The Jealous Crumpet

A sweet little blog


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Tis the season of good eatin’

38769165_500387043756234_7140208985856016384_n copyFoodies rejoice! Once again restaurant week is upon the city of Huntsville. From August 10 until the 19th restaurants across Madison County are offering their fare at promotional prices. Even the breweries are jumping into the fun with new brews. As part of the promotion for Restaurant Week, I got to sample some of the promotional dishes with the Resturant Week Blogger tour. This is my fourth year to participate (I missed last year because was visiting my in-laws in France! Lucky me!!) and I love it! I get to eat good food with lots of talented food bloggers. What’s not to love. Plus it’s nice because food bloggers don’t even notice the weird things I do like stand on a chair to photograph a piece of cheesecake or gush about how adorable that curl of lettuce it in a salad. Normal people just don’t understand, but food bloggers will offer to hold the reflector. Below: Bloggers doing their blog thang!But seriously how pretty is the salad below!!!!  This year I got to try the special dishes at two restaurants I’d never tried before: Ruth’s Chris Steak House and Keegan’s Public House.Let’s start with Ruth’s Chris. Great restaurants, but I find the name super confusing. Nine times out of ten I call it “Chris’s Ruth” or “that Ruth Steakplace” or “Ruth Christoper’s Resturant”. I digress. As I said before I’d never been, so I let me GPS lead the way. This was a mistake because it led me straight to the Publix Loading Dock. As I walked to the back of Publix I thought, “this is a weird place for a fancy steakhouse” and I was right because there was nothing but some confused employees and dumpsters back there. I eventually got there. It wasn’t confusing, but GPS was just a jerk.1y2b7594-e1533774057866.jpgI met an assortment of extremely talented bloggers and got to eating! Please check their blogs out as well. I know I will. www.diningwithdeliajo.com happeninsintheham.com the bitter socialite rocket city eats hvsfoodlifeWe got to try an assortment of dishes but my absolute favorite was the scallops!! I really wanted to try to Lobster Mac and Cheese, but I have an allergy, but dang it looked GOOOOOOD!!!!!Earlier in the day, I tried Keegan’s Public House. I did not get lost, so I was actually on time to this one.  The restaurant itself is really fun. It is located in the AL.COM building (shout out to all my journalist besties! You rock!! May the Fourth Estate Be With You!)There were different bloggers at this event and I got to meet Love at First Bite and Ihearthsv.comWe started out with the house chips with blue cheese.I ordered the Shepard’s Pie, which was everything you want comfort food to be: warm, tasty, the vegetables hidden at the bottom.  There was also a nice salad

 

Bloggers taking the shots of the dessert on the left. It’s amazing that it wasn’t melted by the end.

…and most importantly yummy, totally unhealthy, but oh so good dessert. It was Krispy Kreme Bread Pudding with Ice Cream and Whipped Cream on top. Yes, you read that right. It came with 4 spoons to prevent anyone from overeating and slipping into a food coma.

 

As you go into Restaurant Week make sure you tag all your local food pics on social media with #dinehsv to win prices and if not prices glory. There are also the most adorable gifs from your posts on Instagram. Just search for #dinehsv. 

So grab your forks and see y’all out and about from Aug 10th to the 19th!


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Imagine That Cafe & Bakery

Imagine That BakeryNothing is quite so idyllic as Sunday morning brunch. Just talking about it makes me feel like a Jane Austin heroine, but I’m pretty lazy on the weekends so it is rare for me to actually partake in the custom. Thankfully, on my last leg of Florence Restaurant Week I found myself at Imagine That Cafe & Bakery for brunch.

Imagine That Front DoorImagine That is absolutely charming. It is a narrow, little restaurant but that only enhances the cozy, European feel. The restaurant is SO cozy that we actually walked past it twice not realizing where it was. It’s not really that hidden, but the business front is narrow and we were not paying the best attention.  Apparently talking, walking and finding the restaurant was too much multitasking for my husband and I.

feature6The interior is warm and inviting. Homespun artwork embellish the walls, while potted plants and delicate china adorn the shelves and cabinets located throughout the cafe.

