Local Austin Foodie Gift Ideas

Recently I participated in a food swap with Austin and Boston food bloggers. It is such a fun idea! Each blogger is paired with a blogger from the other city and send local food items to each other.

This is the basket full of goodies I sent off to my partners in Boston. There was a $30 price limit plus shipping. I used a “if it fits, it ships” box from the post office. I wanted to share with all of you because I think these would be great holiday gifts for your family and friends from out of town! What a fun and tasty way to share a little bit of Austin with your loved ones. There are so many great, local food companies to choose from! My partners are vegetarian and I wanted to be sure I sent items that wouldn’t spoil or get ruined in during their journey, so those were my parameters.


My goodie basket items:

Good Flow Honey

TexaFrance Bluebonnet Honey Mustard

Stubb’s Original BBQ Sauce
It’s vegetarian and gluten free! Perfect for BBQ tofu tacos or over eggs!

Austin Nuts Sweet Wasabi Mix and Texas BBQ Peanuts

Sweet Leaf Tea
Wouldn’t be Texas without Sweet Tea!

Central Market Hatch Chile Green Salsa

Praline Pecans from HEB bulk section
I can’t eat enough of those. Soo good!

I think these are great ideas to use for holiday hostess gifts, stocking stuffers, and secret Santa!

What are some of your favorite local foodie gifts?

No Kid Hungry

Happy Election Day! Did everyone get out and vote? I sure hope so! It’s a gorgeous day in Austin, TX, so you really have no excuse.

A few weeks ago I had the opportunity to attend a fundraiser at Second Bar and Kitchen . You’ve seen it. The gorgeous restaurant that lives at the bottom of the Austinonian. It’s only one of my favorite places to eat in Austin.



They hosted a mouthwatering event for No Kid Hungry. I am going to show you all the beautiful food pictures from the event, but more importantly, juxtapose those with the mission of this organization. I hope you will see how so many wonderful restaurants and chefs came together to support this cause.



In the spirit of America and with this month being Thanksgiving and all, I want to share with you something you might not know about. Child hunger right here in the United States. That’s right, 1 in 5 kids in the United States lives with hunger.



What does that mean? Don’t we have an obesity epidemic? Don’t those kids get fed at school? Let me break it down for you.




1 in 5, or 16 million kids in the US, live with food insecurity. Meaning, yes, maybe they get a free or reduced lunch at school. But they might not get to eat dinner or breakfast. Or imagine not having any food at home on the weekends or during summertime.



Why should you care? Because those hungry kids aren’t doing well in school and are more likely to get sick and miss even more school. And guess what? Once those kids get behind, the likelihood of them getting back on track isn’t good. Then they probably won’t finish high school, more or less college. Then they won’t be able to feed their children and the cycle continues. All that is going to cost you money, and your kids money, in taxes down the line as these families will continue to rely on government programs to survive.



So what can you do? Educate yourself, get involved, donate your time or money, and spread the word! For more
information, click here to learn more about No Kid Hungry.



Ok Natalie, that’s nice and all, but I live in Austin. I don’t see hungry kids. This doesn’t really, really effect me.



Yes it does. I volunteer with the Junior League of Austin Food In Tummies program. There are kids living right down off Riverside that are hungry. Their dads might work construction downtown. Their moms might be working part time for minimum wage making your breakfast tacos each morning. That’s why you should care. Their families are intertwined in our community and communities all over the US.



Each week the Junior League of Austin packs bags of food for over 1700 kids so they have food to eat on the weekends. Those kids live right here in Austin.


I hope this spirit of giving bug bites you this holiday season. Think about what you can do to make Austin a No Kid Hungry city!

Brunch at Caffe DeLucchi San Francisco, CA

Oh hello friends! I am currently writing this post from 30,000 feet. Did you all have a good Halloween weekend? Anyone try these Salted Caramel Apple Slices?


I was in San Francisco this past weekend and had brunch at this wonderful little place called Caffe DeLucchi. This place is a little street side cafe with super friendly staff. We got there early, which I recommend, it fills up fast. There are tables outside and you can bring your pup. The cafe is small and I would not recommend it for a large party. Perfect for a more intimate group.

I got the Polenta with Cajun Etouffe. It was thick and delicious. Lots of shrimp, sausage and okra, all over a huge serving of creamy polenta. I love polenta. Oh and there were some poached eggs too. Mmmm yum.

There was also a Ham and Cheddar Breakfast pizza involved. I am not the biggest ham fan, but this ham was actually pretty tender with the perfect amount of saltiness. I really liked the green onions with this as well. I’ve really been a fan of breakfast pizzas and sandwiches lately. Expect more those types of recipes to be coming.

Of course while in San Francisco this weekend, I watched a few Giants games. Oh did you see they won the World Series?? Yeah, that was fun!

We picked up a few different kinds of beer to try during the games. Hell or High Watermelon was definitely watermlon-y. I think it would be super refreshing during the hot Texas summers. We also tried Pumpkin Ale. This one is for sure a novelty. It was good but I could only suck down one at a time. It has a pumpkin tingle and is very heavy. Definitely worth trying at least once this fall!

Oh and did I tell you I dressed up as Wilma Flintstone?!? What are you dressing up as this Halloween?

Spinning Plates Movie Review

I had the wonderful opportunity this past weekend to go see Spinning Plates . It’s a documentary about three different restauranteurs and their struggles

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and triumphs.

Honestly, at first when I received this invite I wasn’t so sure. I love a good documentary and I love food… but I wasn’t really sure if a film festival movie was “my thing”. So naturally, I didn’t respond to the email for a few days while I thought about it. What do I say if I don’t like the movie? What do I write if I do like it?

I did a little research on the movie and it looked legit, so I accepted. And boy am I glad I did! I was completely hooked in the first five minutes. This movie was right up my alley. Smart, real, emotional and realistic. Joesph Levy, the director, crafted a beautiful film that gives you a real life peak into what goes on behind the kitchen doors.

