Friday, October 24, 2014

Fair Friday!

It's Friday! Dang when you come back from a week long trip, the week really seems to fly by. I can't believe it's Friday again. I figured I might as well continue my tour-de bad food with a trip to the North Carolina State Fair! Tuesday night was the only night we could go and I met Kev close to the fairgrounds so we could carpool over.

Before we moved here I'd never been to a state fair before. Sure, I've been to parking lot carnivals and street festivals but nothing including livestock. Until we moved to NC. Since then we've gone every year and each year the fried food vendors try to top each other. One year it was the burger sandwiched between 2 Krispy Kereme Donuts, another year the deep fried cheesecake on a stick. Sadly NC hasn't gotten deep fried butter like they have in Texas.

There were 2 things this year, bacon wrapped deep fried Reese Cups and the Twinx. That's a Twix stuffed in a Twinkie, wrapped in bacon, battered and deep fried. 

It was surprisingly tasty. You have to have one deep fried atrocity per year.  


There's always plenty of fun things to look at at the fair, like balloon sheep and corn.

The balloon sheep as at the entrance to the arena that has all the prize winning fruits and vegetables as well as some of the livestock.
It's also where the 1400 pound pumpkin lives.

That's a lot of pie. But really, I don't think giant pumpkins would taste very good. I think they;re all about the size and less about the flavor because who really grows a 1400 pound pumpkin to eat it?
I am not a country girl by any stretch of the imagination but I love looking at the animals. My FAVORITE part of the fair used to be the place where you could hold the baby chickens and ducks but a few years ago some dumb ass didn't wash their hands after playing with the chickens and got salmonella. Now no one gets to hold a chickie.
I kinda loved this sheep and was trying to convince Kevin we needed one. You know, for wool. He didn't agree.
There was a black sheep, literally not hanging out with the other sheep. She was owning her black sheep status.
We also saw this turkey who is apparently the top turkey at the fair. Good for him.

Of course all that looking at animals made us hungry and we started looking for some food. That's the one area where the fair never disappoints, the eating. There's booth after booth after booth of deliciousness and it's hard to decide. What if you get something and there's something different right around the corner and you wasted a good hungry on it?
After my great week of carbs I was still trying to keep the carbs relatively low. All the fried things give me a stomachache so it's not like I'm going to order a funnel cake. But if Kev did, I would certainly have a bite. :)

I went with a sausage with peppers and onions. I didn't eat any of the bread and it was pretty tasty.

Kev was on a quest for a steak sandwich that he gets every year. But the vendor moved to a different location in the park.

Then we headed over to look at the chickens. I don't want to own chickens, I just want a friend who doesn't really like eggs to have them and then I get the eggs. :)

This is Sunshine. She bites
What else, we saw some cool faces carved out of gourds

Kev got an apple dumpling in the land of yester year.

And to keep the streak of Lara petting farm animals alive, I pet this bunny. It was soft and almost immediately my had got a little tingly and I told Kev my hand was swelling. He said I was being dramatic. I'm not entirely sure, that bunny looks shady.

Until next year State Fair!
Have you ever been to a State Fair?
Baby Chickies or Duckies, what's cuter?

Linking up!


Tuesday, October 21, 2014

I ate all the carbs. Part 2

My last post only covered the NY part of our trip and we still have all of New Jersey to cover. I've always had a soft spot in my heart for NJ, mainly because Bon Jovi. Greatest band ever. No arguments, they just are, that is all.

We stayed the night at Kevin's cousins Larry and Jackie and had a lovely visit. Little do they know we'll be back often. We also learned that one of Kev's other cousins now owns a monkey! I.can't.even. MONKEY!!! Yea, we'll be planning a monkey trip sometime soon.

Before making the drive to Atlantic City we needed to stop for, what else, bagels! This might start a battle but I have to say, NJ bagels were better than NY bagels. The NY bagels were fluffy and delicious but the NJ ones were dense and chewy. Sorry, dense and chewy always wins in my book.

This really was everything.

On the road we stopped for more coffee, where else, at the Wawa. I took the picture and tried to capture all the steam coming off the coffee. It didn't really work, just believe me that it was steamy. I still swear that Northern coffee is hotter than Southern coffee. I think there's some southern law that requires all the hot water to only be a a certain degree and in the north all bets are off. You drink the coffee at your own risk.

Sadly though, we didn't have amazing coffee when we were away. I had decent coffee in NYC but after that it went downhill. The Wawa was fine but not amazing. I would have traded it for a cup of Breuggers.

We rolled into Atlantic City in the afternoon and were able to check into out room at the Tropicana pretty quickly. We always used to stay at the Trop but strayed away the last 2 visits. This time we got a pretty decent rate and we were happy to come back. As soon as we dropped our stuff in the room. Kev headed to the Poker table. I headed to the outlet mall. It was much warmer than I expected the entire trip. The sun was super hot and I was tired of sweating. I was also still on my quest for a pair of leather pants. The theater around the corner from my house is doing Rent in January and I need leather pants to audition. Don't ask why but I think I need leather pants for Rent.

