Coffee Lovers and Stocking Stuffers

Well, we’re here. We’ve made it deep into the holiday season, and halfway through our cheap, chocolate filled advent calendars. If you’re like me, you’re still (stressfully) shopping for the people on your list. Bearing that in mind, I give you my final 2016 holiday gift guide! This one covers your coffee lovers and your stocking stuffers. Enjoy!

FOR THE ALWAYS-CAFFEINATED

Processed with VSCO with a6 preset

Just like last year, I’m obsessed with the idea of coffee being delivered straight to my mailbox (instead of realizing I’m out at 6am and pouting for 10 minutes before I settle for a cup of old tea). Coffee subscription boxes allow you to try different beans from all over the country, and sometimes from all over the world.

Driftaway Coffee is a customized coffee subscription service that bases their selections for you on your given flavor profile preferences. First, they send you a box FULL of different kinds of beans (my favorite so far is the Brazil. SERIOUSLY one of the best coffees I’ve ever had). Once you’ve had a chance to try them all, you enter what you liked and didn’t to the Driftaway app. From there on out, the beans you receive will be chosen by the experts at Driftaway based on what they think will perk you up the most, allowing you to discover new beans and roasts that you never knew about before.

Learn more here!

Of course, it’s not just what you brew, it’s how you brew it! I like to keep it simple with my coffee setup, but also enjoy experimenting with new brew methods.

  • Bodum Pourover Set — I saw this at Target the other day and freaked out! This pourover set up is a) aesthetically pleasing and b) has a built in filter. HELLO. This is great for your friends who are having trouble coming to terms with their strained relationship with Mr. Coffee.
  • Hario Skerton Coffee Mill — This hand grinder allows the brewer to have ultimate control over the grind of their beans, while also getting a sufficient bicep workout. Probably best for the experienced coffee drinker, and not your friend’s mom who is going to mistake this for a ~ swanky pepper grinder ~
  • Bodum Travel Press — ALERT ALERT! YOU CAN NOW MAKE A FRENCH PRESS WHILE YOU TRAVEL. Easiest decision you’ve made all day.
  • Aeropress Coffee Maker — This simple piece of brewing equipment has completely changed the game for my At Home Coffee Routine. The coffee produced by an aeropress is clean, and full of flavor. It also takes less than 5 minutes (if your water is hot) and you’ll look really cool prepping it in your office’s kitchen. Seriously, do recommend.

    [Also the aeropress kit literally comes with everything you need to brew, with the exception of beans. Have I sold you yet?]

  • Turkish Coffee PotWatch this video and then tell me* you don’t have a hip, home-barista friend who doesn’t need this in their life.

*ADMITTEDLY  I’ve never had Turkish coffee, but I hear that it’s some of the most aromatic and richly flavored around. PLUS THE POT IS COPPER!! Who doesn’t love copper in the kitchen?


Looking for something small and (possibly) snackable?

See below for my compilation of food-and-drink-centric stocking stuffers, all produced by small businesses and local makers from across the U.S.!

1234

56789

101112131415


And that wraps it up for holiday gift guides! I hope that everyone has had a fabulous holiday season so far, and that it only continues to be great.

SO looking forward for what’s to come in 2017 (and what’s to enter my stomach).

UPCOMING: Holiday Giving Guides for the Hungry People in Your Life

When I was in high school, scouting out unique holiday gifts was one of my specialties. I could cross the threshold of Target’s big red doors with a mission in mind and be back out in 10 minutes flat, arms full of thoughtful randomities sure to make someone in my friend group (or my mom) shimmy with excitement.

As I’ve gotten older (and more aware of expectation and whose taste is what) it turns out that gift hunting has lost a little bit of it’s sparkle. It’s not quite the exciting quest that it used to be, in fact, I think we can all agree that sometimes it can get a little frustrating. There have been desperate moments when I’ve walked into, what I’ve deemed is, the last store of my sad attempt to find a gift for someone and have picked something up, sighed as I settled on something mediocre, and felt guilty that I didn’t start shopping in September like I meant to.

