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Food

Something I love about my job is that I get to explore cities in the US — and when it comes to personal travel, I’m typically focused on getting out of the country. A couple of weeks ago, we opened our first (and then second) restaurants in Austin, TX… so I got to spend a few days exploring the city, working from coffee shops, and hanging out with coworkers and friends.

Luckily, one of my favorite travel buddies lives in Dallas — so Nickerson drove out to Austin to hang out and splurge on a bougie weekend with me. Nothing beats alternating coffee with rosé and constantly hunting for air conditioning on a hot, summer Texas day. Here are some of my favorite bites (and sips) from my week in Austin!

1. Dragonfruit (Pink!) Margaritas at Grizzeldas

Grizzelda’s was the perfect dinner date for Nickerson and me — the decor was glam and bright, the food was healthy and oh-so flavorful, and the margaritas were PINK. You know you’re friends with the right people when you convince literally everyone around you to order the pink margaritas. I had three.

Oh, and the tortillas come to you in cute little tortilla purses. Go here.

 

2. The Croque Madame at June’s All Day

Who eats a whole croque madame before getting into a bikini and going swimming? Who does that?

I do. I did. And I regret nothing.

June’s was yet another little glam cafe, and was launching a summer rosé series the day we went (are you picking up on the pink theme of my life yet?) — It was the perfect little spot on South Congress to unwind our caffeine high before heading to Barton Springs for some floating with a magazine. Still salivating over that croque madame.

 

3. The Soppressata Pizza at Italic

I stumbled upon this minimalist Italian restaurant between coffee shop working sessions one day, and quickly fell in love with the mid-century modern feel and scandi branding. Grabbing a seat at the bar and chatting with the bartender was the perfect relief between non-emergency emergencies at work, and this pizza was a slice of heaven… both at lunch, and back in my hotel room after a couple of drinks that evening.

 

4. The Breakfast Sandwich at Alfred, in The Line

There are few things I love more than pizza, and a damn good breakfast sandwich might be one of them. Not to mention, the decor at The Line is on point, and I was a much bigger fan of the Austin location than I am of the DC location. If I had more time in Austin, I would have come back to have another go at this sandwich — which, I understand, is sacrilege in a taco town. Come at me.

 

5. Mezcal Tastings (and Pleasantly Buzzed Wontons) at Whisler’s

The instant I walked into the Mezcalera Tobalá upstairs at Whisler’s, I felt like I was transported into season 4 of True Blood. It’s lit by candlelight, cooled by a squeaky window unit, and filled with creepy taxidermy. But you give the bartender a budget, and he pours you a little terra cotta saucer of mezcal.

It was great. 10/10 would do it again. After a few drinks on the patio, grab some wontons from the food truck, and make your way to the next bar.

Last summer, I got roped into the organizing crew for Dîner en Blanc, an amazing event that happens on different nights all over the world, where thousands of attendees meet at an undisclosed location for a flash mob, picnic dinner.

This year, the location was so perfect — the Carnegie Library, located right smack in the middle of DC. And, since my assigned meeting point was in Chinatown, the 350 people headed to the location with me didn’t even have to get on the metro. Talk about convenient!

Here are some shots from the night.

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Just over six months ago, I started working for Cava. Man, how that time flies. Man, how cool is it that I get to create stuff like this, all day, every day? And it feels like things are just getting started. California, we’re comin’ for ya.

It had been a while since I had last been to H Street.

Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely love H Street. Hell, I lived there for a couple of years, and then some. My time on H Street preceded what H Street looks like today. Remember Toyland? Before The Big Board? That and New Citi Pizza were our jam.

Needless to say, every time I head back there, it feels like there are a billion new hot spots, and always feels a little bit like home. I made a chalkboard wall in the kitchen of the house we lived in — it better damn still be there, because there’s some great typography with our house address on it. 823 4th Street, I’m looking at you.

Anyway, when I got the chance to hit up the A Creative DC irl meetup at Maketto, I jumped on it. I had been dying to see this space for so long, and it did not disappoint.

It had been an aggressive Friday — Cava hosted breakfast at Creative Mornings DC, and then we searched/explored the Toki exhibit in an abandoned building, and after Maketto, I had a photo shoot and several other projects planned. But we made it through.

And I ordered the braised beef sesame pancakes, which I expected to be a sort of sandwich, but in all actuality fit right in with the theme of my day: aggressive AF. Images below.

It was delicious. And, as you can see from the photos, the space is stunning. If Maketto existed back in 2013, I might not have ever moved.

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Sometimes, a ladies’ road trip to a BBQ joint and a thrift shop are the perfect way to kick off a 3-day holiday weekend. Shaeda and I discovered a few favorite places in a little town called Winchester, by way of Sydney Lianne. If you ever find yourself out that way, check out Bonnie Blue Bakery — your biggest dilemma, as Lauren put it, will be “deciding between the plate with two meats or three.”

Life is good when you’ve got your ladies, a day off of work, and a two-bottle-of-wine-pit-stop in Middleburg.

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Burgers have and always will be one of my favorite food items… and when I started doing more food photography for work, I found myself cooking less and out to eat more. Luckily, I’ve been fortunate enough to have some pretty damn good burgers — and plenty of photos of them. Here are a few.

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(Okay, this isn’t a burger, but the pulled pork sliders we made at work were D A M N good.)

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I’m very fortunate to be working in the food industry in DC — since moving here almost six years ago, I feel like I’ve not only witnessed DC breaking out of its shell, but I also identify myself in this movement. I’ve learned so much as a blogger, a photographer, and an eater in this city… I’ve been able to grow with it.

These days, I don’t cook as much at home — I get so exhausted from massive recipe cooking photo shoots at work — but I do get to treat myself to some of my favorite restaurants when friends are visiting or when I’m covering stories for BYT. An absolute favorite of mine is Le Diplomate, a French casual spot a whopping two blocks from my apartment (and dangerously close to my office). When Fabrice, the pastry chef, revamped the dessert menu a bit, I got to tag along and taste, photograph, and chat through the whole shebang.

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We started off with a couple petit plateaus — perfect, as I had been starving myself most of this day in anticipation of four courses of dessert, all paired with dessert wines.

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The profiterole — choux pastry, caramelized banana, ice cream, chocolate, and chocolate sauce that melts the chocolate. Gif below.

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Big thanks to Brightest Young Things and Le Diplomate for bringing back my sweet tooth.

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Photos originally taken for & published by Brightest Young Things.

Here are some photos of a mostly-ladies’ night out at Southern Efficiency, one of my favorite spots in the Shaw neighborhood of DC. I can’t give you details on the cocktails — we hit up this spot on a night I was covering another event for BYT, so naturally, the bourbon concoction above was far from my first or second drink that night. Luckily, the photos turned out nicely. It’s easy when your friends give you the perfect combo of sassy, nerdy and hot. Thanks, ladies.

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