I don’t want to give too much away, but the way everything ties together at the end will really pull your heart strings.

After the we viewed the film, there was a Q&A with director. We learned he is originally from Texas and was a music major in college. You’ll notice the great music throughout the film.

Here is a link to watch the trailer of Spinning Plates. Or visit their website for more info.

I hope some local theaters pick up this film so all Austinites can enjoy it!

What to Eat at ACL 2012

Are y’all as excited

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as me for ACL this year?

I’m most excited about Florence and the Machine. Followed up by Gary Clark Jr., The Lumineers, Alabama Shakes and AVICII.

Anyone going to see Alabama Shakes Thursday night at Stubbs? Ok good, me too!

And of course, we all know how much this little Indian likes to eat!

What food are y’all most excited about this year?

I’m pretty pumped about the addition of Second Bar and Kitchen this year. And GoodPop!

All the other menu options look delicious as well. Oh, and is this rumor true… Is there really going to be a sports tent showing all the football games? Can someone please confirm or deny this?

San Francisco, CA

I’m keeping this Friday’s post short and sweet. Just a few snapshots from last weekends getaway to San Francisco. Don’t you just love weekend getaways? Me too.

Rooftop view of the bay at sunset.

The Golden Gate Bridge!


Napa in the fall, sigh. Gorgeous.

Vino at Alpha and Omega.

Foggy Fisherman’s Wharf

We had lunch in the Mission at Dosa. This is the Dahi Vada or lentil dumplings.

Lamb curry.

White Truffle Masala Dosa.

I cant wait to go back!

Brunch at Auberge Du Soleil, Napa Valley, California

I had the most glorious weekend in San Francisco this past weekend. I’m giddy to share all of the awesome photos from this trip with you all.

We took a day trip to Napa, and had the most fabulous brunch at Auberge Du Soleil . This brunch gets a post all to itself because it was that amazing. Can’t you tell from the view?

The menu.

Spicy Bloody Mary. You can also get a mimosa or sparkling wine. Perfect way to start a late brunch if you ask me.

The rosemary bread was my favorite.

For the first course, I had the Ahi Tuna Tartare with Wakame, Cucumber and Ginger Dressing. This was recommended by the server and with good reason. Definitely gets a 10!

Potato Gnocchi, Wild Mushrooms, Pea Shoots, Parmesan Nage. Excellent gnocchi! I’m not the biggest gnocchi fan, but I could have gobbled up this whole bowl! Good choice Henry!

Molly started off with White Corn Soup, Crispy Fried Oyster and Chervil Oil. Molls let me have a taste, perfect thickness for a corn soup.

Ross and I both ordered the Cabernet Braise Short Ribs, with Heirloom Tomatoes, Watercress and Bordelaise Vinaigrette. So tender and delicious.

Henry ordered the Duck Confit Hash with Slow Cooked Farm Eggs, Mâché and Red Wind Sauce. The eggs made this dish more breakfast and I definitely nibbled on it.

Molly got the classic Buttermilk Pancakes with Blueberries, Applewood Smoked Bacon and Maple Syrup.

Somewhere along the way we order a bottle of white to accompany our meal.

Now it’s time for dessert.

Ross ordered the Trio of Fruit Sorbets, which were quickly melting! It was quite warm that day.

Molly ordered the gorgeous Red Top Peaches with Mesquite Shortcakes, Pecans and Old No. 7 Ice Cream.

I ordered the Mascarpone Cheesecake with Sebastopol Blackberries, Vanilla Crumb Cake and little dollops of California Bay Laurel. All in all a very fragrant dessert which was nicely complimented by the creamy cheesecake and sweet vanilla crumb cake.

And last but certainly not least, the Crispy Filo Wrapped Chocolate Dumplings with Tarragon Ice Cream and Arbequina Olive Oil. This was Henry’s dessert, but I may or may not have helped myself to few a bites. Chocolate and olive oil… I just had to try it. Definitely a winner.

This picture is a little dark, but it was a gorgeous brunch with gorgeous people. If you’re ever in Napa Valley, you must eat at Auberge Du Soleil!

Where to Eat in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico

I’ve really been holding out on you all about my amazing trip to Puerto Vallarta this summer. I went this past July with a group of girlfriends to just relax and eat a bunch of great food.

This octopus, or pulpo, was incredible! Seriously, best I’ve ever had, and I’ve never had anything quite like it. These little pulpos are caught fresh daily right outside the restaurant then roasted and served whole.

This octopus came from Ocean Grill Restaurant & Beach Club . Which is not an easy place to get to. You have to take a bus or cab up a tiny two lane mountain road, then a very small boat will take you to the restaurant. FYI you must have a reservation, this place is tiny, but oh so worth the trip!

When you go around the side of the mountain by boat, you will arrive at the Ocean Grill Restaurant & Beach Club. It looks like its right out of Swiss Family Robinson. So picturesque!

All of us girls with the owner of the restaurant, Alfonzo. I love the Mexican hospitality! He was such a lovely host, the owner lives on the property with his huge great dane, Wilson.


After you finish eating, you can lay out on the private beach or hang in Alfonzo’s swanky tree house living room, with a gorgeous infinity pool. I highly recommend this option. Gotta love the Mexicans: come in, eat, drink, stay a while.

We went zip lining through the jungle with Los Veranos Canopy Tour. This is a great company and the tour guides are hysterical! They kind of resemble male strippers, but whatever, they were so fun! And I totally went upside over this highest line… Just saying, the jungle is amazing upside down.

After your zip line tour, you can swim in the river, eat at the restaurant, do a tequila tasting and play with this sweet heart! Her name is Katrina and she loves fruit! And she has incredibly soft, human like hands.

For dinner and nightlife, we went to de Santos . They have a partner restaurant in NYC. This place has a great vibe, totally trendy and delicious. I didn’t realize how much basil was used in Mexican dishes and drinks! I loved it, so fresh! Here is where I discovered a love for tequila blended with fresh basil, delicioso! Perfect dinner drink that isn’t sweet.

