OBB Weekly – 2-11-20

Chicago International Airport – November 2019

The Democratic candidates are on the road and just finished up in New Hampshire with Bernie Sanders taking the lead at 26%, with Pete Buttigieg slightly behind. I am packed and mostly booked for being on the road myself to go back to the Midwest for the day job. I look forward to sharing what I come across in Kentucky, Ohio, Indiana and Tennessee, at a wine event in Bourbon County, exploring the food scene and still hitting the gym and staying motivated during this time. Here are some past experiences that may inspire you to hit the road as well.

TRAVEL

In 2019, I had the pleasure of going to Chicago for the first time and ended up going two more times in the same year. In October as the snow lightly fell, I was finally able to meet up with a friend I met at my first job in advertising in San Francisco. She was originally from Chicago. She picked to meet up at Bernie’s. It was nice to explore an area of Chicago I didn’t get to.

Virgin Hotel – Chicago, Illinois. Our room had a guard dog.

Yes, with the help of social media, you can see what your long-time friends are up to. But there’s nothing like re-connecting with that person in person. So great to see you again, Anne!

Do you travel annually to see a particular friend or family member in a location that is…
Too expensive?
Difficult to get to?

EVENT PLANNING

My friends and I are definitely planning on attending the Hawai’i Food and Wine Festival again this year on Maui. It is an amazing event. Please see my other blog posts on the event and write-ups from interviewing some talented chefs. Maui is an amazing location to hold an event. Venues and amazing views are aplenty. This is Merriman’s Maui. It has one of the most amazing views and a patio perfect for a ceremony, cocktail hour and a first dance under the stars.

Which do you prefer: outdoor weddings during the day or at night?

#WEREHUNGRYTOO

One of my favorite things about traveling is eating and trying local cuisine. Having the joy of merging being a Travel Agent with a food and beverage background, I take advantage of every opportunity to try something delicious.

Birthday dinner at Le Jules Verne at the Eiffel Tower in Paris, France, brunch at Tavern on the Green at Central Park in New York City and kokoda at Tropica Island Resort in Fiji have been incredibly memorable.

Locally, there’s plenty to enjoy. The best beef tartar I have ever had was in Florence, Italy. In the United States, Zola in Palo Alto, California is amazing. And say hi to Walter!

What is one of the most memorable meals of your life?

MOTIVATION

I have worked out on the Spanish Steps in Rome, Italy, ran my second half marathon in one year at Disneyland Paris on my 39th birthday and have done yoga near the bow of the Golden Princess between Australia and New Zealand. Hitting the road for ten days, I will be at four different Marriott hotels. I am thankful they have a fitness center.

Fairfield Inn & Suites – Anderson, Indiana

You can work out anywhere in the world. If your hotel doesn’t have a fitness center or you do not have the FitOn app on your own phone, there are ways to make progress. Take the stairs, go for a walk around the town or take advantage of complimentary bike rentals.

Bike ride down Haleakala on Maui, Hawaii

Good luck on your fitness goals. Keep at it!

Where and how do you prefer to break a sweat while you travel?

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OBB Weekly – 1-28-20

Now completely working from home, this is my view. – Hayward, California.

Well, I can’t really call this a weekly post if it’s not posted weekly, now can I? Well, in true One Busy Bee form, I have been crazy busy this year, complete with a near meltdown (pun was unintentional, for those who are in the know.) Therefore, I am presenting my first OBB Weekly post of 2020. Thank you for visiting!

TRAVEL

The first month of the year started out in Paso Robles, California with wine tasting and checking out the new Springhill Inn & Suites. I stayed home last year for New Year’s Eve and I wanted to get out of town and fulfill my monthly goal of traveling once a month. December was full of not getting paid but still working and trying to save money. Thankfully, January will come to an end with a two-night stay at the gorgeous Ritz-Carlton Hotel at Half Moon Bay, California. This hotel is the whole reason why I want my Marriott points. I would like to move in and be able to hear the waves crashing as I fall asleep each night and awake to that same amazing sound with a smile on my face each morning. That’s the dream. Hopefully we get another great room.

Ritz-Carlton Hotel at Half Moon Bay, California
This view!
Ritz-Carlton Hotel at Half Moon Bay, California

EVENT PLANNING

I am looking for wedding clients this year! I have not aggressively been looking as my future is a bit uncertain as to what I am doing and where. I have committed to travel but I have not sought after event planning work. A meeting with a potential client did take place this month but I felt what was needed did not absolutely require my services or at my rate. If it is a good fit, I would convince my client I was needed.

