Friday, August 30, 2013

Five On Friday: Clemson Football Edition

Happy Friday and happy game day eve to everyone that will be cheering on their favorite team tomorrow!  I cannot believe that football season is already here.  T and I rang it in in style last night with a feast of bacon jalapeno cheese fries, buffalo chicken tenders, and margaritas.  You just can't watch a football game and eat a salad-something's just not right about that.  Tomorrow morning we'll be heading to Clemson to tailgate for the Clemson/UGA game and I could not be more excited.  Here are the five things that I'm most excited about when it comes to Clemson football season.

{one.} College Friends- All of my friends are spread out all over the southeast, and it's a rare occasion that we all get together.  Clemson football games are one of those times where we all get to be in the same place at the same time, and I cherish that.

{two.} Cowboy Boots- Its now time to bring out the ole cowboy boots.  I got to wear them a few times in Nashville last weekend, and it was glorious to reunite with them.  I forget just how comfortable these things are.  I've had them resoled twice, but the leather is still in great condition, and it's now completely worn in and supple.  I think they're the only shoes that I can wear for 12+ hours and not have a blister.

{three.} Mimosas- I love any excuse for day drinking, and football games provide the perfect one.  Especially because many of Clemson's games kick off at noon.  That means we're out at the tailgate around 8:00 with mimosas in hand.  A mimosa in an orange solo cup just tastes like Clemson football to me.


{four.} Unlimited Appetizers- Along with my fervor for day drinking, I also love to snack on appetizers.  I could give up every regular meal in my life if I could just always munch on appetizers.  This week I'll be making these Seasoned Pretzels. They are a favorite among our group, so I know they'll be a hit.  They are also great for games in the earlier part of the season because they don't melt or spoil under the intense South Carolina heat.

{five.} Football- Well I guess I can't leave out the reason behind all of this drinking, eating, and tailgating...the football. Looking forward to being in this stadium surrounded by orange tomorrow!

Have a great weekend everyone!  And a special thank you to A. Liz Adventures, Carolina Charm, Hello! Happiness, and The Good Life Blog for this awesome link up.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Hattie B's Hot Chicken

 The first meal that T and I had on our Nashville adventure was lunch at Hattie B's.   We were determined to hit up a non-touristy joint for our first meal in Music City.  There's nothing that I hate more than feeling like a tourist; I always want to do what the locals are doing.  We asked our friendly valet guys at the hotel for ideas of some places off the beaten path, and they suggested Hattie B's Hot Chicken.  He told us that they had great chicken, tasty sides, and a good selection of local microbrews.  We were sold. 

The menu is somewhat limited, so you only have a few choices to make when you get up to the counter to order.  I like that concept for a restaurant- figure out what you're good at and do just that.  I don't care about having a huge selection of food on the menu, I just want it to taste good.   So, first came the ordering of the chicken.  You choose small or large, white or dark.  Then you choose your heat.  The heat levels range from Mild all the way up to Shut The Cluck Up.  Don't you just love that?  We were forewarned that even the mild had some heat, so that's what I went with.  T had the medium, and almost regretted it.  We love spicy food, but Hattie B's don't mess around. 

Then it was time to order our sides. We chose the baked beans, potato salad, pimento mac and cheese, and southern greens and shared all four.  I'm a collard greens snob enthusiast, and these things were good. Cooked perfectly, not bitter, with just the right amount of pork flavor and a little bit of heat.  Potato salad and baked beans were also very good- pretty standard.  And the mac and cheese was awesome, but I've never met a mac and cheese that wasn't. 

This was a perfect way to start our trip, and it encouraged us to continue getting out of the downtown area for other meals. It's so easy to fall into those tourist traps on Broadway, but I know we would have regretted it.  If we had been in Nashville for longer than 3 days, we would have definitely gone back to Hattie B's a second time, it was just that good!

Hattie B's Hot Chicken on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Weekend Recap: Our Anniversary Trip to Nashville

This weekend T and I went to Nashville for our one year wedding anniversary.  Our anniversary is actually next weekend, but somebody has to go to the Clemson/UGA game that weekend.  What did I get myself into getting married on Labor Day weekend, a.k.a. the first weekend of college football.  I should have known better!  But regardless of that we had an absolute blast.

We arrived early afternoon on Thursday and checked into the hotel.  We used the Name Your Own Price feature on Priceline and got the Sheraton downtown for a great deal.  It overlooked the capital building which was great, and our concierge even surprised us with champagne, snacks, and a handwritten note wishing us a happy anniversary signed by the staff.  

We really wanted to go somewhere cool and non-touristy for our first lunch there.  I told T that we were not to step foot in The Hard Rock Cafe.  He obliged, and we asked our friendly valet guys at the hotel for some suggestions.  They suggested Hattie B's Hot Chicken, so that's where we went.  We each got chicken and shared some of their yummy sides.  Everything was so tasty, this was a perfect way to start out the weekend.  Stay tuned for a more detailed review of Hattie B's in a subsequent post.

