June 9, 2017

SPAIN TRIP | ONE

I survived my first trip overseas with my in-laws! I kid, they are a breeze to hang around.  Dustin, his parents, youngest sister and I had a fantastic trip exploring Madrid and Barcelona for six days!  Since Rebecca Joy’s Spring Break fell a little earlier than we could make it out there, they went ahead to explore Seville for a few days then met us in Madrid late Monday night.  We landed around 9:00am and went straight for the hotel, which wasn’t ready yet but we dropped off our luggage and sleepily walked what felt like 399 miles all over Madrid until we were let in to sleep a few hours and get cleaned up. That night we joined up with the rest of the gang and went to a really nice dinner near our hotel.

The following morning we had tickets to tour the Royal Palace of Madrid and then a private tour of the Prado Museum. I would recommend the palace tour (I mean it’s a palace, can’t go wrong with looking at past royalty’s belongings) but the museum I could have done without.  I feel a little bad about saying that especially since it’s been said to be the best single collection of Spanish art but the European 12th century – early 20th century art just isn’t my jam.  One thing that did stand out that I enjoyed was The Garden of Earthly Delights because not only is it risque but our tour guide spent about 30 min (or more, no joke) just covering this one painting and the result was pretty hilarious though one or more of the Winchesters felt pretty uncomfortable..I think if I only went in there and saw all of Hieronymus Bosch‘s art I would have been just fine. However, Dustin and I have a friend who’s an art history buff and loves the place so do some research and see if it’s up your alley.

After a full day and one night in Madrid we hopped on a high speed train to Barcelona.  We bought some wine to bring with, sipped on that and checked out the sights till we all fell asleep. Then we were in Barcelona!

Spent that evening getting our bearings on our neighborhood which was just North of the Gothic Quarter and then walked down to explore that area and get dinner. The next day was all about Gaudi!

First stop was Park Guell.  When we arrived it was raining so we bought some cheesy tourist umbrellas, cause ya know, we’re prepared like that and set out to learn all about Gaudi and Eusebi Güell‘s attempt at a gated community turned municipal garden. You didn’t know it was originally supposed to be a high-end neighborhood either? Yea, that was news to me too! Apparently they couldn’t get investors and the construction just sorta stopped after only two houses were built. neither of which were designed by Gaudi but he did end up buying one.

Front entrance of the park was this adorable pavilion

Gaudí’s work was influenced by his passions in life: architecture, nature, and religion.  He considered every detail of his creations and integrated into his architecture such crafts as ceramics, stained glass, wrought ironwork forging and carpentry. -Wikipedia

Oh hey, you’re famous!

Tiles along the front entrance’s elaborate staircase

Above in the background is the terrace.  It’s open social area is surrounded by built-in benches in the form of a sea serpent. Underneath the terrace is a space that was once used for open air markets.

On the ceilings of the bottom area were compass-like mosaics that represented each season.  Again seeing more of nature’s influence on Gaudi’s work.

Dustin’s youngest sister, RJ, recently got a Canon Rebel.  During the trip I was teaching her the basics of using the manual setting. I’m not a super pro or anythign but I felt like the big lady on campus teaching a youngster about photography-loved it!

Having a copper-smith father, Gaudi took interest in the art early on in his life and then before going off to school he worked in his family’s workshop as well. Made sense after learning how he never drew his plans but rather made 3-dimensional scale models and getting into the details later as  he created the project.   We were able to see examples of these models at Casa Mila. Which is not pictured here but worth seeing! We did the night time light show, again raining but still really pretty.

Just when we left the park it was clearing up and ended up being a really pretty day for our next stop, Casa Batllo.

For this tour we did their audio guided option which was pretty neat! You were each given a cell phone like device with headphones and went to each stop and listened to recordings about the house. The furniture and accessories had been moved out but if you held up the device it would show you how it looked back in the day.  Gaudi’s always adding nature elements into his designs but this specifically was a lot of under water influences, felt like we were walking through a mermaids house!

A shroom shaped fire place area for a date and the date monitor to hang out by. Yes, date monitor! eek.

In 1904 Josep Batlló hired Gaudí to design his home; at first his plans were to tear down the building and construct a completely new house. Gaudí convinced Josep that a renovation was sufficient and was also able to submit the planning application the same year. The building was completed and refurbished in 1906. He completely changed the main apartment which became the residence for the Batlló family. He expanded the central well in order to supply light to the whole building and also added new floors. -Wikipedia

The central well as mentioned above

One of the main rooms that faced the street

The top of the below photo that I couldn’t capture because of all the-unaware of personal space and hey look there’s other people taking photos too-tourists around…I wasn’t annoyed at all :P

A cutie and some chimneys

One of my favorite areas in the apartment was a staircase which led up to the rooftop, reminded me of Santorini

Just chilling on the roof terrace with my cool and not dorky at all audio guide equipment :P

After all the Gaudi we were starving so we set out for food. Of course Dustin and I were all about a taco spot we found so we hit up there for some margs and food and enjoyed resting our feet.

