Happy Hour at Reef

Wednesday, July 30, 2014
I survived all of my crazy travels [mostly] unscathed!

I had a birthday, I slept on a boat in the gulf, I got all "New York" ballistic on a guy at 4am for being rude to some girls, and I hugged a bazillion people that I love. But that's a post for next time!

Today I want to talk about my trip to Reef for Happy Hour with my friend Megan. (I also want to talk about how I MISS her because she LEFT ME to go teach English in Vietnam for the summer).

But right before she left me to go teach English in Vietnam for the summer we decided to do Happy Hour at Reef! I was a little hesitant at first - It's a seafood restaurant, what could they possibly offer for vegetarians?

Answer: Many things.

I even miss her little elbow...
I mean well first of all, I had to order the Million Dollar Mojito, because LIFE. And while it wasn't actually a million dollars (*Phew!*), it was AWESOME. If you're a mojito person, I definitely recommend this one. And I used to live in Miami, so I know a good 'jito when I drink one!

For our food, we ordered the black eyed pea popcorn, fried mac & cheese, and crispy fries with sriracha remoulade from the Happy Hour menu. We also ordered the ponzu glazed brussels sprouts from the regular menu.

Before I get into each spectacular dish, I have to say that all of these items worked BEAUTIFULLY together. I seriously felt as though we were eating off of a tasting menu, and each one of the dishes was chosen by the chef - They flowed that perfectly.

Probably the most unique thing we ordered was the black eyed pea popcorn. I don't know how else to describe them, other than they tasted like a classier version of corn nuts. They were crunchy, light, and not at all what I had expected (though I'm not sure what I expected from "black eyed pea popcorn"...)!

And the french fries with sriracha remoulade?

Ugh, YES.

Yes, I will fall in love with every fry you put in front of me, but these were outstanding. Not at all soggy, but not too crispy, perfectly salted, and the remoulade was tangy and velvety, with a little kick. I was a total fan.

And guys/gals, promise me one thing?

You'll get these brussels sprouts.

The caramel-y/sweet/salty ponzu sauce they were cooked in was fantastic. If any of you are not brussels sprouts fans, I'm willing to bet a cool seven dollars that these would change your mind.

All of the dishes were phenomenal. But the rockstar of the evening? The crowned jewel? The Ryan Gosling of all appetizers?

The fried mac & cheese OF COURSE.

Megan had been to Reef before and was adamant that we order these, and with good reason. Fried mac & cheese is always a hit or miss thing with me (WHAT AM I EVEN SAYING). I find that they are often too rich and too large to be fully enjoyed. But these were absolutely magnificent. They were the perfect size, the cheese-to-breading ratio was spot on, they weren't too rich by any stretch, and if another human hadn't been sitting across the table from me, I absolutely would have housed all of them and asked for a second order.

See, even though she leaves me for an extended period of time to go to the other side of the world, she keeps me in check.

I cannot recommend Reef enough, especially for its inexpensive stellar happy hour. You'll sit in the colorful aquatic-like 3rd Bar area, sip on some phenomenal mojitos, and maybe you'll be the first two there because you're 29 going on 99, but I can promise you'll leave happy and satisfied!

And only 18 more days until I get go to back with Megan!

Not that I'm counting.

Reef on Urbanspoon

Brunchin' at Down House and Birthdays

Tuesday, July 15, 2014
This will be my last post as a 28-year old.

My birthday is next week, and I'm going to be in a remote location out on the open seas (that's actually true). And while the thought of having no cell phone and internet for a few days gives me a minor panic attack, I actually think it's entirely fitting and quite the contemplative way to have a birthday. So you won't be hearing from me again for about two weeks!

I thought about getting all prolific (as much as my almost 29 years of "worldy" experience will allow) and creating some sort of list about all of the things I learned in my 28th year (Do lots of yoga, lean on your friends, it's okay to physically remove yourself from uncomfortable situations, travel all the time despite any obscenities your bank account shouts at you, don't start watching House of Cards unless you hope to see the sun at any point during a 2-week span, etc.), but I'll spare you all. It's been a year of ups, downs, twists, and turns, and I sure have learned a lot!

But more importantly? I've eaten a lot.

(And *ahem* drank a lot)

I'm finally wrapping up my little segment here on the June weekend where my mom and I ate all of the things in Houston. Our final stop was at Down House in the Heights for brunch. DH is a popular brunch spot, so if you go (and you should!), plan to wait for a little bit. We certainly didn't mind, as we grabbed a couple of bloodies from the bar and stood out front in the suffocating warm Houston air!

When I lived in NYC, out of habit I would always order my bloodies extra spicy. After moving back to Houston I learned very quickly that ordering a bloody mary "extra spicy" may actually kill you. So I ordered the Down House brunch bloody as is, and whoa nelly. If I had added the "extra spicy" addendum I would have had to have been hospitalized ("would have had to have been"? I'm dizzy now). Those bloodies are NO JOKE (but delish).

And despite the excruciating mild heat and adorable new world Darwinian interior, my mom and I opted to sit outside.

If you've endured six New York winters in recent years, when given the option you choose to be outside for all of the days always forever and ever amen.

I'm 78% sure this cocktail was called the Might as Well (seriously, who gave this girl a food blog?). It was super light, refreshing, and citrusy and was by far my favorite drink that I ordered.

For my meal I decided on the gouda sandwich. I added an egg and - at the recommendation of my server - avocado, and asked for it on sour dough instead of rye.

Superb. Excellent. Outstanding. The melted gouda was so creamy and ethereal, it went perfectly with the tender avocado and egg. And the fries were wonderfully salty and crispy. SO GOOD.

My mom ordered this, and I think if I decided to go back to eating non-veg this would be my first meal.


