Overnight in Madison, WI

Madison is not only one of my favorite midwestern cities (second only to Chicago), but also my favorite city located on an isthmus! Madison is a progressive bike-friendly college town located less than three hours Northwest of Chicago. Many are attracted for education, but stay for the local food scene, outdoor activities, and strong ecological and historical awareness.

Next trip, I hope visit the Dane County Farmers’ Market. Located downtown around the State Capitol, it is rumored to be one of the largest producer only markets in the country.



Weary Traveler
The Weary Traveler
1201 Williamson Street
Madison, WI 53703

After a long day of traveling to Madison from Nashville via Chicago, visiting The Weary Traveler was a neccessity. As a thunderstorm rolled into the East side, the dark interior with wood panel covered walls felt warm and cozy. Per many suggestions, I ordered Bob’s Organic Bad Breath Burger – Large Farms organic Wisconsin beef with cream cheese, green goddess dressing, caramelized onions, garlic, tomatoes and Pickapeppa sauce with a side of well done Yukon Gold potato crisps.

Barrymore Theatre

The Barrymore Theatre is Madison’s historic 850 seat venue. Opened in 1929, the venue has undergone several incarnations until it was finally renamed and refurbished in the 1980s by Richard Slone and Tom Peterson.


Obsession: Succulents planted in Milk Glass Compotes

Milkglass succluents

I’ve developed a recent obsession with succulents planted in milk glass. I love the crisp whiteness of the glass paired with the rustic feel of the assorted plants.

Instead of purchasing one of these arrangements, I decided to create my own. After over an hour of scouring the booths at Gas Lamp Antiques, I found a booth full of milk glass that had discounted all of their items by 50%. The glass above cost $10 and the succulents were $3 each from Home Depot. I used rocks from the yard for drainage. The piece will eventually live on top of a piano.


Overnight in Asheville, NC

Asheville is nestled between the Blue Ridge Mountains and Great Smoky Mountains in Western North Carolina. A breathtaking five hour drive from Nashville, Asheville is my ideal long weekend getaway. I look forward to further exploring the food and art scenes, as well as the unlimited opportunities for outdoor excursions in the future.

Tupelo Honey Cafe
Tupelo Honey Cafe
12 College Street
Asheville, NC 28801

Tupelo Honey Cafe is a unique Ashe-thentic creative Southern farm-to-table restaurant located in the heart of downtown Asheville. This restaurant is reasonably priced, exceeds the reviews and is worth the wait. I ordered the sweet potato pancake, goat cheese grits and rosemary peach lemonade. I was also served a warm biscuit with Tupelo honey.

Tip: I purchased the Tupelo Honey Cafe cookbook at Malaprop’s. Amazing food photography.

Early Girl Eatery2
Early Girl Eatery
8 Wall Street
Asheville, NC 28801

Early Girl Eatery is a locally inspired Southern comfort food restaurant. Serving breakfast all day, I ordered the waffles with raspberry compote and walnuts. The atmosphere was light and casual.

Malaprop’s Bookstore & Cafe
55 Haywood Street
Asheville, NC 28801

Malaprop’s Bookstore and Cafe is Asheville’s favorite independent bookstore. There are great local and staff picks sections and the cafe has a drink named after Walt Whitman! It was rumored that this store also possesses a “banned books” section and allows customers to browse and read with their dogs.

Screen Door
Screen Door
115 Fairview Road
Asheville, NC 28803

Screen Door is one of the hippest, most eclectic and unique vintage antique malls I’ve ever visited. The prices are competitive and there are numerous inspiring displays. Although I wanted all of the quirky objects on this table, I left with just the phrenology head pictured above.


Tao Natural Foods – Minneapolis, MN

Tao Natural Foods
2200 Hennepin Avenue
Minneapolis, MN 55405
Phone: (612) 377-4630


Alas, inspiration! After a couple of months of laying low, I was finally impressed enough to write. I loved the feel of this health store / cafe. It was light, airy and hip. Large picture windows made the sidewalk dining area feel like an extension of the kitchen. Plants spill over the counters, evoking an overall greenhouse vibe. The clientele felt like regulars and the retro diner seating encouraged conversation with the cooks. The servers were a little cold, but warmed up once I started asking questions. After a long morning of travel, I was thrilled to find this place.

I tried the AVOCADO RICE PLATE. The bowl of brown rice was topped with black beans, tomato, avocado, sliced red onion, tempeh and finished with toasted sesame oil. It was one of the most simple, yet perfect, meals I’ve had in a while. This huge plate of food that was more than fairly priced at $10.50.

