joe patti's seafood

between icu visiting hours (literally four treasured hours out of a twenty-four hour day that we were allowed to visit with dad!), jessica, mom, and i ducked into the famous joe patti's seafood (this was our second visit in three days!) to buy sushi and boiled shrimp.   jessica took some great photos, so i thought i would share some:

this is the entrance to the enormous seafood market.

beautiful crabs fresh from the gulf of mexico.

while jessica had her camera out inside the market, the very nice security office (yes it gets so crowded, they have a full time officer on the premises at all times!) told us about a "secret" spot in the back of the market where there are many piers, like the one above, and hundreds of pelicans!

a family girl photo with the gorgeous pensacola sunset.

dunton hot springs

since leftovers are on the menu for tonight, instead of a recipe, today i get to share my latest travel fantasy with all of you!  dunton hot springs: the #7 luxury hotel in the U.S., the #6 all-inclusive in the world, and 2010 Trip Advisor Travelers' Choice Award...WOW!  it is jaw-dropping gorgeous...

first of all, i simplycannot believe a place like this actually exists!  after stumbling upon it last week, it's hard to stop myself from daydreaming about spending a few nights in one of the beautifully, cozy cabins.  dunton hot springs resort is a restored ghost town magically tucked into the san juan mountains of the colorado rockies, just across from telluride, colorado.  not only does dunton offer amazing places to stay, but it has tons of activities such as fly fishing, natural hot springs, horseback riding, hiking, skiing, snowshoeing,  and dogsledding, and a local and regionally sourced menu served in the old saloon! 

if all of this is not great enough, you can rent the entire town for up to 42 people!  what a perfect spot for a reunion.  friends???  family???  are you reading this?!

via a cup of jo.  images from dunton's website.

the lagniappe list

i'm not sure if it's the gut-wrenching deepwater horizon oil spill that has finally shown its ugly face on my beloved florida coastline or if it's something else altogether (age?, embracing parenthood?, potentially impending move to residency?) , but the spirit of home, of the gulf coast, has crept into my mind and i can't shake it.  i belong to the third coast...i love sitting on the beach from morning until sunset, soaking up the warmth of the sun on the white sands, ending my day with an abita beer and a bowl full of boiled shrimp.  these days, more than most, i feel a pull to be reconnected with my roots...

so, when i happened upon the cookbook, chef john folse's Encyclopedia of Cajun & Creole Cuisinemy heart leapt.  the lagniappe list in the back of this cookbook is what really whets my appetite.  the list is dedicated to restauranteurs and entrepreneurs past and present who have blazed the southern food trail.  i'm not sure when i'll be in louisiana long enough to familiarize myself with all of these gourmands, but hopefully it will happen sooner than later; it's in my third coast blood.

for those of you who are not from around my "parts" and may not be familiar with the word lagniappe, (pronounced  LAN-yap),  it is a small gift given to a customer by a merchant at the time of a purchase (such as a 13th bagel when buying a dozen),  or more broadly, "something given or obtained gratuitously or by way of good measure."  the word is chiefly used in the gulf coast, especially louisiana.

mark twain writes about the word in a chapter on new orleans in Life on the Mississippi (1883).  he states "we picked up one excellent word — a word worth travelling to new orleans to get;  a nice limber, expressive, handy word...when you are invited to drink, and this does occur now and then in New Orleans — and you say, "What, again? — no, I've had enough;" the other party says, "But just this one time more — this is for lagniappe." " 

some of the below items i am intimately familiar with (abita brewing company, original creole pralines, cafe du monde, central grocery, gambino's bakery, popeye's chicken and biscuits, zatarain' name a few), the others i am dying to get to know:

