Once upon a time, I worked at the Madison Square Mall. Over the years it became a bleak, shell of what it was and the powers that be made the decision to tear it down. They built a new utopian place filled with food and entertainment. One of the first places to arrive was The Camp. The Camp is a multi-faceted place thas supports a coffee shop, seating, a stage, a bar and several food trucks including FEED Fried Chicken. So to kick off Resturant Week 2019, us food ‘influencers’ (That feels ridiculous to say)… local food lovers got together for the Huntsville Visitor’s Center to try out what FEED had to offer. It was pretty warm outside, so we killed all the waters kindly provided to us by the Huntsville Visitor’s Bureau. And we also partook in the yummy adult drinks from The Camp.FEED serves an Atlanta take on a Nashville specialty Hot Chicken. They also provide delicious southern sides and desserts. The banana pudding is made with roasted bananas and it definitely takes the dessert to the next level. So pop on over to The Camp and FEED to enjoy this tasty meal.
Have you been to Clyde’s Barbeque yet? Madison’s newest barbeque restaurant offers a wide variety of smoked meats, decadent sides, and sweet southern treats! Sorry vegan’s this one isn’t for you. If you’re a fan of pork, turkey, beef, lamb Cylde’s has you covered. They smoke their meats with actually wood, something that isn’t often found. The bbq joint is named after a stray (well former stray) dog-Clyde. Owner Stan Stinson was out barbequing, when a scruffy mutt smelled the smoking meats and came trotting up. And he came back the next day and the day after that and the day after that. Soon Stan took the pup in and when it was time to name the restaurant he knew who his mascot would be. That have delicious sides and a massive stuffed baked potato with lamb bacon and all the fix-ins. They support local food purveyors such as Pablo’s Pickles and The Dessert Fork. I love foodies supporting foodies! And for dessert make sure you get one of their smoked cookies. My photo does not do it justice. Southern style, Clyde’s has a revolving menu, offering different dishes on different days, including smoked meatloaf. The savory hand-pies are especially popular.
Foodies rejoice! Once again restaurant week is upon the city of Huntsville. From August 10 until the 19th restaurants across Madison County are offering their fare at promotional prices. Even the breweries are jumping into the fun with new brews. As part of the promotion for Restaurant Week, I got to sample some of the promotional dishes with the Resturant Week Blogger tour. This is my fourth year to participate (I missed last year because was visiting my in-laws in France! Lucky me!!) and I love it! I get to eat good food with lots of talented food bloggers. What’s not to love. Plus it’s nice because food bloggers don’t even notice the weird things I do like stand on a chair to photograph a piece of cheesecake or gush about how adorable that curl of lettuce it in a salad. Normal people just don’t understand, but food bloggers will offer to hold the reflector. Below: Bloggers doing their blog thang!But seriously how pretty is the salad below!!!! This year I got to try the special dishes at two restaurants I’d never tried before: Ruth’s Chris Steak House and Keegan’s Public House.Let’s start with Ruth’s Chris. Great restaurants, but I find the name super confusing. Nine times out of ten I call it “Chris’s Ruth” or “that Ruth Steakplace” or “Ruth Christoper’s Resturant”. I digress. As I said before I’d never been, so I let me GPS lead the way. This was a mistake because it led me straight to the Publix Loading Dock. As I walked to the back of Publix I thought, “this is a weird place for a fancy steakhouse” and I was right because there was nothing but some confused employees and dumpsters back there. I eventually got there. It wasn’t confusing, but GPS was just a jerk.I met an assortment of extremely talented bloggers and got to eating! Please check their blogs out as well. I know I will. www.diningwithdeliajo.comhappeninsintheham.comthe bitter socialiterocket city eatshvsfoodlifeWe got to try an assortment of dishes but my absolute favorite was the scallops!! I really wanted to try to Lobster Mac and Cheese, but I have an allergy, but dang it looked GOOOOOOD!!!!!Earlier in the day, I tried Keegan’s Public House. I did not get lost, so I was actually on time to this one. The restaurant itself is really fun. It is located in the AL.COM building (shout out to all my journalist besties! You rock!! May the Fourth Estate Be With You!)There were different bloggers at this event and I got to meet Love at First Bite and Ihearthsv.comWe started out with the house chips with blue cheese.I ordered the Shepard’s Pie, which was everything you want comfort food to be: warm, tasty, the vegetables hidden at the bottom. There was also a nice salad
Bloggers taking the shots of the dessert on the left. It’s amazing that it wasn’t melted by the end.
