Tag Archives: margaritas

For Love of Fairfield

I’ve already showed Kaitlin (of For Love of Carrots) my turf, and the time came this past weekend for her to show me hers – Fairfield County! I visited her from Saturday evening to Sunday afternoon and she showed me a great time. Then again, I knew she would since our tastes are so similar! Prime example number one – we both wore black tops, black shoes, jeans, and statement necklaces to dinner.

Saturday Night


I borrowed the necklace from Kaitlin, the queen of statement necklaces!

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One Lovely Blog Award!

The winner of my Best of Hartford Voting Party giveaway is the duo of Connecticut Bloggers!

hartfordwinner1 hartfordwinner2

I will contact you to find out if you want a gift card from Esca, Spotlight Theaters, or Umi Sushi + Tapas. Don’t forget to check out the voting parties happening in the Hartford area this month!

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My Very Own BlogHer Food ’12

Finally we have come to my last recap of my 8/2-8/5 weekend in NYC for BlogHer ’12. I saved the best for last (obviously…would you expect anything less from me?) and you can catch up below:

You know me. I’m all about the restaurants. I like to experience new places through food (among other fun activities, but eating/drinking tend to take priority :-D). So how could I go to NYC and not try as many restaurants as humanly possible?! Folks, prepare to get hungry. I may not have been able to make it to BlogHer Food this year, but I turned BlogHer ’12 into my own BlogHer Food.

Josie’s East:

I had my first ever blogger meetup (with Katie and Danielle) at the Westside location of Josie’s, which was recommended to me via Twitter back in the fall by Web Girl Kathleen of the Elvis Duran Show. After falling in love, I knew I had to go back to try more fresh, healthy food and drink from their menu.

Enjoyed a glass of pinot grigio throughout the meal (quite a generous pour), and a couple pieces of bread (including cornbread) with homemade HUMMUS!

My long-time friend (we go back to middle school…and dates to homecoming freshman year of high school) Hong met me at Josie’s Eastside location for dinner in between working his crazy banker’s hours. It was wonderful to see him again!

Grilled Gulf Yellowfin tuna with wok sauteed julienne veggies, baby bok choy, shitake mushrooms, and a miso-wasabi sauce. Also had unpictured side of pinto beans.

Hong got a salad with the same tuna and we both appreciated the way the chef had gotten the outside to be crispy and the inside to be that lovely shade of rare-red. I ended up being too full to finish my side of Josie’s pinto beans, which I ordered last time and adored, but I of course cleaned my plate of all seafood and veggies.

So Hong clearly hates me, but what are ya gonna do?

Newbie Breakfast & Fika:

I was concerned that Friday morning’s BlogHer Newbie Breakfast would be a donut-and-muffin fest. While there were no egg whites or turkey bacon present (breakfast items I enjoy both because they make me feel good and energized, and because they don’t have too much of that darn guilt associated with them), I was still able to put together a nice plate for myself…once said plates were finally replenished (chunks of time passed during which several essentials, like plates and fruit, ran out).

Photo taken while awaiting my plate 😛

Eggs, fruit, mini croissant, and potatoes. I’ll admit the croissant had me anxious but I finished almost all of it, and cleared out everything else!

Since I’m a coffee snob and former cafe manager (and currently am cafe obsessed), I of course turned my nose up at the Hilton‘s provided coffee and took a quick walk from the hotel to a spot recommended to me by New York blogger Meg of Harmonious Belly during a brunch we met at last fall. Coincidentally, Hong had also mentioned it at dinner the night before and called the cafe, Fika, a “very Caitlin” place. Sold, and such a short distance from the hotel too!

I went with my usual black coffee and wasn’t disappointed; each sip was savored during my sessions that morning. I do wish the staff had been more friendly and appreciative of my enthusiasm over visiting their shop, but hey, it’s New York on a Friday morning. Most of the patrons were regulars and seemed to just wanna get to work and get the day over with.

The small space allocated to most NYC cafes served Fika’s atmosphere well.

I like that they drink stoppers. Never seen anyone else aside from Starbucks have those. Interesting that theirs are green too.

FreeFoods NYC:

The line for Friday’s conference lunch and keynote with Martha Stewart was ridonkulous, and I was starving. Wait in line with a rumbling tummy for most likely only-OK conference food? It didn’t take me too long to decide to take matters into my own hands. With Yelp‘s help, I found FreeFoods NYC, a nearby mostly-take-out spot with a Whole Foods-like salad bar of epic, creative proportions.

This is what $18 looks like.

