Spotlight: Nice, France

Well, talk about a throw back! It’s about time (almost 5 months) I share some pictures with you from my time in Nice, don’t you think?!?

Back in January, I made my second trip in Nice; my first time was for two days when I was 18 years old (needless to say, it’s been awhile) while on a European getaway with my friend Ali. 

Although I was there for work this time around (I know, my job IS awesome!), I was able to enjoy lots of good food and see the city, and even visited Cannes and Monaco. 

I was also 14 weeks pregnant at the time, so no tartare, soft cheese, or wine for me! Well, I had one sip…guess I’ll just have to go back!!!

I am not really sure how to share a week in paradise with you, but I’ll share some of my favorites moments, meals, and memories (through photos) with you! 

Nicoise cuisine is a mix of French and Mediterranean, including lots of fresh fish and seafood, olives, veggies, cheeses, and don’t forget the rosé wine! Here’s a good article on 5 things to eat and drink from Nice.

Some of my favorite meals and snacks included:

  • Farcis: a classic Nicoise dish made from vegetables like tomatoes, eggplant, and zucchini, hollowed out and stuffed with ground meat, garlic, and bread crumbs.
  • Fresh clementines I bought from a local grocer (they sell them with the leaves and stems still on)
  • Red mullet fish and greens 
  • Artisan apple tart
  • Coq au vin 
  • And lots of croissants! 

Take a look:
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Want more? Check out this video I made for work: http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=TNJBzXIlN_k 

Au revoir for now!

Week #45 – Spotlight: Green Lake, Wisconsin

You might think this Second City Gal lives for fine dining and spa treatments, but I have a little secret for you: I heart the quiet life.

Yes, it’s true, I love country living. That’s just one of the reasons why I thoroughly enjoyed my time in Green Lake, Wisconsin, recently. The main reason I loved it? Spending time with my awesome friends.

Lauren and Bill invited a bunch of us up to Wisconsin for the weekend (Bill’s parents have a gorgeous home in Green Lake), and I’ve been wanting to go since Nate and I missed the chance to go two years ago.

Everything about this weekend was lovely. The house (like out of a magazine). The food (home cooking and lunch at Norton’s). The fun (bonfires, games, and lots of Rumchata).

In honor of my gal, Oprah, let me tell you what I know for sure after this trip:

1. Green Lake might be better than Lake Geneva because it’s not quite so touristy. But it is a little further.
2. Never lose faith in winning the game LCR (Left Right Center). Luck will find you! When you least expect it, you’ll win twice in one night (please see my cheesy photos below).
3. Puppy Chow is an amazing snack at any age.
4. Rumchata is a crowd pleaser (thanks, Liz!).
5. Bait shops are cool.
6. Fried cheese curds are delicious. (When in Rome…)
7. Fires (bonfires and fireplaces) are the best to gather around.
8. You always learn a lot about your friends while playing Cards Against Humanity.
9. It’s okay to do nothing…sometimes.
10. Did I mention my friends are awesome?

Check out some of the photo highlights from our relaxing weekend!

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Spotlight New York City – The Smith Restaurant NYC

In my early 20s, I lived in NYC with my sister Lauren while I interned for a few summers. During that time, we pretty much lived the dream–went to cool parties, dined at the trendiest restaurants, and spent our weekends at the beach. Some of my best memories are from those summers!

When I visit NYC now, my priority is spending the most amount of time possible with my sister, her hubby, and my two sweet nieces, Emma Jean (2 1/2 years) and Jules (9 months). But since my friend Callie moved there in October, I like to meet up for brunch or to grab a drink if we can.

Last time I met up with Cal, we went to Cafe Lalo, a neighborhood favorite on the Upper West Side and an important setting in the movie You Got Mail. This time, I got a glimpse at my old 20-something life during brunch at The Smith.

When you walk into The Smith, located in the East Village, you instantly feel the coolness factor go up a few notches. Imagine white subway tile everywhere, black and white photographs, chic light fixtures, and tons of natural light. The patrons are pretty much all 20-somethings, probably rehashing the good times (or horror stories) that they have from the night before. (I felt like a true Midwesterner with my North Face puffy jacket on in a sea of hip-clothed diners.)

We were seated quickly (a plus!), and they brought these adorable wine bottles filled with still and sparking water, along with some of the tastiest bread and butter (I swear, what they say about bread being better in NYC because of the water is very true) I’ve had. Side note: must find wine bottles to use for water!

Because I’m on antibiotics again (wha whaaaa), I ordered one of our waiter’s favorite housemade sodas: agave lemonade. This tasted so delicious without being overly sweet. The mint leaves were a good touch. Cal ordered the other, cucumber ginger ale, and my sip was especially refreshing.

On to meals: I opted for the Simple Scrambled with scrambled egg whites, home fries, and apple smoked bacon. Even though the food was a little pricy (heck, it’s NYC), the portion was good and everything tasted delicious. Cal ordered the Avocado Sandwich with goat cheese, cucumber, sprouts, tomato, and red onion on multigrain bread with a side of spinach (damn Callie and her healthy ordering!).

One thing I noticed the restaurant had was a photo booth on the lower level. Now, I don’t know about you, but when I see a photo booth, I must take photos–this is kind of a golden rule of mine. I have precious strips of photos from the mall, college bars, adult bars, and weddings, so this visit was not going to be the exception. After plenty of giggles and ridiculous faces, we had our photos, and the perfect memento from a perfect brunch date. Can’t wait to see where we’ll end up next time!

The Smith Restaurant NYC
55 3rd Avenue
East Village

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