California – Eating Notes

I’m back from a week in California, and food is lingering on my mind. This was a quick, intense work trip for my client in San Mateo, sneaking in under the radar (sorry, friends!!) While the focus of my time was very much on the job at hand, I was thankful that many client meals ended up being over good food, and I was able to sneak in a few meals across different parts of the bay.

Beyond the food, the weather was absolutely beautiful, and San Mateo had some great short trails for me to get in both my daily mile and some restorative long walks.

:: Meal Notes ::

My first meal off the plane was brunch at Plow (although depressing, as I went exclusively for the biscuit, which they ran out of while I was waiting in line.) I ordered “the Plow”, and a side of hollandaise. Scrambled eggs, crispy potatoes, a few rashers of Neuske’s bacon, and lemon ricotta pancakes. Next time, there’d better be a biscuit, and I’ll try their BLT if it’s still on the menu.

With the office in San Mateo, I ate several meals in the South Bay, including In Burlingame, where I imbibed an excellent virgin Paloma at Barrelhouse – grapefruit, lime, syrup, salt and seltzer. I’ve been craving citrus and it didn’t disappoint. Dinner at Limon Rotisserie: rotisserie chicken, Lomo Saltado, a ceviche trio – pulpo camaron, pescado, and camarones, yuca fries and tacu tacu (rice and beans).

There was a disappointing visit to Draeger’s (I remember it being more exciting?) where we stocked up on salad material, in contrast to a fulfilling one at Rainbow later in the week,where picked up some date balls, black tahini, a cashew chocolate caramel, and a glorious grapefruit. Meals at home included summer salads with chicken sausage on the grill, fresh parsley, mint, avocado and blue cheese. In California fashion, we also stocked up on good coffee, goat yogurt, raw sauerkraut, and a box of Its’-Its. One of my compatriots acquired a $25 bottle of mango cream coconut yogurt from the coconut cult – I won’t lie, it was delicious and I’d probably get another.

Admittedly while I love my morning Nespresso these days, the thing I was looking most forward to was my coffee routine at Philz. Usually an iced Tesora, either black or with a splash of cream before heading back to the office. They have a new mobile ordering system through their app which makes ordering reasonable. (Otherwise you don’t go to Philz in the morning if you don’t have time to kill…)

Mid-week office lunches included:

The Egg and Okra curry and tea leaf salad at Best of Burma. We don’t really have great Burmese food in the Boston area. (Nor Nepalese, or Filipino, a few more of my favorite cuisines living in SF.)

At one point, I rolled into the office with $200 dollars worth of tacos from Los Primos – barbacoa, al pastor, camarones, veggie, pescado, chicken, a few stuffed quesadillas, and a large container of refried beans. I ended up eating leftovers for a few days.

For an office happy hour we headed at Attic, with perfect crispy and salty sweet potato fries, lumpia cigarillos (double the length of normal lumpia), brussels sprouts with bonito flakes, oysters, and deviled eggs. I ordered a virgin “Calamansake” with soda water, muddled ginger, calamansi syrup and lime juice which hit the spot.

I organized an outing to Takahashi Market, an asian and Hawaiian market that has been open since 1906 (four generations!) where I picked up kalua pork with cabbage, spicy spam musubi, haupia, and a lilikoi cheesecake. (The cheesecake was saved for the following evening after a late night out.) I was given a large cardboard box to tote back my haul.

Most mornings I woke early, made a cup of coffee, pulled out my notebook, wrote and planned the day hours before going for a run and then heading into the office. This was the view. That astroturf was actually soft and stayed clean – by the end of the week I was praising them for their brilliance.

My walks were equally as beautiful in the morning and the evening, and my running route had me going past a dog park every day.

On Tuesday I made it into the city for a dinner at Hawker Fare which exceed expectations given the mixed reviews of friends. I had Thai iced tea, blistered green beans, crispy rice ball salad, pork laab, sticky rice, barbecue chicken (gai yang). Kat ordered a cocktail in a cat cup, and it came with an umbrella. Behold the fabulousness.

