Friday, October 31, 2014

Local Pour

I almost titled this post "Kim and Jon's Silly Running Adventures: Local Pour" but then I remembered I like having friends.

Happy Halloween! What are your plans for this crazy holiday? Handing out candy? Staying in and watching a scary movie? Going out? Sleeping? I'll be at the Montrose Bar Crawl tonight, so I'll be sure to report back on how it was!

So I did a nutty thing the other day.

I signed up for the Thanksgiving Day TXU Turkey Trot, which I'll be running alongside Jon (more like, way behind Jon since he's basically sonic the hedgehog, omg THROWBACK) and my Mom. And I'm all, "Pah, I ran a marathon in January and hiked the Inca Trail in September, what's a little 10K??"

I'm not always the brightest.

I quickly learned that I am not in fact Superman or lady, so Jon and I have a standing running date once a week, followed by dinner and drinks somewhere because I need motivation salvation.

The first of this series was a run through River Oaks for some light, mansion-hunting (ha.), followed by a brewskie or three and food at Local Pour.

Local Pour is a fan favorite of my family's, and I've been there several times, but just hadn't blogged about it ever. I know! I keep doing that! I'm sorry!!!

First of all, can someone please remodel the inside of my apartment to look like this place? Scratch that, can I just move in to Local Pour? It's industrial, yet cozy; open, yet intimate. The exposed brick, funky dangling lights, and mint subway tiles send me into a tailspin every time

(omg, remember TailSpin?! Throwback, #2).

I think Jon was also in a tailspin or on a runner's high because he was all, "You're not going to take a picture of me and put it on your blog are you???"

(Be careful what you say to a girl who's armed with a blog.)

So the food!

We started off with the spicy spinach and artichoke dip.

This was seriously good. It was super creamy and rich, and Jon actually claims it's the best spinach and artichoke dip he's ever had. I don't know if it's the best I've ever had, but it definitely gets an A+ across the board from me. The dip is topped with panko bread crumbs, which is not only aesthetically pleasing, but it adds a nice crunchy texture. And the lavash chips served with it were spot on - Not distracting, but  very complementary to the dip.

For my meal, I ordered two sides: the apple cider glazed brussel sprouts and the mac and cheese.

First off, our super friendly server took extra steps to make sure both the sides came to me vegetarian. (I wonder what's included in them that might be meat... Bacon? Ham? A 16 oz ribeye?)

The brussels were good, but not exceptional. I think they were a little too sweet from the apple cider. (Probably where the inclusion of a ribeye would have helped). I think the addition of some cheese, and maybe caramelized onions would have balanced the sweetness of the cider out better. They weren't bad, they were just sort of one-note, and I didn't get very excited about them.

But do you know what I did get excited about?

UGH. I want to dive headfirst into that beautiful little cauldron of mac and cheese.

You know what was so wonderfully divine about this mac and cheese? It's simplicity. Don't get me wrong, I love a good gourmet or funky macaroni and cheese dish (I'm looking at you Lowbrow with your crumbled cheetos on top), but this dish was macaroni and cheese in it's simplest, most beautiful form. The hearty little dish came out piping hot and oozing in a perfect blend of cheeses. It had the perfect amount of oil (which admittedly may have just come from the cheese itself) to thin the mixture out a little bit, and the flavor was absolutely sensational. Seriously, LP needs to offer it in entree form because it's really that good, and I fear it gets overlooked as a side. I was completely overwhelmed by this dish.

I love Local Pour. Every time I've gone I've had a great time. I try to stick to the more off-peak hours because I hear it can get a little crazy packed. This night in particular was a Wednesday, and while a good number of people showed up, it was not over-packed or uncomfortable at all. Also, no one looked at us like the hooligans we were in our running gear. AND on that particular night there was live music from a great band who serenaded us with some awesome Oasis and Foo Fighters throwbacks  (full circle, people!). I've been many times, and I'll keep going back!

So keep your eyes out for for the next installment: "Kim and Jon's Silly Running Adventures: Istanbul Grill"!

Love me please.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Vacation Days: NYC, Part 3

Yes I go to NYC every now and then.

Okay, I go to NYC a lot. And by a lot I mean I was there 3 times in the past 6 months. But there's always been an exciting amazing reason for my every-other-month trips there, each one having to do with a wedding! In May I went up for my friend Mike's wedding, in July I was there for my friend LJ's bachelor party, and earlier this month I was there to attend LJ and Sean's beautiful wedding at the beautiful Renaissance Event Hall in Astoria. So here's an overview of my incredible weekend through photos!

Pre-flight martini (and in-flight drink coupon) because I said so.

Look, I'm not one to post pictures of strangers because I don't want to be invasive. BUT, how awesome is beer can hat guy standing in line at the Hobby airport Subway? I tip my [lame, non-beer can] hat to you sir!

My friend LJ loves Halloween so much, their entire apartment was decorated accordingly. AND he loves Halloween so much that the night before the wedding he, his other Best Lady Mary Ann, and I all had a sleepover and watched Hocus Pocus together.

Also this is RB, whose silly adorable monster face I want to smoosh all of the time.

Brunch at Brick Cafe in Astoria was unreal.

The rehearsal dinner was at this great BBQ restaurant/whiskey bar in Astoria called The Strand Smokehouse. SOOOO good!!

Best Ladies with the handsome groom.

LJ bought both of us these beautiful monogrammed bracelets. Also, how killer are Mary Ann's nails?

I managed to sneak in a yoga class the morning of the wedding and take a picture of my toes for you! You're welcome.

Some of LJ's friends graciously had us over at their gorgeous apartment to get ready before the wedding. And they also fed us amazing things and gave us bubbly drinks!

