Galveston's Olympia Grill

Tuesday, May 27, 2014
My obsessions of late are as follows:

The Bachelorette (it's baaaaaack!!!), hot yoga (still), the song "Sleeping with a Friend" by Neon Trees (I seriously listen to it on repeat, 7th grade style), these veggie burgers, and Galveston's Olympia Grill.

This month has been a blindingly crazy month of travel for work and pleasure. Last week I visited Rockport and Galveston to film some projects my organization is working on and was on a boat a total of 3 times (once was for Memorial Day fun!). I am very fortunate in that I love my job, and I especially love my job on weeks like last week where I get to take my camera and spend some time out of the office. I spent one night in Galveston at the Tremont House, which was a real treat.

This gorgeous, historic hotel has a lovely laid back, beachy, old world feel.

But more importantly, it also has a swanky little bar with an impressive cocktail list.

And one more thing about the Tremont House - I had breakfast at the lovely cafe just off the lobby, and it was delightful.

Egg and cheese panini with fruit, complete with a flower on top? Yes please.

So on Wednesday, after a day of filming and traveling (driving for a total of 7+ hours), I checked into the Tremont, took a much needed shower, and was on a desperate hunt for food (and by food I mean wine). At the recommendation of my coworker Ellen, I walked over to the Greek restaurant Olympia Grill off of Pier 21 for dinner on their expansive deck on the water.

I'm going to be honest - overlooking barges and cruise ships, it's not the prettiest of views. But if you are in Galveston on that side of the island, this really is an ideal spot. The weather was perfect that night, and having a glass of wine on the deck with the ocean breeze on my face was heaven.

I started off with the Yolandi Dolmas, aka grape leaves, and they were killer. NYC is flush with proper Greek restaurants, and I hadn't had grape leaves since being back in Houston. Grape leaves can sometimes have a tendency to be on the dry side, but these did not disappoint. Perfectly tangy, light, and fresh, these served as the perfect starter.

I then opted for one of their spring special appetizers, the Southern Falafel.

Again, I hadn't had falafel since eating them from several of the Halal carts scattered throughout NYC, and these too did not disappoint. Falafel can sometimes be a little mushy, but these were wonderfully crisp and the perfect size (more compact than overwhelmingly large). Also, the hummus that came with the falafel was super fresh and  utterly delectable. The southern "twist" on this dish was a side of pico de gallo, which really took it to a new level. The combination of the crispy falafel, creamy hummus, and spicy pico was wonderful. In a nutshell: The falafel was falabulous!

Not sorry.

I don't get down to Galveston a lot, so this mini solo trip was a lovely change of pace. I definitely recommend staying at the Tremont, or at least popping in to check out its grandiose lobby with a fancy cocktail or six in hand. And if you're near Pier 21, I cannot recommend Olympia Grill enough. The food is divine, and you really can't beat the atmosphere.

I'm *probably* going to turn into a mermaid soon.

Aka Sushi House

Friday, May 16, 2014
I'm in a TV rut.

This is what happens when you binge-watch all of the good things, and seasons end, and you are left with a dark empty void where your soul used to be. Revenge, Scandal, House of Cards, Downton Abbey, where are youuuuuu?

I got into quite the heated debate with my friend Eric last week in NYC over Breaking Bad. It went something like this:

Me: I just can't get into Breaking Bad
Eric: What?! Why??
Me: Well, every time I watch it I'm eating ice cream, and I get really grossed out by the blood and stuff, and I feel sick to my stomach.
Eric: ......Hey I've got an idea - Try watching it without eating ice cream.
Eric: Kim, that show is so amazing! It's even better than LOST!
Mark (enters): I'm going to have to politely disagree. But you should watch Breaking Bad Kim. Without the ice cream.

But I feel very strongly that I should be able to watch my stories (yeah, I went there) while enjoying the rich gooey pleasure of ice cream. Is that too much to ask?


So I'll take any suggestions on new/old shows to watch that I can plow through and enjoy with my favorite pint of Ben and Jerry's!
But the main reason we're here.