And let me tell you something else, there’s truly nothing like quickly, softly whispering, “There’s a gift receipt in there if you don’t like it,” to really get someone excited for what awaits them in your haphazardly wrapped package. My favorite part is the hyperbolized excitement they show afterwards to prove how stoked they are for the thing you have ~blessed them~ with.

For those of you also feeling overwhelmed, clueless, like you’re blindly combing the shelves at the Very Posh Store That You’ve Always Meant to Go Into for the perfect something…these upcoming seasonal gift guides are for you. Of course, it’d be worth mentioning that these are for the people who hold my same interests near and dear to their hearts. Those interests, of course, are the consumable kind: food, cocktails, coffee, restaurants, cooking, recipes, kitchen supplies (ok, less consumable), etc. I’ll be listing them all!

Another thing that’s happened since I’ve gotten older is that I’d rather receive an experience, like an outing or a trip, than a thing (unless that thing is a mandolin slicer because SHE is currently burning a hole in my Amazon wishlist). That means I will not only be sharing my ideas for things you can buy for someone, but also things that you can do together.

The holidays shouldn’t be all about gifts, but I hope the ones you do give are received graciously and produce imminent hunger pangs.

Be on the look out for the first one next week!

PS: Throughout the holidays I’ll be posting some of my recommendations for where to eat and drink around The Emerald City as well. Stay tuned!

Carne Asa-duh

It should come no surprise to anyone that last night (without hesitation) I traveled nearly 20 miles in search of (what I hoped would be) The Greatest Carne Asada at a place I heard about through the grapevine (on Seattle Eater).

Admittedly I spent most of the drive frantically trying to capture a VERY elusive Eevie (Pokemon Go has  made it into this blog post and I’m so sorry about it (no I’m not)), but when we parallel parked next to a mostly abandoned strip mall (after getting lost because we drove past it first) I knew we were EXACTLY where we needed to be.

Hot Tip for finding hole-in-the-wall restaurants: You’re more likely to find an actual hole in the wall than to locate the restaurant on your first try.

The parking lot was PACKED. We recognized the logo painted on the window from their website as we eagerly pushed the door to go inside. Upon walking into the small, one room restaurant we discovered that every table was full. The air smelled like smoke (from a grill, not an ashtray) and meats and I immediately began to salivate. After waiting for a few minutes (and then accidentally sitting down at the wrong table, revealing our newbie status) we finally settled into a table against the back wall.

From the way we were looking at the menus set in front of us, you’d think we were reading letters informing us that we’d won the PowerBall (as if we’d found the Cave of Wonders from Aladdin but, you know,  instead of gold it would be filled entirely with mesquite, grilled meats). FINALLY After much debate we decided on a Rib Eye steak and an order of ribeye tacos, squeezed the limes into our Negra Modelos and awaited our prizes.

While we waited on our meals I admired the plates of everyone else around us: there were giant platters of perfectly cooked meats, papas locas (crazy potatoes!) LOADED with toppings, ramekins of fresh radishes and homemade salsas, and a very tempting bread pudding that was calling. my. NAME. Before I knew it our dishes had been set down in front of us and suddenly it was very clear that there would not be room for dessert on this night.

Let me keep it short and sweet: I’ve had a lot of Carne Asada in my life, and this was the best one so far. The ribeye in the tacos was high quality (USDA Prime in fact!), perfectly cooked (medium rare (THE ONLY CHOICE)), and was complimented best by the house made salsa (served in a bowl on the side), a squeeze of lime,  and a sprinkling of onions, cilantro and radishes. The steak? Served on a pickled cactus leaf and can be described as nothing short of Fit For the Gods. Does that feel too enthusiastic? I’m not worried about it.

My final verdict: Definitely worth the drive to Kent (I’d drive it 10 times in a row just for one more taco). Better news? They are opening in Ballard SOON. They’ve been keeping their Facebook page updated with progress! Check it out.

Oh, and next time? I’m getting the damn bread pudding.

