Durham in Pictures

This past weekend Tuna and I took a little trip down to Durham, NC to visit my mom!

On Saturday morning, my mom had a healthy breakfast bar for us to wake up to. My concoction was full of strawberry yogurt, granola, chia seeds, flaxseed, pumpkin seeds, almond slivers, and blueberries. Yum!

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Oh yeah, and mimosas. 🙂

We all went on a morning walk in the Duke Forest. The pine trees are sooooo tall.

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After lunch, we toured around the Durham Bulls stadium as it was gettin’ all fixed up for spring. They’re currently adding a new scoreboard to the field.

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The sports day continued with a look inside the famous Cameron Indoor Stadium at Duke. Even though our UVA pride was kicking in, it was cool to observe where a lot of bball history has happened.

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Apparently there is a tradition called K-ville where students camp out in tents all winter in an attempt to score Duke/UNC rivalry game tickets. That’s just cray, IMO.

Kville

The Duke campus is gorgeous and it turned out to be a great day to walk around outside. I wish D.C. would take the hint.

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The Duke Chapel –

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I spy a wedding….

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If you can’t tell, I had fun pretending I was a photographer on our mini vacation. We certainly had to walk off all of the delish food we ate while we were there. And it was definitely nice to get out of town/have a change of scenery! Perhaps we can all take a page from the South’s slower paced lifestyle. I liked having the reminder to stop and take a look around.

Tell me:

What was the last trip you took?

Have you ever been to Duke/Durham?

What camera do you use to take pictures? I use my iPhone

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Southern Wedding Weekend

I had a four-day weekend this past week when we headed down to Chattanooga on a road trip with Tuna’s fam for a wedding.

vera1Both the road trip the wedding were pretty awesome, especially the FOOD!

2013-04-20 22.46.11Since it was a southern wedding, there was lots of southern food.

Some delicious highlights:

  • Weirdly good hibachi in a small country town in Virginia.
  • Mac and cheese filled biscuits (yes, heaven apparently exists).
  • Fried pickle kabobs are my favorite.
  • I LIKE CHEESEBURGERS NOW. This occurred late night at the wedding, served with chocolate milkshakes. The buns were biscuits. I had mine…and Tuna’s. Whoops.
  • Stone ground cheese grits at a country club brunch with a gorgeous view.

2013-04-21 10.56.54I did not weigh myself yesterday. I don’t think I will for a few days!

The ten hour ride home was broken up with back-to-back McDonald’s stops.

I tried to be somewhat healthy-ish at McDonald’s (I still don’t think that’s possible) and tried the new chicken and ranch McWrap with grilled chicken.

It was decent tasting for a wrap, though it still isn’t that healthy with it’s mayonnaise based dressing and white tortilla. But after my double cheeseburger incident above, I don’t think my body was complaining to see a little bit of lettuce.

I still think cheat weekends at events with yummy junk food are worth it. I may not feel so hot afterwards, but I spent my time enjoying yummy food rather than resenting it!

Do you ever find yourself stressing about food at an event/party?

What is a new food you’ve tried lately?

Have you tried the McWrap yet?

Watt’s Grocery

It seems that all of the places to eat in Durham end in “market” or “grocery.”

Maybe that’s a hint to how local and self-produced all of the food is – referencing the small distance between the farm and the table. I’m cool with that.

wattsgrocery8I liked that they show all of the farms that the food comes from on their menus.

wattsgrocery4My mom’s bf got the sazerack. I tried it and was not a fan.

wattsgrocery3I was, however, a fan of the pomegranate margarita – both my mom and I ordered one. I liked the little seeds peeking through the ice!

wattsgrocery7We split the Farmer’s Cheese Hushpuppies for an app.

wattsgrocery21. It came with basil mayo that was insane.

2. The hushpuppies had jalapeños. I approve.

Can you guess which one I picked?

wattsgrocery6Yup, the pan roasted chicken. My mom had a bite and said, “that is the best chicken ever.” There’s those pecans again!

I’m adding sauteed mustard greens to my tried and I didn’t like, no thanks list.

If you’re ever in Durham, Watt’s Grocery is definitely a place you need to try.

Foster’s Market

Has anyone been to Foster’s Market in Durham before?

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“Foster’s Market is a gourmet food market and cafe, focusing on scratch made soups, salads, casseroles, sandwiches and more. Everything is made in house, we even roast the turkey for our sandwiches. It is nearly impossible to describe Foster’s with one set definition. We are a restaurant, coffee bar, specialty food store and catering company. We also make gift baskets and sell products on our online store.”

Cool fact: Sara Foster started her career working for my fav, Martha Stewart.

We went there for a late lunch on Saturday and it was sooo good.

I ordered the house roasted turkey breast sandwich.