Last month I had the pleasure of photographing my friend Meredith's gender reveal pictures amongst the lovely bluebonnets in Memorial Park. So exciting and so much fun!

Afterwards, we decided to fill up on sushi at Aka Sushi House in Upper Kirby. Well, I had sushi, and she had cooked things. For the children! (well, child) Also, this will be my last post for an indefinite amount of time that involves meat or fish.

(And if anyone has a killer fake bacon (FACON OMG) recipe for me, send it on over!)

I truly do not think I will ever get over the amazing lunch specials that abound in Houston sushi restaurants. A 2 roll combo for $10 that includes miso soup AND a salad, AND you can order it on Saturdays??


The salad wasn't anything life-altering, but it delivered as you would expect a salad in a sushi house to deliver. The Miso Soup, though, was pretty exceptional. It was loaded with tofu and seaweed. I feel so cheated when I get Miso Soup that's simply broth with a few garnishes. Not so with the Aka's Miso Soup!

I decided to change things up a bit and venture beyond my standard Spicy Tuna/Philadelphia Roll combo. So I ordered the Tiger Eye Roll (smoked salmon, cream cheese, jalapeño, masago, soy paper) and the Dynamite Roll (baked assorted fish, spicy mayo, scallion, crunch). Come to think of it everything I had was completely cooked too......

That was not a weird awkward Sherlock-Holmsian way of telling you that I'm pregnant I promise.


I thoroughly enjoyed them both. Because Philadelphia Rolls are generally my favorite, I assumed the salmon and cream cheese-filled Tiger Eye Roll would be the winner of the two, but the Dynamite Roll ended up the champion. I did enjoy the Tiger Eye Roll, but the cuts of it were a little big for one mouthful. And I loved the complex result of the combination of assorted fish in the Dynamite Roll. Regardless, both rolls were packed with a variety of different flavors and textures. And they came out on such cute wooden plates! (plates? blocks? boards? help.)

While I do enjoy trying new things, I may still have to go back to my old standards (when/if I start eating fish again). But Aka has great deals, does not skimp on the offerings, has tasty and complex dishes, and is a great quiet spot to catch up with a friend and talk about babies!

Or if you're me, weighing the pros and cons of purchasing a Hulu subscription for the sole purpose of binge-watching The Mindy Project.

Vacation Days: NYC (or "That One Time Kim ate All of the Pizza")

Tuesday, May 13, 2014
No really.

I did a count, and I actually no lie had 17 slices in the span of 3 days. NYC pizza really is the best!

Ugh, and don't get me started on the bagels....

This past weekend I went to New York to attend the wedding of one of my college besties Mike and his stunning fiance (now wife) Kristen.

Photo Credit: Megan Buckley
And look. I know this gorgeous wedding was probably the best day of Mike and Kristen's life. However, I also think it may have been the best day of MY life. My dearest friends from college (some who I literally hadn't seen in 7 years) flew in from all over the world (I'm talking to you, Derek, who decided to set up camp in oh, AFRICA) to celebrate this joyous event, and my heart is still so full of love and joy, I feel like I'm going to combust all over my desk (but ew, I won't).

Those ridiculously beautiful people who out of the goodness of their hearts decided to let me stand with them are some of my college friends. We're flashing up the "U" sign for University of Miami. (Photo Credit: Cat Cunningham)
And best day of my life? How about best weekend of my life? Because before the wedding on Saturday I did absolutely everything I possibly could in the city. I got to see the very best of my NYC friends whom I love with all my heart at my favorite NYC bar (free pizza with every beer at Croc Lounge? Uhhh, yup.), watch our Tony-nominated former classmate Joshua Henry kick major ass in Violet on the Great White Way, hug Ozzy my favorite kiddo in the whole wide world, have an impromptu visit to the Met, and....well, I'll just show you the rest in pictures.

B e s t . W e e k e n d . E v e r.

The love of my life escorted me to the airport.

United Cluuuubbbb #allthecheese
Besties in love.


Seriously. Prettiest friends ever.