Before the evening was over, we hopped in a Lyft to head for dessert: a scoop of olive oil rhubarb ice cream at Humphrey Slocombe, including a nostalgic celebrity sighting (BD Wong). While I was looking forward to a scoop of Secret Breakfast, I have to admit I found most of the flavors much sweeter than I remembered after so many years.

On Thursday, we had an excellent dinner at Foreign Cinema – starting with my first cocktail of my week – the Felicity – Hennessey VSOP, passionfruit liqueur, dry amaretto, fleur de sea, lemon and lime juice. I couldn’t resist. Kat, one of my dining partners who is also a stylist, gave me a side part, and a dark lip, which managed to stay perfectly through an entire evening of food and drink. I think I’ll keep it up.

For dinner: the lavender baked goat cheese; the plancha with calamari, clams, and mole rojo; Ceviche; pasta with corn; the sesame fried chicken; and a steak with corn and peppers. Dessert was similarly blissful – a chocolate pot with a thumbprint cookie; and the standout – rose meringue with cherries, sorbet, vanilla almond cream. The film was Splash, but regretfully I was sitting right under the big screen, and my only comfortable view was that of the rest of the diners.

To extend the evening – we headed to the Make Out Room, where the DJ was playing a mix of Cumbia and early 00’s favorites – enjoyable until someone came up to us to ask if we were having “mom’s night out” (Who says that as a pick up line?? Also, so what if we were??), at which point he was escorted out of our eye-roll zone, and a round of tequila was ordered for the group. Our evening progressed – five minutes in a completely empty Double Dutch, and then wrapping up the night over quiet conversation at Casanova.

The next day: a plate of pasta with spring vegetables and tomato cream sauce at Merchant Roots (very good!), as well as a slice of warm carrot sandwich. I headed over to the Rothy’s show room to try on a multitude of sizes, but alas, determined that none were a perfect fit.

For my parting dinner, I had a reservation at Boulevard. I’d never been, despite long admiring Nancy Oakes, and so many of the accomplished chefs that have come up in this kitchen. We shared Spanish octopus; Sea Scallops, and a plate of salad with burrata. We shared the pork chop (the meat was perfect), and a steak; dessert was a peach tart and the summer berry buckle. My observation: classic, California, nothing flashy, just all executed well and the taste of the season.

For my final morning, work people all packed up and headed their separate ways to the airport, and I had the house and the trails to myself for a final few hours.

Before heading home, I made one completely out of the way trip I couldn’t miss: I packed my bags, and took a Lyft from San Mateo to Berkeley for one last perfect bite.

Finally, two slices of always delicious Cheeseboard pizza, and a salad with yogurt and mint dressing. A last iced mocha Tesora at Philz, and then despite giving myself well over an hour to commute back to the airport, I barely made the airplane, arriving nearly 25 minutes after the plane had started boarding. I made it on the flight, waved out the window, and spent the trip listening to my audiobook. So long, Bay Area, I’ll be back before you know it.

PS: California, you are weird sometimes.

A Weekend in Texas

Heather West Caroline Hendryx Sam Tackeff

Happy Monday to you! After blogging non stop in Savannah on vacation last week, I realized how much I love organizing my travel photos (and how rarely I actually do this.) So I spent this weekend flipping through my pictures from my Labor Day Trip to Texas, celebrating my best friend Caroline’s birthday. Here are some of my favorites!