Seattle’s Best Mexican Restaurants – Seattle Eater

Asadero Sinaloa coming to Ballard

Asadero Sinaloa – Facebook

Current Favorites: Food Podcasts

I feel like my ~life mantra~ for my 25th year could be many things, but one possibility is definitely, “so many podcasts, so little time”.  I’m the person who hears about an interesting podcast and recklessly subscribes. This is good because I’m constantly discovering new, awesome podcasts to consume. This is bad because I always have the little red numbers on my iPhone home screen, reminding me of all the OTHER podcasts that I’m currently neglecting. I’m like a hoarder.

(For example, RIGHT NOW IT SAYS 35)

Recently I’ve been exploring podcasts of more tasty nature, and they have been consuming much of my attention span. From learning about the culture, history, and science of food to getting excited about a new restaurant or ingredient to being inspired to try something exotic…they always leave me feeling excited to hear more.

I know I’m not the only one. It’s 2016 and we all like podcasts at this point, right? So take my advice and check out some of my favorites. You won’t regret it. (You will, however, be hungry).

gastropod

 

Gastropod – https://gastropod.com/

Listen if you love: Food, science, history, Irish accents

Where to start: https://gastropod.com/everything-old-brew-again/

 

spilledmilk

 

Spilled Milk – http://www.spilledmilkpodcast.com/

Listen if you love:  Comedy, eating, stories, and cooking tips peppered with inappropriate jokes.

Where to start:  http://www.spilledmilkpodcast.com/2016/03/24/episode-220-frozen-pizza/

splendid

 

The Splendid Table – http://www.splendidtable.org/

Listen if you love: Current events surrounding food, food trends, food facts,  history, stories, recipes, etc

Where to start: http://www.stitcher.com/podcast/american-public-media/the-splendid-table/e/584-field-goals-44920137

GravyPodcast-small

 

Gravy – https://www.southernfoodways.org/gravy-format/gravy-podcast/

Listen if you love: Southern food, storytelling, and history (specifically a history of the American south).

Where to start: https://www.southernfoodways.org/gravy/mexican-ish-how-arkansas-came-to-love-cheese-dip-gravy-ep-32/

eatthis

 

Eat This Podcasthttp://www.eatthispodcast.com/

Listen if you love: food, travel, food news, kitchen tips

Where to start: http://www.eatthispodcast.com/it-is-ok-to-eat-quinoa/

 

Also try: KCRW’s Good Food, Burnt Toast, and Radio Cherry Bombe

Each of these podcasts puts a different spin on being a “food podcast”,  and if you’re looking for something different to listen to I’d definitely recommend giving them a listen, or taking a leap of faith and doing a blind subscribe. Many of them even come with a newsletter and all are available in your local app store or podcast app.

 

 

Seattle Eats | Spring 2016

I’ve heard a million times that you should “put your money where your mouth is.” So, I do. I eat.

I spend a lot of my free time keeping up to date on Seattle’s restaurant openings and closings, which chef is doing what, what new food trend is on the horizon (still not sure WHAT in the hell Poke’ is, but I’ll be finding out soon). I have an ever-growing list of restaurants that I religiously meal-plan my weekends (and happy hours) around. If you’re curious, there are currently around 200 items on it.

“But, what can I do with all of this knowledge,” I said to myself in the shower three months ago. And then it hit me.

BAM. Bingo. Make like a 20-something in 2016 and blog about it. So without further adieu, let’s get this party started.

5 cool places I’ve been this spring

1. Stateside – Brunch
I’ve enjoyed an abundance of cocktails served in coconuts at Stateside, but until last weekend I had never had their brunch. Turns out, Stateside’s brunch selections are some of the most interesting, exciting, and delicious that I’ve tried in Seattle.

We ordered:

  • Vietnamese Iced Coffee and Crispy Sticky Rice Finger Sandwiches to start (the filling in the sandwiches is a FLAVORFUL chili/cumin pork that will change your life. There is also a tofu option.)
  • Hong Kong Style Charcoal Waffle (You CAN choose not to top it with coconut ice cream. This is the wrong choice.)
  • Open Faced Golden Brown Omelette (I chose the shrimp/chili/lemongrass/crab paste omelette per the server’s recommendation and I’m SO happy I did.)