If you like cooking as much as I do, go to this cooking class! It’s at La Luna . Mariam, the chef, is a Puerto Vallarta native, but was trained at Le Cordon Bleu, and has cooked all over the world. She is full of knowledge and energy.

You’ll start off your cooking class with this delicious passion fruit cocktail. Mariam will also teach you how to make bread the old fashion way.

This amazing bubbly chorizo and cheese appetizer… So good.

She also taught me how to filet a fish. Red snapper to be exact. I’m still working on those knife skills!

Meanwhile, back at the hotel, I was having fun playing on the beach.

Drinking lots of cocktails and enjoying these gorgeous sunset views.

And most importantly, hanging out with these beauties!

UT/Ole Miss Weekend

Hello again friends! I had the best weekend in Oxford, MS! Such a great town. Several friends and I were lucky enough to have wonderful hosts in a great location.

A big thank you to the Lomax’s!

photo by Lauren Yurko

Tailgating there was so different than it is here in Austin. For one, there was tons of food! Too bad I totally forgot to snap a picture.

But during a stroll, I say stroll but it was really so crowded that I felt like I was being moved around by a sea of people, my friend snapped the picture above. They really do have chandeliers at their tailgates.


photo by Caroline Lomax

And y’all, they really take hospitality to the next level down there in Oxford. Nicest, friendliest people ever!

I would also like to note that I discovered a new love for pimento cheese this weekend! It’s from James Food Center in Oxford, MS, which by the way I could not find a website for. But this stuff was amazing. Different than the pimento cheeses I’ve seen before that are a creamy paste, this pimento cheese was made with shredded cheddar cheese. I’m definitely going to have to try and re-create this one!

Big congratulations to the winner of the Cooking Planit app Meredith Cranch! I can’t wait to see

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what this cooking novice whips up with the help of Cooking Planit!

Brunch at Cipollina and a Giveaway

Fall is in full swing for me, how about you? The first cool front, and I say cool, because it’s only a balmy 93 degrees in Austin, TX, has made the start of fall official for me! This is definitely my favorite time of year, but it also means a crazy busy schedule! However, I seem to thrive in the midst of chaos, so I couldn’t be happier.

Not to mention, this week kicks off the one year blog-a-versary of Food Fetish! Can y’all believe it? One year ago this Saturday September 15th, was the official launch of my very first blog. And in order to celebrate, I thought what better way than to share pictures of scrumptious food and give something back to all of you!

First, let’s start with the food…

I went back to Cipollina for brunch. This is the Soft Egg & Pork Belly Pizza, talk about a feast for your eyes and your taste buds!

Egg & Sausage on Brioche… The brioche was super soft, a perfect breakfast sandwich. The hash browns were extra crispy too!

You can’t go to brunch with a bunch of southern gals without getting the Fried Chicken & Biscuits. Tender chicken and extra crispy skin. Plus, check out the presentation! Love.

Waygu Skirt Steak Hash. Perfectly poached eggs and the serranos give it a kick. It was a toss up between this and the pizza for favorite entree of the meal.

Have you been to Cipollina? What do you think?

Now onto my first giveaway! You’ve probably heard me buzzing about Cooking Planit . They are a local, Austin start-up company that’s all about making cooking easy for everyone! I met the team recently at a happy hour and really hit it off. I’ve been trying out their iPhone app the past week or so, and have found it to be really helpful!

This app helps you pick meals, based on your dietary needs, and aggregates a grocery list for you. It even has an option for you to add other stuff, like dog food and toilet paper.

Once you get home from the store, the app or website, guides you through the process of putting together the entire meal. That way everything comes out all at the same time!

If you’re interested in getting more info about Cooking Planit, click here , to visit their website and set up a free account. If you want to enter for a chance to win the Cooking Planit iPhone app for free, go to Food Fetish’s Facebook page , like the page and tell me what meal you would love to cook for your family and friends! It can be any meal or recipe!

Can’t wait to hear from all of you!

Hawaiian Luau

It’s a luau y’all! A few girlfriends and I like to get together every few weeks just to catch up. And of course, there is always a ton of food!

First, always have a good cocktail on hand. This fruity champagne punch was refreshing and great way to kick off the evening. Thanks Haley and Lynnsie!

Next up are the appetizers! Pepperoni bites and artichoke, mozzarella, kalamata olives were gobbled up in no time. Great job LaStu!

Craving this right now!

Pineapple salsa… Definitely a must for any luau! Good call Schu!

Mushrooms and pineapples oh my!
This was all Kurio, I think!

Strawberry salad with a homemade vinaigrette is a winner with the ladies.
BHamm and MaxMax know how to make a mean salad!

BBQ chicken skewers… Mmmm. So proud of Cranch’s cooking skills!

These delicious ham and cheese sliders on King’s Hawaiian bread were insanely delicious!

I definitely could have eaten an entire pan of these! These were mouthwatering CLaine!

And of course, invite over all of your beautiful ohana!

To see what I made hop on over to the King’s Hawaiian Blog

¡Mahalo Amigos!

You Deserve the Whole Cookie

You deserve the whole cookie. Don’t settle for just the crumbs.

In your work or personal life, if something is causing you to feel panicky, like you’re walking on eggshells all the time, that’s your gut telling you something isn’t right.

Listen to your gut. Trust it. The first time. I promise you won’t regret it. You’ll wind up saving yourself so much heartache in the end.

Especially with relationships, don’t settle for second best. I did. And I wasted a lot of time and energy. I felt like I wasn’t good enough. I didn’t try hard enough. If I could just show him how much I loved him then maybe he would love me back as much as I loved him.

