magical day at the pool and donned wigs in the night. It was a perfect weekend full of friends and fun!

Hyde Park Bar and Grill

Sweet & Spicy

This is not a recipe blog, and I haven't written much about food since the long lost days of this special personal project, BUT I made a new appetizer this weekend for my roommate's Memorial Day BBQ and many, many friends asked for the recipe.

It's Sweet and Spicy Roasted Cauliflower from How Sweet Eats, and it was pretty easy and extremely tasty. You should probably head over there to make it asap and, while you're at it, make all her other stuff, too!

Amigos de Austin

I traveled to a whole different part of the world and where do you think the first estadounidense I met was from? No place other than Austin, Texas! Yee-haw!

Sara is super nice and welcoming. She moved down here to start a bakery and a pizzeria. What a fine place to do just that. Pan de Vida is a relaxed respite off busy La Calazada street with great pizza, plenty of hammocks, and cinnamon rolls that I am not going to say whether or not could come close to my grandma's because sometimes she reads this! You'll have to try them for yourself.

Pan de Vida Granada, Nicaragua

I'm glad to have met Sara early in the trip, because she told me an easy way to remember the money exchange rate when I kept forgetting which ones were from Asia and which one was for here. The next day that knowledge saved me when the street converter tried to rip me off 200 cordoba. But all I had to do was correct him and he gave me the difference plus a little more. Sometimes it really pays to talk to strangers.

Pan de Vida in Granada, Nicaragua

Singaporean Strolls

If you're looking for somewhere very clean, very efficient, and where nothing ever goes wrong because all preventative measures have been taken to ensure that nothing can ever go wrong, Singapore may be the place for you. It's an other-worldly city, nicer than any I've ever visited. It sort of makes you afraid to touch anything or mess anything up for fear of receiving a $500 fine or a public caning, but I didn't see anyone being fined or caned so it wasn't very scary walking around sightseeing and enjoying the cuisine in designated eating spaces.


This is a melting pot for sure, and I ended up spending most of my time in Chinatown and Little India before exploring any Singaporean culture. It's hard to pass up $3 meals in the Chinese food stalls, but you can find similarly priced delicacies from local hawker stands. After just a day, you may find yourself pointing and gesturing for mysterious ingredients, knowing you'll end up with phenomenal results. 

FullSizeRender (14).jpg

There's so much to see and do that I'm not sure three days was enough for fully uncovering this gem of a city. Fortunately, the public transportation system and flawless and will take you nearly everywhere you need to go. Unfortunately, the hostels and the people working in them are so nice that you might not ever want to leave. I'm glad I have a mini stopover on my way back to try more.


Live to Learn

Like I told you in the last post, I'm not the greatest of granddaughters, and before my recent trip to Buffalo, it had been quite a while since the last visit to upstate New York to see my grandma. This time, I took advantage of our stay together to convince her to share one of her most powerful areas of expertise: baking cinnamon rolls.

She has long been known throughout our family and her group of friends for her special touch with these tasty spiraled treats. My sister and I share antagonistic photos whenever one of us is lucky enough to get a full pan of her own in the mail. Despite my grandma's desires to spend the trip showing me around the Grand Island Golden Age center, she kindly agreed to spend a day in the kitchen walking me through all the mixing, rising, and rolling steps. And, even though the instructions have never been exact, the batch she guided me through came out pretty deliciously!


As the people we love grow older and begin to downsize in their living spaces, it's usually inevitable that we'll end up inheriting some of their precious possessions. Even better than the invaluable antique jewelry and multi-generational family heirlooms are the pieces of knowledge we can pick up along the way. A few years ago, my grandma taught me how to crochet, and now I think of her anytime I'm working on a project. And I've only made a few pierogi on my own, but I'll never forget holidays spent making them in a flour-filled kitchen with my aunt and uncle. It's a reward on two levels: you get to spend a special time together learning the craft, and then end up with lifelong memories that spring up whenever you decide to attempt it on your own. While I might not have perfected the kneading and measuring processes yet, it makes my heart happy that my grandma had the time to pass her unrivaled ability along to me. Hopefully I'll get to carry it with me for a long, long while, even if I'd rather not know how much powdered sugar ends up in the glaze.