2. Meet the Moon – Lunch/Dinner
Meet the Moon has really everything I require for optimal Spring/Summer dining: nearby waterfront views, sunshine and fresh air steaming in through the open garage doors, a well written and diverse cocktail list that makes me feel immediately more thirsty after glancing at it, and finally TASTY. BURGERS. Meet the Moon is a fairly new addition to Seattle and is located in Leschi (my new favorite Seattle neighborhood). I’ll definitely be going back.

Check out if you’re a fan of:

3. Dino’s Tomato Pie – Pizza
If you know me at all, then you know I am always on the hunt for Seattle’s best slices. While there are a lot of contenders for my Top 3, Dino’s slid right to the top with little-to-no convincing at all. From the first time I walked past it’s new, aromatic, perfectly decorated space on Capitol Hill I knew I was in love. They’ve got brick oven pizzas (pro tip: the square and circle pies are vastly different, so try both), Negronis on tap and they JUST started offering delivery. GET. THERE.

If what I’ve said about Dino’s doesn’t sell you immediately, then the website sure will

4. Ma’ono – Asian Fusion
Do’s and Don’ts of going to Ma’Ono

  • DO: Go on a week night. A reservation can’t hurt, but isn’t required. (But then again there is weekend brunch…)
  • DON’T: Skip the fried chicken (unless you dont eat meat, but there are plenty of A+ veggie options, such as the PEA VINES)
  • DO: Skip the Mac’N’Kimcheese. It’s flavor didn’t live up to my expectations, and there are many other side dishes/apps that hold more promise.
  • DON’T: Ignore the Whiskey List. It’s extensive and impressive. (Or the dessert list, for that matter)
  • DO: Make the drive to West Seattle. It’s MORE than worth it.

5. Marjorie – Dinner / Date
I can say, with conviction, that Marjorie was one of the best Seattle Restaurant experiences I’ve had since moving there. The space is charming, the food is delicious and the ambiance is warm, friendly and inviting. I went with my boyfriend and we tried something from every course listed in the menu. Based on the nature of this review, it should come as no surprise that it was all delicious. I’m not even going to tell you what we got, because I think it’s all worth trying. (We’ll BOTH be upset if you don’t start with the Plantain Chips, though)

5 cool places map-01


Please feel free to send any hot tips my way, whether it be a hole-in-the-wall or a trendy place that lives up to the hype (in Seattle, OR ANYWHERE ELSE). Key items I look for on menus often include: cheddar biscuits, buttermilk biscuits, southern biscuits, and bourbon. (Just kidding).

Follow me on instagram or snapchat to keep up with my never ending snack journey in real time!

instagram: @lacunningham  —  snapchat: lacunningha

 

Some Like it Hot | Saturday Morning

hotchoco6hotchoco1hotchoco4hotchoco3hotchoco2

The weather in Seattle this weekend is forecasted to be rainy with an 85% chance of everyone forgetting what being warm feels like. That being said, I have been craving hot drinks: eggnog (a festive favorite), pour-overs (sue me), mulled wine (for those of us who like to get warm in more ways than one) and, of course, hot chocolate.

Here’s some hot chocolate recipes that I’m dying to try this season:

  • This Lavender hot chocolate
  • Eggnog hot chocolate found here
  • And perhaps one of these two mint hot chocolates; they both looked too good for me to choose just one.

Am I forgetting anything? What are you craving?

Speak to you soon!

x

photo credit for title image here

Paleo Poser | Lifestyle Post

bakedeggsI want to start out this post by giving a shout to to anyone who has ever completed a successful Whole30 or Paleo diet program because that shit is hard stick to. Seriously, congratulations, I don’t know how you successfully said no to pancakes at breakfast (I don’t want to hear about your special flours right now) or how you decided you didn’t need french fries at 2AM after that halloween party with all the jello shots, but you did it. Kudos. Mazel tov. And I…didn’t.