During my Cugino’s birthday celebrations this month, I did come across the private dining space in San Mateo. At Porterhouse, they have multiple private dining areas. I had no idea. Not bad a of a space, eh?

WE’RE HUNGRY TOO

To add onto the section above, Porterhouse offers very large portions. I wasn’t very hungry at the time and was looking for a salad topped with some steak. This is what I had to get. The next day, the leftovers were still good. I just added McCormick’s Bourbon & Brown Sugar seasoning to it. Yummmm.

I had the pleasure of participating in San Francisco Restaurant Week. One, I met up with Nelly after a long day of moving out of a warehouse for work for a 9 pm five-course meal at Maruya. I initially cancelled until I actually got a hold of someone at the restaurant and they were going to charge me $65 per person if I cancelled my 5:30 pm reservation. They had an opening at 9 pm. I would rather literally eat $65 worth of food instead of throwing it away. So I finished the work, drove thru traffic to Oakland to meet Nelly, we hopped on Bart to the Mission neighborhood and enjoyed our delicious meal. It was well worth it to see my dear friend. I am so appreciative of those that understand we all go thru something. I am glad we were able to make this work and not waste money.

Beer!

See another post for my first time to Spruce.

MOTIVATION

That mouth-watering menu I enjoyed this month is enough to keep me on this stationary bike as I draft this post. In terms of my fitness goal for the year, I have also been slacking. I ended last year with a four-mile run plus dancing the night away. I woke up the next morning sore, stretching and playing Christina Aguilera’s “Keep Singing My Song.” No one is going to bring me down.

Boy, was I wrong. I brought myself down by not putting up boundaries, giving too much of myself, my peace, my energy and my time. I had a pretty emotional week and a half and I had to reset. A weekend with my family helped but I needed more. I had to make the switch and I had control of that. I am better now but I am being more cautious and saying no to what doesn’t serve me.

My friend, Frank, my niece and Godson.
El Dorado Hills, California

I am hoping February will be a better month. I think it will start with the 49ers winning the Super Bowl! GO NINERS!

To those going thru hard times, acknowledge the problem, take your time to feel what you’re feeling and decide if you’re going to sit in it for a little bit longer or make a change. When you’re ready, take the step towards that change and keep going. Ask for help if you need it. When the ones you want most to help you do not come to your aid, there are other people that truly love you and will drop everything to be there for you. Don’t give up hope.

I am so thankful for those dear friends. You know who you are!

My best friend & I – Jan. 25, 2020
Simms Ink, Hayward, California
San Francisco Restaurant Week at Spruce
San Francisco, California
American Bull Bar & Grill
Cugino’s 40th Suprise Birthday – Jan. 25, 2020
Burlingame, California
Wine tasting in Placerville, California with my cousins – Jan. 12, 2020
Catareenie & I during Oakland Restaurant Week
Mua

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First Night in Paris Ends in Crepes

From CDG airport to Hotel Gabriel in Paris to walking to the Notre Dame to a boat ride on the Sienne and a long walk back to our hotel on Day 1. We were ready for crepes. We were about to gain all the calories we just burned. I was OK with that.

Creperies are aplenty in Paris and this was the treat we needed to end our evening. Step up and order the blue canopy after reviewing their long list of options on their menu board. I had the nutella and banana crepe and asked for whipped cream. Don’t mind too much that they frown upon the whipped cream. They do offer it so, order it if you like. I did and it made the crepe so much better. I just wish they had strawberries or ice cream.

Chez Georges
11 Place de la Republique
75003 Paris
France

I found the above review I wrote on Yelp and wondered why I didn’t post it on my blog. It’s where it belongs after all! More to come because…

What is your must have thing to eat in Paris on Day 1?

Related posts:
OBB Weekly – 9/24/19

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Joe Nichols Live!

The San Francisco Bay Area is full of music venues. In the East Bay, we have The Concord Pavillion where I have seen B. B. King and of course the Los Lonely Boys. We have the Fox Theater in Oakland where I have seen my favorite female artist, Christina Aguilera. Just two minutes south of Hayward, where I reside, there is The Saddle Rack in Fremont. There, this country music-loving One Busy Bee saw Joe Nichols.