I also I ordered this dark rum drink. But I'm sorry I have no idea what it was called as things were a little murky at that point...

Apparently, I've actually learned nothing in the past almost 29 years of my life.

But hey, as long as I can eat amazing food and drink amazing drinks at awesome places like Down House with the people I love, I'm one happy camper!

Peace out 28.

Down House on Urbanspoon

Vacation Days: Los Angeles

Thursday, July 10, 2014
I may or may not have googled "How do you spell Las Angelos" prior to typing in that title....


I used to be a snarky New Yorker who hated Elle Ayyyee even though she had only visited once 17 years ago (SEVENTEEN YEARS AGO?! Am I actually old enough to be saying things like "The last time I was there was 17 YEARS AGO"?! Yes. Yes I am.).

And FYI that trip was magical because it was right after a little unknown film called, oh, TITANIC came out, and on that trip I MET THE OLD LADY FROM TITANIC (Gloria Stewart, may she rest in peace) AND SHE WAS WONDERFUL AND SHE HELD MY HANDS AND SMELLED LIKE LAVENDER.

So even though my prior trip (ahem, 17 years ago) was magical and wonderful and everything my naive tween self could have ever dreamed of (minus the obvious exclusion of none other than the future Mr. Leonardo DiOgonosky), I still was all, "I'm a New Yorker now. I love New York. If I love New York, I couldn't possibly love Lars Arngerlars."

But now I'm back to being an optimistic doe-eyed southern gal, and gosh darn it if I didn't fall in love with the city of angels this past 4th of July weekend. I mean, how could you not? Those beaches! That weather! The beautiful sky that's essentially covered in one giant hazy orange Instagram filter which may or may not actually be pollution even though the number of Priuses per capita there is through the roof!

So without further adieu, my pictures! (and no I did not meet Leo, but I sort of met Halle Berry in that she walked by and was the most beautiful person I've ever seen in my life, she smiled at me, and I gaped at her like a baboon. classic kim.)

There's a really embarrassing story behind this Coffee Bean coffee. But sorry you only get one per blog, and I already handed you Halle Berry on a silver platter. Here's a hint: I unabashedly full-on put my mouth on a stranger's coffee that looked absolutely NOTHING like mine and caused a huge scene. Okay so I told you.

Seriously, that sky is stupid and I want to have its babies.

Never a shortage of veggie burgers!

It's brilliant. I'm not even mad.

With my best friend's little brother, who is my de facto little brother, who I love to pieces

It was so dark this photo would have never happened had I not been surrounded by 72 film geeks, I mean STUDS. But seriously, how adorable are they?
Photo Credit: Eric Lombart

All photos (except for Eric's!) were taken with my iPhone and edited in VSCO cam and Pixlr (except for the #nofilter one, obvs).

Upcoming trips: NYC in a couple of weeks, Peru and Panama in September, and NYC again in October for my friend LJ's wedding!!

Laos Anjelas you are one helluva town.


Mockingbird Bistro

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Full disclosure I'm going to be largely MIA during the month of July.

Is it actually July already?

First up, I'm going to Los Angeles this weekend to visit friends and drown in the splendor of the west coast. I'll also be out of town a while for work, and for my friend L.J.'s bachelor party in NYC.

I seriously can't sit still, and you can bet your sweet face I'll be Instagramming all of it like there's no tomorrow!

But while I'm still here with you for the moment and not sipping on airplane martinis, FOOD.

We ended up at Mockingbird Bistro on accident.

Continuing where we last left off on my gluttonous June weekend with my mother....

For weeks prior, she and I had been planning a nice dinner at Oxheart. According to Oxheart's website, we could not make a June reservation until June 1. My mother neurotically checked back on the website about 72 times during the last week of May just to be sure. At 10:00 pm on May 31, she checked again, only to find that reservations had opened, and there was nothing available for the night we were wanting to go.

We were none too pleased, but hopefully this was a one-time fluke. I still definitely want to go there sometime!

Bummed but not deterred, we did some research and made reservations for Mockingbird Bistro, which is located in a charming old strip within walking distance from where we were staying.

Much like the exterior, the interior is also very charming. The inside is much more massive than you would expect. The large rooms are dimly lit and contemporary-looking, with contrasting Renaissance-style lighting fixtures hanging from the ceilings.

Mockingbird's menu doesn't really offer anything in the way of vegetarian entrees, but I was able to piecemeal a sizable (and outstanding!) dinner together from sides and apps (something I'm starting to get used to when eating out veg).

I started off with the organic beet salad, which was lovely.

Loaded with red beets, orange beets, arugula, blue cheese, and white balsamic foam, this salad was light, sweet, savory, and indulgent. It was a perfectly executed little starter.

Next up, for my main course, I ordered the truffle parmesan pommes frites, and the asparagus risotto.

You guys know how unabashedly obsessed I am with truffle. These fries were great, but--dare I say it?--a little heavy-handed on the truffle. I know! I can't believe I'm saying that either! It wasn't to the point of me not wanting to eat them because, obviously. But these fries would have been top of the charts good had they scaled it back on the truffle a *tad*. Otherwise, they were perfectly crispy, salty, and topped with just the right amount of parmesan.

The asparagus risotto is not actually a singular offering on the menu, but I spotted it as an accompaniment to one of the entrees.

And mah lord.

You guys, this was so good, and rich, and creamy, and filling. The asparagus taste was not overpowering at all, and the dish was absolutely perfect. I couldn't stop "oohing" and "ahhing" over this one. I cannot recommend it enough.

By time we left on that Saturday night the place was PACKED, and rightly so. My mom and I left fully satisfied and happy about our unplanned dinner at Mockingbird Bistro.

I love a good accident.

Mockingbird Bistro on Urbanspoon
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