(I found this photo on google)

But it wasn’t right. In this case, love really wasn’t enough. I, nor he, had sorted out our own insecurities and demons. Despite all this love I had inside, I couldn’t be that supportive and encouraging partner, because I wasn’t a whole person yet. And he couldn’t do that for me either.

So many friends have come to me, telling me this exact same thing. This same story I went through. I often times think God put me in these situations so that I could learn and understand and be there for my friends later. What I once felt was a horrible curse has turned into a beautiful blessing. Because I feel like I am living proof that it does indeed get better! You can feel shattered and broken, and put yourself back together again. Now, more than ever, my heart feels whole. That doesn’t mean I still don’t have struggles; that I still don’t have insecurities. But I have learned how to deal with them. Because with life it’s always something, so it’s all about how you deal. Find someone who helps you deal.

And people, if your guy or gal, keeps bringing up things that make you feel insecure or taking jabs at you, please walk away. Don’t waste your precious time on anyone who is playing games. If he wants to go to his old flame’s birthday party because they are “just friends” and that makes your blood boil… That’s your gut telling you to run. Listen. The first time.

If you’re constantly worried about where your relationship is going… That’s another red flag. You shouldn’t be worrying! You should be having fun, soaking up as much of each other as you can! If you can’t enjoy the present with someone, chances are you won’t enjoy the future much either. Don’t live for those little moments or hours when things are great, like I did. I finally had an aha moment and realized I was settling for crumbs. The crumbs tasted lovely but I was never satisfied because I wanted the whole cookie. Now go find your cookie people!

Weekend Round Up

I want to share a few of my favorites from this week. I snapped all of these on my iPhone while out and about this week. These gems are too good to pass up! Hope you all will try them out soon!

Basil Chili Pepper Margarita from Paggi House .

If you like your drinks with a spicy kick, this one is definitely for you!

In case the above wasn’t enough basil for you, this is the Thai Basil Escargot from Elizabeth Street Cafe . Buttery and decadent, but light enough to leave plenty of room for the next course. Another item I highly recommend on their menu.

This is the mussels and clam curry special at Elizabeth Street Cafe. Oh this is a spicy one y’all! However, if you love shellfish and curry, you really can’t go wrong with this one.

The curry special came with this set-up. Perfect for soaking up all the spicy curry broth!

I stopped by Bangers, the new sausage and beer house on Rainey Street last night.

This is what 100 beers on tap looks like!

Pretty extensive menu! We arrived just as the kitchen was closing, so I didn’t get to try any of the grub. No worries though, I will go back with my fancy camera and report back on my findings. There’s a large stage for live music and a huge outdoor area where you can bring your dog.

This is the light beer flight. Number 2 was our tables favorite. Definitely try out a beer flight when you stop by. It’s fun for the table to try all the different beers.

Cheers to a great weekend y’all!

The Perfect Date: Violet Crown

Have you been to Violet Crown yet? Well if you haven’t, now is the perfect time! Violet Crown is an upscale, artsy, indie movie theater. Located on the trendy 2nd street, this gem is my favorite place to watch the silver screen.

Inside the theater are comfortable leather

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chairs with pull out trays for your beverages and snacks. You also reserve your seat ahead of time when you purchase your ticket online. That way you never have to rush to theater early to get a good seat.

There is a bar and dining area, where you can grab drinks and bites before your movie. There are large comfortable leather chairs and the atmosphere is perfect for getting in the mood to see your film. There is also a snack bar where you can purchase popcorn, candy, chips and queso, etc to take in the theater with you. There are no waiters inside the theater.

Here is a quick peek at the menu. The pepperoni pesto sliders were gobbled up by some friends and me in no time! The pizza was also delicious.

The ever popular Moscow Mule.

Violet Crown shows mainly indie films… Which I happen to love.

The house red was also good.

Violet Crown validates parking and valet, so have no parking worries!

We saw To Rome With Love , Woody Allen’s new film. If you liked Midnight in Paris, you will love this film. It’s smart and witty. Perfect for a 3rd date! Not a first date. Don’t ever take a lady to a movie on first date.

Who wants to go see Beasts of the Southern Wild with me?

I’m Going to Start Baking More

Last week I had the pleasure of meeting Joy the Baker and I picked up a copy of her cookbook. We all know that I am not much of a baker but her cookbook (and blog!) are chalk full of creative baking recipes that I am excited to try. The recipe I am most excited to try?

This delicious looking Avocado Pound Cake!!

I hope that by trying out more of her recipes I will get this whole baking thing down.

Remember when I tried her recipe for Pull Apart Cinnamon Sugar Bread? I think it turned out pretty well! Her instructions are easy to understand and the pictures are gorgeous.


Not much of a baker either? Check out her cookbook! Sometimes I just like to look at the pictures. No joke.

There’s also a recipe in there for chocolate coffee ice box cake… def trying that one out soon!



Mercedes Flower Shop

Good Morning Y’all! How is your week coming along? Mine has been crazy busy! So many running arounds and things going on. I was lucky enough to have my friend Emily cook for me last night, thanks Emily! Between my busy schedule and sweet friend I haven’t done much cooking! But no worries I have been wanting to share with you all about this cute little place on South 1st Mercedes Flowers.

I was drawn in by the colorful sign and the Flower Happy Hour! I mean hello, flower happy hour! LOVE IT! This place is right next to Bouldin Creek Cafe so be sure to stop in after you grab a coffee next door.

I had a feeling this place would be cute but it’s so enchanting on the inside! I got the feeling I was walking into The Shop Around the Corner from You’ve Got Mail. Come on ladies, y’all know what I’m talking about!

So sweet. I loved every nook!

Be sure to read the story behind Mercedes Flowers on her website. 3 generations of women florists… how cool is that?

I was greeted when I entered by Mercedes sister. She offered to help me with anything I needed. I was there just to pick a flower for the dinner table that night.

I picked up one large blue hydrangea, one of my favs! They also had beautiful long stem roses in gorgeous colors… only $3!