Deciding between any of the pay-by-the-weight bar’s options was NOT happening, so I picked up a little bit of it all. My favorite was a small slice of raw/vegan pizza on a spelt crust. I felt very New York as I sat in the cafe eating my salad and working on my summer school paper on my laptop.

Agave NYC:

I’d already mentioned that after our Well and Good Physique 57 event, we had margaritas and Southwestern fare at Agave NYC in the Village.

We were starvin’ Marvins after that workout and Sabrina had the fab idea to order two of these bad boys for the table. GUAC ME.

Watching blogger reactions to food being served never gets old. Despite what Cat appears to think.

I had my usual indecision anxiety over this margarita menu…

How to solve such a problem? Order two drinks. 

Agave Nectar (tequila, fresh lime juice, agave) on the rocks, extra salt. My all-time favorite kind of marg.

I honestly can’t decide which was my favorite. Both were very Caitlin AKA not at all sweet.

Cucumber Uno! margarita made with cuke, basil, fresh lime. Oops, sucked down half of it before I remembered to take a pic.

I’m not vegan, but damn do I love vegan food, and that love seems to grow with each vegan dish I put into my body. Again, a fantastic menu of many choices had me indecisive, but I ended up selecting the vegan tacos (tempeh with both wild & tame mushrooms) served with black beans, pico, and plenty more guac.

I polished off everything. The tempeh’s texture was amazing and I love the restaurant’s choice to use corn tortillas. Excellent black beans (made even more excellent when I dipped the leftover blue corn chips into them) and I welcomed the fresh pico and guac.

Hello, plate as big as my head.

Of course there had to be an eyebrow-raising photo taken.

What a meal. I’d go back to Agave again in a heartbeat. Too many dishes I haven’t had yet. And my two margaritas had me feeling fine enough to not go into a TOTAL and COMPLETE panic when my phone died before I could even get to the subway station after leaving dinner. #fail

Zibetto Espresso Bar & Conference Lunching:

I used my Yelp app to scout out another cafe just a couple of blocks from the hotel for Saturday morning’s caffeination. Natasha confirmed for me that my choice, Zibetto Espresso Bar, wouldn’t disappoint. I walked in and felt I was truly in Europe! The barista wore a bow tie and the shop was laid out as a long rectangle with standing room only for those who wanted to stay and sip espresso out of tiny mugs on saucers. Zibetto is certainly not a cozy study cafe, but it is one that will transport its patrons farther than they ever thought they’d go when they left their homes on a given day, that’s for sure.

The menu’s and cup’s simplicity really fit well.

No coffee to be found here…just espresso. The barista was jovial and glad to help me decide on a simple Americano. No dairy or sweetener needed! I enjoyed the espresso’s pure taste and wish it’d lasted longer. Another NYC cafe win!

Wish I’d ordered a bigger size!

Thankfully Saturday’s lunch line at the conference was practically non-existent. I’m not sure what made the difference…were more stations set up? Were there just more Friday-only attendees? I was actually quite impressed by the food offerings, and also thought it was pretty funny that almost every tray of watermelon & feta salad set out was almost completely depleted of watermelon, but had plenty of feta cubes remaining.

Clockwise from top left: BBQ chicken sandwich, watermelon/feta salad, wheatberry salad, curried seafood sandwich, fruit tarts.

I didn’t finish all my sandwich buns (they were just blah to me – sandwiches always are made with too much bread at these kinds of events!) but gobbled up everything else. Man I loved those fruit tarts! So fancy shmancy!

Super psyched! These tarts were so yummy!

Plunge at Hotel Gansevoort, The Standard Plaza, and 5 Ninth:

My most fun foodie experience of the trip spread itself across three spots in the Meatpacking District on Saturday evening. Hong and I love feeling like classy New Yorkers, so we met up at a special destination he’d suggested, the Plunge Rooftop Bar & Lounge at the Hotel Gansevoort. During my commute there, I found out via tweets that Kim Kardashian lived at that hotel with Kris Humphries on “Kourtney and Kim Take New York”. YES, that got me excited. #sorrynotsorry

View from our hightop.

We miraculously found an open hightop table with a gorgeous view immediately after grabbing drinks at the bar – #jadorelavie, my friends!


See that drink? That’s a Manhattan. It cost $18. When in Rome, my friends. Or when in Meatpacking?


What a beauty. Oh, the view is OK too.

How could I not drink at least one Manhattan while in Manhattan?! How could I not drink it while on a rooftop bar being sooo New York?! Yes I’m aware that I’m a tourist. I’m as far from authentic Carrie Bradshaw as it gets. But at least the bartender was heavy-handed with the bourbon in my expensive drink. I probably only finished about…$15 of it though? It was so strong that I wouldn’t have been able to enjoy a cocktail at our next location if I’d sucked down all $18-worth 😛

Which is prettier Meg, the view or what’s on my plate?

