YAWN. YAWN. YAWN. Takes a sip of caffeinated tea. Eyes start to close. Oh, sorry! Hello there!
The last week has been go, go, go go! Do you know what I’m doing tomorrow? I’m sleeping in! You won’t even be able to wake me up if you tried (I’m talking to you cats). Since late last week I have been gardening pretty heavily to get everything ready for my Gardenieres shoot on our rooftop garden. Saturday and Sunday was spent building some containers, picking some vegetables and showing everyone around our space. The weather wasn’t supper cooperative though, Sunday it rained (it poured actually), so I apologize for having wet bangs and squinting as rain drips into my eyes.
The film crew left on Sunday afternoon, but it wouldn’t be too long until I saw them again.. infact it would be less than 24 hours! We were flying to Atlanta to shoot more Gardeniere videos! So bright and early Monday morning I headed to LaGuardia Airport to make my way down South. The next few days I gardened, I cooked, I melted. I can’t do humidity. I had the opportunity to meet Mary Katherine, fellow Gardeniere, of the South. I showed her how to plant some vegetables container style! Then I had the great joy of cooking some delicious dishes with Bridget from America’s Test Kitchen. She taught me some great tips that I think you guys will love! Can’t wait to share those videos…
So first up, I took alot of pictures. I always do. If you want to see the entire Atlanta set feel free to hop on by here (btw, how do you feel about the new Flickr layout?). Thanks to Lisa who helped take some pictures of me while I was on camera! It was lovely to meet you and share pet stories!
Secondly, I love to take some of our stuffed animal family on tour when we travel. The Grandpas have been to London, Berlin, Disney World and more. This time though, Shudder the Ghost was accompanying me.
We arrived! The flight from NYC to Atlanta is only 1 hour, 40 minutes. Isn’t flying amazing?
This was our hotel. A backyard paradise!
Shudder said he felt like Don Draper in California.
I promised him a dip in the pool later, but we had to get cleaned up for dinner with the crew. Shudder took a few minutes to nap.
That night we went to Southern City Kitchen. Let me tell you something. The South knows how to do cornbread. They aren’t messing around. This here is some of the best cornbread I ever had, it was so light. If you told me I was only having cornbread for dinner, I would have been ok with that!
Then I tried the fried green tomatoes. This was a keeper!
For dinner I had go all out for my first Southern meal. I got Buttermilk fried chicken, mac and cheese and collared greens. Oh my! Absolutely delicious. Surprisingly the best part though was the collared greens, they were so full of flavor. I have to figure out how to perfect this recipe. Shudder was really into the mac and cheese.
After dinner we came back to the hotel and went to the pool. Shudder didn’t forget the promise I made to him.
We had a nice little shoulder massage under the waterfall in the Jacuzzi. I could have stayed there all night, but eventually I got kicked out as they were closing up. Boo.
Now time to garden! I showed Mary Katherine some tips on how to start her own vegetable and herb container. I gave the thumbs up. It’s just what I do. I’m a naturally cheesy and smiley person in real life so I try hard to just let it roll on camera, even if seconds later I think “Why did I just skip off camera?”. Just let it happen.
First up, let’s get to the best part. Their bread to me was a mixture of corn bread + garlic bread. It was light, fluffy, but with a buttery garlic taste baked inside. No additional butter was needed on the top. It was the real highlight of the meal for me. I ate too many pieces.
This was some of the appetizers we got. I tried Seared Hudson Valley Foie Gras, Homemade Potato Gnocchi, Fried Oysters. Now warning, I want this to be a honest review so Aria lovers look away. I kinda felt “meh”. The fried oyster might have been good, but the bottom was caked in white sauce that totally ruined the avocado for me. I would have preferred just eating more bread to be honest.
For the main course I got Angus Beef Filet Mignon which said I was supposed to get some mushrooms, but it wasn’t hard to sort through the 3 grape tomatoes, 4 green beans, 2 sugar snap peas and 1/10 of a potato to not find any. Ok, here’s my verdict. The taste was fine, but I can’t deal with fancy pants dinners that cost enough to feed me a entire week and I only get 3 grape tomatoes. Seriously. Could you not have given me at least 1/8 of a potato? Maybe 2 more sugar snap peas.
Now that the anger has passed for the lack of snap peas, let’s move on to dessert. This is a better subject. I got chocolate cream pie and earl gray tea. This was perfect, minus not offering me sugar or milk for my tea. This is dessert, come on. The pie was good and rich. I also tasted someone’s cheesecake which was delicious. The cheesecake was hot, not cool like I’m used to it served.