Some of the highlights of the trip:

Central Market. Hatch chile season. Fresh lime juice in a bottle, no, really fresh!
Grocery shopping with Gail – Brunch for 10, Dinner for 12.
Lunch at Ouisie’s – a Texas Crab Cobb Salad. They have a great bread basket!
Sonoma Wine Bar (drinking: Idlewild Rosé, eating: the charcuterie plate)
Meeting: Cory! Brad, Jill, Andie. Justin. Austin! (Finally!)
Teacher errands. Beyoncé Chicken at Mo Ranch. Caroline’s Classroom.
Barnaby’s for the Chile burger on a salad.
Getting to hang with Sadie and Priscilla. Having two cute dogs underfoot is bliss.
Dower reunion: Caroline, Heather, Sam and Jean.
Second lunch at Taco Cabana. Just because. Queso! Tacos! Fresh tortillas!
Topwater. We were going to take the boat, but it was bad weather. Shrimp. Sinkers. Bobbers.
Caroline’s birthday brunch. Cantaloupe soup. Sausage on sticks. Breakfast tacos. Amazing large tiffin.
Coffee from Starbucks. (Did you know that you need to order the carafes in advance?)
Tempesta, our worthy ship. Weather. Dolphins. DOLPHINS, YOU GUYS.
Gail + Mike’s Guestbook in Kemah
Spending time with Erin + Thomas, Julia + Hector in the flesh.
Swimming.
NASA! Mission control. Orion in 2030 – seems so far away.
Plasma rockets exist? But they can’t get them to stop yet.
*TCYC,  remembering Tom Hutcheson, neighbors and friends here for decades.
Mike’s Birthday Dinner Party (the stories…). Salmon tartar. Avocado soup with citrus, red pepper and shrimp. Salad with watermelon, basil, cucumber and tomato, ricotta salata and a balsamic vinaigrette. Fish. Crab sauce with cream and mushrooms. Cake. Amarula and Limoncello shots.
Spending as much time on the boat as humanly possible.
Breakfast at Classics. Eggs Benedict on a biscuit. With grits.
Driving the boat! Navigating between red and green poles.
More swimming.
Dinner at WiFi-less Cedar Creek. (Minus Hector, who had to select his draft picks.)
Farmers market chocolate and cheese samples, cheerful bands.
Kolaches with Jean: ham egg and cheese, and poppyseed.
Cold brew coffee tasting (Chameleon and Cafin, didn’t really love either?)
Tortillas. I took home two dozen in my suitcase.

Flying into Houston Texas

Ousies Crab Louis Salad

Science Notebooks in Carolines Classroom

Carolines Classroom Turtle

A Texan Beyonce Chicken

Texas Chickens

We dont dial 911

Dear Sadie Hendryx

Chile Burger Salad at Barnabys

The Water in Kemah Texas

Birthday Party at Topwater

TCYC Boardwalk Kemah Texas

Brunch on Kemah Bay

Cory on the Tempesta Kemah Texas

Fishing boats in Kemah Texas

The TCYC Rum Gum in Kemah Texas

TCYC Taps in Kemah Texas

TCYC Dogs in a Golf Cart Kemah Texas

Sam Tackeff in Kemah

Sam Tackeff in Kemah Texas

Caroline Hendryx in Kemah Texas

Caroline Hendryx and Deborah Hendryx

Sunset in Kemah Texas

Sam Tackeff and Sadie Hendryx

Priscilla Hendryx

Nasa Astronaut

Space Center Longhorns

Mission Control Center Nasa Houston

Astronauts

Astronauts on the Moon

The Birthday Boy

Mikes Birthday Spread

Classics Eggs Benedict and Grits

Boats at TCYC in Kemah Texas

 

Kolaches Sam Caroline and Heather at Cedar Creek

Dear Texas, I hope to come back soon.

–– Sam

Going Home

Airplane Views

My last look at Savannah from the airplane, before flying back to Logan – shipping crate Tetris on the Savannah river. (The largest industry in Savannah is shipping, and the port of Savannah is one of the busiest in the country.) Every night we’d hear the long horns of the shipping barges, waking us visitors from slumber. Every night I’d wake, startled, and yet reminded of the familiarity of the MBTA running behind the back yard at my cousin’s house, waking often to the terror of rattling trains. I’d assume that the locals don’t notice it anymore.

A bumpy plane ride, the silver line, the red line, and a car ride, and I’m home again. I always love to travel, but nothing beats coming home.