I decided to be a responsible foodie/drinkie and order an app to go with my alcohol. Plunge had some really cool and unique items on its menu! I obviously went with the funkiest dish I saw – the BBQ eel sushi. This was my first time having eel. Jeff has raved about it for awhile now and I’m glad I finally got the opportunity to try it. I will be ordering it again!

See the avocaaaado?

We walked around to check out our many, many dinner options and decided on The Standard Plaza, which met all the Caitlin Criteria (interesting drinks, unique dishes I’ve never tried before, outdoor seating…you know the drill…I am so high maintenance). The menu consisted of small tapas-style plates, many of which contain seafood! The decor was also quite beautiful.

For drinks we got the Rose Sangria (Hong) and the Cava Fresca (me). Mine was vodka muddled with berries and mint, topped with cava. Loved that ever-so-slight fizz.

Oops Hong, way to order the girlier drink 😉

This is the only way I can get Hong to look like he enjoys being in photos/likes being near me…feed him drinks.


Unfortunately by the time our food came it was way too dark to take any photos that wouldn’t be a) impossible to make out or b) ugly due to flash. So I opted to go camera-less for the meal itself, and that was actually quite enjoyable.

We ordered three tapas, then realized that four would be way better. The online menu doesn’t have them all but does include these two that we ordered, both of which were fantastic seafood sensations:

  • Pez Espada – grilled swordfish, summer squash, peas, castel vetrano olivada
  • Gambas – grilled sweet shrimp, chorizo, zucchini, meyer lemon

My usual dessert craving – a delectable sweet something paired with a not-sparkling dessert wine – struck hardcore. We decided to search for a third restaurant for course three, because like I said at the beginning of this post, when in NYC I wanted to experience as much as possible.

Awkwardly posed in a beautiful indoor/outdoor patio. I felt like I was in a Shakespearean play!

After sitting down at one restaurant and immediately getting right back up and leaving once I saw they no longer had any port or sherry (poor, baffled waiter…and Hong), we found a whimsical spot called Five 9th and continued the trend of dining al fresco. Hong and I narrowed down our choice to one of my favorite cakes…coconut! And I got my tawny port. Maybe I’m a grandpa, not a grandma, after all 🙂


The cake itself was a bit dry but the heavenly icing made up for that. I think  Hong let me eat more than my share of this and for that I am grateful 😉 I’m so glad I got to spend a second evening with him absorbing and experiencing the magic and energy of NYC!

I’m sure now you can definitely see why I was so proud of myself for handling the weekend well. I surely went outside of my comfort zone with drinks and eats, but I also know that I missed out on nothing. I’m someone who enjoys the experience of a meal, and exploring a foodie city in that manner was completely appropriate, despite what my pesky brain was trying to tell me. I can look back at all these photos and the fun I had and feel grateful and fulfilled. I can excitedly share all of this with you and not let the guilty voice be triggered into action by doing so. I think that a major factor in helping me to lose myself in all these moments and take risks was the inspiration I felt being around all the bloggers that were teaching me or have more to teach me about myself and what I am capable of. Not only did BlogHer inspire me to be a better blogger, but it inspired me to appreciate all I have accomplished and allow myself to feel my passions – even if that passion is for dessert wine and coconut cake.

Have you ever been to NYC and if so, what is the best dining experience you’ve ever had there?

Have you ever eaten meals at a conference of any kind? How were they?

What is the most you have ever paid for a cocktail? Was it worth it?

WIAW: Photo Dump Edition

A very special happy birthday to an inspiring friend, Meg! Happy birthday dear, you make me smile and feel stronger every time I read your blog/tweets!

Can you believe I’ve never done a What I Ate Wednesday (WIAW) post?! I always thought they had to be about a day of eats. In fact, at first I thought it could only be about a Wednesday of eats. But I’ve seen lots of creative ways to do it, including posts in which people just share yummy things they’ve been eating all week, not just from one day. Now that’s more my style!

So now thanks to Jen of Peas & Crayons, I give you the first Cait Plus Ate WIAW: The Photo Dump Edition.

Warm-Roasted Eggplant & Wonton “Napoleon” from Arugula in West Hartford, CT.

Arugula delivered one of the best falafel plates I’ve ever seen!

Duck confit & chorizo sausage flatbread from Arugula. It was to die for!

Brookline Sour at Barcelona Wine Bar in West Hartford, CT

Instagram version! This drink is made with rye whiskey.

Barcelona has amazing bread & olive oil! It was piping hot when it arrived.

