Laid Back Afternoon Tea

I recently tried the afternoon tea at Ivory Road Cafe & Kitchen near Asheville, NC. It was a real treat! I didn’t know what to expect as far as atmosphere is concerned, since Ivory Road is a little bit off the proverbial beaten path, but upon arrival I was pleasantly surprised by the restaurant’s sweetly magical flavor. It’s situated in an old house surrounded by tall green trees; the fact that my visit took place on a cloudy day only made it feel more like stepping into a storybook setting.

The afternoon tea (offered Saturday afternoons by reservation only) was phenomenal. Our server, who is also the owner, took our tea order immediately and when it came I was tickled to see the cute teapots she had chosen for our selections (the Wild Earl Grey was in the elephant pot while the Echinacea Elderflower Herbal Tisane was in the pot with the purple flowers).

Shortly after our tea arrived, she brought us our scones, Devonshire cream and other house made spreads, as well as lavender shortbread cookies. The scones were wondrously light and still warm from the oven; the cookies were perfectly textured with a well-balanced flavor (not always easy with floral ingredients).

After that, the finger sandwiches and desserts arrived. The assortment of four sandwiches was fun and creative, and this is where I really appreciated Ivory Road’s willingness to accommodate special dietary needs. As a vegetarian with a mushroom allergy, stuff like this can get a little tricky, but they prepared four sandwiches for me nonetheless and they were extremely tasty. (I think I devoured all four in less than five minutes!)

As for the desserts, they were (to borrow a phrase from Mary Berry) absolutely scrummy!! All four sweets were amazing, and if I had to pick a favorite, I’d be hard-pressed to choose between the chocolate truffle cake with rosewater buttercream and crystallized ginger and the spicy chai pannacotta.

It was a truly outstanding dining experience and I’m looking forward to going back for some of their regular fare during the week!

Tomato Basil Bread


Last night, my partner baked a loaf of bread — a beautiful twisted loaf of tomato basil mozzarella bread. We got the recipe from King Arthur Flour.

It. Was. Delicious.

And beautiful, too. The flavor was somehow rich and light at the same time, and the texture was perfect. All those evenings of watching The Great British Baking Show have resulted in this culinary treat!

Solar Eclipse Cake

I ordered a cake from Publix (the favorite of one of my friends, who I'll be spending the afternoon with) to celebrate today's solar eclipse. When I picked it up, I was amazed and delighted by what the bakery department had done. They used a combination of iridescent blue, green, and purple coloring over the black frosting and sprinkled the edges with sugar shavings to create a beautiful galaxy effect that I just can't stop staring at. They even decorated the sides of the cake in the same way, and the result is (excuse the pun) stellar! This is one cake I will not be able to cut into — someone else will have to do the honors!

Frostbite in August?

It’s summertime and the sun is shining, the humidity is rising, and it’s the perfect time for ice cream! I finally made it over to Frostbite Ice Cream, and I wasn’t disappointed. While the service was a little slow, the food was good. I got a vanilla ice cream dipped in chocolate with cotton candy flavor burst (that’ll be the blue stuff) and Oreo crumbs on top. It was scrummy! I also tried their actual food (as in, not dessert) and found the grilled cheese waffles to be an interesting and tasty treat. Definitely worth a visit on a hot afternoon! And for the beer drinkers out there, they have a decent selection of local brews at the bar, too!

Hot Cocoa in the Pacific


I went to Honolulu Coffee at the Moana Surfrider hotel in Waikiki (because, yes, I need my hot chocolate fix even when I’m in the tropics) and not only was the coffee shop super cute and clean, but also the service was amazing: friendly, prompt, and clear. I’ll be going back for sure, and definitely recommend it if you find yourself in the area looking for a good cup of anything hot and energizing!

Also, if you can make it to their roasting facility, chat with the in-duty roaster and watch the process as you enjoy a nice freshly brewed pot of Kona coffee. I’m not big on coffee, but even I appreciated this smooth coffee!

A Tropical Surprise


The Island Vintage Shave Ice kiosk in Waikiki held the greatest culinary surprise of my trip to Hawai’i: shaved ice. I’d heard about this delicious treat, but the rumors couldn’t live up to the reality. These heaping mounds of brilliantly flavored ice, accompanied by flavor pearls and fresh fruit galore, pretty much made my trip. If you ever find yourself near the Royal Hawaiian, track down this little gem (owned and operated by Island Vintage Coffee) and buy yourself a miniature mountain (or two or three or four…) of rainbow delight!!

Wynwood Wonder

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My experience at the Wynwood Kitchen and Bar in Miami was an exceptional one! First off, the plantains were cooked to perfection (just hot enough to caramel use the edges, not hot enough to burn them) and drizzled with two different kinds of cheeses. Second, the service was excellent and the location was unbeatable (right at the entrance to the Wynwood Walls. Third, all the food was amazing, the ambiance was intimate and great for conversation, and the prices were reasonable for a trendy eatery in a hipster part of Miami. Highly, highly recommended!!