Sunday, December 31, 2017

Beautiful Banff - Day 2

Started off today with this breakfast panini (egg, cheese, tomato) and flat white at Good Earth Coffee. It was -26 degrees F out when we left the hotel to walk to the restaurant. BRR!!
I dropped Brian off at Lake Louise Ski Resort and headed out for some solo cross-country skiing adventures. (In case you missed it in past posts, I am not a fan of heights or the ski lift, and grew up cross-country skiing, so Banff was a perfect place for both of us to find what we wanted.) I didn't come across a single person all morning on the trails.
I finished up my skiing for the day and headed back to the lodge to find Brian for lunch. The place was swarming with people, so we went to one of the sit-down restaurants, Kuma Yama. I had the Grizzly Bear roll (avocado, salmon sashimi, spicy salmon salad), the jalapeƱo yellowtail and a tiny bottle of prosecco. I sat and read for a bit while Brian finished up his last runs of the day. 
Brian's backcountry mountain view before skiing down.
On our way to/from Lake Louise back to Banff, I kept seeing people stop and take pictures here. There was no one waiting when we drove back to our hotel so I hopped out and Brian took this shot of me swinging between letters.
After hot showers and walking around looking for the perfect (yet-to-be-found) Canadian ski hat, we headed to Bear Street Tavern for some pizza. Brian had the one on top (the Big Bird) and I made my own (spicy marinara, cheese, and pineapple). It was a cozy way to end an action-packed day!

Saturday, December 30, 2017

Beautiful Banff - Day 1

While it's beautiful here, it's well below freezing. A cool -17 F when we woke up this morning. It is so pretty that it's almost easy to forget that there are tiny icicles in your eyelashes every time you step outside. It has also been lightly snowing since we arrived.

We flew into Calgary, rented a car and drove an hour and a half to Banff. We checked into our hotel and headed to the Fairmont Banff Springs for dinner at Samurai Sushi. Due to multiple flight delays, we missed our reservation at one of the six tables, but we did snag two seats at the bar. Brian had the sushi meal at the top and the rest were mine - a salad, rainbow roll, tuna tataki and salmon nigiri.
We headed to the Whitebark Cafe for breakfast before heading to Lake Louise to rent skis. I had a yummy latte and a loaded carrot muffin with toasted coconut on top - so good!
Brian decided to give cross-country skiing a try, so we rented some gear and headed for some amazingly groomed trails near Lake Louise. It was snowing lightly and very cold, but we kept toasty warm skiing. The Canadian Rocky Mountains peeked over the trees for us to see.
After skiing for a couple of hours, we headed to the Fairmont Lake Louise for some lunch. We also checked out the frozen lake, which sadly, did not look turquoise, if you've ever Googled Banff, you'll know what I mean.
We warmed up with some hot toddies, which featured fresh ginger and anise. I had these amazing nachos with smoked gouda, roasted salsa and guacamole. Afterwards we walked around the outside of the hotel and found some ice sculptures like this pelican and castle - so cool!
After walking around town a little bit and buying Brian warmer snow pants, we headed back for showers and headed to Three Ravens Restaurant + Wine Bar for dinner. It's a little hard to find on the campus of the Banff Center, which is a performing art school, but it's worth it. I had this complex dish of roasted heirloom tomatoes, beet puree, ash papparadelle, mushrooms, honey marscapone, puffed rice, oat and nut mix, microgreens and kale. It was a little overwhelming but good.
This has to be one of the craziest desserts I've ever had, hence that look on my face. The Taste of Cacao Barry Chocolate was spicy Ochoa dark chocolate, blackberry Alunga milk chocolate, lemon Zephyr white chocolate, hibiscus coulis, mixed seed brittle, juniper cake, and lime-chocolate mousse. Made my palate jump.
Outside our door at the Moose Hotel, is this little house that you can stay in. It used to be on the property before the hotel was built and later they moved the house, built in 1913, back to where it began. You can read more of the story here, and you can stay in the house!!! If only I'd known!! Thanks for stopping by!

Saturday, December 2, 2017

Eating Portland - Days 3 + 4

I know I have shared this before, but when I am traveling for work, it looks like all I do is eat. I could take lots of photos of spreadsheets, monitors, Google docs, and Slack chats, but trust me, this is much more entertaining (I think). I also picked up either killer fall allergies or a sinus infection with a migraine, so I bring you this combined post which allowed me to get to bed at a decent time last night. Enjoy!