Note to any future suitors: I love fresh flowers. They are classy. They are lovely. They show that you put a little thought into it and that you care. If you think you’re too cool to bring me flowers, then you’re probably too cool to date me. I know we haven’t met yet, but I’m sorry, it’s just not going to work out.

I cut the long stem of my hydrangea and put it in a large votive. I don’t really know if this is what you’re supposed to do with hydrangeas but it looked good to me!

I even took the cute little pink ribbon and tied it around the glass, too cute! I like low flower arrangements and centerpieces at the table because while tall arrangements are beautiful and dramatic… it’s hard to talk around them! So for casual dinners, short stems are the way to go.

I will definitely be going back to Mercedes Flowers, hope to see y’all there!

Why else haven’t I had time to cook this week? Because I went and met Joy the Baker at Bookpeople. She was in town for a book signing. She is just as lovely in person and I can’t wait to try out some new recipes from her cookbook. Especially the Avocado Pound Cake!

Hope you’re having a wonderful week everyone. xoxo

Must Love Dogs

If you’ve been following along, you know that I am posting every day the month of June. And if you’ve been reading my posts for long enough you’ve probably seen my little helper, Mitzi, make appearances in the kitchen. Mitzi who my mom nicknamed Mimi is my little fur ball. She’s a little dog with a BIG personality. To say she’s high maintenance would be down playing it. Outside of the kitchen Mimi’s personality shines even more so I wanted to give you all a glimpse into the other part of my life… Dog Mom.


This is 1st picture I ever took on my very 1st iPhone and no doubt, it was of my girl Mimi.

Mimi loves taking the stuffing out of her animals… pretty typical dog behavior. And I’m positive if she could climb trees there would be a lot fewer squirrels in Austin, TX.

Mimi gives lots of interesting looks… this one is, “What? Mom, leave me alone. I’m lounging”.

When Mimi is awoken too early in the morning… she channels Bob Marley.

“Seriously going to hurt you for this one Mom”

And then there was the time Mimi tried to take on a dog twice her size and got bit. Then she had to wear the cone of shame.

Mimi does not like to be interrupted while watching her tv shows. She will give you the evil eye.

Mimi likes to go on shopping adventures.


“I’m an Alien!”

Sometimes Mimi gets stressed…

“I seriously hate Halloween”

Mimi at her best… lounging leash free at the lake. Isn’t she precious?

She get it from her Mama.

I love my little dog so much!

Any other dog lovers out there? I want to see your best dog photos!

The Ask All Tell All’s of Nomadic Life: Financing Your Fun

Good Morning Faithful Followers!

Today is a great day! Why you ask? Because today I get to officially take full control of this site! What does that mean for you? Hopefully not a whole lot right now. In future be prepared for a new layout and general look of this blog… have a suggestion or preference on what you want to see? Be sure to let me know! What else comes with along with these new changes? Email, more ability to track statistics and whole lot of other nerdy, cool things. But I didn’t want to leave you all hanging today… besides food, travel is one thing I desire to have more of in my life. I love adventure and planes and passports and stories from friends who have traveled all over. Below is a link to an article about financing a nomad lifestyle. I’m not sure if I’m ready to be a nomad quite yet, but I found this article interesting none the less.

The Ask All Tell All’s of Nomadic Life: Financing Your Fun.

via The Ask All Tell All’s of Nomadic Life: Financing Your Fun.

I hope you all enjoy this article and I promise, promise to have more recipes and restaurants coming to you soon! In the meantime, lets all say a prayer that I can transfer my blog over without crashing it.

Lots of love foodies!

Easter Sunday

I got a new camera last week and can not put it down! It’s my first DSLR and my first real investment towards improving my photography. Previously, all my photos were taken with my iPhone 4. I took over 1000 photos this weekend but here are just a handful of the best ones. I still have a lot to learn about photography but I’m bringing you all along as I learn. Have a suggestion on how I can improve? Be sure to comment and let me know!

Even though I am not a jelly bean fan, these were so cute!

The olives proved to be a good subject to try out different features on my camera.

Oh hey green bean casserole! Check out that aperature Im using… thats where one part of the photo is in focus and other parts are blurry.

Bacon Ranch Potato Salad… one of the favorite things my Granny makes. Recipe coming soon!

Fried Chicken is pretty much a Sunday staple around the the Johnson/Eichman homestead.

My cousin and I were put in charge of Deviled Eggs, happy to say we added spicy mustard which gave these a kick!

Granny’s really do know best.

Great-Grandparents Billie and Ike Eichman, 1948 in Brownsville, TX. He built his own planes! Crazy!

Spring time in Texas!

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Buddy, the stray dog who showed up at my grandparents house one day. Part wolf, part cow dog. Full time spolied. Fattest cow dog Ive ever seen!

Mi Madre reluctantly posing for the camera.

Candid shot of my cousin’s sweet sweet baby, Rylee Grace.

Such a beautiful child!

Playing around with the color settings here…

This child isn’t loved at all… I dont think her feet hit the floor Sunday because everyone was taking turns holding her.

My sister’s new puppy Phoebe!

Counsin Pups!

My sweet fur baby, Mitzi Mei.

My best friend since 2nd grade brought over her baby Addy!

Addy and Phoebe loved each other! Kisses!

Playing around with the settings again… So many beautiful babies!

Addy is squirmy! She wanted those puppies!

My photography has a long way to go but I feel like Im taking steps in the right direction. More recipes coming soon and hope you all enjoyed these candid photos from Easter Weekend.

Brisket Chili

As many of you already know, a team of friends and I participated in a chili cookoff last weekend. Although we didn’t take home first place, it was all for good cause so I guess that makes up for it… Actually, I’m still pretty sore about the whole thing, let’s be real.

Anyways! Our chili was pretty awesome, gives ya that fire in the back of your throat a few seconds after… I won’t give away all of our secrets but here’s how you can get started on your own awesome chili!

