Thursday, November 29, 2012

Weekend in New England

I feel like a broken record when I say this, but one of my favorite things about food blogging is the friendships I've made over the years.  I have become especially close to a few fabulous food bloggers:  Elly of Elly Says Opa, Courtney of Cook Like a Champion, Tara of Smells Like Home, and Annie from Annie's Eats.  These girls really have become some of my closest friends.  Without getting too sappy, I'll just say that over the past few years we've seen each other through some of the highest of highs and lowest of lows.

Tara ever so graciously invited us all to spend a long weekend at her house in Connecticut, and what better time to visit New England than in the fall!  I'll admit, I was a little worried about the weather - this southern girl doesn't do well with cold weather.  But luckily, we ended up with an absolutely perfect weekend.  Beautiful skies and gorgeous foliage and landscapes abound, every time we went anywhere I felt like we were driving through a postcard!

Annie has become my travel buddy, so we hooked up in Atlanta and flew to Connecticut together.  After a few delayed flights from all parties, we all finally made it to Connecticut!  Tara picked us up from the airport, and after a quick stop for hamburgers and french fries, we arrived at her gorgeous house late that night.  But we were so excited to be hanging out that although we were all super tired, we stayed up way too late talking and laughing.

The next morning, after lounging in our pajamas, we headed out to a casual brunch at Leo's in Middlebury.  After poring over the menu for what felt like hours, I settled on a potato pancake topped with ham, a poached egg, and hollandaise sauce.  And since I can never decide between sweet and savory for breakfast, Elly and I ordered an extra waffle topped with pumpkin cannoli filling (yes, seriously) for the table to share.

The rest of the afternoon was spent hanging out at Tara's - chatting, laughing, etc.  And that evening, we headed out for a fun Halloween-themed outing.  We first had a fabulous dinner at Taste. 

 We started with some fresh bread, a killer cheese platter, and a flatbread pizza topped with prosciutto and arugula.  The cheese plate was gone is approximately 5 seconds, and the blueberry honey that accompanied the cheese was beyond delicious.  For my entree, I had the crab cake with parmesan truffle fries (I'll be sharing a recipe for these very soon!).  The atmosphere of the restaurant was perfect for our girls' night out - quiet enough to hear each other talk, but not so quiet that we caused a ruckus or anything.  We opted to wait on dessert, and headed to our next stop:  The Pumpkin Blaze!

When Tara mentioned going to this as an option for the weekend, I really had no idea what to expect.  But here's the gist:   in honor of Halloween and the nearby town of Sleepy Hollow, a bunch of local artists carve a crap-ton of pumpkins into amazing jack-o-lanterns.  I can't even really do it justice by trying to describe it, but it was so amazing to see these works of art.  Thousands upon thousands of incredible jack-o-lanterns.  If you are ever in the Hudson Valley area during October, I highly recommend going.

On our way home, we just so happened to drive past this sign, and we made Tara pull over so we could take pictures.  Not that we're touristy or anything.  And then we stopped for crepes, since we had foregone dessert earlier in the evening.  S'mores crepe.  Enough said.

The next day, we were up early to head to New Haven.  It just so happened that were were in Connecticut the same weekend as Cupcake Camp New Haven!  Of course we had to take advantage of the opportunity to stuff our faces with dozens of cupcakes.  I'll call it an R&D mission for the blog ;-).  There were tons and tons of people there, but we managed to come away with quite the haul.  We grabbed a table at BAR, and dug in.  We tasted several awesome cupcakes, some decent ones, and sadly, some not-so-awesome ones.  After eating more than I thought possible, we ordered two pizzas for the table:  garlic mashed potato with bacon and cheese, and Italian sausage with roasted red peppers and basil.  You know, to keep it nice and light.  Yum all-around.  And then we ate more cupcakes.

Following our gluttonous morning, Tara gave us a tour of the Yale campus.  Hello, gorgeous.  While I think Georgia Tech's campus is very pretty in an urban kind of way, Yale's campus looks like it was straight of out a movie.  Which it is.  Because she also drove us past the Skull House.  Love that movie!