Abita Brewing Company • Acme Oyster House • Amato's Winery • Antoine's Restaurant • Arnaud's Restaurant • Aunt Sally's • Original Creole Pralines • Barq's • Baumer Foods • Madame Bégué • John Besh • Paul Blangé • Blue Runner Foods • Bon Ton Cafe • Brennan's Restaurant • Bruce Foods • Nathaniel Burton • Café Du Monde • Cajun Power Sauce • Camellia Grill • Caribbean Room at the Pontchartrain Hotel • Casa de Sue Winery • Casamento's Restaurant • Central Grocery • Leah Chase of Dooky Chase Restaurant • Chester's Cypress Inn • Willy Coln • Christian's Restaurant • Commander's Palace Restaurant • Community Coffee Company • Al Copeland • Corinne Dunbar's Restaurant • The Court of Two Sisters • Crescent City Farmers Market • Dixie Brewing Company • Don's Seafood and Steak House • Elmer Candy Corporation • Feliciana Cellars • Ruth Fertel of Ruth's Chris Steak House • Chef John Folse & Company • Chef John Folse Culinary Institute • Goffredo Fraccaro • Galatoire's Restaurant • Gambino's Bakery • Haydel's Bakery • Lafcadio Hearn • Hubig's Pies • Jack Sabin's Restaurant • Stanley Jackson • Jacques-Imo's Cafe • Jax Brewery • Anne Kearney • Kentwood Springs • Chris Kerageorgiou of La Provence • Kleinpeter Farms Dairy • Emeril Lagasse • Langenstein's Supermarket • Lasyone's Meat Pie Kitchen and Restaurant • G.H. Leidenheimer Baking Company • Le Jeune's Bakery • Warren Leruth of LeRuth's Restaurant • Austin Leslie • Louisiana Cavier Company • Mandina's Restaurant • Maylie's Restaurant • Middendorf's Seafood Restaurant • "Diamond Jim" Moran • Mosca's • Mother's Restaurant • P&J Oyster Company • The Palace Café • Pascal's Manale Restaurant • Alex Patout • Pontchartrain Vineyards • Popeyes Chicken & Biscuits • Prejean's Restaurant • Gunter Preuss of Broussard's Restaurant • Paul Prudhomme • Reily Foods Company • Michael Roussel • Savoie's Sausage and Food Products • Sazerac Bar at the Fairmont Hotel • Solari's • Susan Spicer of Bayona • C.S. Steen Syrup Mill • Tabasco • Tony Chachere's Creole Foods • Tujague's Restaurant • Uglesich Restaurant and Bar • The Village • Justin Wilson • Yellow Bowl Restaurant • Zapp's Potato Chip Company • Zatarain's • Zuppardo's Economical Supermarket

photo from the pensacola news jounal; lagniappe definition and mark twain quote from wikipedia

i heart summer

despite the 90+ degree days that we are already enjoying in the south and the humidity that will make you feel like you are in water as soon as you walk out the front door and the mosquitoes that eat my poor husband alive, i heart summer! seriously.  i love everything about this time of the year...neighborhood festivals, sunlight that stretches into nearly the 9 o'clock hour, the feeling of fun in the air, flip flops, bathing suits, the hint of chlorine or salt water on your skin, delicious and bountiful produce, vacations...

speaking of vacations, the three of us just got back from a ten day florida trip, which certainly helped us to enjoy and welcome summer with open arms!

jack had so much fun swimming!  and, he was such a good sport about wearing his sun hat and shades!  i think he knew how cute he looked!

david and jack with the sun setting over the gulf of mexico in marco island.

jack's first time playing at the beach!  he had fun jumping in the water and trying to eat handfuls of sand and shells!  we felt lucky to be able to enjoy some time on the gulf since there is so much uncertainty with its condition...

a rare family picture taken at sunset at our resort in marco island.

for those of you who get my monthly photo albums, i will be making a special vacation album soon...

christmas on the coast, part three

and here is the last installment of our holiday fun...we spent the last part of our florida vacation (december 30th - january 3rd) at my parent's house. below is baby jack being adored by his great-papaw.  it was really touching to see the generations meet each other and share some time together.

our little one partied too hard on new years eve with his nonna and pops while we went out on our first date since jack was born to celebrate the new year and our FIFTH anniversary!  i love the tuxedo onesie my parents bought for jack!