I should preface by saying that, although I’ve adopted some Whole30 and Paleo principles to my life recenlty, I never really fully committed to one of the newest crazes. I left myself the salvation of brunch, occasional emergency burritos (gluten/dairy free of course) and the “I deserve this” chocolate chip cookie to interrupt a stressful day. I have, however, introduced a whole slew of new vegetables and fruits into my diet as well as cutting out most dairy, gluten and sugar (don’t revisit the aforementioned cookie right now.) I’m eating more meat than usual to get my protein fix and backing that up with an hour of working out every other day. I definitely do feel better and can tell the difference in my mood and overall being when I interrupt my healthy flow, so I think I’m going to keep this thing up.

As I write this, I’m sitting here (petrified that my old, tiny oven in my ancient studio apartment is probably going to catch my dutch oven on fire) deeply inhaling the aromas of apple porkchops wafting through my apartment so I thought I’d list out a few of my favorite Clean/paleo/whole30 substitutes and recipes from the past couple of weeks:

Breakfast– Last weekend one of my favorite new Seattle friends and I decided to make brunch instead of going out like we normally do on Sundays. We made these baked eggs , brought to us by Minimalist Baker and they were to diiiiie for. Another breakfast option I’ve been loving is a bowl with strawberries and walnuts topped with a splash of hemp/coconut milk. The Tempt brand has an unsweetened one that is everything to me.*

Lunch//Dinner – Pasta is such a quick easy meal when you’re eating like a normal human, but turns out wheat pastas/noodles aren’t as good for you as vegetables. One of my favorite pasta alternatives so far has been zucchini pasta. This recipe calls for fresh cranberries and pinenuts (how festive for fall, right?) but on my second batch I subbed for blueberries and slivered almonds and it was AWESOME. Highly recommend. The pork chops that are currently flooding my apartment with savory aromas and audible stomach growling symphonies can be found here.

*I know that with most of these programs you’re supposed to make your own milks/not have any at all but let me live a little, ya’ll. I’m new at this
**I’m not a dietician or really even good at dieting so take everything I just said with a grain of salt (but not too much or you’ll bloat, AMIRIGHT?)

Eating healthy doesn’t suck.  Pro tip: You probably will get sick less this cold season if you just give it a little extra effort. Sleep, Water, Excercise, Healthy diet. Do yourself a favor and feel better.

Gust | Monday Playlist

gust

Well we’ve made it to Halloween week. The week when cobwebs are acceptable, being spooked is the norm and… Christmas music has started to play in three too many stores already. I can’t even talk about the commercials that have already started airing.

ONE HOLIDAY AT A TIME, AMERICA, COME ON.

Monday playlist this week is upbeat to keep you moving through this eerie week. Halloween is next weekend, so if you’re still trying to figure out your costume hopefully this list can get you through your fierce brainstorming sesh about how you’ll achieve being the most cleverly decked out at your upcoming masquerade.

(Pro tip: Marco YOLO is a great route to go).

Enjoy!

Speak to you soon,

 

x

Metropole | Cincinnati Ohio City Guide

metropolepromo Cincy58

Cincy65Cincy59Cincy67Cincy61

While I was in Cincinnati last weekend I had the opportunity to try out a lot of new food and drinks. By far my favorite restaurant that we visited (and the only one we went to more than once) was Metropole. Metropole is located inside the 21c Museum Hotel in downtown Cincinnati.

Conde Naste Traveler Readers Choice Awards put  21c in Cincy as the number one hotel in the US right now (and 11th in the WORLD), so needless to say I was anxious to pay it a visit. The building is in the art district of downtown, next to the Contemporary Arts Center and adjacent to the Aronoff Center for the Arts, and used to house the Metropole Hotel which opened in 1924. The hotel doubles as an art gallery and houses rotating exhibits on several of its floors. So cool.

Walking in I immediately knew we were in another one of Cincinnati’s restored 1920’s buildings by the mesmerizing terrazzo tile flooring and colorfully carpeted spiral staircase that corkscrews through the center of the hotel. Though I didn’t see one of the rooms, I can only imagine how fantastic they are.

21c3Cincy6421cCincy66   21c2

 

The restaurant in the hotel, keeping the namesake of the landmark, was just as spectacular. Natural light poured through the arch-framed windows and spilled onto the dark wooden table tops and illuminated the golden, bell jar lanterns hanging from the ceiling. We went for brunch and menu was simple, but the flavor profiles were incredibly interesting and the dish presentation was immaculately executed. We went for the olive oil poached tuna, avocado toast and the burnt carrot salad.