This is us after getting our hair and makeup done at Astoria Park taking pictures. The wind was blowing about 75 miles per hour. I probably should have doubled up on the Aqua Net.

So beautiful. I [obviously] ugly cried.

Dance with the moms.

And that's that! It was such an incredible weekend, and I am so happy LJ made me a part of his and Sean's special day. Those two are such a perfect match, and it was so exciting to see one of my best friends in the whole world get hitched!

So much love.

*All photos were taken with my iPhone 5

Friday, October 24, 2014

Happy Hour at The Queen Vic Pub & Kitchen

I have a confession to make.

This was actually not my first visit to Queen Vic Pub & Kitchen.



I have another confession to make: This was actually not my second visit to Queen Vic Pub & Kitchen.



It was my third visit to Queen Vic Pub & Kitchen. 



*wince*

I'm sorry for holding out on you, but it was for good reason I swear! My first visit was about a year ago with my friend Megan, but it was our first friend date, and I was nervous about taking pictures of my food in front of her (I know I've said it before, but dating is exhausting, right?). I didn't reveal my little hobby to her until our next date at Oporto (which is, fun fact, also owned by the Queen Vic people). The second time I ate at Queen Vic was on a first [actual] date, though it ended up being a first and last date, so lesson learned always take pictures of your food.

Seriously, who invented dating?

But in an inadvertent celebration of our 1-year friend-aversary, Megan and I ended up where it all began for happy hour and had a lovely time! As soon as we sat down, this assumedly inebriated woman came over to our table and exclaimed, "You are the two most beautiful girls I've ever seen!" I mean, Megan is exceptionally pretty, and I guess I washed my hair that day, so we obliged when she asked if she could take a picture eleven pictures of us.


Did I say I washed my hair? Sorry, I meant "brushed" my hair. Also, I should probably pay more attention to what's going on with the buttons on my shirt from here on out.

help.me.

Queen Vic Pub is one of those wonderful Houston establishments that offers up one helluva happy hour. With amazing bar bites that range from $4-$7, it really is a steal.


While I've loved everything I've ever eaten at Queen Vic, the veggie samosas we ordered that night were pretty unremarkable, so I'm going to get that dish out of the way first. There were plenty of veggies inside, but there was nothing to adhere the filling together. Some cheese or a chutney probably would have helped execute them better. It simply tasted like cooked veggies wrapped in a wonton, with a side of marinara for good measure.

Again, this is the ONLY thing I've had there that I have not been a fan of.

So onto the good:


I almost don't want to say anything about the curried chips because I truly feel that words alone will never do this dish justice. One bite of these, and you'll be hearing George Harrison singing "Myyyy sweeeeeet Lorddddd" for the rest of your days. You know how I'm forever transfixed by the Bangkok fries at Boheme? Well, I think...(drumroll)...they've actually been dethroned.

I KNOW.

Because these fries are absolutely out of this world! The curried chips at Queen Vic consist of house cut fries, tomato "mother curry", coconut milk, and peas, all topped with a gorgeous fried egg on top. The curry has some substantial heat and is so beautifully paired with the runny egg yolk, that all I could do was tell those magnificent fries Iiiii really wanna see youuuuu, I really wanna know youuuu...


Oh, and THIS little sucker.

After dying of happiness in a pile of curried chips, Megan and I feasted on the vada pav sliders - Vegetarian potato & mushroom cakes with cilantro chutney, tamarind, and goat cheese in a mini brioche bun. Again, Queen Vic hits it out of the park with this one. These sliders were absolutely STUNNING. The vegetarian cakes were light and complexly textured. The creamy, tart goat cheese and the tangy chutney brought out even more nuances and flavors of the dish. They didn't stand a chance with us two.

If Queen Vic Pub is not in your happy hour rotation, I suggest adding it to the list pronto. Their dishes are complex, exciting, and full of flavor, and the price is right. Also worth noting, our server that night was awesome. It's always a great time!


Haaaaallelujah....

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Vacation Days: Panama City, Panama

Well folks, this is going to be my last post rounding up my trip to South and Central America. Last month I spent a night in Lima, played in Cusco for a couple of days, hiked the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu, and finished everything up by visiting my beautiful, bright, wonderful friend Esther in Panama City, Panama. I met Esther in graduate school in NYC and had not seen her in a few years, so this was a lovely way to end my trip!

The view flying in. How is that even real?


Apparently there's a big canal there...?

(I'm only kidding guys. There's no canal there.)


Here's something I need to say right up front: The food in Panama is absolutely out of this world.


Tea time at the adorable Dodo Bon Pan Cafe was just lovely.


But doesn't it look like part of the right side of my head is missing in this photo? That's unfortunate and creepy. At least the bombshell sitting next to me makes up for it.


It may also be worth mentioning that on top of eating all of the amazing food ever, I was now able to drink all of the amazing alcohol ever since I no longer had a 4 day trek coming up and "altitude" to deal with.


(I have no idea why "altitude" received air quotes)


(becuase yes of course I physically made air quotes with my fingers as I typed out " a l t i t u d e "


And not only did I get to see Esther in Panama, but I got to see Esther in Panama on her birthday weekend! Which meant we celebrated with food and drinks at an incredible place called El Atelier in Casco Viejo, the charming historic part of Panama City. 


^ And no joke, I'm still having withdrawals from that bread basket.



^ Um, and that pesto gnocchi. DEAD. I died. Death by gnocchi.


^ I don't know either, but I feel exceptionally good about it.


And that wraps up my crazy, amazing South/Central American trip! Thanks for reading along and letting me relive all of it with you through my photos! It was seriously the most wonderful vacation, and I am so fortunate to have been able to experience it.


But seriously, that gnocchi.

*All photos were taken with my iPhone 5.