Happy Tuesday! After another busy weekend away I am back to the grind and ready to recap my super fun extended weekend in DC with my best friend Caite! Caite and I have been best friends since high school and I was so glad she made a trip down to SC to visit me last April, so it was high time I returned the favor!
She lives in Virginia so we made big plans to meet in DC for the weekend, and by ‘we’ I mean ‘she’ because she planned our entire trip and boy did she do a great job!
Caite met me at the airport late Thursday evening and we went straight to our AirBnB in the city. I have never used AirBnB before but Caite is a pro and she was not overly impressed with our digs. We stayed in the bottom of a row house that had been turned into a one bedroom apartment.
It was clean and the location was great but our upstairs neighbors were horrendously loud (or maybe they own horses?). Oh well, it was a bed and a shower which is more or less all we required.
On Friday morning we grabbed some delicious vanilla latte’s at The Coffee Bar, a hip little coffee shop around the corner and hit the streets!
One of my favorite things about big cities is that you can walk almost everywhere. Walking everywhere with a latte that has coffee art in the foam is an added bonus.
We popped into a few cute shops before deciding it was time for a big late breakfast, Ted’s Bulletin to the rescue!
When Robert and I were last in DC a few years ago our friend Bud raved about Ted’s Bulletin and their homemade pop tarts so I was excited to check it out.
Caite and I agreed to split one but were both way too full by the time we actually finished our food… next time!
After breakfast we did a little more shopping and then decided to make up for our missed poptarts and satisfy our sweet tooth with a few macarons.
We ogled all the pretty colors and unique flavors and went all in for the sampler pack.
As always with macarons I thought they looked a lot prettier than they actually tasted (I’m looking at you fruity pebbles…bleh). The almond and salted caramel were pretty yummy but I won’t be converting to a macaron lover any time soon (Ice cream forever!).
Welcome back! I know you have all been waiting on the edge of your seats for my Candlefish recap. No? Well if you haven’t been then you SHOULD have been because it was so. much. fun!
I knew CandleFish was my kind of place the second we entered the shop. It was open, bright and full of clean smells and good vibes. All of the Chandlers (that is the official name for a candle maker…just like a tailor, cobbler, etc.) were very friendly and our teacher, Kat, was so personable and knowledgeable which made the class interesting and entertaining!
We were seated at our work spaces and offered complimentary water or coffee (or you can BYOB! They provide the glassware FYI) and Kat told us all about how Candlefish came to be, the art of scenting candles and how those scents are created and explained the process for creating our own candles. Fun fact, pretty much every single smell in every type of product is synthetic and lots are created in Switzerland. We all introduced ourselves and had to share what scent we thought we would be if we were a candle. My favorite answer was a guy who picked “steak and french fries” Robert would love that candle if it ever comes to fruition. I chose fresh herbs because A. I love to cook and B. I love clean, fresh scents when it comes to candles. Too fruity and too floral-y are not my favorites. We learned that there are lots of different scent profiles that different smells fit into; beachy, aquatic, floral, citrus, epicurean (think almond, vanilla, food scents), green/earthy, woody, the list goes on. Most of what I was drawn to fell into the epicurean or green/earthy category, go figure!
Kat then showed us the wax melters (I’m sure there is a more technical name than that but I can’t remember) and explained the history and differences between different types of waxes. Candles were initially made of leftover lard, and the Chandlers would go from house to house making candles for families. Beeswax candles then became popular but were expensive and only used by churches and the upper class. These days soy candles are all the rage, and were the type that we would be making during the class.
Happy Monday! Hope everyone had a fabulous weekend! My typical MO on a Monday is to share a breakfast recipe, but alas, for the first time in recent memory I did absolutely NO cooking this weekend…none! Instead of (joyfully) slaving away at the stove, I enjoyed the most fabulous girl’s weekend in Charleston, SC with my best friend Anna! You may recognize her as my wonderful traveling companion from all of my China posts.
I met Anna in college when she became my “little sister” in my sorority and we have been best friends ever since! She lives in Charleston, about two hours away from me and we try to meet in the middle for lunch or dinner every few months to catch up. Each time we meet for a meal we talk non-stop and never seem to have enough time to catch up as much as we’d like, so we decided a weekend reunion was a must. Charleston is a fabulous city, and one that I have had the good fortune to live in for short periods both post college and post graduate school. It is rich in history, full of fun things to do from museums and horse drawn carriage rides to pirate tours and designer shopping, a total foodie destination, and last but not least it is absolutely one of the most beautiful places in the south. There is literally something for everyone, so if you are traveling to South Carolina for the first time, Charleston is a must see destination!
I arrived at Anna’s around 7:30 on Friday and we caught up over a glass of wine as we got ready for dinner. Anna lives close to East Bay Street, which is one of the two main destination streets in downtown Charleston (at least in my mind), the other being King Street. King Street houses the majority of the shopping downtown while East Bay is home to many different restaurants and bars. We decided to try Minero for dinner, a new Mexican restaurant opened by Sean Brock. Sean Brock is a very well known, James Beard award winning southern chef who has appeared on Top Chef several times and has several restaurants in Charleston. I had a feeling the food would be delicious and we were not disappointed.
We started with guacamole and margaritas and each ordered several different tacos. I tried the grouper and the green chorizo, both of which were delicious. I was actually inspired to come home and attempt a homemade green chorizo recipe which I am planning to try later this week, wish me luck!
After dinner we called it an early night in anticipation of a big day on Saturday. Saturday morning we woke up early and headed our for a brisk walk around The Battery. The Battery is a seawall around the Charleston Harbor that is lined by breathtaking antebellum homes. I say homes but they are really more like mansions and each is stunning, unique and VERY expensive. Since it’s safe to say I’ll never be able to live in one of these homes, it’s nice to be able to enjoy them as the backdrop to a morning run.
The day quickly heated up and we walked back to Anna’s to cool off and enjoy a light breakfast before heading over to King Street for a little retail therapy. King Street has everything from Louis Vuitton to Forever 21 so there is lots to see at every price range. Anna and I both made a few purchases before deciding it was time for lunch. King St. has LOTS of restaurants, Burgers, BBQ, Pizza, Lebanese, Greek, Mexican, Asian, ALL THE FOOD! It’s a foodies dream and an indecisive girls nightmare. Luckily Anna suggested Vietnamese early on in her extensive list of everything available and I remembered how much I LOVED my banh mi in Atlanta a few months ago. We ended up at CO, a Vietnamese restaurant I remember seeing when I lived in Charleston but had never tried. We were seated immediately and decided to split a few things so we could both try a lot.
*Side Note* Is it just me or is one of the best things about girlfriends the fact that they love to share? My mom and I do this too when out to eat but Robert HATES to share. Is this a man thing? Or just a mental thing? Like maybe he doesn’t feel like he’s getting enough to eat if we split things instead of having an entire full meal to himself? He doesn’t mind sharing dessert or appetizers but anytime I’ve suggested splitting a salad or entrees I get shot down immediately and he tells me I should just order both/all of it. Maybe I’ll wear him down eventually.
We ordered the edamame dumplings, pork belly buns and a Korean short rib banh mi. It was all tasty but we both liked the banh mi the best. The lunch prices at CO were surprisingly inexpensive for a sit down restaurant, we both left full but not stuffed and only paid about 10 dollars each! I’ll have to remember to add “cheaper” to my list of reasons to convince Robert to start sharing