Suckling pig with red chimichurri and local radishes with butter and sea salt at Barcelona Wine Bar. Aaaand I just realized that pig has numbers on it!

Rioja wine flight at Barcelona Wine Bar

Left to right: Finca San Martin, Villarica, Cerro Anon

Barcelona Wine Bar tapas: Chorizo with Sweet & Sour Figs (Balsamic-Sherry Glaze) and Coca del Dia (Feta, English Peas, Garlic Scape Pesto)

The Aviation

An at-home dinner (yes they exist): turkey burger with sweet & spicy mustard, bean medley, broc, burnt (on purpose) cornbread.

Another at-home dinner, literally the exact same thing, ha! With a side of Rioja.

For Meg!! The Kill Bill roll from Min Ghung in Glastonbury, CT: spicy tuna on the inside with eel, salmon, and avocado on the outside. Drizzled with Vietnamese Chili.

Min Ghung Sake Sampler: Peach, Snow Maiden, Pear.

Sonoma beer tasting!

Clearly still a beer lover work-in-progress.

Guacamole at Maria Bonitas by West Point.

Bartender there made me the BEST marg I’ve EVER had! Natural style, on the rocks, extra salt.

My mom agreed!

Maria Bonitas black bean soup – tasty but WAY filling!

This hole in the wall style place had the best ceviche I’ve ever had! With crab, shrimp, and octopus.

I’d be lying if I said I had any of this.

Bread from Torches on the Hudson in NY. Pretty good, nothing to write home about.

Bitter-Sweet Citrus Martini: citrus fruits muddled in Stoli, with St. Germaine

BBQ Salmon, Broccoli, Asparagus, Black Bean & Corn Salsa at Torches. HEAVENLY.

One of the most unique drinks ever. Vanilla Sage Crush: vanilla-infused tequila with fresh sage, honey, and lemon.

On the way to my friend’s West Point graduation with Starbucks in hand!

That is far from everything, but at least this Caitlin-style WIAW has given me a way to share many days’ worth of restaurant trips (with some home eats thrown in). Kinda ended up being a Wordess WIAW!

What looks best to you? I won’t make you choose one thing 😉

Wordless Wednesday: Summer Fun Edition

You’ve probably noticed my tendency to write very long, wordy blog posts. I can ramble on and on for hours about fun, food, fitness, and fashion. But today, let’s cut out the words, and let me just show you some photos of what my summer (yes I’m calling it summer right now) has looked like so far. And captions don’t count as words.

Beaching it at Hammonassett with my friends! I win the color prize.

Greg and I hanging out at a baby picnic table at The Burger Co in Glastonbury. I clearly had come from the gym (see my ZigTechs?)

Ladies loving the BYOB with no corkage fee!

Family seeing my little brother off to junior prom! Where’d my face go?

Hey it looks like he kinda likes me!

Siblings <3

Trying to be cool with my sis and her friends.

Isn’t his date so beautiful?

My wonderful dad and I at dinner after we saw my brother off.

Before dinner at Puerto Vallarta, with my sister!

Mom came too 🙂

Skinny margarita!

Kicking of the CT Wine Trail 2012 passport at Chamard Vineyards in Clinton, CT.

Gorgeous day for the vineyard, I love Chamard’s scenery. And it’s conveniently on the way home from Hammonassett!

My first trip to the WeHa Reservoir, thanks for showing me around, Jenny!

At Tullycross Tavern to use a SaveNowCT deal!

My amazing meal from that night, a butternut squash flatbread with arugula, grilled chicken, and goat cheese. Paired with Jacob’s Creek Shiraz.

Just read that and you’ll understand why I’m making that face.

View from my table at Besito’s, after work on a Wednesday.

Margarita angel?

Fellow drinker and judger, Rachel, AKA namer of this blog.

The flower vases were actually empty Patron bottles! 😉

My roasted salmon with fried bananas, black beans, sauteed greens, plantain chips, pineapple salsa, and mole sauce was FANTASTIC.

Rachel’s steak tacos – I liked the steak a lot! She didn’t haha

Ben’s chicken enchiladas. Chicken was average, sauce was amazing.


Triple fisting Onyx Moonshine at Art After Hours!

Best picture ever, taken by tipsy Hartford corporate men.

Balloons make us happy!

They make wine glasses for camping? Maybe I could handle roughing it…

Art After Hours Block Party at Wadsworth in Hartford.

Blood Orange Marg at Barcelona in WeHa!

And of course I ordered a wine flight.

Tapas!!! Olives, bok choy, swiss chard.

The outdoor-but-not-outdoor seating area is beautiful!