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I was proud of myself – I didn’t switch up anything on the menu and didn’t do a “create your own” sandwich like I normally would at a place like this. Didn’t even nix the basil mayo!

This is a huge step for my picky-meter. 

We got the deviled eggs for an little appetizer while we waited for our sandwiches.

Just like pecans, deviled eggs were everywhere in Durham.

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To quote Tuna, don’t these look amaze-balls?

Best deviled eggs I’ve ever had.

My mom’s bf thought that there might have been some pickle juice in them – but we didn’t think so.

Turns out he was right! It’s pretty awesome they have all of their recipes online. I know where I’m going to be getting my spring/summer recipes from!

Everything tasted ridiculously fresh.

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I couldn’t help but swipe a bag of chocolate covered pecans on our way out.

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I needed some more protein. Yeah.

Thanks to Jenn @ Peas and Crayons for hosting What I Ate Wednesday!

The Sarah P. Duke Gardens

After finishing up at the Durham Farmers’ Market, we moseyed on over to The Sarah P. Duke Gardens at Duke University.

The Duke Gardens began in the 1930’s, and now spreads across 55 acres of west campus.

It was the absolute perfect day for a trip to the gardens: gorgeous and 65 degrees out. I couldn’t help but take an absurd amount of pictures.

The cherry blossoms aren’t blooming yet in Washington, but they sure were here!

cherryblossom1cherryblossom2I am jeal that my mom gets to live near these gardens! Cross-training here would definitely be more picturesque than the inside of the gym.

I was surprised how big the gardens were. Each trail led us to a bigger space of land than the one before it.

bridgegardens1We finally got to the flowers – obvi my favorite part.

gardens2flowers3The koi pond is supposedly filled with water lilies during the summer.

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gardens3The smell was amazing.

gardens5gardens6flowers2gardens7We came across this quaint little gardener’s cottage toward the top of the terrace.

restrooms2And proceeded to take a bunch of photos in front of it.

restrooms1When we were satisfied, we turned around to leave, and my mom pointed out the sign.

restrooms3Whoops.

We have a lot of good pics to frame – but all in front of the bathroom, nbd.

Don’t mind me, just continuing to play photog at the garden center.

gardencenter1Though my allegiance lies elsewhere, I have to admit that Duke has it’s pretty parts!

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Durham Farmers’ Market

This past weekend, I trained it down to North Carolina.

2013-03-29 11.15.43My mom recently moved to Durham, so I went to visit her for Easter weekend.

Durham is an old southern city built around tobacco production and is home to Duke University.

Now, Durham is ranked the “Foodiest Small Town in America,” and is full of trendy southern restaurants and food trucks. It also has a growing local food movement.

One of the first things we did while I was there was explore the Durham Farmers’ Market.

durhamcentralparkThe Durham Farmers’ Market features all-local produce and goods from farms within 70 miles of the Durham city limits. Click here to see a few reasons why buying local is the way to go.

This weekend was the week before the main spring/summer season, so I figured there wouldn’t be too many vendors with fresh goods to sell.

farmersmarket2Boy, was I wrong.

Even though it was a preview of the bigger farmers’ market in the weeks to come, there were tons of people there! My mom kept saying that it looked like a festival. It seems as though Durham’s foodies are an enthusiastic bunch.

farmersmarket1 67 vendors were busy selling items that they produced themselves.

There were so many vegetables for sale that I didn’t know what half of them were! See mystery vegetable number 1:

mysteryvegetableEach week, a local chef cooks in the center of the market, showing how to create dishes with ingredients that are in season.

chef1Free range eggs for me, please!

farmfreshMost farmers’ markets don’t just sell food – they sell other natural and organic items too, including soap, lip balm, clothing, etc.

soapI was loving the free samples!

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organicveggiesHave you ever seen such a long line FOR KALE?

lineforkale1Not only is the produce at local farmers’ markets really good for you, it’s cheaper than grocery stores! (A common misconception).

kaleBefore this weekend, if you asked me what a pecan looked like still in it’s shell, I couldn’t tell you.

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Pecans were everywhere in Durham. I think it’s a southern thing.

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2013-03-30 11.56.22loofasThat’s not all. There was a whole second section of the farmers’ market: the food truck section.

foodtruck1pies1I had to stop for some shaved ice from Sweet Water.

iceI sampled the pistachio flavor – look how green!

pistachioicecreamBut I ended up choosing watermelon. Delish.

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pretzels2My mom’s bf went straight for the pretzel truck. The gouda pretzel was just about the best thing ever.

pretzels3foodstruck2I’m really glad I got to experience the Durham Farmers’ Market because it reminded me of how good the food and produce is at farmers’ markets. It was the perfect inspiration to scope out the different ones around D.C. this spring and summer!