I found this super cute dress at the Loft Outlet and couldn't pass it up. It will be perfect for the Greek Awards ceremony.

That night we tooled around and did some gambling. I had this delicious Cosmo at Carmine's.

We tried to get an appetizer there but everything is family sized and I didn't want 15 pounds of calamari.

The next morning I was determined to get a run on the boardwalk, It was flat and glorious.

I loved seeing the pier, we rarely make it that far down the boardwalk.

On the way back I saw this great sign. Loved it.

I had a really good run. It was flat and fast. Although I don't understand why I'm the only runner on the boardwalk and one random man and his kid dart out in front of me. Whhhhhyyyyy does this always happen?

Not too shabby. If you run from the Trop to the Taj Mahal and back, it's exactly 3 miles. #themoreyouknow

I took this picture for my mom. She talked about how my dad wants to go to Atlantic City, walk on the boardwalk, and sit on a bench and watch the ocean. I tried to explain that there was a big dune and the benches face the wrong way.

This bench faces a fudge shop.
The next morning as we were leaving Kev saw some people wearing bibs. Apparently the Boardwalk 5k was Saturday morning at 9am. :/

That night we went over to the Borgata and weren't really hungry for a full diner yet so we decided to have some appetizers instead. I had a cosmo and we got the meat and cheese plate and the duck fat fries.

OMG DUCK FAT FRIES!!! This is the food that absolutely changed my life. WHHHHHHYYYYY have I gone this long in my life without ever eating duck fat fries???

There was Parmesan cheese and happiness sprinkled on top and some ridiculous aioli dipping sauce. It was so good we never ended up having a real dinner.

More gambling at the Borgata before we decided to call it a night. We needed to get up early and get to Northern Virgina for a wedding!

Saturday morning we needed to make one last diner stop, the Phily Diner. We always seem to stop here because we pass it on the way to the Turnpike.

Oh look, more eggs, turkey sausage and potatoes. Can I just take a minute to reflect on these potatoes? You can't get these in the south and I don't know why. I swear I'm going to open a for real diner here and serve eggs and those potatoes. The only sad part was that Lender's Bagel in the back. I didn't come to Jersey for a crap bagel.
Kev got a tower of french toast. I should have put something next to it to show how tall it really was. Each of those pieces were a good inch thick. 

After stuffing out faces it was off to Virgina for a wedding!
What's your favorite breakfast food? Eggs or do you prefer french toast?
Ever been to Atlantic City?

Monday, October 20, 2014

I ate ALLLL the Carbs. Part 1

Who missed me? I know you did. It's more like my mom and 7 other followers are wondering when I'm going to start posting again.

So, Kev and I are back from our tour-de-North, also known as "I ate all the carbs and now I have to detox for a week". They keep some dang tasty carbs up there and let me tell you, I tried them all. I also had a stomach ache most of the time because most delicious things have shortening and soy in them. I'll be honest and you know this if you follow me on Instagram, there are a LOT of pictures of food. And I'm going to show you all of them. You're welcome.

We took off Monday morning and headed to Long Island. It's far. There are a lot of tolls. Remind me not to complain about the .37 cent toll that I occasionally have to pay when I go to Cary. It's like $20 to have the privilege of going through Delaware. Seriously Delaware? I know you don't have much to offer in the way of tourist attractions (Rehoboth is nice though) but taking my $20 makes me far less likely to spend longer than an hour in you.

Kev was in charge of looking for road food and he discovered a cute farm stand / chicken / corn store in Maryland.

 Don't ask me the name because I forgot but LOOOOOOKKK at the pumpkins!!

I ordered a ham, cheese and fried onion sandwich which was hot and pressed on a pretzel bun. I don't really get the recent obsession with pretzel buns, they're nice but haven't changed my life. Foreshadow - I DID eat a food on this trip that changed my life.

It came with mustard dippy sauce.

Then we drove and drove and drove in the drizzling rain through Delaware (damn you Delaware), Jersey and New York until we finally got to out friend's house. By the time we got there we were starving and ended up ordering pizza.

It was pretty tasty and at that point I wanted to eat my face. The thing about Northern pizza vs Southern is the sauce (and bread and cheese) but there's something really special and different about the sauce. This is the right sauce. I can get the right sauce in Pittsburgh too.

The next morning we took the train into the city but of course before heading in, we needed to stop at the bagel store for some breakfast.

This is what I think heaven looks like.

I went with the bacon egg and cheese on a sesame bagel. I was able to make it through about half of the sandwich. Then I was sad because I was full and had to stop eating.

 Mmmmm fluffy bagel carbs.

That day we were pretty tired as we walked though the city. 13 hours in the car and several looooong weeks makes for some pretty sleepy people. We stumbled around for a few hours and decided to hit up one of the places on our bucket list, Katz's Deli. Katz's is known for their pastrami, we had a debate over roast beef vs pastrami and went with the pastrami. It's made in house and is unbelievable.

Those pickles? I die.

After a little rest, it was time to meet back up with our friends and headed to Peter Luger. It's seriously one of the best steak houses in the country and as you can see, one of Kev's very most favorite places.