Our server let us sit where we wanted and immediately brought over menus and pleasantries. In typical annoying photographer fashion I asked lots of questions about how the food look and she pointed me in the right direct.  feature3Olivier order the Mother’s Day special, Ginger Peach Pancakes with house made syrup and I opted for the bagel and lox, and of course a coffee, which I have a pretty serious addiction to. I love it and I will not seek help for recovery. feature7While we waited for our food I explored the restaurants nooks and crannies. I even shamelessly asked if I could climb into the front windows to get better photos.  Dana, the owner, was very nice and accommodating and let me roam about the restaurant, including the windows. The more time I spent exploring the more fun details and features I found.  For example, the mugs and chairs, though coordinating do not match, making you feel like you are visiting someone’s home, rather than a stuffy cafe. Street lamps line the cafe and glass cake stands filled with pastries and bagels add to the unique ambience.

Imagine That BakeryOur food arrived in a timely fashion, so I stopped exploring and started tasting.  My bagel and lox, which came with a side of fruit, hit the spot. It was fresh, balanced and most importantly delicious.

Bagel from Imagine ThatOlivier was very happy with his pancakes, which were covered in peach slices and chucks of candied ginger. The homemade syrup was amazing and complimented the pancakes perfectly.

feature11I would love to go back and try out their dinner selection, which includes citrus baked salmon with cilantro lime risotto, lasagna baked with house made pasta, and roasted pork tenderloin with mango and peach salsa!  Yummy!

feature9Disclosure: I was invited to participate in Florence Restaurant Week by Florence Main Street. My hotel was paid for by them to make it easier for me to participate and I received a $10 gift card from Imagine That Cafe and Bakery. I paid the remaining balance out of my own pocket and all thoughts and opinions about the restaurant are my own.


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The Pie Factory

The Pie Factory UNA had its graduation ceremony on Saturday. As an UNA alumni I got quite nostalgic about my years at the university, so I dragged my husband around the campus, pointing out locations of various fond memories and hijinks. “That’s where a gang of squirrels chased us down”, “here’s where a weird, religious zealot would stand and scream at students passing by”, “there’s where the LARPers would practice their sword fighting skills”. You know, typical college stuff.

After several hours of walking down memory lane, we made the short trek to The Pie Factory. I was actually quite jealous of the current UNA students, as the downtown Florence area is completely different from when I was a student. There are numerous wonderful stores and restaurants that we would have killed for back in the day, including The Pie Factory.  The Pie Factory

The Pie FactoryThe Pie Factory opened their doors in 2013 with the goal of creating place that served great New York style pizza in Downtown Florence. A mighty tall order, but one which The Pie Factory does very well.feature10We opted for an early dinner and arrived to the restaurant around 5:30. The restaurant was pleasant, with fun pizza themed details festooning the walls. The general ambience was lively, but laid-back.feature6 It weather was perfect, so we sat in the outdoor seating area.  The outdoor veranda had a beachy feel and made me reminiscent about white, sandy summer vacations.  feature3Olivier and I split a wedge salad, which was just they way it should be: simple and fresh.

feature7I knew we would be ordering pizza, but I still agonized over the menu for quite a while. There were numerous interesting choices such as The Funky Chicken, which included gouda cheese and another pizza (I can’t remember the name) which included pork tenderloin and peaches. The Restaurant Week Special is the Arthea’s Franklin, which is a spicy Buffalo chicken pizza, including ranch glaze, grilled chicken, jalapeños, Frank’s Hot Sauce, red onions, chives and both gorgonzola and mozzarella cheese. I did get to sample a slice of this at the Kick Off of Restaurant Week and it was quite delish, but in the end I went super basic and got The Sweet Marguerite.

 Tomatoes + Basil + Mozzarella = Perfection

feature9Shortly after we got our pizza a little bird perched across from us, hoping we were messy eaters and he could bag a few scrapes.  See even the birds love The Pie Factory.feature2The restaurant also has an extensive collection of beers.  I was happy to see a lot of local brews and ordered Straight to Ale’s Monkeynaught to pair with my pizza.  feature11In the end we all enjoyed our food: Olivier, myself and the bird. Not that we’re messy eaters but I fell for the guilt trip and tossed him a bit of crust.  The bird, not Olivier.

I am looking forward to going back and trying something more adventurous, perhaps the Funky Chicken.
feature8Disclosure: I was invited to participate in Florence Restaurant Week by Florence Main Street. My hotel was paid for by them to make it easier for me to participate and I received a $20 gift card from The Pie Factory. I paid the remaining balance out of my own pocket and all thoughts and opinions about the restaurant are my own.