That afternoon, we sat outside on Tara's perfect front porch, poring over cookbooks, blogs, and our Pinterest boards for dinner inspiration.  We couldn't possibly all get together and NOT cook.  So we planned our menu and headed to the grocery store.  

We started with guacamole and caramelized onion and chorizo dip.  Umm, perfection.  

And Annie gave us a demonstration on making homemade tortillas.  Never going back to store-bought again.

I basically sat at the bar and chatted and took a few pictures while everyone else did all the work :).


Our main dish was roasted shrimp enchiladas with jalapeƱo cream sauce.  Yes, pretty awesome.

And for dessert, we finished off the rest of the cupcakes from earlier.  Maternity pants were a beautiful thing that weekend.

As much fun as we had at the Pumpkin Blaze and Cupcake Camp, that night was definitely the highlight of the trip for me.  I laughed so hard that I thought I was going to go into early labor, and I'm not even exaggerating when I say that my abs were sore the next day.  And since we so rarely get to all hang out, it was so much fun to spend so much quality time together.  

The next morning we headed back to the airport, and after sad farewells, we all went our separate ways.  Since I had a few hours to kill before my flight, I did a little shopping and had some lunch.  I couldn't possibly leave New England without having any clam chowder, so I enjoyed a nice comforting bowl before flying home.  

Even though this is about the longest post in the history of blogging, I still feel like I can't convey how awesome our weekend was.  The weekend was such a whirlwind, and at the end I definitely wished we could have extended it a few more days.  Thank you again, Tara, for opening up your house to us for the weekend.  And tell Kyle and Wilma we're sorry for being so loud!!


Annie said...

Just reading through everyone's posts makes me miss you all so badly! Pretty sure I'll be visiting you sometime after the babies are born, but I also can't wait till the whole group is together again. Love you.

elly said...

I love reliving our weekend through all the posts. :) You guys are the best and I can't wait to see you again - hopefully soon!

Tara said...

I agree - these posts make me miss you all so much! I had such a fantastic time and can't wait to see you again!

Made in Sonoma said...

Looks like a great weekend!

Winnie said...

Sounds like you ladies had a great time! Blogging to me has been filled with fun and kindness of people I have been "meeting" online. New England is lovely this time of year as it really is picture perfect. Glad you got to experience it and that the baby didn't arrive early from laughter..

Jen said...

i have loved reading all of your posts recapping your weekend. so much fun. perfect mix of activities for girlfriends who just happen to be fabulous food bloggers. you look great!!! :)

Shannon said...

I am so behind on so many blogs these day! I remember you well from the WC board (Mrs.NGM here if you happen to remember). Anyway, I am so thrilled for you that you are expecting twins (figured it our from Annie's blog)!!! We have 13m twin girls and it is absolutely amazing! Granted, we had twins plus new parenthood to contend with at once, so as your 3rd and 4th children, I know you will do awesome!

angela @ anotherbiteplease said...

oh how fun :-) sharing time with friends is always the best.

Michelle said...

Sleepy Hollow is one of my favorite towns in NY. In nearby Tarrytown there is a Greek diner that Nico and I stop off at more often than we should. Glad you guys had fun. I was in Fairfield county that same weekend and wish we could have caught up, but it seems like your weekend was full!

megan said...

You guys are so cute!! Glad you had a good weekend together.

Unknown said...

Thanks for the post. Now instead of following one great blog I'm following 5!

Courtney said...

I miss you so much, and I can't wait to see you again soon! Clara wants to meet Caroline, Smith and the new babies sometime next year. :) Elly isn't allowed to do anymore readings until after they arrive haha. Love you, friend!

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Angie said...

"Maternity pants were a beautiful thing that weekend." You crack me up. :-) It looks like it was a terrifically fun weekend! Nothing beats getting together with your girls.

Jeri Moore said...

Hi Josie! I recently started following your blog. I'm wondering if you'll be sharing the guacamole and caramelized onion and chorizo dip recipe? That sounds so yummy! Thanks :-)

Josie said...

Hi Jeri, I (and I think the other girls as well) just kind of make guacamole by feel, not really measuring. I'll definitely be sharing the chorizo dip though!!

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