And now begins easing myself back into reality. Tomorrow, there is work to be done, emails to be read, clothes to clean, books to finish, meals to cook. Tonight, we set mouse traps (a reality I’m reluctant to face), and watch the most recent episode of Sonic Highways. I’m looking so very forward to sleeping in my own bed.

Savannah Georgia, Day 4 and 5

Punkin Savannah Dog

Well, hello, again, again, and again! from Savannah, Georgia! I’m here for the Savannah Rock and Roll Marathon with my coworkers Rebecca and Matt, and we’ve had a grand time so far. (Check out our first day, our second day, and third day, if you haven’t read them yet.)

Brace yourselves, this is going to be a long one. Yesterday I completed the marathon, but that’s going to get a post all to itself! I will say that it couldn’t have been a better first marathon experience – the race was incredibly fun, there was a lot to see, and the crowds on the course were awesome! (More on that tomorrow!) For now, here are photos from our last two days in Savannah, tomorrow we are headed home to the frosty New England.

{Savannah, Day 4}

Let’s get started, shall we? First of all, that gorgeous girl starting out the post is Punkin. Her original name was Fluffy, but that wouldn’t do. One thing that I’ve noticed about this city is that it is very dog friendly. There are dogs everywhere! There were dogs the entire race course, which, had I not stopped to pat as many as I could, I probably would have finished about seven minutes faster. I have no regrets, making friends with pups is my jam.

For our post race meal, we decided to eat at Pacci’s in the Brice, the swanky Kimpton hotel in the city. Chosen, aside from good reviews, because of the good feeling I get from the name: for the past year and a half, I’ve eaten many bowls of escarole soup at an establishment called Pace’s in the North End. Last month they closed, and I’ve become nearly despondent at the lack of great escarole soup. But I digress. This Pacci’s was a sort of country Italian farmhouse style sort of restaurant, with a happening bar, and nice fixtures. There was very good bread, and olive oil, and we immediately started eating copious amounts of it, as none of us had eaten a real meal after our race.

Pacci at the Brice

Here’s an obligatory bathroom selfie. I took it because I was wearing my medal to a hip dinner spot, and also because the bathroom was really adorable, and also had some sort of nice smelling sticks that made the place enjoyable. What I did not enjoy was trying to lower myself onto the seat post marathon. Hellllllo, quads.

Pacci Bathroom

Because I’m on vacation, I opted to start my meal with chicken liver pate. If you’ve been reading along, that makes two chicken liver dishes in the past four days. My excuse is that my nutrients have been depleted, and liver is an incredibly rich source of all sorts of nutrients. And also, it is delicious. And also, I feel a teensy bit bad for my vegetarian travel mate, who looked just slightly concerned when I ordered liver not once, but twice. “Is this…. usual for you?” Yes. Yep. Mhmmmm. Liver.

Pacci Chicken Liver Pate

Moving on to dinner. Rebecca went for the toasted gnocchi with brussels sprouts, and Matt got the trout, which was served in a cast iron pan.

Pacci Gnocchi

Pacci Trout

I ordered the Seafood Mediterraneo: fresh bass, capellini aglio e olio, and white wine caper sauce. Generally speaking, the portions were small, but the food was good. Light and fresh, this was a nice post race meal that didn’t leave us totally weighed down.

Pacci Seafood Mediterraneo

After dinner, we took a long stroll through City Market – I don’t actually have any photos, but City Market is essentially like the Faneuil Hall of Savannah – tons of shops, restaurants for tourists to get drunk on vacation, and a smattering of places you might actually stop in as a local, such as the Byrd Cookie Company. (Helpful tip: they give out as many samples of cookies as you want here. I managed to get in about seven samples before I tapped out, and liked the oatmeal and the benne seed cookie.) The main reason to stop by City Market was to get open containers of peach boozy drinks, so that we could walk home with a drink in hand – a seemingly illicit luxury that us northerners still find to be highly entertaining.

We got home around 9:30, and within five minutes of my head touching the pillow, I was completely immobilized and dead to the world until ten in the morning.