Thanks to my roommate for the invitation to see this good looking country singer. Refreshing my memory with his songs via Amazon Prime Music while I replaced my garbage disposal, I realized I didn’t know that many of his songs! Nonetheless, music in general is great and has health benefits.

The doors were scheduled to open at 7 PM. We headed south thirty minutes and found parking immediately. We waited in line to go thru security and to get a close seat. We found seats three tables back. Kim, my roommate, said this is the first time she has been to a concert there that had tables at all on the dance floor. Waiting for the opening act, I ordered food at the snack bar. With a Yelp check-in, you can get a free appetizer from a select menu they provide you at the menu. I went with the Super Nachos for $9 and the Parmesan tator tots, plus an Angry Orchard cider for me and a Blue Moon for Kim.

The Canadian opening act performed and it was time for Joe Nichols. He looked like country’s Heath Ledger with his long hair. He played my favorite, Size Matters. Plus Tequila Makes Her Clothes Fall Off and here’s I’ll Wait For You.

It is always a silly night with Kim. Our selfie with Joe near the stage didn’t work out but that face!

I unfortunately missed out the Meet & Greet. Joe was offering M&G sessions to anyone that purchased any of his merchandise. Next time!

Related posts:
The Saddle Rack – Fremont, California

Black Friday 2019 in Napa – Stop 1

While folks are standing in line to shop for deals, my roommate and I had our second annual Black Friday out wine tasting. I am not one to buy gifts. I prefer to gift experiences. With my goal of visiting as many 4,000 California wineries to visit, I am always on a mission to visiting as many as I can. I am now at 83 wineries. See log HERE.

But first, brunch.

Solage, an Auberge Resort, has been a destination I have wanted to experience for myself for a long time. It is absolutely gorgeous. Thought I have not had a chance to stay at the resort, I made my OpenTable reservation at SolBar.

We were offered seating next to each other on a bench near the fireplace or at a table facing each other near the bar. On a brisk morning in wine country, I selected the fireplace. The room had high ceilings, big and tall rectangular windows and a long bar top stretching the entire width of the restaurant. The wooden orbs surrounding the lighting fixtures were large and hung like ornaments, given the season.

We were greeted by our tall server and given the beverage menu and brunch menu. Everything looked delicious. Plates that went by us looked fantastic. I wanted the Morning California with dungeness crab and avocado over an english muffin. I am also a fan of huevos rancheros and was interested in trying their version. I opted in to get the Liberty Farms Duck Confit “hash.” I ruined one of my Meatless Mondays and had a duck hash at Lucy at Bardessono. Kim ordered the gluten free lemon-ricotta pancakes. Maple sugar donut holes were also tempting but I didn’t press it with Kim. She would give in and I need to lose some weight.

Pancakes aren’t my thing. Kim’s stack of pancakes were high, moist, almost pudding like in the middle on top of blueberry sauce and pine nuts. They were tasty but I couldn’t eat an entire order. Kim did some damage on the plate.

My duck confit dish was fantastic. The piece of duck was whole with the skin on and on the bone. Some hashes have the meat shredded on the dish. The meat was flavorful throughout and the skin mostly crispy. I found every single shred of meat I could. The eggs came poached, I should have asked for them fried. The potatoes needed salt and were my least favorite part of the dish. The sauteed bell peppers had a lemon flavor that I loved. I found every strip before pushing the circular, shallow dish to the side.

Overall, the meal was well worth the drive and would like to experience its bar menu, lunch and inner options as well. Dessert would also be appreciated.

Let me help you plan your wine country trip or day trip. Napa is not too far from San Francisco and many tours are offered.

Related posts:
#Instafriend Wine Time
Napa 5-29-11
Roommate Anniversary in Wine Country

Bellisima Nashville

It has been six years since I have been to Nashville. On a day I was not scheduled to be at a customer site, I drove from West Chester Township, Ohio, to just outside Nashville to Nolensville, Tennessee. My niece, Isabella, is 18 -months and I have not had the chance to meet her yet. Bella was worth the drive.

Traffic? Am I in the Bay Area?

Driving thru their neighborhood, it looked as if they lived on a movie set. Before that, drive thru Brentwood, Tennessee and the Governor’s Club and try to focus on the road while your jaw on the floor. The houses are mansions with grand staircases leading to an even magnificent double set of doors. I arrived and was able to catch a glimpse of my beautiful niece before she went down for the evening. She was beautiful. Half Filipina, half Southern Belle.

