Posts Tagged ‘coffee’

  1. Asheville, NC

    August 25, 2018 by Angie

    Our big vacation this year was to Asheville, NC. It’s very nice in June. We stayed in a little cabin about a 15 minute drive from downtown. The cabin is way up a very steep, very winding hill/mountain so it feels a lot more remote than it really is. We chose it for this amazing view.

    View from the deck



    Love this deck!

    View from the slider

    From the slider onto the deck

    Living room

    Living room




    Bedroom – a little on the small side but fine for just the two of us

    Partial view from the couch

    Side view from the couch – that’s the owner’s house out the window


    From the window in the living room


    The winding road made it a bit of a mission to acquire food so we ate at the cabin a few times and then when we did go to restaurants, I was ravenous and took very few food photos – sorry. We made trips to Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s. I know that’s not special to most people but we don’t have either of those stores where we live. I was shocked by how much food we got for $13 at Trader Joe’s. How do they do it???

    There is one restaurant, well, local chain of restaurants, that we went to three times in our five days there. Yes, it’s that good. It’s Green Sage Cafe. We went to the Westgate location twice and the downtown location once.

    Green Sage soy latte

    A+ Soy Latte

    Soysauge biscuit

    Soysauge biscuit

    Green Sage tempeh reuben

    Tempeh Reuben

    Rosetta’s Kitchen was our first stop. We liked it a lot the last time we went to Asheville in 2010.  Everything was very good. We got the veggie nuggets for an appetizer and then Robbie got the tempeh reuben and I got the organic smoky tofu wrap.

    Outside at Rosetta's Kitchen

    On the balcony at Rosetta’s Kitchen

    Laughing Seed Cafe is another repeat from our 2010 trip. We had a much better time this time. In 2010, they poisoned me with secret walnuts. This time they were totally on top of the allergen thing. Robbie got (another) tempeh reuben and I got this elaborate burrito situation, the South by Southwest Burrito. The champagne dijon vinaigrette dressing on the side salad was very special.

    Laughing Seed

    Laughing Seed Cafe

    We also ate at Standard Pizza, at the Biltmore Village location, and Mamacita’s in downtown. I was in savage mode I guess because I don’t have photos. Both were good but not DO NOT MISS level good. Mamacita’s started to get packed once we sat down. It’s a post-drinking food spot with quick Mexican food.


    Man, oh, man, there’s a lot of beer in Asheville. Our first brewery stop was Wicked Weed. We came back again another day. It’s a big, comfortable place with seats inside and outside.

    Wicked Weed

    Wicked Weed

    Bhramari Brewhouse came highly recommended. It is one of the bigger, fancier taprooms we went to. It has a kitchen and gift shop.

    Lexington Avenue Brewery is another we remembered from 2010. They have a bunch of local beers on tap as well as food and a full bar.

    Burial Beer Co. was Robbie’s favorite. It has a bit of an industrial feel. It’s a simple taproom but it is on the big side and there’s a nice outdoor area. It’s just beer and a tiny gift shop but I found a saison I really enjoyed. Robbie had an IPA they made in collaboration with his favorite local-ish brewery, Civil Society Brewing, so that was a happy coincidence.

    Burial mural

    Very weird mural outside Burial Beer Co.

    Outside at Burial

    Outside at Burial

    When in Asheville…

    My one and only

    Green Man Brewery and Asheville Brewing Company are two breweries we visited in 2010, although at older/different locations. They’re both very laidback places.

    Puzzle at Asheville Brewing Company

    Eurisko Beer Company is a newer place. It’s really beer in a room and nothing else. But Robbie says it’s very good beer.


    Battery Park Book Exchange and Champagne Bar is my kind of bookstore! Champagne and books, name a more iconic duo.

    The Montford is by far the most spectacular rooftop bar I’ve ever been to and I am a bit of a rooftop bar connoisseur. There’s not a bad seat in the house for the sunset.

    Sunset at the Montford


    I mean, come on.

    Top of the Monk is a quirky and cute cocktail bar. There are some strange bar laws in North Carolina that necessitate becoming a “member” before you can buy a drink. I think it’s only for liquor bars that don’t serve food? This was our first stop with such a thing. The drinks were good. There’s a small outside balcony area. You get a locker key for each drink that you buy. The key opens a little locker with a snack inside. I was too suspicious of dairy from a locker to eat the tomato and mozzarella skewer but it’s a charming idea.

    Top of the Monk

    The bar at the Top of the Monk

    We also stopped at Crow and Quill and The Times at S&W. Crow and Quill is another one where we had to become members. They seem to be big on live music but there wasn’t anybody playing there when we went. Both are speakeasy style cocktail bars. I prefer The Times because it was a lot easier to get a drink there and the bartender made a fine espresso martini for me.