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Odette

Odette Florence Alabama

On day 2 of the blog tour I found myself at Odette, an elegant restaurant that prides itself in serving elevated American cuisine, created with local and sustainably sourced ingredients. The restaurant is the brainchild of Owner Celeste Pillow, who wanted a place that embodied her love of food and art and would be a location she herself would like to frequent.

Odette, which is named after Celeste’s paternal great-grandmother, definitely combines delicious cuisine with an artistic spirit.Odette Florence Alabama InteriorOdette is a lovely place that I have been to before and will go to again.  The ambience is great, with exposed brick walls and an assortment of eclectic, yet complimentary details. When you first walk in to the restaurant there is a little shop that sells artisan culinary ware.

Odette shopI become a kid in a candy shop wanting to buy everything that I never knew I absolutely needed. How have I survived this many years without a leather-wrapped cocktail shaker or an adorable pastel bento box?! Alas, my husband is usually able to talk me out of buying anything, but I always look.

feature6My husband and I arrived at the restaurant at 11:00 just as they are opening.  UNA had its graduation that morning and I wanted to beat the crowds of elated college students and their families.

feature5As I had not yet had caffeine that morning, I ordered coffee and Olivier ordered an orange juice. My coffee was served in a french press (how European!) and Olivier’s juice was fresh pressed at the bar. We actually watched them do it. Now that is quality!

coffee from odetteI wanted to photograph pretty food, so I was being super indecisive about what to order. The server and his manager steered me in the right direction and Olivier got the Sugar Snap Pea Salad and I got the Oil-cured Tuna and Avocado Salad.  Oh my goodness, both were gorgeous, which is usually a top priority for me!Sugar Snap Pea Salad from OdetteOlivier patiently waited as I photographed his food first. It can be a giant pain to be married to a food photographer. You’d think it would be all about delicious free food, but really it is about never eating a warm meal (food photography takes time), not getting to order what you want because it’s ‘been done‘ or it’s ‘not colorful enough‘, both things that I’ve said.  Thankfully we both got salads which started out cold.  Tuna salad from OdetteNext I photographed my meal and by the time I got finished Olivier was almost done eating his. So I finally got to start eating mine.  The food was a delicious as it was beautiful.

Our server, who was immensely patient with my numerous questions about how things were plated and the color composition of dishes, not to mention my photographing of … well everything, highly recommended dessert. He has steered us in the right direction so far so we ordered the Lemon Meringue Pie sprinkled with strawberry powder. It was hands down the best Lemon Meringue Pie I had ever had!feature3Odette is a great restaurant that plays close attention to ever detail and I can’t wait to go back!

Make sure you read about the other restaurants participated in Restaurant Week by visiting: DirtPlate and FridayDateNight.feature9

Disclosure: I was invited to participate in Florence Restaurant Week by Florence Main Street. My hotel was paid for by them to make it easier for me to participate and I received a $20 gift card from Odette. I paid the remaining balance out of my own pocket and all thoughts and opinions about the restaurant are my own.


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Singin’ River Brewing

Singin River Brewery

….At times soft and quiet,
other times loud and boisterous.
This was how the Yuchi Indians
described the Tennessee River
as it poured over the rocks and reefs
of the shoals.

                                                           − Singin’ River Brewing Co.

Singin River Brewery FlightMy first leg of the Florence Restaurant Week blog tour began at Singin River Brewing Co. and it was the perfect way to start.

Rob and Michelle Jones started the Singin River Brewing Co. just over a year ago.  They celebrated their 1 year anniversary May 1st. Rob has been experimenting with brewing since the 90’s and Michelle discovered her love of craft beer through Rob after they started dating. The two of them have been touring craft breweries throughout the States since they met. Their shared passion for craft beer turned into a career with the creation of Singin’ River Brewing, Florence’s only craft brewery!

Singin River BrewingMy husband (Olivier) and I visited the brewery/taproom early Friday evening, when it was “soft and quiet”. I’ve been to Singin’ River when it was packed with loud, boisterous patrons and though that’s a fun time to visit, it isn’t very conducive to good photography and leisurely chats with friendly bartenders.

feature7The taproom is gorgeous, which if you visit a lot of taprooms, you’ll quickly find this isn’t always the case. There are beautifully designed rustic tables and chairs throughout.  Carefully matching artwork adorns the walls and the bar is a stylish combination of corrugated metal and raw wood.

Singin River Brewing

The flight (from left to right): Handy’s Gold, Dopplemaibock, Renaissance City Red, and Porter.