I kept the cousins up a bit to catch up. They are both doing very well, able to work from home and they seem very happy. It’s a wonderful situation for my niece to grow up in. My cousin works for a large automobile company. His wife, my new cousin, had many successes in a male-dominated industry and now turned-entrepreneur. She’s brilliant. Of course, my cousin is too. I am always impressed, motivated and happy to hear when other women are doing great things with their lives AND being a wonderful mother.

After a couple of glasses of Cakebread red wine, I headed up to the beautiful guest room with my own full bath and worked. This time, this One Busy Bee got to enjoy two snuggly cocker spanials to join me. Peanut and Charlie, made me miss being a Puppy Momma. It will be one year since Bevo passed on December 18th.

“Puppies & Spreadsheets” – my next company – saving pups by the numbers (pending trademark😉).

The following morning, I slept in. I needed it. I was able to spend some time with Bella after i grabbed the family some lunch from Martin’s Bar-B-Que Joint. It was tasty! When Chef Nick Tramonto follows their Instagram, it has to be good. And it was!

Oh, Bella. What a fun, cute, smart, talkative and all-around good girl. Besides the waves, another favorite sound in the world is a baby’s laugh. She’s got a good one with a darling smile to match. I loved hearing it echo thru their beautiful home. She warmed up to me pretty quickly with just plopping down on my lap. She of course loved my phone and the SnapChat (bappletree) filters were too funny. She cleans up after herself, puts her toys away, laughs, speaks and is a very fast walker.

I loved to see the Manzano family growing. Lolo’s blood runs thru her veins. Lolo never got to hold her but as I wear Lolo’s wedding ring. Maybe in some way he did. If the cycle continues, the Manzanos are due for another little girl. Who’s it going to be??? Is it in the cards for me? There’s nothing like instantly falling in love with the idea again when a baby is in your arms. Everyone I have met during this trip think I am in my twenties. When they are told that I will be 40 next year, some say it’s not too late and to consider it. Kind of need a partner to consider that partnership with me first.

Pure happiness. “These conference calls are more bearable with my niece on my lap. Adding that to my requests from the company.” “We can’t steal a child for you to sit with, B” “Steal? Borrow!” “I mean… that’s not much of a kidnapping defense.” That’s why he’s my lawyer. What would I do without him?
Definitely related.

I said my goodbyes to my family with hopes to visit again soon. Before heading up to Lousiville, Kentucky, I stopped off at Downtown Nashville for a bite to eat. I absolutely love the music pouring out of every window of every honky tonk as you walk down Broadway. I remember being the only Asian girl at these spots knowing every word to the country songs musicians were playing. What a fun town. My goal was to head to Jason Aldean’s Kitchen & Rooftop Bar but it was dead at about 1:30 PM. Kid Rock’s Big Honky Tonk and Rock n Roll Steakhouse was busy, Florida Georgia Line had a place but this Elvis lover stopped off at the Sun Diner, a Sun Records themed restaurant. I had the donut breakfast sandwich with pork belly. I had to. And it was worth every calorie.

Of all the cities I have visited during this trip, Nashville brought beauty to my world. Thank you, Bella.

HFWF19 – Pasta La Vista

What more can you ask for than an evening with wonderful friends, a table under the stars near the ocean at the Hyatt Regency Maui Resort and Spa and six courses of delicious dishes using local ingredients and wine pairings? I was lucky enough to have attended a similar dinner for the Hawai’i Food & Wine Festival there on Maui two years before. It was quite memorable. This year, the dishes are Italian themed. Perfecto! As my other favorite place in the world, besides Maui, is Italy.

My guests that evening included my roommate, Kim, and what has been nicknamed my #Instafriend, Julia. Kim is well aware that I blog and lets me take photos of her food before she dives in. Her friend, Becci, asks if she “Bernadette It” yet before she dives into her meal. Amazing right? I believe they were in Amsterdam when that phrase came about. My tendencies cross oceans! Julia is also a lover of food and whiskey like I am, but she is also President of Le Donne women’s Italian club in San Francisco. I thought this event was perfect for her to attend with me. Both ladies have already committed to attending the HFWF in 2020. If you can join us, please let me know so we can sit at the same table.