– – –

{Savannah, Day 5}

The Collins Quarter Lavender Mocha

After over a dozen hours of quality sleep, I woke a little sore, but mostly ready to EAT ALL OF THE THINGS. And of course, my first priority was caffeine. After a quick debate, where there was no disagreement, we opted to go back a *third* time to The Collins Quarter – the Melbourne influenced cafe which opened in Savannah just a few months ago. I know, I know. Three times to the same place? Yes. Even on vacation, I like becoming a regular. When we arrived today, the line was long for Sunday brunch, and we were quoted an hour wait. I put our name in and attempted to assuage my hungry dining partners, mostly because I was really, really desperate for good coffee at this point, and the food was really delicious. The owner, Anthony, came over and helped my cause, assuring us that we’d get in soon. No sooner than I had ordered a flat white from the to-go window did we snag an excellent table inside.

Here’s another obligatory bathroom selfie. We were keeping it casual. Also, putting on real pants is difficult when your legs are sore.

Getting Casual at Brunch

So about this coffee. I went for the flat white, one of my regular favorites. Rebecca got the lavender mocha, above.

Flat White at Collins Quarter

And then there was the food. Matt went with the burger. No substitutions on Sunday brunch, so we could’t order extra fries, alas.

The Collins Quarter Burger

I ordered the biscuits and gravy, with chicken sausage, which was served with poached egg, and did not disappoint. After this meal, I would have bathed myself in this cream gravy. Can every day be cream gravy day? Rebecca opted for her third installment of smashed avocado toast with poached egg.

The Collins Quarter Biscuits and Gravy

Service is a little scattered, but friendly, (and the kitchen found itself a little backed up on all three times we were there), The Collins Quarter provided a solid meal experience that kept me wishing that we had something similar in the Boston area. I’d definitely recommend it if you are visiting this city.

After lunch, we did a little bit of shopping. Many of the stores along Broughton street are what I can best describe as shiny! Seriously. Maybe it was the holiday season, but it seemed like many of the stores were experiencing a glitter explosion – it was actually pretty fun, even to window shop!

Shiny Villa Savannah in Savannah

Villa Savannah Shiny Stores in Savannah

More shiny – I even found some gold glitter for sale at the Paris Market.

Glitter in Savannah

There were a handful of really cute design-centric shops, including this one: Prospector Co. Had I lived in the area, and/or taken a checked bag, I’d probably spend a lot of money here.

Prospector Co Savannah

Prospector Co Savannah Design

Shaving Stuff at Prospector

There were also some pretty fabulous sign boards, windows, and flyers, all over the city.

Fitness in Savannah

Attention Runners

Jazzy Paws Savannah

And who could ignore the Irish store. Savannah actually boasts one of the largest (possibly, the largest?) St. Patricks Day festivals in the world. Coming from Boston I find this bizarre and confusing, possibly because every day feels like St. Patricks day in Boston. This store was pretty much the only Irish paraphernalia I noticed in the whole city.

Saint Patricks Day Savannah

And of course I couldn’t keep this photo to myself – yes, that is a walkup McDonalds window. I resisted the urge to get a 20 piece McNuggets meal.

Walk up McDonalds in Savannah

After our shopping, we set out on an afternoon stroll, walking through many of the squares. The squares, which are much smaller than I expected, are mostly green and lush, and each have their own character.

A Savannah Square Globe

Flowers in a Savannah Square

Square in Savannah

Savannah Square Gazebo

Savannah Shell Pavement

Ultimately we ended up in Monterey Square, home to the Mercer House, the setting of the infamous true crime story in Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil. One of the more beautiful squares in the city, we spent several hours here in the afternoon reading our books on this quiet Sunday afternoon. (Many things are closed here on Sunday, so we didn’t feel one bit bad spending several hours of our day here.)

