open air breakfast

Photo by Anne Jansen

In a city as beautiful as New Orleans, being able to eat in an open-air cafe is a real treat. At Pere Antoine Restaurant & Cajun Kitchen, this is exactly what I got to do (see picture below for a better idea of the ambiance of this lovely little restaurant). They serve breakfast all day, and that’s exactly what I ordered — the croissant breakfast sandwich with home fries and a side of bacon (which I gave to one of my table-mates) despite the abundant dinner options on the menu. While the food was only somewhere between average and good, the atmosphere was incredible (and the prices were reasonable). For the rest of the trip, every time I walked by Pere Antoine’s I looked in and wanted to sit at a table and take in the sights. If you’re in New Orleans and you need a quick bite with a nice dose of charm, this is a great place to go!

 

Photo by Anne Jansen

Pere Antoine on Urbanspoon

 

fushion tea house

photo by Anne Jansen

Now that I’ve been to the Zen Cha Tea Salon, I can’t believe it took me almost three years to try this place out! Not only do they have a fabulous tea assortment with over 50 different kinds and flavors — ranging from Asian (Chinese, Japanese, Korean, etc.) to European (English, French) — but they have amazing food as well. I tried their veggie Chinese Dumplings (pictured below) and their Samosas (above), and both were scrumptious. If I had to recommend only one, I’d have to push for the Samosas because their flaky crusts were baked to perfection, and that mint yogurt dipping sauce was the most refreshing complement to these tasty little treats. After one visit, I’ve become a repeat customer. The ambiance of this little tea salon is warm and romantic, and in the winter the windows steam up from the constantly-brewing tea, making it a great place for couples on a cold winter’s night. Rumor has it they’ve got an amazing brunch…I hope to blog about it soon!

photo by Anne Jansen

a “tucci” of italy

photo by Anne Jansen

In the small town of Lake Oswego, Oregon, there is a fancy little Italian restaurant called Tucci. The margherita pizza, pictured above, was wood fired and baked to perfection. Fresh basil and tomatoes gave it its great flavor, and the crust was light and tasty. The ambiance in Tucci is warm and cozy, and the waitstaff is fun and generous — they brought us this dessert (which I believe is the Chocolate Polenta Cake), compliments of the house. It was flavorful and unique, and plated beautifully. Tucci turned out to be a great little place for a quiet evening meal.

photo by Anne Jansen

creative fusion

photo by Anne Jansen

This eccentrically decorated restaurant was a definite surprise. In Columbus, OH, where many restaurants feature well-recognized and often heavy dishes, Spagio‘s light dishes were a real treat (especially in the hot and humid summer weather). The Tomato Basil Pizza (pictured above) was made with Spagio’s wheat crust, which was airy and mildly sweet in flavor. The tomatoes were fresh and juicy, and the cheese was nicely balanced giving it just the right amount without overdoing it. Perhaps most surprising was the lemonade. Our server informed us that they change their lemonade flavor regularly, often serving mango lemonade but sometimes getting more creating and serving flavors like Pomegranate Strawberry Lemonade (today’s flavor, pictured below) and Watermelon Lemonade (currently in the works). It was a refreshing beverage, with a nice tart kick to offset the sweetness. You can definitely expect more posts on Spagio in the future!

photo by Anne Jansen

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