…and most importantly yummy, totally unhealthy, but oh so good dessert. It was Krispy Kreme Bread Pudding with Ice Cream and Whipped Cream on top. Yes, you read that right. It came with 4 spoons to prevent anyone from overeating and slipping into a food coma.
As you go into Restaurant Week make sure you tag all your local food pics on social media with #dinehsv to win prices and if not prices glory. There are also the most adorable gifs from your posts on Instagram. Just search for #dinehsv.
So grab your forks and see y’all out and about from Aug 10th to the 19th!
Last year my husband and I took a trip to Japan and had a thrilling 3 weeks there. We visited Kyoto and stayed at a traditional ryokan, (inn). Staying in the ryokan was an amazing/overwhelming experience that included getting naked in public (a story for another day), a 12-course dinner, beautiful sites and a traditional Japanese breakfast. We ate numerous meals, but the ryokan was the most interesting. The hubs and I visited the Otagi Nenbutsu-ji temple, which is a buddhist temple with over 1,000 quirky and interesting statues. We LOVED it! The statues were placed in 1981, so they aren’t particularly ancient, but they are still wonderful.I was especially happy to find a statue holding a camera. A kindred spirit!After site seeing we had a lovely experience at the ryokan and the next morning we were given the choice of a ‘western’ or ‘japanese’ breakfast. We laughed at the stupid westerners that couldn’t handle a Japanese breakfast and promptly opted for the most traditional breakfast possible! It seemed like a great idea until we sat down to the table and had NO idea what were were about to eat. I love trying new things, but this was definitely out of my comfort zone. You know that experience you have when you got to a fancy restaurant and suddenly realize there is much more cutlery than you are know what to do with. Why are there 4 forks, what is this mini plate for, am I supposed to use the small spoon for dessert, soup… ? This was just a taste of what it was like to eat traditional japanese breakfast. There were so many plates and ornate boxes with little treasures inside. I didn’t what was garnishment or food. At one point I managed to ask what to do with this cup of liquid only to discover it was just a cup of tea, which was the only thing I knew what to do with. It was beautiful and amazing, but we had no idea what were eating and what sauce went with what. A lot of it was delicious, but a lot of it we weren’t sure about. This could have been because we were pairing sauces with the wrong food. I did recognize rice, soy sauce, fish (pretty sure) and maybe.. tofu. The service was impeccable. Though the employees didn’t speak English, and we struggled with awful Japanese, they still took care of our every need and made it a great experience for us. The view was so beautiful it was surreal. Boats floated by and I kept feeling like I’d fallen into a movie. It was one of the highlights of our trip!We were awkward and confused, but I would do it again in a heartbeat.
This past weekend I got the opportunity to go to the International Associate of Culinary Professional’s (IACP) annual conference in Louisville, Kentucky. (I drank SO much bourbon!). The conference is a great opportunity for people in all sectors of the culinary field to come together, learn some things, network, meet your culinary idols and of course, eat lots of amazing food. Oh yeah, and the bourbon. Of course, being at a conference with some of the world’s top food photographers/stylists/writers I wanted to be able to put a good foot forward and have some nice images of the conference, but this was not to be the case. I’m not really the most responsible of adults and last year I broke the camera on my phone. I’m not really sure how it happened, but I have a general idea. My husband couldn’t believe that such an expensive phone could break so easily, but when I went to pull my phone out of my purse and accidentally flung it 9 feet across the parking lot he pondered no more.
I did not want to lug my real camera to the conference and the selfie mode of my phone still works, so I just figured I could take lots of selfies to illustrate my experience. This let to a whole slew of really shitty photographs. I’ve been following the other conference attendee’s beautiful imagery and I’ve got to say it is pretty humbling to present you with this ugly pics. Enjoy! Yikes! That’s super rough. It is seriously hard to take a photo of food when you:
A. Can’t see the image on the screen
B. Can’t zoom in
C. And are shooting with a 1.2 mp camera that does terrible in low light and is clearly meant for portrait mode. These were the very best images. Yes, seriously. There are actually images much worse than this crap. These are not as bad, to be clear they are not good, but not as bad. You should have seen the confused looks while I was trying to take a photo with my phone facing the wrong way, while hanging over the top and putting fun shadows all over the place. People would ask why I did and when I said I was a food photographer the response was ‘Oh wow.. really?’