Pulaski Savannah

Mikve Israel Svannah

Live Oak Trees in Savannah

Mercer House Savannah

As the sun set, we made our way back to the apartment before setting out to dinner. I wish I could tell you about our fabulous meal, but our final dinner was a little comical. As many of the restaurants are closed on Sundays, our choices were limited. Against my better judgement, we opted to head to the Flying Monk, a pan-asian noodle bar on Broughton that seemed perpetually busy. Reviews suggested terrible service and food that was okay, but craving all of the food, we ended up going for it.

The verdict? Don’t go out of your way for it, but the food was decent. I went with my favorite lemongrass beef noodles, which couldn’t hold a candle to my Pho So 1 Boston Bun Thit Nuong, but hit the spot on the cool evening. Matt went for Ramen, and Rebecca had Buddha’s noodles, pretty much the only vegetarian option on the menu, but a disappointment because they only served their tofu fried. Matt’s order of spring rolls never arrived, but we weren’t charged for it. The service, though friendly, matched the reviews: confused, novice, and haphazard. Every table around us got a dish that was wrong. Given that I’m feeling relaxed and laid back, I’d say that on the whole the experience was simply entertaining.

The Flying Monk Lemongrass Beef Noodles

What brought the evening around, however, was dessert: one final cup of Leopold’s ice cream, Peppermint, tonight, doused with copious amounts of hot fudge. If you come to this city, be sure to get yourself a scoop, or two, or three. This is good ice cream!

Leopolds Peppermint Ice Cream and Fudge

And with that, I bid you goodnight! Cheers, y’all!

Savannah Georgia, Day 3

SavannahFountain

Well, hello, again, again! from Savannah, Georgia! I’m here for the Savannah Rock and Roll Marathon with my coworkers Rebecca and Matt, and we’ve had a grand time so far. (Check out our first day, and our second day, if you haven’t read them yet.)

Today we had a limited itinerary, because our goal was to keep our legs as rested as possible. Of course, being someone with a usual travel itinerary pages long, we still managed to do quite a few things.

We started off with coffee. Rebecca had woken up early to get her shake out run in (I don’t shake out, because I’m neurotic, and am terrified that I’m going to break my leg on a shakeout run, and then DNS. (Racer acronym for “did not start”). I cheered her out the door and took a long shower. When she returned, Matt and I went out for a quick first cup of caffeine, a Long Black at The Collins Quarter. (If you read yesterday, you may see a pattern here.

The Collins Quarter Long Black

We then of course, picked up Rebecca, and headed back to The Collins Quarter for a tasty breakfast. I got the very same dish I had ordered yesterday, but asked for an extra egg. For some reason, our dishes only came with one slice of toast, instead of yesterday’s two slices, so we ordered another round, just because.

The Collins Quarter Day 2

After the bookstore, we stopped into an old book store: E. Shaver, which boasted a large selection of books of all kinds. I was especially appreciative of my two favorite topics being situated in a section next to each other. (Architecture and Cookbooks). It’s a hard road as a bookstore these days, and I’d be curious to know how they manage. (I heard titterings in the store that the owner might consider selling the building (a huge house), and store in the near future. Sadness.

Shavers Bookstore Savannah

We then made our way over through several squares to Forsyth park, where the end of the marathon celebrations will take place.

Lion Statue Savannah

On our way, we made a special shop to ShopSCAD – the Savannah College of Art and Design store! So many great things for sale! Here are some of the (many) pictures I snapped in the place.

Babies in the SCAD Store

Chandelier in the SCAD store

ShopSCAD

SCAD Store Mouth

Rocks in the SCAD store

Sam in the SCAD Store

SCAD Store

For several hours, we found a spot on the lawn to read our books. We made three stops into Brighter Days Natural Foods at the end of the park, to use the bathroom (we were drinking a lot of water), buy more water (we needed to drink a lot of water), use the bathroom (again, all the water), where they undoubtably found us very weird. Our last trip in we picked up groceries to bring home and make for dinner.