jack's first trip to the beach!  it was a freezing cold and blustery day, but i had my mind made up that jack was going to the beach during his first trip to pensacola, so here we are...all bundled up! 

enjoying some sleepy time with mommy in front of nonna and pop's beautiful christmas tree.  david said that this is one of his favorite pictures.

i hope you've enjoyed seeing how we spent the holidays...looking back at the photos makes me wish we could do it again!

christmas on the coast, part two

oh my gosh...i never dreamed it would be almost two months before i finished sharing photos and memories from our holiday in florida.  but, as stated earlier, we had too much fun not too share and since i haven't sent out any photo albums lately this is also a good way to share some semi-recent pictures! 

we celebrated our second christmas on december 27th.  pictured above are mommy and jack waking up for "christmas morning."

jack enjoying some snuggle time with his mia, but also very interested in the present opening going on behind him!

baby sam (nine months) enjoying some new toys!

rebekah reading us a sweet christmas story that made everyone tear up...

peek-a-boo baby

baby jack enjoying his bathtime

a visit with our dear friends the marx family

one more holiday post to come...PROMISE!

boston bound!!!

excuse me for a second while i brag about my awesome hubby who just qualified for the BOSTON MARATHON!  for all of you non-runners, this is a BIG deal!  HUGE.  it is the only marathon that requires its runners to meet a qualifying time, based on your gender and age, in order to participate (you can run without qualifying, if you run with a charity).  david ran the atlanta marathon in 3 hours, 9 minutes, and 9 seconds!  he trained for so many weeks and was so dedicated.  i am so proud of him... boston we come!

the tuscan coast

tuscan shore my heart  is swelling as i think about my sister-in-law enjoying a summer of european study abroad, especially now that her travels have brought her to italy.  this article in sunday's ny times travel section has made my heart swell even more...oh how i desire to return to italy, more specifically to the italian coast.

tell me that the following passages don't make you want to be there too, enjoying the fine food and the crystal blue mediterranean waters:

"...the slope-hugging road...can be thrilling to drive, with breathtaking views to the south, north, east and west. The sun glints off the water, then sets below it.  Best to abandon the car and find a seat in a waterfront cafe before that happens.  Porto Santo Stefano has many of them, and they adhere to an unimpeachable philosophy, which is that a predinner glass of prosecco or white wine should be accompanied by a pre-dinner nibble, or rather cornucopia of nibbles: peanuts, olives, cubes of mortadella, cubes of Parmesan cheese.  On a warm, breezy night, these arrived with a first round of drinks, and they were replenished in full with a second round. We even thought about staying put for a third, the scene around us giving us cause to linger.  Buffed yachts glided out of the harbor while battered fishing trawlers lumbered in, the beauties making way for the beasts."

"...the tone of our meal there was immediately set by the first thing to hit the table: an amuse-bouche of sautéed red mullet, diced tomato and olive oil, combined in a spoon, enough for just one happy bite. Each ingredient was flawless.  After that there was squid-ink tagliatelle with shrimp and artichoke, oversize fusilli with scorpion fish and more red mullet, and nuggets of rabbit — the bones gone, the meat tender — with black olives and roasted tomatoes. It seemed right to add that bit of turf to the surf, and the turf justified the bottle of northern Italian pinot nero we chose."

during my dreams of italian food, sun, and water, my thoughts move to the idea of our baby playing alongside david and i on the italian sand and my heart swells to nearly the point of bursting... 

baby swimwear

oh...just the thought of it makes me smile from ear to ear!

off to visit in the sunshine state

have a wonderful weekend, lovelies!  after working eleven days in a row and being on-call over the memorial holiday weekend, i get a three day weekend of my own and i am spending it in sunny pensacola parked right next to my parents pool.  my goals for the long weekend: spend time with my family (jessica is driving up too!), sit and read by the water, enjoy yummy food, and NOT to step foot into a car until sunday. back next week!