Peter Luger is an old school steak house, complete with wood paneling and grumpy waiters. You pay cash, don't look at the menu and for the love of all that's holy, don't order a well done steak. They'll sneer at you and grumble. Besides, if you want well done steak it means you don't like steak and that's OK. Just get some chicken, at another restaurant.

We started with a round of bacon. Because that's what you do at Luger's, have a meat appetizer before the rest of the meat comes out.

There were five of us and we ordered steak for five, rare. God bless rare meat eating friends. 

That's steak for 3, there was a steak for 2 in front of me. Porterhouse deliciousness covered in butter. They bring out the steak, serve your pieces and spoon butter juices over it. Sweet heaven. I can really only eat about 3 of those pieces but that just means more for Kev and our friends and not a morsel remained.

We were thinking about dessert and saw there were "seasonal pies" on the menu. We asked fantastically old grumpy waiter which pies they had and he said, "NONE, you have the cheesecake." Yes sir.

Cheesecake and schlag. Schlag is their homemade whipped cream which they bring out in a 14 inch bowl and slap on your cake.

At the end of the meal he thew down some gold chocolate coins because that's what you do there.

Everything was amazing and the company was fantastic and it's ridiculously expensive and worth every penny. When you don't get there that often, you do it up right. Surprisingly for us, that was the only big dinner we had the entire trip, might as well make it a good one.

Weds morning we woke up and headed to a real diner for breakfast. I always tend to get eggs, a meat and dry toast. This was the size of a small child. 

This time we drove into the city and I let Kev show off his city driving skills. I was pretty pleased to see that neither of us had lost our moderately aggressive northern-driving abilities. 

The one place I wanted to stop this trip was the Diamond District. It's my happy place. Let me tell you, I love the Diamond District. As a sales person, I love a good haggle and great deal. If I can haggle my way to a better price, sign me up. Kev is the king of the hagglers, it's really one of his favorite things.

I was in the market for a larger pearl earring. Just a single pearl, no diamonds or accents. It had been a few years since we'd been to the district and I was really surprised at how much the feel had changed. There were a lot of shops that had closed and several of the kiosks weren't nearly as aggressive as they used to be. I expect to have someone try and hard sell me and they really didn't. Some people barely even looked up when we stopped by. Strange....

We ended up at Golda Jewelry and they did something no one else did. They built rapport. I was really impressed with their techniques. We came in, told them what we were looking for and sat down. The owner sent his guy to another location where he kept the pearls. While we waited, the owner chatted with us, gave us liquor and told us a story.

He came back with the pearls and we asked for a price to drill and set 14k gold posts. He quoted us something very reasonable and we said yes. I asked Kev why he didn't haggle and he said "I liked that guy, he told me a story and gave me booze." It's actually a really good sales lesson. Those 12 minutes of rapport was the difference between the sale and no sale.

We had to have them shipped because they wouldn't be ready before we had to leave. So pretty and I can't wait for them to get here!

All too soon it was time to leave the city and head to Jersey!

Bye Times Square! Next time we won't wait as long before coming back!

Have you been to New York City? What do you think?

Ever ben to the Diamond District?

Linky Linky with these awesome ladies!

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Fall Swag Swap

Back at the end of August I was perusing some blogs and came across Candra at Camo and Lipstick who was co-hosting a Fall Swag Swap! Well, love fall and I love swag, so this sounded perfect to me! The rules were pretty simple, you had to spend $20 on at least 5 items and be a US Citizen.

The fabulous ladies at Camo and Lipstick, Macke Monologues, Beauty and the Baseball Coach and Homemade Happenings set all of this up and let me tell you, I had a blast. I was fortunate enough to be partnered up with Candra herself and had a blast getting to know her over the last month!

We're both runners, she's training for another half marathon and I'm seriously thinking about running half number 4. (Really really thinking hard but I also want a sub-30 5k and I'm not sure the 2 are compatible). We also both love coffee, chapstick and multiple water bottles. Shopping for Candra was pretty easy, I just bought things that I would get for myself. :)

I was really excited to break into the package she sent I have to say, she did a fantastic job with my swag.

DECORATIONS!! I've been needing to refresh my fall decorations for a while and these are absolutely perfect! I decorate with nothing but pumpkins and leaves and these go perfectly with the rest of my decor.

She also sent 2 little books. One that's a purse calendar that tells you which foods are in season and a slow cooker cook book! Seriously, just the other day I was talking to Kev about wanting to make more things in the crock pot. I pulled out a paleo cookbook and he poo pooed all the recipes. I had great plans to search Pinterest for some ideas and now I don't need to.

Ignore the sideways photo. :) I really really love the nail polish she sent, it's the perfect nude color and I can't wait to try it out! And that lip butter is really fantastic. :) Also un-pictured is the bag of Autumn mix that's already in my snack bag and I've already fished out a few of the candy pumpkins.

The swap was a great experience, I had a blast getting to know Candra and shopping for her. It's definitely something I would do again!

Don't forget to check out the rest of the swappers!

Have you ever done a Swag Swap?

What did you swap?