While at the pool, we could see the chefs in gray jackets posing for photos on the circular balcony above and near the lawn where the dinner would take place. After some time at the pool, the three ladies dressed for a wonderful evening ahead. I wore a dress by Hot Miami Styles and high heels by Jessica Simpson. For those ladies wondering what to wear, your stilettos may get stuck in the lawn so walk lightly. The walkways of the Hyatt are not smooth for fancy heels. Be safe and wear wedges if you wish to add some height to your ensemble. It will also aid in walking back to your hotel room after the nice pours of wine throughout the evening.

Check-in was easy and you were given a wristband. I introduced myself to my media contacts and thanked them for the opportunity. We were sat at a table with other media folks and it was nice to meet people with similar passions. I was sat across from the owner of the ‘foodiswhyimbroke‘ Instagram account. Yen Kim Phan is also from the San Francisco Bay Area but she has a whopping 63.6K followers. Congratulations! Also at my table were ladies from Kaanapali Resort.

The festivities began and Chef Robert Irvine was the MC. I had the pleasure of meeting him last year at the Spiked! event. He is quite the character. He had a beer chugging competition with the event’s Sommelier. Guess who won?

The first course was the most memorable. It was definitely unique and creative. The pasta was mozzarella. Kim has a tomato allergy. We waited for her plate to arrive and it was hand delivered by Chef Chiarello. How special! Then he kissed her on both cheeks. Julia and I asked “What about us?!” We got our wish.

Pasta Pomodoro
Mozzarella and Cavaero Farms zucchini, spaghettini over tomato carpacio and rooftop tomato conserva, balsamic caviar and picolo fino basil, crispy calabrian chili flake gremolata
Wine: Ferrari Brut Rose, Trentodoc, NV
Chef Michael Chiarello – Bottega Napa Valley, Yountville, CA

The second course was bright, with structure and height and a medley of textures. Some diners do not like the head on the prawns but it didn’t bother this Pinay.

“From the Mountain to the Sea”
Malokai purple potato gnocchi, sauce of kabocha and grilled Kaua’i prawn
Wine: Capichera Lintori Vermentino di Sardegna 2017
Chef Gregory Grohowski – Hyatt Regency Maui Resort and Spa

The third course was by far my favorite dish of the evening. Since my last trip to Italy in 2016, I have been on the search for the best carbonara in the United States. This dish was heavenly and what I have been searching for for years! You had me at truffles.

Tagliatelle alla Carbonara
Deconstructed carbonara with specialty sun noodle, waimana TKG poached egg, local guanciale, imported parmigiano-reggiano, cream, truffle butter and truffles
Wine: Champagne delamotte brut blanc de blancs, Le Mesnil-sur-Oger, N.V.
Chef Daisuke Hamamoto – Arancino at The Kahala, Honolulu, HI

The fourth course had another prawn from Kauai’i but it was our first fish of the evening. The squid ink gnocchi was different. I have had other squid ink pasta in Italy and at my favorite restaurant in San Francisco called Seven Hills.

Cacciucco with Gnocchetti Sardi al Nero
Tuscan seafood stew with squid ink sardinian gnocchi, Kaua’i prawns, Hawaiian snapper and clams
Wine: Marisa Cuomo, Cosa d’Amalfi Rosato 2017
Chef Marco Canora – Hearth Restaurant, New York, NY

And then there was meat! The fifth course was simple and full of flavor. The salsa verde was my choice for pairing the meat with every bite. Fantastic.

Makaweli Dry-Aged Prime Ribeye
Sicilian caponata, salda verde, black garlic
Wine: COS, Cerasuolo di Vittoria, Sicily 2014
Chef Celestino Drago – Drago Centro, Los Angeles, CA

And lastly, it was time for dessert. Layered with different textures and flavors from bitter to sweet, it was an interesting dessert and not too heavy after five courses.

Maui-misu
A play on the Italian tiramisu using Manoa chocolate, coffee, coconut and Mauna Loa macadamia nuts.
Wine: Banfi, Rosa Regale Brachetto D’Acquio, Piedmont 2018
Chef Johnny Iuzzini – Chocolate by Johnny Iuzzini, New York, NY

Until next year! Save the date for October 2 – 25, 2020!

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East Bay Bites – November 2019

As a resident of the East Bay, Hayward to be exact, I have a lot of photos on my phone that are from local spots. I see that one establishment in particular from the July posting of East Bay Bites will reappear in this post as well. Congratulations! You have a regular! You know what they say, right? It more expensive to gain a new customer than a repeat customer. I hope they continue to keep me happy.