After lunch we decided to hit up the bars on Broadway for the first time.  We had a couple of beers and listened to some good music, then came back to drink our bottle of champagne and eat the snacks that the hotel gave us. After all that, neither one of us was very hungry,  so we decided to forgo dinner and hit the bars on Broadway again. 

A friend of mine gave me a great tip when I told him I was going to Nashville.  These were his words, "Start at Legends, then bar hop all the way down to The Stage.  Do not waste your time going to any bars on the other side of Broadway.  Trust me on this.  If you start early enough, go back to the bars in the same rotation, it will be totally different bands".  He was totally right.  Broadway is packed with tons of bars, but the best ones are all on one little section of a block.  We quickly realized with Nashville that you should not judge a book by its cover.  Our favorite bars were ones that looked like complete holes in the wall on the outside. They seemed the most authentic inside.

At Legend's Corner with my good ole pal Billy Ray. If I had only known the shenanigans his daughter would be getting into later on that week.

A few hours into our Broadway stint we realized we were a bit hungry.   We were at Robert's Western World at that point, which turned out to be one of our favorite places.  T and I both spotted their  Recession Special on the menu- a fried bologna sandwich, bag of chips, and PBR for $5.00- and we jumped on the deal. Never has a fried bologna sandwich tasted so good.

Friday morning T and I got up and decided to get a little culture in on our trip.  We went to the Parthenon in Centennial Park.  The Parthenon and the statue of Athena inside are exact full-scale replicas of the ones found in Greece.  This building was built for Tennessee's Centennial Exposition in 1897, and it now serves as the city's art museum.  The building houses a replica of Athena, the goddess that the original temple was devoted to.

Friday night we made our way down to Printer's Alley, a part of town just two streets over from Broadway.  Printers Alley is a little less touristy and their drink prices reflected that, too.  One of their bars, Lonnie's, has karaoke every night.   T and I sat in there for a few hours just listening to people get up and sing.  It was quite entertaining, T even mustered enough courage to get up there and sing one song. 

Saturday afternoon we went to the Country Music Hall of Fame. 

View from our room

After the Hall of Fame we made our way back to the Broadway area for a drink or two before dinner. One of the best things about the bars in Nashville is there is always live music and there's never a cover.   You can just roam from bar to bar listening to music all day and night.

Saturday night we made reservations for a nice anniversary dinner- no bologna sandwiches for us.  T and I have been to the bar at Husk in Charleston, but we've never had dinner there.  When we  found out that a location in Nashville recently opened up, we jumped on the opportunity and made a reservation.

Dinner was awesome.  We started with a bone marrow dish, roasted in the fire, served with a parsley biscuit, and sweet onion preserves. I've never had bone marrow before, and the thought of it skeeved me out a bit, especially because it is served right in the bone. But by the time we ordered I was one cocktail down and feeling adventurous.  As for entrees I had the snapper that was served over crushed tomatoes, courgettes, and spearmint.  (pictured below)  T went for the pork chop, grilled cabbage, buttermilk potato puree and mustard onions. 

Our food was fabulous. So good that we were wishing there was room for dessert, but there was no way I could squeeze that in after eating everything on my plate.  After dinner we waited outside for a cab to come and take us back to the hotel.  A few minutes later a cab pulled up, and we stood up to get inside.  A waiter ran out telling us that was not our cab, and that it was for one of his tables.  I was shocked at first to hear him say that, but when I realized who the cab was for I completely understood.  Connie Britton then came out from behind him and got into the cab.  I was absolutely shocked to see her.  I saw her clothes hanging in the Country Music Hall of Fame just earlier that day, and now I was seeing her in person.  Connie, you can take my cab any time.

T and I had such a fabulous time celebrating our anniversary in Nashville.  This was both our first time in Music City and we cannot wait to return!

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Music City, Here We Come!

We're off to Nashville to celebrate our first year of marriage.  Hope everyone has a great rest of their week and a fabulous weekend!  I'll be taking lots of pictures so I can share the details of our trip when I return.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Weekend Wrap Up

This weekend my family got together for a mini-vacation at our lake house.  I was hoping this would be a great opportunity to get one of my last tans in before fall, but boy was I wrong.  A cold front came in that was accompanied by lots of rain.  There were no sunny pontoon rides and dips in the water for us, but we made the best of it.  Friday afternoon we got a little stir crazy and went into Ridgeway for the day.  Ridgeway is a quaint little town about 20 minutes away from our lake house.  You really feel like you're stepping back in time when you're here.  Their main street, Palmer Street, is adorned with little antique shops, a hardware store, and the world's smallest police station- and it really is small.  