We started off Thursday with a scrumptious breakfast at Imperial, which is attached to our hotel. Lindsey and I both had the Hipster breakfast sandwich (egg, cheese, tomato, and hazelnut romesco) and Imperial Breakfast Potatoes. I also had a yummy half of a ruby red grapefruit.
After a solid day of work, and crushing all the team to-do's on our agenda for the week, we headed to Beer O'Clock for a celebratory drink. With Portland getting dark at about 4pm, it seemed like the perfect time to leave the office. I chose this De Brabandere Petrus Sour Mango from Belgium - so good!
We then headed to Jacqueline for dinner. We started with an amazing petit baguette and I had the yellowtail crudo, avocado, grapefruit, white ponzu and sprouted coriander starter. It was light and super fresh, and pretty.
For my main dish, I had the Parisienne gnocchi with dungeness crab, chanterelles, leeks, and crayfish fumet. I thought that was cheese on the top, but it was crab.
There is a debate in Portland about which ice cream place is the best - Salt & Straw or Fifty Licks. Our original plan was to try both after dinner and decide for ourselves, but that task appeared far too daunting after a big meal. We ended up at Fifty Licks because it was right next door and there was no line (which apparently is a normal issue). I had the Oregon strawberry on a homemade waffle cone. We also tried a bunch of flavors before ordering. If Salt & Straw is as good, if not better, Portland is a very lucky town!
One of my friends who used to work at Mozilla saw that I was in Portland via Twitter and reached out. He and his wife (who also used to work for Mozilla) live in a neighborhood on the way to the airport and suggested we meet at Proud Mary for brunch.
We had an awesome meal (poached eggs on toast) and a great time catching up. I always love when my travels intersect spontaneously with people I haven't seen in awhile. Thanks Katie and Jared!!

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Eating Portland - Day 2

My co-worker, Lindsey, and I headed to Tasty n Alder for a delicious breakfast. We couldn't believe that there was a line for brunch on a Wednesday morning, but we were later assured that this is normal in Portland. We shared this chocolate potato donut (so good!).
I then had this cheddar, egg biscuit - sheer breakfast perfection! My only complaint is that they only had brewed coffee, so we stopped by Stumptown Coffee Roasters for a brown sugar latte to take into the office - it even came with a free stroopwafle!
We walked to the office and got started on our meetings, but not before appreciating the fanciness of the space we'd only seen on video calls.
The best part of any Mozilla is obviously the free snacks and drinks. (They have now been labeled for health - the KIND bars are the only green-rated snack.) I may have exceeded the recommended daily intake amount of La Croix water (made my tummy hurt).
After work we met up with Lindsey's sister and another of my co-workers, Mehan, and headed to Angel Face for a drink before dinner. The wallpaper was a perfect backdrop for my gin gimlet. 
At Tusk, we met up with Mehan's wife, Annie, and the five of us ordered "the magic carpet ride" which is dish after dish of incredible vegetable forward Middle Eastern food. The hummus was so creamy and smooth - I could've just eaten that with the flatbread.
The waitress even praised our progress through the countless dishes we were served.
We ended the day the same way it started, with homemade donuts - these were ricotta and just melted in the mouth. We also had little shot glasses of ice cream with candied pepitas - just amazing! Thanks for stopping by, hope you're not too hungry now!

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Eating Portland - Day 1

I arrived in Portland for a few days of work with a little time to explore at the front end. I checked into my hotel - Hotel Lucia (so cute and fancy) - and headed out for a walk. It's been awhile since my last trip, I think at least six years, and it's changed quite a bit. While there are a ton of local shops and restaurants, my most exciting find was a giant Anthropologie & Co. - which has a special name because it houses all the brands - the wedding shop, the shoe store, a custom upholstery section, and tons of housewares and clothing. (Apologies to those of you who don't care about Anthro the way I do, but check out some of these amazing displays!)

So pretty - and how do they do this? How do they make decorating so effortless and cohesive? If you are someone with this talent, can you come to my house and help me out?
I controlled myself, but I really wanted to curl up on that couch for a nap.
After walking around, I headed to Tasty n Alder for dinner but my Central time stomach was out of sync with Pacific time dining availability so I had to settle for a snack and this yummy drink. A Brown Derby - bourbon, grapefruit, honey shrub and ginger bitters.
Once an acceptable dinner time rolled around, I polled the bar at happy hour to find the best local-approved spot and ended up at Bamboo Sushi. They were still having happy hour, so I got these two rolls, which were more than enough for me. The roll on the right is the Camo roll (avocado, tataki yasai, and cucumber, topped with MSC albacore, coho salmon, and crispy kaiso) and the roll on the left is the 310 (marinated fried tofu, roasted peppers, cucumbers, long bean, and yamagobo, topped with avocado, and sweet shiitake glaze). I really liked the Camo roll (minus the crispy kaiso which sort of attacked me in the mouth) and the 310 roll was good (although I was too full to finish it).
I headed back to my hotel to get a little work done and relax a bit before the next few days of work. I am looking forward to working with two my colleagues on this project in one of Mozilla's official offices (which means unlimited drinks and snacks!!). I'll be back soon with more food picks, at least!