So come to Aria for great bread and desserts. Don’t come if you’d like 4 grape tomatoes, they are only willing to give you 3. I will never forgive them.
That night I fell asleep to this show, it was a special on Furries on National Geographic Channel. I don’t have cable so when traveling I turn into a crazed tv person trying to catch up on all the programming. The National Geographic Channel was the best, between shows on Furries, I also learned more about Polygamy, and what to do if I’m arrested in India for hiding drugs in a statue that I sent to the United Kingdom. Also I tried to catch every episode possible of House Hunters on HGTV. That is quite possibly my favorite show. I can’t get enough of it, so when I have cable I devour it. Sometimes they surprise me! But that bedroom on the International version that had gold monkey mural art in the bedroom, horrible choice!
Now onto something weird.
After dinner my belly was hurting a little bit so I took 2 Pepto Bismo tabs before I went to sleep. The next morning I woke up with this horrible taste in my mouth, it was metallic tasting. That can never be good. So I brushed my teeth. Then I checked my email on the laptop and could not get over how bad my mouth still tasted. What was wrong? I went into the bathroom to look in the mirror… my tongue was completely black. I nearly fainted. A million horrible thoughts went into my head. Did I eat something bad? Was I dying? Did a slimy critter crawl into my mouth while I slept? Was this like Alien the movie? So I took this picture below and texted it to Matthew. I declared in the text that I loved him, but thought I would never see him again, kiss the cats for me, I will love them all forever. Then after I sent the text, I did what we all do, google your problem. I typed in “black tongue” and Google quickly completed it to “black tongue, woke up this morning”. The first search was this website here that quickly told me that taking Pepto Bismo the night before can result in black tongue the next morning due to it’s chemical breakdown. Within minutes of thinking I was done, I found out I was going to make it! I love the Internet.
Ok, back to not being so weird.
That day I had the great pleasure of helping Bridget from America’s Test Kitchen in the.. well, kitchen. Since my love for gardening stems from my love of cooking, I felt pretty comfortable helping her out with the dishes. She’s great to work with and kept me laughing. She also kept me hungry. Really really hungry. Do you know how good this strawberry pie tasted? Really good. Come on, let’s do another take. And another. Alot more with me tasting it. Yeah, keep it rolling. Please, one more.
To end the day they talked me into pretending to be part of Charlie’s Angels. This is how much I love them, I am willing to do this. Truth: I never saw a episode of Charlie’s Angels in my entire life. Or the movie.
Behind the scenes of a cooking show is pure magic. It was cool to see how it’s done and how much work goes into it. The food stylist who prepped everything was amazing. They had the cutest Anthropologie napkins to use on set… I’m eyeing them up now to buy.
Even though we were hot, Shudder was still smiling.
After I went back to the hotel I decided to take a little walk. That night for dinner I decided to sit out and instead find my own and relax in bed while watching game 1 of Heat vs Pacers. I love Paul George, just wanted to tell you that. But the Heat won – agh. Where was I? Ok, I decided to walk for dinner. I missed walking. In New York I walk everywhere. I would say that this sidewalk in Atlanta although beautiful was not very pedestrian friendly. Also I could not find walk signs or crosswalks, so instead I just had to do the journey of “ok no cars that way, no cars that way, run run run run”.
Now please let me explain. I talked my way out of having dinner at a lovely restaurant to end up at Jimmy John’s sandwiches. Why yes I did! When we lived in Pittsburgh many years ago Jimmy John’s stole my heart, I ordered a Slim #5 with much love. They have the absolute best rolls. Because there are no Jimmy John’s in NYC I have went many years without one of these beauties. When we were driving around Atlanta, I spotted one and my heart dropped. I found my love again. So I knew exactly where I was going, this was going to be my dinner. I got a delicious Italian sandwich, I loved every bite of it. Matthew found out I was going here and begged for me to bring him home a sandwich as well. I had a refrigerator in my hotel room, so it worked out. It made it’s journey from Atlanta to NYC safe. The sandwich was still in perfect condition. My husband swooned at the first bite. Jimmy John’s, I love you.
While walking, I wanted to find a cupcake store. I found CamiCakes. I’m so glad! I decided quickly on a carrot cupcake that had a cinnamon cream cheese icing. Oh my! Oh my! Let the rainbows and hearts fly by my head. I would have this again. Right now. Please.
Then after 2 hours of sleep, I headed home to NYC. This was the takeoff, from cement to clouds.
The sky was blue, the sun was out.
Shudder, look down friend, we’re home!
Hope you guys enjoyed the pictures!
Can’t wait to show you the videos!