With my darling LJ, aka Poncho


Photo Credit: photomatonchic

All photos (except for the borrowed ones) were taken with my iPhone and edited in VSCO cam, Afterlight, and Repix.

Next Trips Up: NYC again in July for my friend LJ's Bachelor Party, Peru and Panama in September, and NYC again AGAIN in October for LJ's wedding!!

Photo Credit: Megan Buckley
My dumb heart is going to burst.


Wednesday, May 7, 2014
In a little over 24 hours, I will be on a plane to NYC, listening to some cool jams, dirty martini in hand!

And by "listening to some cool jams, dirty martini in hand" I mean "in a dramamine-induced nap coma, head resting on my neck pillow, with Mindy Kaling's book on my lap and possibly probably some drool hanging from the side of my mouth."

Marry me please?

But seriously y'all, I'm SO EXCITED. I have such plans. Mostly plans that involve eating all of the pizza. I'll be sure to keep track of the 172 varieties on Instagram YOU'RE WELCOME PLANET EARTH.

Orange-zesting at Saint Arnold Brewery
The other night I went to dinner at Coltivare, followed by attending the Saint Arnold zesting party with my friend Christy, who probably loves New York City just as much I do. Well really she loves it more than I do. Because I love hate love hate hate love love hate hate hate LOVE hate love insert every emotion New York. (semi-related: Have you ever seen this book? HILARIOUS.) My connection here is that Christy loves New York, a city known for its vibrant and eclectic food scene, so she is the perfect partner in crime when visiting new and exciting restaurants in Houston (which, in my completely biased opinion are often just as good as, if not better than, the ones in NYC. Yeah, I said it.).

So we went to Coltivare!

The inside of Coltivare is very inviting and seems to exclaim "Farm-to-Table!" with it's simple, yet rustic/industrial, decor. And the vegetable garden in the back is fantastic. I have to admit, though, after perusing the menu I was very skeptical of all the hype surrounding Coltivare. It's a pretty small menu and the items on it all sounded very basic and un-exciting.

But they are tricksters, those Coltivarians. Because everything we had was completely exciting, innovative, and breathtaking. Also, in Coltivare's defense, this was my first attempt at eating out as a vegetarian, so options are probably starting to look a little more limited as a default.

Regardless, I love when I'm proven wrong for the better.

At Christy's recommendation, we started by ordering the cauliflower with pine nuts and raisins.

Christy is a wise woman.

Seriously, how was this SO GOOD? What enhanced the cauliflower to the point of it being such a step up from other cauliflower dishes I've had? Was it the pine nuts? The raisins? A dash of sunshine? Whatever it was, this dish was incredible. The pine nuts gave it a delightful crunch, and the golden raisins created the perfect contrast of sweet against salty (so chew on THAT 4-year old, raisin-hating Self!).

The next thing we ordered was my absolute favorite thing of the night.

Is this real life? And look, I understand that for some [completely inexplicable and unforgivable] reason beets are a polarizing food. But I challenge all beet naysayers by saying: "You haven't tried these beets." They're rich, and velvety, and vibrant, and sweet, and soft, and the BUTTAH my goodness. What a sinfully outstanding and "Beetiful" (love me please) dish.

For our entree, we split the pizza with yukon potatoes, oyster mushrooms, taleggio, rosemary, and garlic. And once again, I was not disappointed. Christy and I had expressed some concerns to our server about potatoes on a pizza (yeah I agree, were we out of our minds to question what basically sounds like heaven?), but she assured us that the dish was awesome.

And it totally was. The rich, white taleggio cheese and rosemary complemented the thinly sliced potatoes beautifully. This pizza, in concordance with the other dishes, felt like a true indulgence.

Coltivare is a delightful new spot in the Heights, so go go go! The dishes are simple, yet thoughtful, and there's something there for everybody (even Kim The New Vegetarian). Be sure to get there early, as the wait tends to get pretty long the later you show up.

So level with me: How many pieces of New York pizza can one Kim consume in the span of 72 hours? I'm willing to bet on a cool 32. WITH potatoes.
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