Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Down in the River

I've written before on my own blog about The River and Rail in Roanoke but wanted to take advantage of this opportunity to share about our most recent experience at this fantastic restaurant.

Nicole and I had dinner with my brother at The River and Rail a few weeks ago because we'd raved about it to him. Actually, we rave about it to everyone. It's one of the truly special dining experiences in the Roanoke Valley. Now I'm raving about it to you.

Our latest dinner was just as good as every other meal I've ever had at The River and Rail. Our reservations were for 9:00pm on a Saturday night because that was the first opening they had for a table so it's obvious that this place is the talk of town. Considering the food Chef Aaron Deal is serving, it's easy to understand why.

We enjoyed a number of creative and tasty dishes during our dinner, including smoked beef tongue, chicken liver mousse, pig's head terrine, lamb sausage, blueberry hand pies, and banana pudding with coconut jalapeno sorbet. Yep. Coconut jalapeno. Try it.

Any time I eat at The River and Rail, I know I'm going to be impressed. The service, atmosphere, and food are of the highest quality. And our recent trip was just the latest example of that.


Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Gone Fishing

This past month has been crazy. Nicole was in Italy for a couple weeks and there have been lots of fun family activities.

I've been trying to spend more time outside and keep myself from sitting in front of my computer all the time. It's a challenge because I want to be productive, but there's something relaxing about the fresh air. One of my favorite activities has become fishing. And I've caught quite a few bass over the past few weeks. I'm turning into a bassmaster.
Bass Fishing

Nicole and I also had a great time together this past weekend. We had a date night on Friday night and went up to Eggleston to The Palisades Restaurant. This place is in the middle of nowhere in Giles County but it's features amazing food in a really charming atmosphere. I ordered the pizza and it was some of the best I've had in a long time.
Palisades Restaurant Eggleston

We finished off the weekend with a day-trip to Lynchburg. It was a beautiful afternoon and we had a Groupon to use for tubing on the James River. We went with the James River Float Company and I would highly recommend it to anyone. It was a leisurely 1.5 hour ride on the river with great views of Downtown Lynchburg and some of the surrounding mountains. I wish I had a picture of us on the river but we left our phone/cameras in the car to make sure they didn't get wet.

Until next time...don't stop the party!


Saturday, June 29, 2013

Flying through Summer

June has been an awesome month. We've been so busy out having fun that we haven't had time to write a blog post to let everyone know all about it.

Here are some of the highlights from the past few weeks:

A fantastic week of vacation in Chicago, which included going to a Cubs game at Wrigley Field. A huge thank you to our friend, Diana, and her roommates for hosting us for the week!

Nicole added some color to the month by participating in The Color Run in Roanoke. This is right before they both jumped into the car so that we could all go get slurpees at 7-Eleven.

And because it's summer, I've become obsessed with all sorts of frozen concoctions. This includes soft serve, milkshakes, and slurpees. Nicole goes to a run - I go to Sonic for half-price milkshakes.

I'm also a huge fan of this video that I saw on the Jimmy Kimmel show the other night:

That's a quick update on what life has been like for us. Tonight, we're going to dinner at Taaza, an awesome Indian restaurant in Roanoke, and then we're headed to the Corey Smith concert at the Jefferson Center. One last date night before Nicole leaves for Italy for the next two weeks!

To read more about what's going on with us, I encourage you to follow along with our other blogs. Nicole is at Seven Ate Nine and I'm over at From Ballparks to BBQ.

Take luck,

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Weekend Adventures

How was your Memorial Day Weekend?

Ours was full of crazy adventures. We took a drive on the beautiful Blue Ridge Parkway on Friday night to the Town of Floyd. Floyd is an awesome little town with a cool, local music scene and some really funky art and shops. It's known as a music hot spot on Friday nights and you'll always find a crowd at the Floyd Country Store for the Friday night jamboree.

On Saturday afternoon, I spent the day fishing with my granddad, brother and his girlfriend. We caught about 15 fish and fried them up for dinner and I learned that I have no patience for dealing with the bones in fresh fish. Unfortunately, we didn't cook the massive bass my granddad reeled in.