    Sky Bar is another rooftop bar. It was really packed up there at sunset! The view is still amazing and feels different than The Montford because you’re in the middle of downtown on top of a shorter building surrounded by people. It’s worth doing if you have two or more sunsets to work with in Asheville.

    Packed at Sky Bar

    Even rooftop parking is lovely in Asheville

    The Imperial Life was my favorite of the non-brewery, non-rooftop sunset venues. Robbie and I both run like our lives depend on it from live music at bars, but the guys playing here were genuinely good. The drinks were great and I appreciate the aesthetic of the place.

    Imperial Life

    The Imperial Life

    Nature, it’s why I come out here.

    We took a lovely/terrifying drive on the Blue Ridge Parkway to get to some waterfalls. We saw a lot of pretty mountains but had to turn around and come back to the cabin when can’t-see-anything-at-all fog set in quickly. We are used to completely flat driving so it was pretty scary up there even before the fog. On the way back down, we stopped at a bunch of turn offs, took photos, and walked a little ways up a small trail.

    Chestnut Cove

    Chestnut Cove

    Scary Tunnel #1

    One of many pitch black tunnels – why did nobody warn us about these??

    Stony Bald

    Stony Bald

    Blue Ridge Parkway Robgeleen

    Blue Ridge selfie

    Walnut Cove

    After the Blue Ridge Parkway fail, we got advice from some locals and drove out to Brevard, NC to stop at three different waterfalls. It was an easy highway drive and then you turn into the Pisgah National Forest and boom waterfalls. Looking Glass Falls was the first stop.

    Looking Glass Falls

    Walking up to Looking Glass Falls

    A lot of people checking out Looking Glass Falls

    Whole gang of people

    Lounging at Looking Glass Falls


    Looking Glass Falls

    Pretty impressive!

    Next was Sliding Rock. It was packed with kids walking up and sliding down over and over again.



    So many kids at Sliding Rock

    Brave children

    Sliding Rock

    A few people really flew down this thing and we were worried for them.

    The last waterfall was at the end of Moore Cove Trail. It was a very humid but otherwise lovely walk out to an impressive waterfall.

    Moore Cove Trail

    Trail out there

    Moore Cove Trail walking towards the waterfall

    Very tall waterfall

    Way up there

    Tiny pool at the bottom

    It flows into a tiny pool

    Robbie takes a gander

    Robbie takes a look

  2. espresso martini

    January 20, 2018 by Angie

    Espresso martinis have been a special treat I could only get at fancier bars. Well, I figured out how to make a delicious one myself at home.


    1 shot of espresso
    1 shot of vodka
    About 2/3 of a shot of Kahlua
    Sugar, to taste


    1. First you need to make some espresso.
    2. Put some ice in a shaker. Pour in the espresso, vodka, and Kahlua. The Kahlua sweetens this enough in my opinion, but if you like a sweeter martini you can add some granulated sugar right into the shaker or you can make simple syrup and add a little of that. I don’t sweeten my morning soy lattes and I don’t miss the sugar in this drink either.
    3. Shake vigorously!
    4. Pour into a martini glass (reserving the ice in the shaker, obviously). Garnish with whole espresso beans if you have somebody to impress.
    5. Be really awake while drinking.

  3. San Francisco, CA

    October 31, 2014 by Angie

    Our big vacation this year was to San Francisco and California Wine Country. It was wonderful!

    It’s going to be a long post so here is a Golden Gate Bridge photo to hold you over.

    Golden Gate Bride

     It’s such a fine bridge.

    We flew into San Francisco on Saturday evening and took a taxi to our very nice hotel, the Galleria Park Hotel. They didn’t have the room we reserved back in March and, for once, it worked out in our favor. They upgraded us to the nicest suite in the hotel for free!

    dining table

    A fireplace, a dining table ,and TV #2!


    A living room!

    Despite Charlotte airport nachos and a mid-flight cheese plate, we needed dinner. We walked through the outskirts of Chinatown to Enjoy Vegetarian Restaurant on Kearney, a totally vegan Chinese restaurant. We had steamed vegetable dumplings for our appetizer, which was my favorite of the three things we ordered. I got basil soy chicken and vegetables and Robbie got BBQ pork and veggie ham fried rice. The food was good but not on par with similar dishes from similar restaurants we’ve tried in other cities. (Shout out to Chinese Buddha in Atlanta!)

    chopsticks fear and dumplings

    Steamed vegetable dumplings and fear personified as Robbie realized there were no forks on the table.

    basil soy chicken

    Basil soy chicken, napa cabbage, etc.

    BBQ pork and veggie ham fried rice

    The house special fried rice with fake BBQ pork and ham.