cute is one of my best qualities*

we had the most splendid weekend in new york!  it was a welcomed reminder of how much we love it up there, despite my efforts to pretend that big cities are not for us...who am i kidding?!  i love the pace, i love the people, and i love all the choices! we spent a lovely and warm friday in brooklyn- walking through the beautiful botanic gardens, having lunch on the patio of cheryl's global soul watching a young child diligently water all of the plants in his backyard, walking through park slope, prospect heights, and prospect park (brooklyn neighborhoods), having coffee, doing some very early christmas shopping at the fun boutiques on 5th avenue in park slope, and then walking over the brooklyn bridge into manhattan.  friday night we were treated by uncle joe to dinner at sardi's before going to see billy elliot on broadway.

saturday we spent the morning at the union square farmer'smarket where we were overly impressed with the selection and, particularly, the, cheap. cheap!  we then stumbled upon a greenwich village neighborhood street festival which was lots of fun and then dined on delicious pizza at johns pizzeria on bleeker street.  we spent the afternoon at the moma.  uncle joe treated us to dinner again saturday night at a lovely italian spot, da filippo, on second avenue at 69th street.

on sunday, we had breakfast for the third morning in a row at the apartment- delicious fruit, smoked salmon, scrambled eggs, bacon, toast with delicious jams, coffee, and fresh orange juice.  we spent our last few hours in the city at the met where i loved the model as muse special event- very well done including thoughtfully chosen music, fashion pieces, and great design of the exhibit.

a special thanks to uncle joe for hosting a fabulous get-away weekend that served as a great reminder that we LOVE city life, particularly in that part of the country!

* overheard in the apartment elevator.  being said by a 5 year old girl to her sleepover friend.  and, she was REALLY cute!


the serenbe inn located in palmetto, georgia is the most idyllic sounding town with the  name of serenbe.  it has been described as a place where the quality of life is extraordinarily high, where there is an easy sense of community, where the principles of sustainability touch everything from your home’s methods of construction to the organic produce on your table that was grown by one of your neighbors.  serenbe is 900 acres of serenity nestled about 30 miles south of atlanta in the chattahoochee hill country and is protected with a master plan that calls for 80% green space.

accom mainhouse serenbe

the community sounds ideal with farms, creative neighborhoods, and miles of well-worn footpaths that make walking easier than driving.  AND, the restaurants sound amazing...the farmhouse at serenbe serves a prix fixe weekly changing menu that features organic prodcue grown right at the serenbe organic farm.  this week's menu features a tasting of artisan cheeses, oyster croquettas, "chicken and dumplings" (confit chicken thigh with buttermilk gnocchi, and spinach), and gran marnier brioche french toast with mulled "summers past" berries with tahitian vanilla bean ice mouth is watering!  the hilfeatures a seasonal, classic american menu created by executive chef/owner hilary white that features a variety of appetizers, gourmet pizzas, entrees, farm-fresh vegetables, and desserts with many ingredients coming from the serenbe farm.  and, the blue eyed daisy bakeshop is a casual neighborhood eatery serving a variety of breakfast items, classic sandwiches, salads and snacks AND it is also stocked with yummy treats like cupcakes, pies, cookies, and tarts.

blue eyed daisy

i really want to go for a day trip...maybe one weekend SOON...

go cats!

we spent the past two weekends cheering for our davidson wildcats at two very exciting (well, one exciting and one exciting BUT disappointing) basketball games.  the first of our two weekends was spent in birmingham with my parents.  the four of us cheered LOUDLY as davidson pulled off a very close win against a sold-out crowd at samford. final score, davidson at samforddavid and steph at samford

this past weekend, we were in charlotte and davidson with some of our college best friends---what a FUN weekend we had!  it was so much fun to be back in north carolina (the residency destination talk has begun...again!) and although davidson lost in a CLOSE game, we had a blast catching up with best friends and meeting baby elizabeth!

david and chris with their newly purchased black out shirtsthe davidson huddle

the girls

and, to make the situation even better, all of this davidson basketball watching has afforded me the pleasure of cheering, in person, for my favorite player, #42 ben allison! 


if anyone sees a shirt bearing a nickname for english ben, like barr's white lobster or curry's steff-in shirt found at a square ---PLEASE let me know.  i am dying to have one!  and, if you are reading this and do t-shirt design, i am digging the thought of a prince benjamin tee.

david and i don't think we are very good luck for the team, so our attendance at the socon tournament is "to be determined"...

with or without us on the sidelines, good luck cats!  here's wishing for another successful ride through march madness!