First off, get creative with your meat! The winners actually also used a pulled pork similar to the brisket my team used.

Thank the lord we had some awesome guys on our team, Zak and Turner, who smoked this bad boy all night for our chili. Thanks guys!

Slice off the fatty parts…

Ow ow look at ZCopp gettin in there!

Think little Mimi fell in love with the meat man that night.

Be sure to dice the meat into bite sized pieces. The meat is naturally tender and will fall apart in the chili of you don’t cut it with some substance.

I couldn’t take pictures of the rest because it’s top secret but…. You’re recipe should start with something like this:

Per 1lb of meat:
1/2 a large white onion
2 cloves garlic
8oz tomato sauce
1/4 cup cilantro
2 tablespoons chili powder
2 tablespoons cumin
1 cup beef broth
1/2 jalapeño de-seeded

(other topic secret ingredients that will not be named) actually if you really want them, message me.

Sauté the onions with a touch of olive oil. Then add the minced garlic for about a minute or so. Next, combine all the ingredients and let simmer for at least an hour. The longer the better… We let ours sit over night.

Our awesome team Chili Wonka and the Fire Factory! Plus Tony who really helped us out! Thanks Tony!

Casey Laine was also on the team but couldn’t find a photo of her! Miss ya babe!

Happy Chili Cookoff Season everyone!

San Francisco

Hey friends! Today I have my first guest blogger, Kayleigh Rust! She went on a fabulous trip to San Francisco and snapped some pics of the food there that were ripe for sharing!

The timing could not be more perfect because I’m about to get kicked out of my house for a week during SXSW. So, I welcome new content contributors! Bare with me as I get creative without my usual kitchen over the next week… Could get interesting!!

Spaghetti from Bottle Cap

Pierogies also from Bottle Cap

Now for some San Fran Breakfast options… Egg Sandwich from Harry’s

Breakfast plate from Harry’s .

Sidenote: I also have it from a good source that if you say “San Fran” it’s a dead give away youre a tourist…

This just looks delicious… Breakfast Burrito from Harry’s

This looks divine and makes me want to sit on a sunny patio on Friday afternoon… Or any afternoon for that matter. Pear Bellini from Marengo .

Gotta love a good bar snack and what better than Tater Tots from Bar None !

Big thanks Kayleigh for all your awesome pics!

Proud to say that I actually took this pic! The lovely Miss Rust can be found at any happening music event around ATX. She also makes super fun headbands, which I have been lucky enough to receive a custom made one!

If you have any exciting food experiences you want to share, shout me a holler and I may just post your stuff!

Cowboy Breakfast

I headed out super early this Morning to stop by Rodeo Austin’s Cowboy Breakfast. This kicks off the annual rodeo here in Austin. Being a true Texas born and raised, I must admit, I’ve never been to a rodeo! Can you believe that? Anyways, this annual event starts super early, 6am and goes until 9am at Auditorium Shores every year. It’s also free and on my way to work, so I thought, why not?!? Here are a few pictures I snapped!

Huge USA and Texas flags, so construction site chic.

Welcome! Lots of cowboy hats everywhere but that was no surprise!

Buttery Pioneer Biscuit. They had gravy too but I skipped on it.

Real Cowboys serving up biscuits and gravy right outta these pots over coal fires.

Shout out to Pioneer brands!

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Live Music to get the day started off right!

Sausage and a pancake! (cue Austin Powers voice)

Even more live music against the beautiful Austin skyline.

Catfish Toes from The Boathouse Grill. Had a little Cajun kick, def could have used a sauce!

Look at these characters! There was also a rodeo princess complete with a red wrangler denim suit. I kid you not. Sorry, didn’t get a pic of her.

Covered wagon, true cowboy right there!

And last but not least, who wants to ride a longhorn?!? Anyone? Bueller?

If you need a rodeo partner, let me know. This may be the year I participate in this Texas tradition!

Beaver Creek, CO

This past weekend some girlfriends and I headed up to Beaver Creek, CO for an annual ski trip. Lots of great food, fun and beverages. Lots of beverages of all kinds. Whenever I travel, no matter how short or far, I always get some kind of inspiration and I like sharing that with all of you. Hope this post inspires you all to plan a trip or great meal this weekend!

Our awesome lunch at Beano’s Cafe on the mountain included this crab cake sandwich on foccia. You can start drooling right… Now.

Traditional burger but ever so yummy after a long morning shredding the pow pow.

Turkey melt sounds pretty good right about now.

I’m ready to go back, how ’bout y’all?

Lomax Tours provides lunch and ski school! Thanks Mr. and Mrs. Lomax for hosting us!! And for the amazing dinner I’m about to show y’all…

I started off dinner at Vin48 with a Moscow Mule. I cannot stop raving about this drink lately! My new obsession!

Cranch’s extra dirty martini, I wouldn’t expect anything less!

For starters, we had some mussels with some amazing sides of foccia toast.

And this gorgeous presentation of fried goat cheese, delish! Anybody have a fry daddy? I’m ready to make this!

Amazing bruschetta with truffled ricotta, fig and onion jam…Let me repeat, TRUFFLED RICOTTA people, what more could a girl ask for?

And then there was the vino… Ahh sweet nectar of the gods.

Lobster gnocchi anyone?

Or maybe you prefer a wild mushroom and spinach pappardelle? Good choice Mrs. Lomax!

Pecan smoked beef tenderloin with porcini mushrooms

Braised pork cheeks with jack cheese grits. This may have been my favorite!

And what would dinner be without an espresso with the cutest raw sugar cube you ever did see?

Thanks Lomax’s for dinner!
The Blondetourage

No Beaver Creek trip would be complete without a boozy lunch at The Chophouse! Bloody Mary, extra spicy, mi favorito!

Tall pour of Fat Tire? You had me at hello.

Great bowl of southwest chili!


Roast Beef with truffle fries. Truffle fries are an off menu item but always order them. They will change your life. No lie.