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Girlfriend Getaway Part IV

We started off our last full day with a Flow yoga class at Savannah Yoga Center. After the 10+ miles of walking both of the days prior, yoga was just the ticket to getting ready for our final adventures of the trip.
After getting stretched out, we headed to the Sentient Bean for some coffee and breakfast - the apple-shaped apple juices were too cute to pass up. My egg and cheese bagel was perfect.
After breakfast and showers, we headed to Spa Bleu for manicures and pedicures. It was very relaxing and they did a great job (writing this a day later and still no chips!). We both got "Rubble" on our fingers and different reds/pinks on our toes.
Our nail technicians recommended the spiced lavender mochas next door at Collins Quarter. We were feeling like a caffeine boost, so we checked it out. They were not wrong - you should get yourself one, stat!
We then hopped in the car and drove out to Tybee Island to check out their farmers market's last day of the season. We bought some flavored pecans and then headed to the beach to take in a little salt air. We also saw a pod of dolphins jumping around in the water, not far from shore, as the sun started to set.
Rocking shorts and a jacket as the sun started to set and the wind picked up on the beach. We had optimistically worn our bathing suits under our clothes just in case swimming seemed like a good idea, which it didn't turn out to be. It was still nice to see the water though!
The beach.
We got ready for dinner and headed to The Public Kitchen and Bar. We ordered the burrata to start and it looked so delicious, I dove in without taking a photo. (Just imagine garlic toast, a giant blob of burrata and sliced roasted tomatoes.) I had this autumn linguini with brussel sprouts, butternut squash, pecans, salmon, and manchego cream sauce. Despite the funky lighting above, it was amazing!
For a final nightcap, we went next door to The Artillery (check out the website for more gorgeous photos of this cozy bar).
My French 75 with chamomile bitters and Jessica's Coffee + Cigarettes. Cheers to fun weekend getaways with friends. Hope a little adventure awaits you and a friend or two soon!

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Girlfriend Getaway Part III

After our earlier adventures, we headed to the Savannah School of Art and Design Museum of Art. There were several great exhibits including one with tiny figurines doing giant things (like the little man painting an entire column blue - upper right), colored termite mounds built by termite colonies from colored sand, gold, glitter and crystals (bottom right), and a floor sculpture made of silver wrapped candies (bottom left). 
After resting at our Airbnb for a bit, we headed out for dinner at Collins Quarter. It was cute and cozy and the food was delicious. We had the cheese plate and I had the fungi tacos in wonton shells - so good!
The Cucumber Basil Collins. Light and refreshing!
We also did some shopping during the day. I would highly recommend the Paris Market and the rest of the shops up and down Broughton Street. The weather has been so nice and we've had so much time to get caught up on all the little and big things since the last time we hung out in person (I think in June). Until tomorrow for my last post of the rest of our trip!

Monday, November 13, 2017

Girlfriend Getaway Part II

We woke up and headed back to Foxy Loxy for some apple kolaches - so yummy!
After breakfast we headed to the Wormsloe State Historic site.
Getting ready to enjoy the grounds with Jessica.
Wormsloe's tabby ruin is the oldest standing structure in Savannah. There was one other section of wall on the left. The structure is made of oyster shells and sand.
The marsh stretched as far as the eye could see next to the historic site, with a waterway winding through the middle.
Any great day has breakfast and brunch! We had a few places in mind and back-up reservations (just in case), but ended up at J. Christopher's (as soon as they told us it was BYOB and there was a little shop right around the corner). We walked over and grabbed a bottle of prosecco and ordered some grapefruit juice for mimosas. The outdoor table was perfect for a 70 degree day.
We both had the huevos avocado - an English muffin topped with sour cream, avocado, pico de gallo, melted mixed cheese and a pair of poached eggs. It was delicious!
As former Girl Scouts, we had to have a photo at the birthplace of the Founder, Juliette Gordon Lowe. "On my honor, I will try: To serve God and my country, To help people at all times, And to live by the Girl Scout Law."

Thanks for stopping by! We fit in so much fun, I will be sharing the rest in my next post.