We also went into the hardware store, Ruff's Hardware that's been open since the early 1900's to look around.  They sell the typical things you'd see in a hardware store, but their store is also decorated with really unique antiques. Its fun just to walk around and see what all they have hanging up in that place. My sister's boyfriend Cameron and I picked up some old fashioned cokes while we were there.

 We spent the rest of the night doing a little fishing off the dock and spending a lot of time on our screened porch.

Saturday was just as cloudy and cool, but we had a few hours without rain.  We took advantage of that time to play some darts and take a short pontoon ride...

...and then it started raining again and we moved our game into the cabin next to our house.

And that was our weekend!  Even though the weather was terrible, it was still great to be with family.  Now I'm just hoping for one decent lake weekend before it gets too cold.  I haven't had one yet this year and I think I deserve it!

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

GF For A Week

In the past year I've put on about 5 pounds that I just cannot seem to lose.  I've started working out more, cut out alcohol Sunday-Thursday, and cut out diet sodas.  How much weight have I lost?  Zero, Zilch, Nada.  I've recently been getting really frustrated, so this week I'm trying something different.

This week I've decided to go gluten free.  Now I'm sure if there are any people who lead gluten free lifestyles reading this you're probably rolling your eyes right now.  Because going GF is a lifestyle, not a fast.  But for me it's an easy way to cut out most carbs, while still allowing myself a few every now and then.  It's day three and I'm already down 2 lbs.  Some of that could just be water weight, but I'm going to be really interested to see how my body reacts to drastically lower levels of gluten.

Here's an example of what I've been eating during the day.

Smoothie with strawberries, peaches, and soy milk
Handful of strawberries and an apple
Asian stir fry with chicken, carrots, onion, and broccoli slaw served over short grain rice
Greek grilled chicken salad with feta, kalamata olives, and pepperoncini
Guacamole and Tortilla Chips
Grilled Spicy Italian Sausage with roasted carrots and zucchini
Pan fried chicken tenders (breaded with almond flour) and roasted broccoli

This is a far cry from my typical meals that are loaded with carbohydrates, most of them coming from wheat.  I'll be really interested to see what happens in days to come.  My plan is not to go completely gluten free forever.  I would hate to develop in intolerance to it by completely removing it from my diet, but I will try to eliminate some future gluten products from my every day routine- provided I continue to have positive results. 

Monday, August 12, 2013

Angela's Bachelorette Weekend in Savannah

 This weekend I was in Savannah, GA celebrating my sister-in-law Angela for her bachelorette weekend.  We had an absolute blast!  We got down there Friday afternoon and walked around River Street.  Our first stop was Wet Willies to cool down with an alcoholic slush. We continued to stroll River Street, ducking into shops every once in a while to browse.  

Friday night we went and had dinner at Fiddler's Crab Shack overlooking the river, and had after dinner drinks and dessert at Lulu's Chocolate Bar.

After our dessert martinis, we headed to Saddlebags, a line dancing bar on River Street.  Angela is an awesome line dancer, and she taught us some fun moves.  I think I may have had a little easier time catching on if I hadn't just guzzled down a chocolate mint martini. 

Saturday morning we headed to Tybee Island for some beach time.  This was the first {and last} time I'll see the ocean this year.   I only live a few hours from the coast, but our summer has been so busy that we've had no time for the beach.   So, naturally I savored every moment with not enough sunscreen, and came home with quite a burn. 

Fortunately for us, Tybee also has a Wet Willies, so we stopped in for another refreshing slushy before we headed back to downtown Savannah.

Saturday night we went to the Olde Pink House for dinner.  The restaurant had the most amazing atmosphere.  Its located in an old house that was designed by Thomas Jefferson.  According to our waitress, the house was used for many purposes throughout it's history, including a hospital for wounded soldiers during the revolutionary war.  The food was awesome, I had a BLT salad that was featured on the Food Network's The Best Thing I Ever Ate.

After dinner we just had to go to Savannah Smiles, a dueling piano bar.  This place is like bachelorette central.  We saw at least 5 other bachelorettes in there.  They do a great job of involving the crowd and having the bachelorettes and come up on stage. 

We finished off the night at the Bohemian Hotel's rooftop bar with 1/2 off champagne.  They sell all of their bubbly at half price when they are about to close, what a deal!  Sunday morning we got up and had brunch at Vic's On The River and headed back home.  We all had such a great time with Angela and cannot wait for the wedding in October!

Friday, August 9, 2013

Off To Savannah!

Happy Friday everyone!  I'm off to Savannah today to celebrate my beautiful sister-in-law, Angela!  Angela is getting married in October, and we're throwing her a bachelorette party this weekend.  I cannot wait for the party to start!

the two of us at my wedding last year

I'll be posting instagram updates along the way, so check them out at @thereedyreview.
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