The park was great – the Rock n’ Roll folks were setting up, so we had to listen to Sting on repeat for an hour. There were kids out skateboarding being pulled by their dogs, a guy riding past on one of those 8 feet tall bicycles, hippies abound, a few folks playing guitar, some guy playing a Berimbau (a bow shaped instrument). And then there was this ridiculous Golden puppy who made a b-line towards us. After some major belly rubs, it found a little husky friend and tried to chase her.

Golden Puppy chasing Husky

Rebecca reading in Forsyth Park

At five, we started heading back with our groceries, and made our way home to cook dinner. We stopped by Starbucks for some coffee for the morning, Panera for a bagel and banana (for breakfast), and a convenience store for Rebecca to get some wine. Priorities people. I contemplated a snickers for my race bag, but thought better of it.

Tree Lined Savannah

When we got back, Matt did his quick shakeout (during which he ran to World of Beer to pick up his beer – a Southbound Secret Shared PRO AM), again, priorities, and we started cooking. That big pot on the right has two pounds of pasta.

Cooking our dinner

Rebecca and Matt made pasta with tomato sauce, and arugula.

Pasta with Marinara and Wine

I went for my ultimate comfort food: Annie’s Macaroni and Cheese. I was planning on getting a baked potato and some chicken, but whenever I get an excuse to eat a whole box of Annie’s to myself, I take it. (Plus, I know from experience that I can eat it and not get a stomach ache.)

Annies Mac and Cheese

Finally, the race set up! I’m still half convinced that I’ll forget something, but that’s not too likely, since when I run, I’m a sherpa, and carry ALL THE THINGS.

Setting up for the marathon

This marathon is just one sleep away! Goodnight, y’all!

Savannah Georgia, Day 2

Flat White The Collins Cafe

Well, hello, again, from Savannah, Georgia! I’m here for the Savannah Rock and Roll Marathon with my coworkers Rebecca and Matt, and we’ve had a grand time so far. (Check out my first day, if you haven’t read it yet.)

Despite a late night out, I woke up before 8:30, ready to find a coffee drink and wake up for reals. Matt was still sleeping on the couch, so Rebecca and I walked for a quick errand to CVS, I had my first coffee of the day, a Flat White at The Collins Quarter, which was so good that we determined that we’d like to head back there for brunch. (I felt a little bit like I was cheating on my main squeeze, the Cuppa flat white. This was very good!)

On the way back to picking up our sleeping room mate, Rebecca gave a quick call to the apartment managers, because upon initial inspection, we noticed that our apartment didn’t have smoke detectors. I’m glad that Rebecca cares enough that we don’t die in a fire! They were incredibly responsive, and by the time we returned home tonight, we’ve been outfitted with two protective devices.

Here’s the lovely outdoor tables at The Colllins Quarter:

The Collins Quarter

For brunch, I had the All American ($10): two eggs any style, cherry tomatoes, bacon, and Beaufort artisan toast.  It came with a little salad of fresh herbs, and was served in a gorgeous plate! Rebecca and I also ordered Iced Espresso Mint Juleps, which reminded me a little bit of my very favorite Philz Mocha Tesora with a mint leaf.

The Collins Quarter Breakfast

Rebecca at The Collins Quarter

Rebecca went with the gorgeous Smashed Avocado ($10): with Beaufort artisan bakery toast, Persian feta, cherry tomatoes, lemon, micro herbs & shaved radishes, and a poached egg.

The Collins Quarter Avocado Toast

Matt went with the Niman Ranch Brown Egg Omelette, to which he added pretty much all of the fillings, and was a very happy camper.

The Collins Quarter Omelet

After brunch, we headed across the street from the restaurant to the Juliette Gordon Low House front stoop, in order to pick up an “Old Savannah Tours” on and off bus, so that we could explore a good amount of the city without totally overusing our limbs before our race. They have a special where you get discounted tickets online (we paid $71 for three people, for a 90 minute tour that you can take as many times as you want in the day) and so we purchased tickets before brunch, and simply hopped on and the closest stop.