AHHH! It was really hard not to write words here. I wanted to go on and on about all the fun I had during each photo. But I also don’t have enough TIME to share all these photos with you guys if I want to write about them too…so I’m choosing the visuals 😀

If you’re a CT local, have you ever been to any of these spots?

Do any of my summertime festivities look similar to yours? Tell me more!

Worldess Wednesday – St. Patty’s Day

I spent St. Patrick’s Day evening last Saturday at Mohegan Sun, having a drink at Leffingwell’s Martini Bar, and then dining at SolToro Grill. Enjoy the photos!

Sweet tea vodka martini with a sugar rim!

Patron XO Dark Chocolate Shots

Lidia and her Strawbarita (El Charo Blanco, strawberry sorbet, lime juice).

My original margarita, extra salt (not as good as last time’s).

Evan and Prasant’s Quesadilla Picante: macho salsa, jalapenos, panela cheese (menu’s highest heat level).


Evan’s pork belly tacos – one of the best meals of his life.

My shrimp fajitas with corn tortillas, black beans, and corn – amazing!

See you tomorrow with some words!

Did you eat any Irish food on St. Patty’s or did you make like me and go for something that had NADA to do with the holiday?

Two Drunken Goats

No, this is not a “grab your attention” title. This is the name of the restaurant that serves as the subject of today’s post on my December Florida vaction! Yeah, I’m still not done talking about it.

Our first full day in Florida was a gorgeous beach day, so we took advantage.

I woke up at my usual early hour of 7:15am, and used my morning to head over to the hotel my parents were staying in (my siblings and I prefer my grandparents’ cozy, familiar apartment) to use the fitness center and get a workout in. It definitely wasn’t the most expansive of places, and most of the TVs on the cardio machines didn’t work, but I did find one functioning television/treadmill and cranked out a 5K, followed by some ab work on a mat. When I’m on vacation, I don’t have my usual enjoyable group fitness classes, so I tend to keep my workouts on the shorter side. This is fine by me, because after all, I am on vacation and would rather not force myself to do too much running, which I don’t really enjoy. Still, I can’t beat the accomplished feeling I get after a workout, and it makes lying on my butt reading magazines by the pool or beach that much more enjoyable and restful, so I try to do something each day.

I took a total break from my recent bookworm status on this entire trip and read the huge pile of magazines that had been accumulating in the backseat of my car since summer (pool season) ended. There’s something about lying out in the sun that makes me feel like nothing but a good fashion or healthy living magazine will do. I even read a few issues of a new-to-me mag, Nylon, which I really ended up enjoying. It was different from the other publications I usually read – very refreshing.

Everyone except my mom (and brother and grandpa, who stayed behind at the apartment – they’re not exactly beach bums) decided to go to the beach’s newest restaurant, Two Drunken Goats, for an al fresco lunch. What a cool place! It essentially lacked one of its four walls, and instead had a bar and an outdoor patio in its place.

The menu was very expansive and had plenty of options for eaters of every kind. I found myself pulled to the Salads section, because these did not look like your typical wimpy restaurant salads. I spotted some serious beasts!

The Specials were written on a chalkboard-on-wheels, which the waitresses rolled from table to table as needed. A cool idea that fit the theme of the restaurant, but I prefer to receive my specials on paper so that I don’t have to ask a waitress to “roll” them over before I can decide on what I want.

Two Drunken Goats also boasts an extensive selection of margaritas! This pineapple margarita was fresh and quite strong – definitely a good thing, because the pineapple’s sweetness wasn’t overpowering the tequila’s flavor. I also was impressed by the generously sized pineapple slice garnish.

My salad was, as I expected, a beast. I ordered a spinach salad with lump crabmeat, hardboiled egg, tomato, cucumbers, onion, green peppers, pepperoncini, scallions, and pineapple-mango vinaigrette on the side. It was wonderful! Took me forever to cut (I like my salads very chopped), but was well worth that self-induced wait. The dressing was perfect and so beachy, and the crab was an extremely satisfying protein choice, along with the egg.

My sister and dad both got quesadillas that looked exactly the same, so I only took one photo. Hannah’s contained grilled chicken and Dad’s had crab and shrimp. Both also had cheese and plenty of sautéed veggies.

Grannan just hung out with her usual glass of Chardonnay – and nibbled on some of the quesadillas! She didn’t get any of my food though – I finished every last bite.

Two Drunken Goats gets two not-drunken thumbs up from each of us! A fun place, perfect for dining on nice days, with something for everyone. On our way out, we had to stop and visit the gentleman who I can only assume is…the owner of the two drunken goats themselves?

Sup, man?

Have you ever been to a restaurant on the beach?