The conference itself was excellent. I saw a free friends, met a lot of new people and learned a lot. It was my first trip to Louisville and I throughly enjoyed it. My husband and I are already making plans to revisit. I especially want to visit Dinosaur World and the Patton Museum. They weren’t in Louisville city limits, but not far from it. Also the KFC Museum, how can that be anything less than awesome.
The other awesome thing about the conference was the swag! I’m actually not a huge fan of swag, but there was some primo stuff a this thing. Such as packages of California figs and fig BBQ sauce.I also picked up a potato doll called a Spuddy Buddy! Hilarious! Also, sad that I have the fashion sense of a potato.
I picked it up from my friend’s children, but then I realized the Spud and I had the same shoes! I might keep him now. I mean we have the same shoes! I also got an Anolon frying pan, a yogurt carrier, a cute back of chips, a nice wine opener.. There were also lots of snacks. My favorite were the kiwi berries, which are essentially mini hairless kiwis. I enjoyed the Hillshire small plates while watching Knocked Up at midnight. I party hard. I stayed at two different hotels over the 4 days there, and they were great, but my view was less than picturesque. It could be a postcard couldn’t it! Who needs a mountain view when you have a construction site or parking garage?They did make my towel into a swan, so that made up for the view.. a bit.
My husband didn’t get to come with me, so I spent much of the weekend sending him photos of the fun times I was having. On Saturday I was looking so pulled together with my scarf, make-up and Starbucks so I sent him a photo of it.
When he saw the photo he said it didn’t look a thing like me. Jeez! Why do I even bother. Later that night I sent a ‘regular’ photo with Spuddy Buddies on my head.
On the last day of the conference I went to The Palace for an awards ceremony. Swank!It was really nice and I got to finally hang out with some friends I’d been missing for most of the conference. Then I packed up all my stuff, grabbed a banana for a road snack and too one last shitty photo of myself before heading back to Alabama. I hope you enjoyed the noisy, blurry, badly cropped awful images.
Huntsville has a new, ultra cool place to enjoy an upscale cocktail, a pint of local craft beer, and a truly amazing array of culinary delights. It’s hard to say what the restaurants food genre is other than an eclectic spectrum of deliciousness. Usually when I got to a restaurant opening I do a little research on the place, but I was pressed for time so as we were driving to the Kona Grill I looked the restaurant up on my phone (don’t worry, my husband was driving).The menu had lots of different types of food: Japanese, Italian, good old American and even some New England fare. Mmm Clam Chowder. (It gives me flashbacks to my childhood).
“How can this be good?” I asked by husband while looking at my phone. “There are too many different styles of food.”
Thirty minutes later I would be eating my words, while sipping on a heavenly strawberry basil cocktail and eating a numerous styles of food that were consistently good.The interior is sleek, yet comfortable. The restaurant is divided into different atmospheres, but all of them were equally enjoyable. It is a great place to grab a meal before a Saturday out on the town or settle in on a weeknight for numerous dishes, drinks and causal conversation. We opted to sit on the patio in the unseasonably warm weather with blogging superstar SweetTMakesThree and our hubbies. The staff was lovely, well-informed and so helpful. They brought us lots of different dishes to sample and offered to get anything we needed from their skilled chefs and bar staff. I started with the flatbread pizza. It was delicious, which is going to sound very redundant soon, but seriously everything tasted amazing.After a while I noticed people sipping on fruity cocktails, and being a person that doesn’t want to miss out, I went and located a few for the table.Mmm. Just looking at the pictures again makes me want another. They were fresh and fruit the with right amount of kick.
I LOVE food presentation, so I was all about the ice sculpture in the sushi room.All of the sushi is made fresh in-house. It went so fast that I was barely able to get a photo before it was gone, but I snagged a couple of pieces. Once again delicious. We then enjoyed well-cooked burgers (American-style) and pork dumplings (Chinese-style). My absolute favorite was the tuna sashimi (Japanese-style) and we finished up with passion fruit creme brûlée (French-style). It was like visiting Epcot Center without all the crying children and overpriced Mickey merchandise. I highly recommend visiting Kona Grill! The husband and I have already made plans to be back. Make sure you visit it at Bridge Street Town Centre in Huntsville.