To find a local farmers’ market near you, go to: www.localharvest.org/

Pre Half Marathon Expo and Eats

We probably did more this weekend than I usually do in a month, so let me start at the beginning.

On Saturday morning, I woke up at 5:30am to head over to Mal and Rose’s apartment in Arlington.

They are both my BFFLs/college roomies from THREE YEARS ago even though it does not seem like that long ago! (I’m the one that always forces us to do a funny pic – don’t judge me).

We missed you, Allyson!

We missed you, Allyson!

We all wanted to leave early on Saturday just in case there was any traffic on the way to Virginia Beach. Luckily, there was zero traffic, and we zipped on down to the beach in no time.

Mal’s friend Jenna (who is a saint for letting us crash) let us stay at her house with her three-legged cat, Franco.

2013-03-16 16.48.25After we settled in, we headed over to Taste with the Richmond crew for lunch. It was a delish gourmet sandwich place that reminded us of Take It Away in C’ville.

taste1The rest of the afternoon was spent at the race expo. Thanks for posing for me, Rose!

conventioncenterIt was my first race expo, and it was pretty darn cool. There were tons of vendors with overwhelming amounts of running gear. It was running heaven for sure.

expo1I think everyone’s favorite thing at the expo was testing out The Stick.

sticking1I’m surprised we didn’t all walk out with one!

sticking3For our pre-race meal, we went to another one of Mal’s friends’ beach house for a potluck dinner, which I sneakily captured on film. It’s normal to constantly take pictures of food, right?

potluck1I tried to limit myself to only half the tray of crab dip, since supposedly you’re supposed to steer clear of dairy the night before a race.

potluck2I loaded up on pasta, garlic bread, and a little bit of salad. We were all fearing fiber that evening.

Pre-race potluck dinner = awesome.

potluck3potluck5And was even better because we got to go check out the beach!

beach1beach2All the runner girls for the weekend:

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beach3I couldn’t let the night end without a funny one.

2013-03-16 19.28.36Thanks as always to Jenn @ Peas and Crayons for hosting What I Ate Wednesday!

Lessons Learned in Traveling

Lately I’ve been turning to Tuna and pouting. He knows that means I’m missing our Miami/Brazil trip. Our trip was awesome.

In Miami, we went on a boat tour in the Everglades and saw real live alligators!

20121119-110303.jpgAnd in Brazil we did lots of site-seeing and climbed up Corcovado.

Tuna made me do it.

Tuna made me do it.

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Orchids grow in the trees! Seriously?

Oh, I also stuffed my face with delicious salty breads, flavorful meat, and stiff drinks.

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…and potato prepared in every way imaginable

When we got home, I reluctantly weighed myself with one eye closed. I was thinking it would be about +7or 8 lbs. I peeked at the scale, and frowned in disbelief! I only gained half a pound throughout our entire trip. We did walk a lot and – we did sweat a lot.

Lesson learned: you aren’t going to blow up and die if you indulge and eat everything in sight once in a while.

It was also nice to be reminded of certain foods I haven’t utilized in awhile by the restaurants we went to and the meals served by our hosts.

Tuna’s sister whipped up a fruit smoothie for us that I’ve already made a bunch of times since I’ve been home.

tropical smoothieTropical Smoothie

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup strawberries
  • 1/3 cup blueberries
  • 1 banana
  • 1/3 cup vanilla yogurt
  • 1 cup apple juice
  • 4 ice cubes

Another lesson learned: trying new foods doesn’t have to be scary. If you try something and don’t like it, you don’t have to eat it.

I tried a shit ton of new foods on the trip. And I actually liked…..some of them.

I genuinely liked, would make for myself, and enjoyed eating:

  • green curry
  • fried yucca
  • mango

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  • chicken empanadas

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  • white beans
  • guava paste
  • figs
  • pecan pie

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  • farofa
  • päo de queijo
  • pipoca
  • churrascaria
  • cachaça

Ok, not my favorite, but edible:

  • feijoada
  • collard greens

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I did not like; no thanks:

  • goat cheese
  • kielbasa
  • creamed kale
  • airplane food
  • guaraná (soda)
  • mushrooms
  • papaya
  • ham
  • sweet potato soup
  • ground beef empanadas

25 new foods tried, only 1 million to go!

What’s a lesson you learned while traveling?

Yes, I Ate That

We woke up Saturday with a cloud of doom over our heads because it was our last day in Brazil!

Our flight left Saturday night, so we had to cram in lots of fun stuff for the day.

Tuna’s parents took us to a local favorite for lunch called Academia de Cachaça. Let’s back up a hot sec and explain the importance of cachaça.

Cachaça (basically Brazilian rum) is the type of liquor in a caipirinha, the national cocktail of Brazil. As someone who only likes alcoholic drinks that you can’t taste the alcohol in, I wholeheartedly endorse caipirinhas.