    After getting dressed up in our swanky suite, we walked to The View, one of the bars/restaurants inside the Marriott on Mission Street. It really lives up to its name, however, my photos don’t. We could see so much of the city and all the way to the bay. The bar is worth visiting for the View alone but the drinks were really good too. We both loved our drinks: Robbie got an old-fashioned and I had an awesome sparkling wine/St. Germaine,/fresh berries concoction. And keeping with the free theme, our second round was on the house!

    The View

    Imagine a breathtaking view of the city, the bridge, and the bay. Or go see it on their website.

    We were up pretty early (5:00 am early) the next day. And everyday. We never adjusted to the time change. So after being hungry for a few hours, Robbie went next door to Bread and Cocoa and picked up some breakfast for us. We ate it at our dining table in our big suite watching CNN on the second TV. I don’t usually drink any kind of coffee but I fell in love with that latte.

    Bread and Cocoa/Galleria Park Hotel

    Bread and Cocoa next door to Galleria Park Hotel

    Here is a photo of a trolley I saw while I was waiting for the rental car company outside of our hotel.

    Trolley car

    We drove north out of the city in our rented Toyota Corolla. Driving over the Golden Gate Bridge was quite impressive.

    driving over the Golden Gate Bridge

     Driving north on the Golden Gate Bridge

    This bridge really is spectacular. We stopped on the other side at the Vista Point and took photos with all of the other tourists. 10/10 would photograph again.

    Robgeleen at Vista Point

     A kind, fellow tourist took our photo for us.

    tourist party

    Our outdoor adventure for this trip was a walk through the Muir Woods National Monument. I really really wanted to see redwoods and I was not disappointed! We even saw a bonus chipmunk! The park is beautiful and serene. Despite the overflowing parking lot, it was quiet and didn’t feel crowded at all. The trees are huge and stately, if a tree can be stately. We had a great time walking through, enjoying the trees and the quiet, and taking photos. The shuttle there and back was a little scary on the twirling mountain roads but I’m glad the shuttle was an option because it was better than wasting our vacation looking for a parking spot.

    Robbie at the entrance

    Robbie at the entrance to the Muir Woods National Monument

    Robgeleen with redwoods

    Robgeleen with redwoods!

    After the shuttle ride back to our rental car, we drove to a cute little town called Mill Valley to eat at Joe’s Taco Lounge. I will forever be glad that we chose to eat there. I think their tofu tostada is the best Mexican food I’ve ever had in my life. We had the amazing nachos too. I’m sad that this adorable and authentic restaurant is so far from my house because I want to eat every vegetarian thing on that menu.

    best Mexican food ever

    Phenomenal tofu tostada

    religious decor

    The Virgin Mary and hot sauces at Joe’s Taco Lounge

    We spent the rest of the day and the next two nights in Sonoma and Napa counties, which you should check out in my next post.

    On Tuesday afternoon, it was time to drive back to San Francisco and drop off our car. I drove back and it was so scary! There was one street near our hotel that was so steep I couldn’t visually confirm that there was land on the other side of the hill. After dropping our bags off at the hotel and returning our car, we checked out some bars on foot.

    We started at Mikkeller Bar, went on to Rickhouse, then finished the night at Local Edition. I got zero usable photos from these bars. I do recall that my drink at Rickhouse was really amazing and Robbie was impressed with his old-fashioned at Local Edition. It became clear that we needed fuel in the form of immediately available Mexican food for our walk back to the hotel. We stopped at a Chipotle on our way and were pleasantly surprised to be able to order the tofu sofritas at that location. I got a huge bowl of sofritas, black beans, grilled veggies, two salsas, cheese, and guacamole. It was quite special for emergency fast food.

    chipotle tofu sofritas

    Yes, I’m blogging Chipotle.

    For the last night of our trip we stayed at the Hotel Boheme on Columbus Avenue. It wasn’t our first choice – our first choice was sold to another company after we made our reservation and the new company didn’t honor our reservation. The Hotel Boheme’s location is really good. The hotel itself was just okay.

    Because we were still waking up at 5:00 am we had plenty of time to pack, arrange for a shuttle to the airport, and head towards the Fisherman’s Wharf for breakfast. We ate at the Beach Street Grill which was quite good. We walked the short distance to Pier 39 afterwards to see the sea lions. They are such characters! Stinky, funny characters.

    rainbow over Alcatraz

     We saw a rainbow and Alcatraz on our way.

    sea lions

     That beautiful bridge again.

    sea lions!

     Sea lions! I love them so much.

    Our final semi-noteworthy activity in San Francisco was eating surprisingly good airport food. If you are ever flying out of SFO, go to Andale. They have delicious tofu!