Disclaimer: I did also come away with more than a few vintage skirts from the guest room closet, so don't go thinking that this post is wholly immaterial.

Sweet Summer

If any past/present/future employers are reading this, please know that I am very dependable and dedicated, and this post is most definitely not about me. However, for some people who are surely not me, certain times of year require the skipping of work in exchange for the seeking out of fresh fruits.

If you're finding yourself in that seasonal position, and if peaches and blackberries are the objects of your sweet desires, here are some do's and don'ts to guide your quest:

  • Do carry out your search in Fredericksburg.
  • Do check the pick-your-own calendars before you go.
  • Don't stop at the jam/salsa stores along the way or you might take pity on lonely little old ladies with lots of free samples and end up buying more jam/salsa than you had originally planned.
  • Do stop in Dripping Springs for the very best pizza or pastries.
  • Don't run out of time for sunning and swimming on your way.


Pick wisely and enjoy!

Southeastern Spring

Spring Break happened last week, and as a person who has not had a spring break in some time, I can tell you that it was a miraculous feeling. Spending your hours with 4-8 year olds can be a ton of fun, but I was pretty excited to only interact with humans in my age range for 7 straight days. Not needing to set an alarm was pretty great, too.

The first stop was Nashville, which I knew would be a marvelous place since everyone I've ever met from Tennessee has been of the friendliest and most down-to-earth nature imaginable. Lainie (you already know her) met me at the airport, and her amazing friend Lindsay let us stay in her amazing apartment for the whole weekend.

It was cold[er than Austin], yet sunny, which turned out to be the perfect weather for walking around and snacking on scotcheroos (link warning: very, very addictive), hot chicken, and the most incredible donuts you'll taste in your lifetime.

Anyway, we two-stepped a bit, too, so it must have all evened out.

How-to: Campfire Thanksgiving

This is coming a little late, but fortunately for you and for all of us, campfire meals needn't be limited to the end of November. Here's how to make a good one at any time of year, and particularly for that one special day when turkey is required.

1. Spark it up

Light a fire, bring a camp stove, or, better yet, combine the two and cover all your bases. We cooked our sweet potatoes, sausages, and dessert over the fire and saved room on the stove for crucial sides like stuffing and mac & cheese.

2. Improvise

Unless you are much better at packing than we are or you are camping in your yard, you probably won't be able to roast a whole bird over your flames. We ended up with turkey sausages, but you could try breasts for a more authentic experience. There's also bacon, cold cuts, or the option to become a vegetarian for the day. 


You can skip cranberry sauce and still get your servings of fruit by adding juice to your mimosa! Bonus tip: this will help shield you from any doubts that your meal might be subpar and erase any homesickness about what your relatives used to make*.


*Dad, if you're reading this, I hope you will still make me real turkey at Christmas.

Eating in Reykjavik: Don't be skyred!

*Disclaimer: I didn't actually eat that many adventurous Icelandic foods. I just wanted to make this pun using skyr, a delicious yogurty dairy product that they eat for breakfast, snack, and dessert.

Skyr in Iceland

So I didn't try whale, puffin, or seal because I didn't feel like eating whales, puffins, or seals, but I did eat a tiny bit of lamb, A LOT of wonderfully fresh fish, and as much skyr as I could get my hands on. 

Our first coffee on the island

Our first coffee on the island

Our celebratory, start of trip meal at Kopar could go toe-to-toe with most top restaurants in Austin, and our servers were always perfectly friendly and helpful. We even ate a traditional, mayonnaise-slathered hotdog on the last day, despite the fact that neither of us likes mayonnaise or hot dogs.

Icelandic hot dog

Then we went and swam in some geothermal pools, and all was fine and good.

Blue Lagoon in Iceland