An extra pic for drooling purposes.

Chop beef sandwich from The Chophouse.

For those wanting some lighter fare… A chicken burger with greens.

Grilled chicken salad for ladies who lunch.

Turkey panini on whole wheat. Gotta get some protein for the mountain!

I miss these views!
This picture is compliments of Meredith Cranch’s superb Instagram skills.

Don’t forget to roast some ‘mallows at the Ritz Carlton Bachelor Gulch. And say hello to the hotel’s mascot, Bachelor, a beautiful Saint Bernard. Yes, of course I found the only dog on the mountain. I love pups!

I had a wonderful time ladies! Can’t wait to do it again next year! Xoxo

Check out all the places we visited:
Beano’s Cabin


The Chophouse

Ritz Carlton Bachelor Gulch

New Year’s Eve Cocktail

Happy New Year’s Eve! And also a big Happy Birthday to Kayleigh Rust and Lauren Yurko! In honor of today’s festivities, I whipped up a quick cocktail for everyone to enjoy. I hope you all have wonderful time celebrating tonight!

You’ll need:

Tito’s Vodka

Pink Champagne

Ginger Ale

Fresh Strawberries or Blackberries to garnish

Pop that bottle of bubbly!

Fill your glasses 2/3’s of the way

Add a shot of Tito’s Vodka

Then a splash of ginger ale

Garnish with fresh blackberries and strawberries if it suits your fancy

Clink! Clink! Raise a toast!

Such a pretty and fun drink!

Happy New Year Y’all! Here’s to a great 2012!

Christmas Inspiration

Everyone needs a little decorating and cooking inspiration… here are a

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few of my favorites!

Peppermint Cake Balls


Wishing you all the best!

Christmas Cookies

Baby its Cold Outside

Barn and Lights

Peppermint Mocha Jello Shots

Gingerbread House

New York City


Gingerbread Village at the Four Seasons

So, it’s officially my favorite time of year! Christmas!! Earlier this week Lara Burns, Caroline Lomax, Sara Hull and I went to the Four Seasons for the annual Gingerbread Village unveiling. It’s a great way to kick off the season, these ornately decorated gingerbread houses and creations will be on display in the Four Seasons’ lobby until New Year’s so stop by and take a look.

The Gingerbread Village is dedicated to Texas history this year.

The Frost Tower

It’s all edible, incredible!

Hook ’em Horns!

During the unveiling, there are drinks and cookies, a singer who walks around serenading everyone to Christmas tunes and its all finished with a countdown to the Christmas tree lighting. Of course there is a Santa you can take pictures with but we left that for the kiddos.


Lara, Sara, Me, Caroline

Christmas is here!

Afterwards we headed downstairs to TRIO, to take advantage of their awesome happy hour. Which after sampling all they had to offer, I wouldn’t be surprised to find myself there much more often.

Can’t beat half price glasses of wine and champagne.

Delicious Cheese Plate

Steak Fries with Truffle Aioli topped with parmesan and rosemary… I die.

Pork Sliders= Divine.
Truffle Mac ‘n Cheese… we’ll take 2!!
 If you ever need a partner to hit up the Four Seasons with… I’m your girl!

Thanksgiving Inspiration

As I sit here watching the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, I decided to post some pretty Thanksgiving pictures for you all to enjoy! Hope you all are having a wonderful day with family and friends!


Pumpkin Cheesecake Truffle? Sign me up!

Sweet Potato Tart

Can't wait to eat with the Family this afternoon!

Happy Thanksgiving Y'all!

It was the Best of Times, It was the Wurst of Times

It’s called ” The Best Wurst Time in Texas” for a reason! Wurstfest is the 10 day salute to sausage. It’s always a good time, rides, sausage on a stick, Facepaint, dancing and lots and lots of beer. These are just a few pictures from Wurstfest this weekend in New Braunfels, TX.


Braut with Sauerkrat and Mustard

Wurstfest's idea of a taco

Braut with lots of mustard


Welcome to Wurstfest!

Pita Braut

TJ's Meat and Mustard

This is how I found Zach wondering around...

Funnel Cake!

Facepaint at its Best

Lauren and Kellie!

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Luke and HT


Koozie for your beer pitcher?

Something HT got...


MCranch prized fried oreo pic

MCranch meat on a stick

Happy Birthday to Me!!

Today is my 26th birthday!! and it’s 11/11/11 which according to my news sources is supposed to be the luckiest day this century! So, cross your fingers folks and let’s all make a wish.

Red Velvet Cake is my absolute FAVORITE cake, ever. Period. Every year my mom always gets me a red velvet cake with cream cheese frosting and since my mom isn’t here to give me that cake… my birthday present to myself is this post entirely dedicated to Red Velvet sweets. Oh and Madre, if youre reading this, you can get that cake when I come home for Thanksgiving, hint hint.

As I was writing this post, my dear friend Haley Terrill walks in with this huge Red Velvet Cupcake!

She knows me too well 😉 It really must be my lucky day!!

The following pictures I must admit, I did not take the photos or make the treats but they are serving as my birthday inspiration!!

Red Velvet Whoopie Pies

Red Velvet Pancakes

Red Velvet Cupcakes

Red Velvet Cheesecake

Pretty Red Velvet Cake

Red Velvet Brownies

Whole Foods Cooking Class

If I haven’t mentioned it before, I’m a huge Twitter fan. (you can follow me @natalieparamore) That being said, a few weeks ago I won a cooking class at Whole Foods by answering a trivia question via Twitter. Awesome! I got to bring a guest and the lovely Ms.Charisse Sayers came with me!

I wanted to share the all the great photos because these are the kinds of things that inspire my cooking. More importantly, I wanted to share what I learned about Whole Planet Foundation. It’s Whole Foods non-profit that gives micro loans to those in need in third world countries to establish their own businesses. If you’ve never heard of micro finance loans, I suggest you check it out. They are really cool programs!