Spoiler alert: we had to keep taking pauses during lunch to talk about how good everything was. Or to just exclaim, “YUM,” or just  “MMMM.”

But onto more important things: the cocktail menu. Not only was the food exquisite, but the cocktails are what we returned for in the evening. I tried the Phil Collins and the Annie Hall (both Bulleit bourbon based), and also had a sip of the Vespa (gin+vodka with a hint of cucumber and lavender). The Phil Collins was my favorite. Must have been the notes of cilantro or the guava bitters. I wish I could drink one every day (without having a problem).

If you’re in Cincinnati I definitely recommend checking 21c/Metropole out. Not only is it an award winning hotel, but Metropole just won best restaurant in Cincy as well. Get going!

I’ve got so many more photos/places to share, but it wanted to break it down into digestible bits. Be on the lookout for more.

 

Speak to you soon!

 

x

Charleston via Iphone | Photo Diary

Processed with VSCOcam with m6 preset Processed with VSCOcam with a6 preset Processed with VSCOcam with b1 preset Processed with VSCOcam with g3 preset Processed with VSCOcam with a6 preset Processed with VSCOcam with n1 preset Processed with VSCOcam with a1 preset Processed with VSCOcam with a6 preset Processed with VSCOcam with c2 preset Processed with VSCOcam with g3 preset Processed with VSCOcam with a6 preset Processed with VSCOcam with g3 preset

1. My first impression of Isle of Palm was surreal. After being on the road all day ALL I wanted was the sand and the surf. It’s not an exaggeration to say that the salty air was the elixir that would get me through the rest of day.

2. Brunch at Toast! Of Charleston. I went to Toast twice; the first time offhandedly and the second was planned. My first trip there I was there during Sunday brunch. After doing a quick sweep of the menu I decided on a mimosa and a dish called Eggs on Meeting Street: a poached egg perched on top of a crab cake and a fried green tomato with remoulade and the most pillowy biscuit I’ve ever eaten…divine, okay? The company at Toast wasn’t bad either.

3. There was tile work everywhere in Charleston, especially on Kingstreet. Talk about a city with attention to detail.

4. Because, once again, I could not get enough of the beach. One of the best parts of the trip was just grabbing a quick picnic at whole foods and camping out on the sand until the sun went down. People watching was on point–but mostly I was excited about the puppy watching.

5. Black Tap coffee was entirely too charming and delicious. An iced coffee there was the perfect break to walking around in the hot sun all day (and also a break from a chapter in the story called: I locked my keys in my car. Woops).

6. Breakfast in bed because the berries were too vibrant not to capture.

7. Sunny flowers on rainy days.

8. My trip down to Charleston was a self proclaimed #coffeeroadtrip. I stopped at a stop in Chattanooga and a shop in Atlanta. The shop in Atlanta was called Octane and it was by far the smoothest cup of Ethiopian coffee I have ever had. Octane is a café and a bar, so needless to say I can’t think of any better place to be watching the World Cup right now.

9. I could’ve strolled down King Street alllllll day. And I did. And I got a really unappealing sunburn (pun intended)…(the pun is always intended you guys).

10. Another shot of the sunset over the sea at Isle of Palm. Perfection.

11. Milk and Honey was the other shop I stopped at on my way to Charleston. Before I had even gone inside I was in love. How can you deny such a cute store front? The inside was just as charming with the same honeycomb tiling and beautiful typography all over the walls. I’m crushing haaard on their branding. (And also their honey latte was the sweetest of treats).

12. Being on the beach alone was never lonely. No, it was really introspective for the most part. Just taking time to really absorb how the waves work and and massive it all is. It’s crazy. I recommend taking a personal moment or ten by the waves some time. You’ll get more sorting out done in your brain that you bargain for.

All of these photos were from my instagram which you can follow at @lacunningham!

I also updated my personal portfolio today and I would love for you to go take a look!

 

Speak to you soon

x