On the Road Eats: South Bend, Indiana

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Another trip to South Bend.  The fun thing for me about visiting this city is I see or experience something new each time.

Aloft South Bend
I stayed here again.  And no reason not to.  The service is great, the rooms are large and clean and I can walk everywhere.  Bonus when they make you a great breakfast!

Render Kitchen & Bar
I knew the spots downtown and the ones near the college. So I decided to Yelp! and came across something new, new to me, as this great restaurant I found has been around for a couple years.  I sat at the bar, had a very friendly bartender and got to listen to a group of college girls chat about what they are doing after school.  Add that to some great food and a lavender infused cocktail – I will be back next time I am in town!

South Bend River Lights
Since the weather was still warm, I was able to wait until the sun went down and walk over to the bridge and see the lights.  They are interactive based on motion, change colors and are a great way to spend a few minutes at the end of the evening.

Cafe Navarre
This is the restaurant that comes up most often in my searches.  I was there about 5 years ago and it was great.  So I knew I had to stop by for a quick lunch before I headed to the airport.  Small caesar salad and the french onion soup- perfect.  And my boss joined me for lunch and said the beet salad was excellent!

Cafe Navarre Lunch

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The Easiest Hour is Lunch!

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The moms say it takes a village and they are right.  School was about to start and a group of us were talking about the challenge facing us all – school lunch.  I wanted my daughter to make her lunch the night before but all I heard was “Mom, what should I make, Mom, we don’t have any xxx(fill in the blank here), Mom, I’ll do it in the morning before school(we all know that won’t happen!).  So my friend Anne started a facebook group where all the moms could post their suggestions – healthy ideas, snack ideas, breakfast, lunch, easy dinners.  And then I read a post that smacked me in the face.  Make a menu.  Like they do at the public schools.  That was TOO EASY.

OK, so who hates it when you have to pack your lunch every night?  And you don’t know what to pack.  Well, me and my mom made a menu of all the things I like and we posted it on the fridge.  It tells me what to pack like a chicken caesar salad with chips and fruit and it’s so easy that you should go to your mom and ask her to make you one too.

 

We are now in week 4.  This super easy plan is a complete GAME CHANGER.  Create a word document, add pictures, dates to cross off and DONE.  If I am traveling for work, life becomes even easier for my husband since there are no questions.

Nicole, you have changed the way we function so THANK YOU!  The bonus – Nicole shared a photo of her pantry in our Facebook group.  Super organized with clear stackable containers.  So, of course, I had to do a quick Amazon search and buy them too.  Now everyone can grab a KIND bar, a bag of dried apricots or Pirate’s Booty and get lunch ready super fast!

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Recipe: Slow Cooker Korean Beef

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The dinner rotation needed work.  And I love my slow cooker even though I usually wait till the fall to pull it out.  But I was working from home and needed a quick recipe that I could prep during my lunch hour and have dinner ready for the family.  Huge thank you to Alyssa, The Recipe Critic for this awesome recipe on her blog – this slow cooker Korean beef is awesome!!

And the best part, it’s super easy!  Flank steak and a bunch of ingredients that were already in my pantry and frig….serve it with those 90 second jasmine rice bags and add some steamed veggies.  Dinner is DONE!

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On the Road Eats: San Francisco and Sonoma

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A trip out west!  Just what I needed after a couple crazy months of work so I could spend some one on one time with my husband.  I have flown through San Francisco but never spent any time there as an adult.  Below are the things we did, where we stayed and where we ate!

Fairmont San Francisco:
We started celebrating our anniversary a few months late each year to coordinate with the camp schedule. As soon as her camp spot was confirmed we started planning. Leave first thing Friday, arrive in time for lunch. Our room was not ready when we arrived but it was worth the wait. An amazing view of the Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz and Coit Tower!

San Francisco Activities:
WOW- I have never walked, biked and climbed steps so much in my life. We were there for full two days so I greatly appreciate my friend Shay telling me to leave all of my heels and wedges at home and wear sneakers and comfortable FLAT shoes the entire time I was in the city.  The highlights: the hike up to Coit Tower and the amazing views, seeing Lombard Street and the number of spectators, the morning at the Farmers Market at the Ferry Building, Dim Sum at Yank Sing, our entertaining visit to the Buena Vista and best of all, Biking the Bridge.  We rented bikes from town, rode through Chrissy Park all the way over the Golden Gate Bridge, and then over to Sausalito.  We caught the Ferry back and had the best night of sleep EVER!

What did we eat?
I decided not to make reservations since I wanted to eat when I was hungry.  I have to admit that it was weird not to plan the meals but worked quite well.  Plus, next time I am there I will take some time to do a fabulous tasting menu.  For this trip, we hit Fisherman’s Wharf and grabbed chowder in a bread bowl(super touristy, probably won’t go back).  We went for cioppino in North Beach, dim sum at Yank Sing(the only reservation I made while already in SF)- loved the soup dumplings, the potstickers and the pork buns, stopped by the Buena Vista for an Irish Coffee, had an amazing breakfast of Albacore tuna “lox” on sourdough with cream cheese, roasted golden beets and pickled onions at the Farmer’s Market, and drinks at the Tonga Room at the Fairmont.

Sausalito:
We biked the Golden Gate Bridge to Sausalito from San Francisco.  We needed to catch the last ferry so we didn’t have a chance to have dinner there but we did stop there for breakfast the next morning on the way to Sonoma.  You must stop at Fred’s!  Amazing lemon ricotta pancakes, perfectly cooked eggs and Millionaire’s Bacon(bacon glazed with pepper and brown sugar) – Delicious!!

Sonoma Fairmont:
After a short drive from Sausalito, we arrived at the Fairmont.  We stopped at Shug Winery and Gun Bun first and were then greeted at the Fairmont with two glasses of sparkling wine from Gloria Ferrer.  The hotel grounds are very relaxing with a hotel pool and a more private pool(quiet) near the spa.  One morning we rented bikes and rode to the square for a delicious breakfast.  And they offer complimentary car service to the restaurants on the square.  Next time, I will definitely make an appointment at the spa.

Glen Ellen Star
Everyone told me to go to Napa to eat but for two nights I knew I could find two amazing spots.  The first was Glen Ellen Star.  It has about 10-12 tables and a bar and great service.  The menu was great and we shared numerous dishes.

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Oakmont Village Market & Deli:
I mentioned in my wine post that they lost power at St. Francis Winery so we needed to go on a hunt for both food and a spot that had power.  We took a quick 5-minute drive and found a great deli.  Lots of options for prepared meals and a full deli.  We opted to share a sandwich since we had a dinner reservation a couple hours later.  But if you want an amazing sandwich and need it quick, this is the spot!

Girl and the Fig
I was told this was a great restaurant for both locals and visitors.  It’s right on the square and I made the mistake of eating way too many appetizers and never finished my entree.  But of course I had a little room for a shared dessert!  Great local spot and super close the hotel.

I’ve been home for a couple months now and am ready to go back!

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