SONS OF LIBERTY ALEHOUSE
San Leandro

Yes, I am a repeat customer. This is our go to spot for beer nearby. It has an outdoor area, the pretzel balls that my roommate enjoys with the beer cheese is only available on a few days of the week and it’s a good spot. We have had brought friends here as well as had nice convos with other patrons. During a Warriors game, good luck finding a spot!

We recently stopped by on a random Saturday night when I got off work early from Stonebrae, my then bartending job. My roommate, Kim, was up to going out and we went to SOLA. Balls were ordered as well as the cocktail benefiting breast cancer research and a cider was ordered. Deliciously pink!

BUON APPETITO
Hayward

This place was my second restaurant job ever and it is going on 20 years of being in business. Martino and his wife, Laura, still own it and have locations in Benicia and Martinez. They make their bread and sun-dried tomato spread in-house and their menu doesn’t need to change. They have a one-sheet of specials but I stick with their spinach salad and typically the penne alla vodka and add broccoli. This time, I went off and got the linguini gambere. Kim ordered the ravioli with half and half sauce – limon e brown butter. She enjoyed her meal. Try their strawberry lemonade as well.

You can park on the street, to the right of the building or in the larger parking lot behind the building. Enter thru the back door is possible as well.

THAI BASIL or LIME LEAF THAI
Castro Valley

Craving pad see ew, I stopped off in Castro Valley. Thankfully it was in between lunch and dinner time and I didn’t have to wait long. I ordered my favorite Thai dish and a green papaya salad to go, plus a Thai iced tea while I waited. It honestly wasn’t the best pad see ew I have ever had. The dish seemed a bit charred and the chicken was a bit tough. The Thai iced tea was perfect and the salad was great as leftovers for Meatlesss Monday. Parking is available in the shopping center.

DENICA’S
Dublin

Denica’s is a chain restaurant offering breakfast, lunch and dinner, and sweets. I typically go to Denica’s for brunch. The purple pancakes on their website look amazing! My roommate had Susan G Koman miles to do with her friend and ended up in Dublin. She returned with another treat for me for the second day in a row. She brought me a box of Starbread from a Filipino bakery. Then the carbs were followed up with an ube cookie. Yes, it’s purple. The edges were pretty tough but two cookies on top of each other left the middle a bit moist. Other locations include Castro Valley, Walnut Creek and Livermore.

Jamba Juice
Martinez

Doing a quick errand with my Lola took me near a Jamba Juice and I can’t resist their Acai Antioxidant smoothie. As much as I am a fan, it was $6+ for a small. It is becoming unaffordable, Jamba. Let’s fix that. This location shares the parking lot with Chipotle, Starbucks and the dollar store.

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From Maui to Muncie

Ten days straight of traveling with three more to go, it reconfirms I am OK with being on the road – even in Indiana. Of course I had a wonderful time in Maui with my dear friends and father during the Hawai’i Food & Wine Festival weekend. Now in Muncie, Indiana, it hasn’t been too bad. On recent business trips to the mid-west, there were very long hours. This time around, it has been a bit more entertaining.

Unfortunately, I haven’t had the time to do write-ups on all the fun we’ve had and the delicious plates that were set before us but let me share a couple of highlights.

At the Pasta La Vista dinner at the Hyatt Maui during the HFWF19, Yountville Bottega’s Chef Michael Chiarello created the most unique dish of the evening. The pasta was mozzarella and Cavaero Farms zucchini spaghettini over tomato carpaccio, Rooftop tomato onserva, balsamic caviar, basil, and crispy calabrian chili flake gremolata. Delicious, yes. But what made this dish extra amazing was a special plate hand-delivered by the Chef to my roommate who has a tomato allergy! Cheek kisses were also given to us three ladies.

In Muncie where the palm trees were replaced by corn stalks, rum drinks were replaced with breweries. Close to the Convention Center and the Courtyard by Marriott is Twin Archer Brewpup. There’s a door for the 21 and up and a door for families looking to dine accompanied with arcade games. The Blackout Stout by Great Lakes Brewing Company at 9.9% ABV was delicious. Happy to have had a beer on Untappd’s nine-year anniversary. The salad Goat & Greens salad with quinoa, walnuts, fresh goat cheese, cranberries and a maple balsamic vinaigrette was unexpectedly devoured. I may have helped my coworker attack the Nock ‘N Loaded fries with bbq pork, cheddar and slaw.