Here is a picture of the menu. I have to admit, I was so hungry that I ate the Kenyan Style Tomatoes and Kale before I took a picture…oops! But it’s a dish that I will definitely be making for the blog, so be on the lookout.

When we arrived, we got to choose to between water or a variety of dry sodas. I chose lemongrass and it was surprisingly refreshing! I wasn’t sure what to expect but the best way I can describe it is as a flavored sparkling water.

The main dish was a Peruvian style chicken. We were actually served half of a chicken with green rice. The Peruvian spice rub wasn’t spicy but had a great flavor.

The coconut bread was what I was most excited about! When I read the menu before attending, I thought the coconut bread was going to be dessert. However, the bread wasn’t really sweet but instead had a hint of coconut flavor that accompanied the Peruvian spices quite well. The Chef demonstrated how to make the bread, even using live yeast! I have never made homemade bread before but I want to try it after tasting this bread!

At the end of the meal, we got these yummy frozen bananas dipped in dark chocolate. I want to make these ASAP!


This past weekend I went to Chicago with my lovely friend Kendall Hawkins.

We ran the half marathon, my first and her third, and ate… A lot. I wanted to share all the awesome photos. Enjoy!


We asked the concierge at our hotel for a salad and sandwich place that was walking distance. She recommended this adorable place Pastoral. The restaurant was tiny with super friendly and knowledgable staff. Above is the Harvest Salad, field greens with prosciutto bacon and blue cheese, which I gobbled up in no time!


This is the Spanish cheese and olive plate. It was so yummy. I can’t even remember all the lovely cheese but there was one that was rosemary flavored and I practically fell in love. There was also this great olive bar and you can try all the different olives your heart desires. My favorite were the garlic olives, which are shown above.


At the last minute, Kendall splurged on this chocolate chip cookie with potato chips. Perfect salty and sweet treat!


For dinner Friday night before the big race, we went to Quartino. It was a great Italian place right downtown.


This was another great cheese and olive sampling plate. We had a great mix of prosciutto, Gorgonzola, parmigiano, artichokes, roasted peppers and few other pairings. Definitely was plenty to share!


We may have gobbled up the pasta dishes before I could snap a picture… That’s how good they were! But above is our dessert, yummy homemade doughnuts with powered sugar and chocolate sauce. Devine!


Here is picture of our group!
Left: Daniela, Kendall, me and Suzie


I woke up to this gorgeous view from our hotel and was ready to run those 13.1 miles!!


Kendall and I before the big race. We could not have asked for better running weather. In the low 50s, sunny, brisk and not very windy!!


This was the post race grab bag of food. It included a whole wheat bagel, banana, cheese stick and peanuts. Water and Gatorade of course were on hand.


We finished the race, survived actually! We finished in exactly 2hrs and 15min!!
The race route was gorgeous, started in Grant park then up Lakeshore drive to Lincoln park then back down Lakeshore to Grant park again. It was an awesome way to see the city!


Post race we were ready to celebrate! I, of course, had to have a bloody Mary! The rest of the team celebrated with a variety of beers.


We brunched at this great place, Pierrot Gourmet. They had a wonderful Oktoberfest spread. Above is the lentil soup, which to be completely honest, I thought was a questionable choice. I could not have been more wrong, it was delicious! That’s sausage she’s cutting, which was perfect with the thick soup. Now I am determined to make lentil soup!!


Kendall ordered this awesome florentine frittata, yum!


I went with the PG breakfast flatbread and was not disappointed!


This was a Swiss cheese flatbread that Daniela’s husband got. Very good!


This was a bite of the Weiner Schnitzel, so good, especially post race. And of course, an Oktoberfest special!


After we napped and came out of our food and race induced coma, we went out to enjoy Halloween festivities dressed as little Indians!


The next day we had to get some more great Italian and we went to Lou Malnati’s.

This is a slice of the stuffed spinach bread, which was quite yummy. It was not what I was expecting though, it was a small loaf of bread that is literally baked with the spinach, cheese and garlic inside!


I had to try the spicy, Chicago style bloody Mary. It was right up my alley! And yes, those are little pepperonis and olives on the toothpick.


This is a big slice of the deep dish pizza. Ours was sausage and pepperoni ( guys choice) haha

Of course, as the saying goes… When in Rome… It was my favorite of the two pizzas we got. The deep pizza came out in this big, black dish that the waiter had to use tongs to carry. The pizzas stay on a tray next to your table while you eat because they are too big for the table!


Lastly, this is the spinach and tomato thin crust pizza. It was not really thin crust though, haha.

State Fair of Texas

TX/OU weekend at the State Fair in Dallas is one of my favorite weekends all year. All the game day excitement combined with fair food makes for a great day… Until of course the Longhorns had a devastating loss. Before I went home and cried myself to sleep I snapped a few pics of all the Fair has to offer.


The food stand guy convinced us the margarita was better than the frozen Mojito.


Who goes to the Fair without getting a funnel cake?


Best part of the Fair= Fletcher’s Corny Dog.


And of course a draft Miller Lite to wash down that Fletcher’s Corny Dog and my Longhorn tears.


My little sister Caroline and I at the game.


Fletcher’s branding their own corny dog sticks. Love it.


Outside the Cotton Bowl for TX/OU

Aspen, Colorado

I recently visited Aspen, CO for a friends wedding. The wedding was beyond gorgeous (see mountain top picture) and the food was delightfully inspiring! I wanted to share all the amazing photos and you will definitely be seeing me try to use some of these things in my cooking!

Check out some of the cool places I visited:

The Little Nell 

Junk Aspen

ACL Eats

I wanted to share a few of my favorite eats from the Austin City Limits festival this weekend. You’ll have to forgive me but I had already taken a bite into most of these before snapping a picture. They were just so appetizing and the festival had left this little Indian famished…

I’d love to hear from you if you were at ACL and have any food favorites or photos to share!
To see what else was on the menu click here