I’ve taken a handful of bus tours like this, and the on and off is a great way to get around the city, and see a good amount of sites. I will note that the tours are only as good as the drivers, so if you don’t like your tour guide, simply hop off, and wait until the next bus comes along. Luckily, we had two great drivers (we had to switch to a new bus at the first “official” stop, so that they can drive people to their hotels when they finish the tour.)

We definitely enjoyed the tour, which took us around 16 of the squares, down to Forsyth park, and around the top part of the historic district. (One odd thing to note: they do periodic checks to see if everyone has a ticket on board. Because we got our tickets online, we had to show them our receipt on my phone, which happened to say “this is your ticket”, but then one of the ticket checkers instructed us to fill out a voucher at stop “one”, and then exchange that for printed pay stubs from the ticket checker at the next stop. I have absolutely no idea why that was necessary, but I did find it amusing!

Old Savannah Tours Bus

Old Savannah Tours

After finishing the tour at the Juliette Gordon Low stop – no girl scout cookies in sight, alas – we headed to the convention center to pick up our race packets. A word of warning to those prone to seasickness coming to the race – the convention center is actually located across the river from the city, and you have to take a (free) 5 minute ferry ride across.

The Convention Center

Ferry Ride to the Convention Center

Taking the Ferry in Savannah

We arrived to a *very* quiet convention center, and things started to get real! Bib pickup was super easy, but they hadn’t yet gotten in race tees yet, so we actually ended up waiting for an hour or so outside in the sunshine, so that we wouldn’t have to pick up the shirts post race. I had assumed that I might want to buy a bunch of things at the expo, but I ended up just picking up a few margarita shot blocs from the Fleet Feet booth.

Savannah Marathon Countdown

Brooks Smile Booth

Savannah Race Expo Selfie

The race expo was decent, but I didn’t feel compelled to do any more shopping. Instead we sat outside and looked at this view. Some of us took naps.

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Matt taking a nap in Savannah

Savannah in the late afternoon

Around five, we headed back across the river, and took a short walk down River Street, which reminds me of so many of the other boardwalk streets intended solely for tourists, and then down Broughton to take a peek at some of the shops before dinner. We stopped by the Savannah Bee Company for some samples, and I wish I could have purchased some of their white winter honey to take home with me! It was delicious!

I saw this little guy, but he was too heavy to take home in my carryon. (Concrete.)

Shop Dogs

After our long day, we got ourselves to dinner at Public Kitchen & Bar just at the beginning of happy hour, which we opted to do tonight, because they don’t take reservations, a risky prospect when 18,000 people are in town for a marathon. (Most people are likely going to arrive tomorrow.)

We sat outside, and our meal started awkwardly, with some general confusion about our happy hour wine orders. Rebecca ordered a Twisted Cabernet, but the waiter gave her a white wine (which was likely Chardonnay), and insisted that this was the Cab when she repeatedly expressed confusion. She finally gave up and ordered a different wine, but our first experience with service made me nervous for my meal. I on the other hand, made my own mistake, ordering a sickly sweet riesling when I assumed it was going to be a dry one. I just didn’t drink my grape juice, although our waiter seemed to take no notice of this, even by the end of our meal.

The food, however, was good – Matt opted for an arugula salad with chicken (a prudent choice, although he had been eying the kimchi cheeseburger), Rebecca the risotto. I made the best choice of all, the shrimp and grits with bacon cheddar grits, peas, chorizo, tomato, and a sherry cream sauce. While I was bracing myself for a dish that was outrageously heavy, I was actually pleasantly surprised to find it quite light, and incredibly well seasoned and balanced. I left not a single bite.

For the second night in a row, we passed on dessert. It makes me a little dubious of my coworkers, but it’s probably for the best :p

Public Kitchen Shrimp and Grits

We did, however, make a final pitstop to World of Beer, so Matt could order a beer to go, to drink while walking home, as this is apparently legal in this fine city. He went for a Southbound Hop-lin IPA, which I got a sip of – yet another fine choice from this state!

World of Beer

And with that, we’re back at the apartment again, and it’s 9:30 pm, and I’m thinking of turning in.

Onwards!

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