Savage’s Ale House was also a decent option in Muncie. The Chuck Berry is the Woodchuck cider mixed with Lindemans Framboise. A side salad and a BLT on Texas Toast was also a good choice. Sit at the bar or at the many wooden tables. If you are a local brewery owner or employee, be sure to add your brewery’s sticker to the light pole outside.

Muncie is definitely not Maui but if you’re up for the experience, there are definitely good options if you’re open-minded.

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#WereHungryToo – Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

On the last city before my final destination on my #OBBRoadTrip was Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. This city surprised me. It is by the river, has bridges to cross, the sports stadiums are close by and I had the most fun there as a solo traveler. I thought Chicago was going to be the winner. Pittsburgh, you take the cake! Darn, I didn’t have any there. I had shark, whiskey, pierogis and a massive sandwich. Plus, saw where history was made! It was a good place to stop.

Social House 7

After quite a few days on the road and eating way too much fast food, I was looking forward to some sushi. Pittsburgh had a few options and I wanted to walk to the spot. I decided on going to Social House 7 and was happy to find that their storefronts were open to the sidewalk. Walk in the entrance and there are koi fish under the walkway. As usual, I decided to sit at the bar. Unfortunately, it took awhile to get service. Eventually, a much more attractive Theon from Game of Thrones came to assist me.

I decided on a Philadelphia Roll because when near Rome, the shark robata, wasabi BBQ and quinoa salad and a sake cocktail. I have had shark before but it was quite some time ago. It’s a bit tough but still tasty. I didn’t eat the quinoa salad. Unfortunately, the cocktail wasn’t anything write home about.

Butcher and the Rye

Full on a Saturday night, the nightlife in Pittsburgh was pretty decent. People were walking the streets having a good time. You could hear sports fans enjoying the baseball game. I found myself at Butcher and the Rye, a James Beard Aware nominated spot. They also had their storefront open on a nice night. It was two stories and it was busy. The best solo seat at the bar was against the wall in the corner. It was better than being squeezed between two men that obviously knew each other.

The cute bartender alerted me that Angels Envy will plant a tree for every photo posted on social media with the hashtag #toastthetrees I had three. Three trees should be planted, Angels Envy.

Stuff’d Pierogi Bar

Not ready to head back to the hotel, I made my way to the pierogi bar. Many years ago, I had my first pierogi in Pennsylvania with some extended family. It was delicious. I even attempted to creating some on my own at home. It wasn’t as good. At the supermarket, you can find frozen pierogis as well. They can cure your craving temporarily. Stuff’d was a good choice. I was not the only one that thought so. It was pretty busy.

The staff was fun and had so much personality. The bartender was pretty proud of her apple concoction. Sitting at the bar and a supporter of women in the industry, I opted in for her sweet apple pie cocktail. I normally don’t do sweet but I thought I would try something different.

The pierogis were a bit much for someone that already had dinner. I didn’t expect them to be so big! I got six pierogis for with sour kraut and sour cream. I believe I asked for them fried but they came out boiled. I didn’t bother making a stink about it, I wasn’t going to finish them anyways. I got what I couldn’t finish in a to go box. It was perfect #OBBRoadTrip food.

Primanti Bros.

When I asked my own network as to where to go in Pittsburgh, Primanti Brothers was the only spot that was mentioned more than once. Before I hit the road to Arlington, Virginia, I stopped at Primanti Brothers. I parked in a neighboring lot and walked in to find the the grill to the left next to the long counter. Tables and chairs went all the way to the back. The menu and advertising boards are on the back wall.

When asked the tall lad behind the counter as to what he recommends, I went with the Pitts Burger and it is insane. I wasn’t even hungry but I had to try this. It is a towered sandwich with two hamburger patties, french fries, tomato and cole slaw. It was also under $10! Burgers are at least $15 in the Bay Area. This has two patties and then some. I was amazed. I also took this on the road along with the pierogies. By the way, they are open 24 hours with multiple locations.

Heinz

I recently watched The Food That Built America and Heinz‘ story was great. It is amazing when someone creates a product and it is in every single American household. I was geeking out to be on the grounds where history has been made. I drove thru the area and took some photos and took off to Arlington.

More to come from this #OBBRoadTrip. It has been a great experience.

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