When I visit a taproom the first time I usually start with a flight of flagship beers so I can get a feel for the general style of the brews. It is a great way to try a little bit of everything without emptying the wallet and over-indulging. The flight cost only $5.

Daniel was our very helpful bartender. In addition to bar tending he is also a photographer (what luck!), so he was able to give me beers that were tasty, as well as beautiful. He also helped me scope out good locations to photograph them in.

The flight (from left to right): Handy’s Gold, Dopplemaibock, Renaissance City Red, and Porter.

Olivier and I have very different palates, so usually if he isn’t thrilled with a beer I know I’ll love it and vice versa. This makes us the perfect drinking partners! I loved all the beers, but my favorite was the Renaissance City Red and Olivier’s was the Dopplemaibock.

feature4I also tried the Hard Pear Cider, which was nice and light. It was a perfect ‘summer evening watching fireflies on the porch swing’ drink. It was very bubbly, which gave it a celebratory feel. I really wish they bottled this one. (hint hint)
feature5For my last drink I had the Cornbread Saison, which was interesting in a good way. It is brewed with jalapeños so it has a spicy kick to it, which sounds weird, but it is actually really good.

feature6The taproom has a television to watch various sporting events and steel-tiped darts, with dart boards, of course. They frown on you throwing the darts directly into their walls.

After Daniel explained to us how to play Cricket, we played darts for a while.  Sadly, I lost, but it was a close game (mostly because I was cheating).

We had a great evening and will definitely be back the next time we are in Florence!

feature9

Make sure you read the other bloggers posts from Restaurant Week: Dirt Plate and Friday Date Night

Taproom Hours:

  • TUE 5PM-8PM
  • THUR 5PM-9PM
  • FRI    5PM-9PM
  • SAT 2PM-9PM

Disclosure: I was invited to participate in the Florence Restaurant Week by Florence Main Street.  My hotel was paid for by them to make it easier for me to participate and I received a $10 gift card from Singin’ River.  I paid the remaining balance out of my own pocket and all thoughts and opinions about the brewery are my own.


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The Charities of Florence Restaurant Week

Top-5-Charities-542x1024

When you eat at the participating restaurants of Florence Restaurant Week make sure you ask for a ballot and vote for your favorite charity.  The winner will receive $5000 from McDaniel Window and Door Co.  Go Vote Today!

You can check out the charities with the links below.

Room In The Shoals

One Place of the Shoals

The Healing Place

P.A.W.S (Pets Are Worth Saving)

Shoals Sav-A-Life


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Florence Restaurant Week #FRW2015

Florence Main Street

I was invited to participate in Florence’s Restaurant Week 2015.  Wonderful local food (for free), great people, and the chance to spend the weekend in one of my favorite cities. Yes please!

Florence is near and dear to my heart as it is home to my alma mater, UNA. I both studied and taught journalism and photography at the university. I have many wonderful memories of the city, which has great restaurants, fun festivals, and supports an impressive music and arts community.

This year, 14 restaurants are participating in the Florence Main Street sponsored charity event.  Each restaurant will offer specials for participants. As part of the event, patrons that eat at one of the restaurants will have the opportunity to vote for one of their five favorite charities.  At the end of restaurant week, the charity that has received the most votes will receive $5000, generously donated by McDaniel Window & Door.

On Wednesday, I attended the kickoff for restaurant week at Singin’ River Brewery and got to sample food from all of the restaurants.  Everything was delicious and it made me super excited about this weekend.  I also got to meet my fellow bloggers: Eve and Roger from Friday Date Night and my blogger BBF Christi Britten Williams (we were photojournalism friends at UNA) from Dirt Plate.  Make sure you check out their posts this week as well.  1Y2B6654

Below are the participating restaurants of the event.  Make sure you check my blog next week for lots of photos from the 5 restaurants I’m covering this weekend.  I’m seriously regretting making an appointment with a personal trainer on Monday.  😦

Singin’ River Brewing CompanyUntitled-14

City Hardware and Ricatoni’s Italian GrillUntitled-10

Rivertown Coffee Co.Untitled-11

OdetteUntitled-2

Imagine That BakeryUntitled-6

Sperry’s RestaurantUntitled-13

Wildwood TavernUntitled-9

FloBama DowntownUntitled-3

Bookmarks Coffee ShopUntitled-8

Trowbridge’sUntitled-7

LegendsUntitled-12

The Pie FactoryUntitled-4

On The RocksUntitled-5