Spicy + sweet, the way we like’em!

This night was the light show I mentioned and we ended the day with all the tapas. Phewwww, just writing this out makes me realize how much we packed into every day! So glad to finally be sharing. I know I’ve left some stuff out, probably rushed this a bit but I’ve got to get going on the recap or I’ll never do it.

Next up; more Barcelona!

May 23, 2017

BARTACO’S 10th SECRET TACO

Bartaco’s at it again with their 10th off-the-menu taco, a whole crispy soft-shell crab, mmm mmm!

~ tempura battered soft-shell crab, placed atop a tomatilla chow chow and drizzled with lemon aioli

This taco is LEGIT! Just like with that Holeman and Finch soft-shell eggs benedict we had, I had to get past the fact I was eating the bones of a creature but as long as I didn’t think about it, pure flavor joy was happening!

They hooked us up real good with some spicy corn, plantains, tuna poke and a variety of tacos ~ needless to say but I’ll say it anyways…we left STUFFED!

No. 10 secret taco get’s a sitting ovation from D!

Claw!

Even though I knew it’d be a feast, I wore my new Madewell high-rise jeans (don’t ask me why..) paired with some other newbs-a Mango cactus top from Spain, my Kelsi Dagger slip-ons, Raybans also from Spain and Brixton hat.

Thanks to the friendly and fun staff at Bartaco for making our experience A++

If you’re lucky enough to live close to one, or in my case TWO, hit up Bartaco for IMO the best secret taco yet!

May 12, 2017

THE TAVERN AT ATLAS

Nestled under the St. Regis in Buckhead, the Atlas lives up to the prestige of the area with an upscale dining experience complete with an extensive art collection.

Celebrate the best in seasonal American cuisine with fine dining in our main dining room. Our expertly trained team of chefs and staff will guide you through an unparalleled culinary experience inspired by the capital of the South.

The restaurant’s impressive gallery of 20th century artwork has been selected from The Lewis Collection, one of the largest private art collections in the world.

Hello lovely!

A see-thru glass shelving unit separates the bar and main dining area filled with knickknacks and high end spirits

Felt like I was back in Europe!

We visited specifically to check out the newly launched Tavern.

This all-new dining experience features a perfectly-portioned small plate menu from Executive Chef Christopher Grossman and seasonal hand-shaken cocktails with expanded seating in our newly-renovated lounge and library.

Wearing my new Mango sunglasses I picked up in Spain and an Anthropologie dress so comfy it’s perfect for all the indulging!

Bartender Carl’s take on a tequila sour, A+++

ISLAND CREEK ROASTED OYSTERS ON THE HALF SHELL: Chorizo Jus, Cilantro, Cracklin’ | ROSEMARY ROASTED RUBY BEET TARTARE The Woodsman & Wife Cheese, Toasted Pecans And Walnuts, Beet Chips

Top to Bottom | ATLAS SLIDERS: Ground Wagyu, Smoked Gouda-Pimento Cheese, Tucker Farms Green Leaf, Toasted Brioche Bun | GEORGES BANK PAN-SEARED SEA SCALLOP: Nueske’s Applewood Smoked Bacon Chips, Avocado Mousseline, Romaine, Buttermilk Vinaigrette | PETIT LOBSTER POT PIE: Nueske’s Smoked Bacon, Pearl Onion, Brandy, Puff Pastry, Wilted Romaine

Sadly can’t find this drink anywhere on the web but I recall it having champagne and vodka and thyme, I think… Regardless, can’t go wrong with any Atlas cocktail!

BLACKBERRY-YUZU MOUSSE: Dark Chocolate Blackberry-Yuzu Mousse, Yuzu Whipped Ganache, Mint Rum Gel, Yuzu Pearls, Blackberry Crémeux

TAHINI PANNA COTTA: Lime-Juniper Sponge Cake, Tahini Crumbs, Compressed Pineapple, Lime-Juniper Ice Cream

How a meal at the Tavern at Atlas will leave you feeling:

Dustin and I will definitely be going back for either a fancy meal in the main room or another chilled out but still fancy dining experience outside. Thanks for hosting us Atlas!

This post was done in partnership with Caren West PR