This place just got it. I wish I could have tried another meal, but I liked my lunch so much that I have attempted to replicate the dish at home. Tao has become the gift that will keep on giving (once I get the recipe just right).



Library Card Generator!


Attn: library nerds! This was created by a self-proclaimed library geek, former systems administrator and the current director of innovation and user experience at Darien Library in Connecticut.

I love lists, especially at the beginning and/or end of any period of time. C’mon. You do, too! The scribbles are also cool.

Make your own here:


Thai Phooket – Nashville, TN

Thai Phooket
207 Woodland
Nashville, TN 37213
(615) 248-7933
Thai Phooket Facebook Page

I love this place! It’s the best authentic Thai food in Nashville with the freshest ingredients and friendliest service. Don’t be fooled by the building exterior or seemingly desolate location. It is an extremely convenient lunch destination for anyone who works downtown, in Germantown or East Nashville.

I ordered the PAD PUK with tofu. It contained stir-fried mixed vegetables with garlic, bell pepper, crushed hot pepper and fresh basil in a house brown sauce. It also came with a large serving of white rice. I tried level four in spiciness. Everything was expertly sauteed, fresh and delicious. No vegetable was left behind, but I was only able to eat about half of the rice. I could eat this every day for lunch. It’s almost under priced at $7.95.

Pad Puk

My date ordered the KAO PAD. This Thai fried rice was also stir-fried perfectly. Again, the fresh vegetables make this dish stand out. This is another favorite with enormous portions. The vegetarian version is priced at $7.95.

Fried Rice

The great food is the standout characteristic of this restaurant, but the great service is also very enticing. It’s a family owned restaurant and they always act appreciative of their customers. They recognize the regulars. Visit often and you will not be disappointed.

Thai Phooket on Urbanspoon


In Praise of Canning

After months of searching for canning classes in Nashville, I was fortunate to have the opportunity to take two classes this week.

I learned about the first from the East Nashville Crop Swap. This group gets together every other week to discuss organic gardening and trade herbs, fruit and vegetables. The owners of All Seasons Gardening & Brewing Company were generous enough to offer to host a free class in their store.

The second class was organized by Green Wagon. Green Wagon tweeted the announcement and the demand was so great, they were forced to hold two classes. Alan Powell (Long Hungry Creek Farm) taught the class. He will also teach pickling and fermenting classes in the future.

After these two, I’m excited to learn more and start preserving all the delicious produce for the winter!

Canned Salsa

It’s fascinating that the art of canning seemingly skipped a generation, however, it has recently become popular again. I believe the resurgence is a combination of factors – the nation’s desire to move closer to sustainability, the slow food movement, a larger population of health conscious individuals, the DIY movement, the ever-growing “foodies” who desire to enjoy fresh produce all year round and lastly, the economy.

NPR posted an article yesterday about canning:


Interested in canning?

University of Tennessee Extension, Canning Foods

Ball Blue Book


Eastland Cafe – Nashville, TN

Eastland Cafe
701 Chapel Ave
Nashville, TN 37206
(615) 627-1088

Eastland Cafe is the restaurant I chose to visit to celebrate my move to East Nashville. It’s a great neighborhood cafe with a spectacular back patio. After a brutal summer, the heat and humidity has final begun to subside. We decided it was only appropriate to enjoy a meal outside.

I ordered the ICEBERG WEDGE SALAD. The crisp, fresh iceberg lettuce is generously topped with bleu cheese dressing, crumbled Benton’s bacon and green onions. Complimenting the wedge perfectly was the side of perfectly fried green tomatoes resting in a pool of sweet red pepper jam. This was delicious, filling and more than reasonably priced at $7.75.

I also chose a side of GREEN CHILI MAC & CHEESE that was more than enough for two to share. This was served in a casserole dish and also well-priced at $4.

Wedge Salad

The dessert was the unexpected favorite of the evening. At the suggestion of the server, we ordered the KEY LIME PIE. I was pleasantly surprised when we received a key lime tart. The crust was thick, moist and buttery, clearly accentuating everyone’s favorite part of the dish. The key lime filling was tart and delicious, making only a small layer and the dessert was perfectly finished with homemade whipped cream. The price was $6.

Key Lime Pie

A sister restaurant of the beloved Park Cafe, Eastland Cafe does not disappoint. Executive Chef Hal M. Holden-Bache artfully prepares seasonal dishes with fresh and local ingredients. The restaurant also offers happy hour specials for drinks and appetizers. If you haven’t been, I highly suggest visiting while the weather is nice enough to enjoy the patio.

Eastland Cafe on Urbanspoon