'tis the season

as usual, our christmas time in florida was most joyful!  this year, in particular, we had TONS of fun! pensacola beach sign christmas ornament

over 5 days, we visited with family and even some dear high school friends,

stephanie and jessica loving on sadie

all the halstead grandchildren, minus laurin

ate at jerry's drive-in (twice!), went to a christmas concert at the church where we were married, had 4 christmas celebrations (and got lots of nice new stuff),

our stockings!

sadie opening her interactive ball

family christmas picture 2008

shopped at some cute pensacola gift boutiques and at joe patti's (of course), went out 3 times with cousins and aunts and uncles (SO fun!!!), AND attended a reheasal dinner, a wedding, and a christening.

girl cousins at the fish house

high school clan at rowe's christening

hope your holidays have been as great as ours.  here's to a fabulous end to 2008!

home from our beach vacation

thank goodness for birthdays!  it was lovely...AMAZINGLY WONDERFUL.  i don't think we could have scripted it any better.  we had such a fabulous time celebrating, something we feel like we're pretty darn good at.  it was perfect in every way.  i thought about creating a top 10 list but then that would place some sort of hierarchical order to certain things over others- i would have had a difficult time with that.  i decided instead to choose my 10 favorite pictures to illustrate the best of the week.  more pictures can be viewed on flickr, just click the flickr link straight from the blog. glassy water of the gulf

our wonderful screened-in porch

how we spent our afternoons

a taste of our lunches

our shadows in the sand

seeing red wine fest

before the rain

our bird friend who watched the setting sun each night with us

setting sun, rising moon

green gables, our paradise

off to seaside

we are off to seaside for the next week to celebrate the fact that we are both entering the fourth decade of our lives!  we have been looking forward to this vacation for's not often that we get to take a whole week away by ourselves. we have created a yummy menu to enjoy while we are there.  lunches of lobster cobb salad, bagels and lox, fresh fruit...and 3 fancy dinners of steakhouse filets, cornmeal fried onion rings, fish with caper and tomato sauce, saffron zucchini and herb couscous, shrimp and scallop gratin, and champagne and saffron mussels...YUM!  of course, we are stopping at joe patti"s to get all our seafood and we are sure to find some other delicious treats at modica market while we are there.  we will also be dining at a few of our favorite seaside spots bud and alleys, pickles, and cafe rendezvous and looking forward to trying the new taco bar.

besides eating our way through the week:), we plan to play a lot of tennis, bike between the beach towns, play croquet, read our books (we are both bringing two- my choices: a confederacy of dunces and animal, vegetable, miracle: a year of food life), sleep in, drink in the sunsets (and maybe even wake up for a sunrise or two), sample delightful wines at the wine festival, and, most importantly, relax and enjoy each other.

i will post pictures and a trip update when we return!

SEC football...there's nothing like it!

yesterday, we drove down to the loveliest village on the plains to enjoy a saturday of SEC football- auburn vs. tennessee.  we had so much fun- tailgating with my cousins, blair and jac, watching auburn pull off a victory against the vols, and being thankful that we didn't stay home to watch the gator's painful loss to ole miss (i did dvr the game and watch it in its entirety this morning!...and mourned all over again).

for those of you who have never had the pleasure of experiencing a game on a SEC college campus, you must.  no other sporting events even compare to the massive crowds, the elaborate tailgates, and the passion of the fans.  we must have walked past over 50 tailgating tents with HD tvs showing the florida/ole miss game, gourmet food spreads, people playing corn hole, and, of course, drinks flowing.

blair, thanks for getting us the tickets...we had a great fall saturday spent like true southerners!

war damn eagle and GO GATORS!