We were back on the road again Sunday with a trip north to Lewisburg and White Sulphur Springs in West Virginia. Lewisburg is a quaint little town that doesn't have much activity on Sundays and White Sulphur Springs was mostly abandoned. However, it is home to The Greenbrier, where we toured around and had some afternoon tea.

And we capped off the weekend by spending Memorial Day picking strawberries at a nearby farm. We now have enough berries to eat strawberry shortcake for the next three months but it's great to be able to pick your own fruit and eat it right after you picked it.

Monday, April 22, 2013

The Freakin' Weekend

During the winter months, there is a shortage of things to do in our area. Actually, that may not be entirely true. But because the weather is often cold and snowy during the winter, we don't venture out of the house unless we have to. Instead, we keep a fire going in the wood stove, build pillow forts, watch movies and drink hot tea. We manage to act like 7 year olds and 70 year olds at the same time. It's quite a feat.

Now that the weather is warming up and spring has arrived, there are lots of great weekend events to check out, and this past weekend was particularly busy.

On Saturday, we started the day in Downtown Roanoke and hung out for a while at the finish line of the Blue Ridge Marathon. This race is known as "America's Toughest Road Marathon" and makes its way along a portion of the Blue Ridge Parkway and attracts visitors from around the country. It did nothing to motivate me to ever run a marathon but it was really cool to stand at the finish line and see people as they celebrated finishing. I love watching people accomplish a goal they've worked so hard to reach.
America's Toughest Road Marathon

Spring Saturdays in Roanoke also offer great opportunities to visit some of the local farmer's markets in the area. The Historic City Market in Downtown Roanoke is one of the oldest farmer's markets in Virginia and features a great selection of produce, baked goods, and other homemade items. We act like such trendy hipsters and always peruse the market even though we know what's there every Saturday.
Roanoke City Market

In other ridiculous news, I had ice cream for breakfast on Sunday. It wasn't just ice cream though. I toasted a waffle and then put a giant scoop of ice cream on top of it. But I didn't want to stop the party. So I also heated up some homemade ganache and put that on top of the ice cream. Don't judge me. I'm already ashamed.
Dessert Waffle


Friday, April 19, 2013

The Taste of Roanoke

Nicole and I have a thing for free stuff, especially if it involves free food. We once asked a friend who had a Costco membership to take us with her so we could try the samples. When we lived in West Palm Beach, we ate dinner twice a week at the two different Whole Foods locations because they'd have block parties and offer dishes from the various departments in the store. We even went to the Ikea in Orlando once only because they were serving free breakfast. We're such great supporters of the economy! If it's free, we'll take three.

And we always check the calendar for events that could include complimentary snacks. Hello, The Taste of Roanoke.

The Taste of Roanoke

The Taste of Roanoke was part of the Roanoke Regional Chamber of Commerce Business and Technology Expo at the Roanoke Civic Center this past week and it featured a number of local restaurants.

We spent the evening enjoying burger sliders from Beamer's 25, chocolate chip cookies from The Hotel Roanoke, ribs from Smokey Bones, grilled chicken and steak from Longhorn, vegetable kabobs from the Salem Civic Center, and much more. 

They were even serving the new Cool Ranch Doritos Taco by Taco Bell! SPOILER ALERT: It's just as bad as the other Doritos taco.

It was a lot of fun trying food from different restaurants in the area and we ran into a lot of friends. 

Do you have any tips on fun free things to do? Particularly those that involve free meals.


Friday, April 12, 2013

Spring Update

It's been a few months so it feels like we're due for another "It's been too long since we last posted and we promise to do a better job with this in the future" post. I don't know if this will happen or not but we'll keep trying to post when we can and provide updates about what's going on in our life.

Nicole has been doing some serious baking lately and trying new recipes that have been amazing. It has made me quite popular at work as I usually take the leftovers to the office. Two of her latest creations have been blueberry muffins and chocolate cake, which were inspired by these two recipes:

Cooking Classy
This is also the start of one of my favorite weekends of the year as a sports fan. The Masters just finished it's second round of play and the weekend should be full of great golf from Augusta National. I'm so excited about spending Sunday afternoon watching The Masters on CBS and seeing who wins golf's first major of the year. Here is a picture from when we went a few years ago:

That's all for now!