Just add ice, sugar, and limes to cachaça and you’ll be good to go. Meaning – one caipirinha will have you tripping down the curb back from Plataforma.

Now you understand that the Academia de Cachaça would naturally have the best caipirinhas in Rio. Which was good because I needed a slight buzz in order to muster enough courage to try, “the one dish you have to try while you’re Brazil.”

When Tuna found out we were having feijoada, the national meal, he immediately turned to me in terror.

feijoadaFeijoada is a stew of beans made of pork and beef.

His parents asked me, “do you like soup (stew)?” No.

Ok….“do you like beans?”

No.

Hmm…well…“do you like pork?”

Noo.

I do like bacon though. I prayed pork translated to a few bacon bits sprinkled on top of the feijoada.

Alas, that was not the case.

feijoadastewYes, I ate that.

Luckily, you get to mix feijoada with cooked greens, orange slices, and farofa. I knew I liked farofa from the night before at the churrascaria. Farofa is manioc (yucca) flour cooked in butter and olive oil. It kind of tastes like nothing. Perfect.

side dishOh, and white rice. The item that my Chinese order for ten years of my life solely consisted of.

rice Tuna’s dad took pity on me and scooped me out a conservative portion of feijoada with just the beef tenderloin.

full feijoadaGuess what?

full feijoada2I ate it all.

I cleaned my plate. And it was even pretty good! It wasn’t my favorite meal I’ve ever eaten, but I did like it and I’d eat it again.

Even I was impressed with me.

After we rolled ourselves home from lunch, it was time to pack up and cry head out to our last vacation activity.

We had the national cocktail, the national dish, and now it was time for “the national passion,” according to our driver, Tomás.

A football game!

Er… as we Americans call it – soccer.

The game was the best rivalry in Rio: Flamengo vs. Vasco.

fieldFlamengo has the largest fan base in Rio and their club is in Tuna’s parents’ neighborhood, so they had our allegiance!

soccergameThe only time I was scared during our stay in Brazil was on our way into the stadium. The fans get really crazy and police with giant shotguns were running towards crowds of people. There was a lot of shouting and shoving going on.

But as soon as we got to our seats, the friendly rivalry resumed with the sound of Brazilian drumming in the Flamengo section.

gameThough we had to leave after the first half to catch our plane, it was a pretty great way to end our amazing Brazilian adventure.

Ciao, Rio!

Thanks as always to Jenn for hosting What I Ate Wednesday!

Dancing Queen

Can we just look at the view from our window in Brazil again? It makes me happy. Slash it will be the background of my phone/computer forever.

view2Friday – the day after Thanksgiving – was our last full day in Brazil. We started our packed day of sightseeing early with a boat tour of Rio on Guanabara Bay.  Isn’t the boat cool looking?

boatWe got there just in time to hop on the boat and elbow people out of the way to get good seats on the uncovered front part on the left. We had tons of cray tourists from different countries sitting near us. The Italians were especially booze-tastic, and sang lots of songs in Italian for us. Loudly.

The first part of the tour approached Sugarloaf. Can you see the cable car lines?

boatrideHere’s a sick view of the city and landmarks! Sugarloaf is on the left and Corcovado is the pointy mountain to the right of the middle of the picture. Hmmm..maybe I should change this picture to my phone/computer background forever…

rioHere you can see a little more of the city. FYI – Rio is massive, if you haven’t figured that out already! The current population is about 6.3 million people. Just to give you an idea – that’s twice as many people as L.A.

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Hey, fisherman!

fisherman1For some reason, I was obsessed with this quaint little church on the side of a mountain.

church2Let’s be honest, it’s probably because it looked exactly like the church on the mountain at the end of Mamma Mia.

Don’t you think? I think.

church3After our boat tour and a yummy lunch at the French bistro, Guy, we forced Tuna to do some mandatory souvenir shopping.

Then it was time to get ready for dinner at a churrascaria (steakhouse) and Plataforma, a dance show featuring the famous Brazilian mulatas.

beforeplataformaThe churrascaria was right up my alley. We had fire grilled steak, potatoes, and my favorite, päo de queijo (cheese bread). I think I could win a päo de queijo eating contest.

We finished dinner and headed upstairs to the stage.

plataforma1The mulatas were so good! Kind of weird that they were a little scantily clad, but you got used to it after a few dances.

I liked that they weren’t super skinny – they were curvy and healthy looking. Perhaps I shall add the stair climber to my cross training…

plataforma2My favorite act might have been the guy dancers doing an ancient karate type number with lots of flips.

plataforma3plataforma4plataforma5The Carnival act was pretty cool too.

carnivalWhyyy didn’t I get an ab workout from her before we left?!

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If you won a eating contest, what food would it be?