Super Tasty B.L.F.G.T. or Fried Green Tomato Sandwich | Foodie Friday

Fried Green Tomato Sandwich or B.L.F.G.T.
(My Fried Green Tomato Sandwich)

I got excited when I heard that we'd be getting a bunch of green tomatoes in our weekly CSA goodie bag from our favorite local farmers at Creeksong Farm. There was no doubt in my mind as to what I'd be using them for because I've been craving Fried Green Tomatoes ever since we got back from our trip to Asheville.

I can't say that I've done my own fried green tomatoes before, but I've surely tasted more than my fair share. That's for sure. I knew that the recipe for FGTs wasn't all that complicated, but I went online to find some tried and true recipes to follow along. When I search for recipes, I do it in the Google images category because, of course, I'm obsessed with food photos. Once I came across a good-looking thumbnail I clicked through to check out the recipe.

The Fried Green Tomato recipe that I found was on I like that the ingredient list didn't have too many different items, most of them we had on-hand. It was a pretty basic recipe. And the instructions were super simple, too. One thing that was missing was the cornmeal, but I improvised because it seems like an important element. I used a cornmeal based fish fry that I brought back from New Orleans instead, and it worked just fine.

I worked on coating and breading the tomatoes while Cody fried them up. By the time we were done, there was a pretty enormous pile of FGTs sitting in front of us. At that point, we weren't even that hungry because we had been taste testing along the way. Oops!

The plan was to make Fried Green Tomato BLTs. Or a B.L.F.G.T. :D Although we didn't make any sandwiches that evening because we spoiled our appetites. It was the first thing on my mind the very next day, though. Guess what I had for breakfast! Haha Yep, a B.L.F.G.T.! It was the most delicious sandwich EVAR! Seriously.

Making a FGT sandwich is super simple. All you do is toast some bread, slap on some mayo, layer it with lettuce, add a few pieces of crispy bacon along with your FGTs, and you're all set. Easy peasy!

I had two of those sandwiches that day. This week alone I've had 4 of them! Haha We might even have some leftovers, so I can make another one today. it lunch time yet?!?! :D

What do you think about Fried Green Tomatoes? Love 'em? Hate 'em?
Please share in the comments or on the WW Facebook page!

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5 Unique Places to Drink in Downtown Asheville, NC

Beer Flight @ Thirsty Monk in Downtown 
Asheville, NC
(Beer Flight @ Thirsty Monk)

Asheville is a town with many nicknames. For three years in a row it's won the title of Beer City USA among voters in a national poll. With 10 local breweries operating in this one city alone, I think that it's earned such a distinguished label. I'm not a huge drinker myself, but I've been known to knock back a few here and there. When you've tirelessly walked back and forth on the streets of downtown, you're bound to get thirsty. There are so many options to choose from that it can be a rather difficult choice to make when you're parched and ready to make a pit-stop.

Refreshment can be found in many different forms throughout downtown Asheville. Of course, we didn't have time to hit up every hot spot we intended to, but there's always next time! This post doesn't just outline places to get booze, though. We stopped at a few non-alcoholic establishments as well that I want to share, too.

Here are my suggestions on great places to get drinks in Asheville, NC. 

Thirsty Monk in Downtown Asheville, 

Best Beer Selection: Thirsty Monk — This neighborhood favorite isn't made up of just one bar. It's actually two bars! The upstairs is where you can find American craft beers while the basement bar is strictly reserved for Belgium brews. You'd never know that there was anything downstairs unless you asked, because they have a lot to choose from in the top bar alone. Between the two bars in Thirsty Monk, there are 62 rotating taps. They keep an updated list on their website, so you know what's available at any given time. Cody and I ventured downstairs to take a beer flight. A beer flight is where you get to try several different brews at one time for a low price ($8). I really liked that you didn't have to commit to an entire pint in the event you selected something you didn't care for. On the evening that we went, which was mid-week, there were virtually no other drinkers downstairs. Judging by the amount of people hanging around outside, however, it looks like this might be a local hangout. You can't miss it either. The bar is painted purple!

Rankin Vault Cocktail Lounge in Downtown Asheville, NC

Best Bar for Cocktails: Rankin Vault Cocktail Lounge — The name of this bar was given because it's in what used to be a bank. An actual vault still remains where they have set up a lounge of sorts with cheesy red velvet curtains and a cushy couch complete with a big-screen TV. The rest of the bar was pretty packed with what I deemed to be a healthy amount of hipsters. It was dark and the music was loud, but the drinks were good! I ordered their Blackberry Margarita. It had a nice balance of sweet and tart, and I liked that it came frozen. While they did offer outdoor seating, space was limited, so Cody and I stayed inside with the crowd to finish our drinks. We didn't stay for long, but I would definitely go back to try out some of the other cocktails on their menu.

Asheville Brewing Company in Asheville, NC

Best Family Friendly Bar: Asheville Brewing Company (on Coxe Avenue) — Right around the corner from where Cody and I stayed sat this place. It had a low-key vibe that I felt like was a place where you could bring the whole family. By the time we made our way over here, I was over drinking any beer, so I didn't try any of their homemade brews. Cody tried their Ninja Porter and Shiva IPA, neither of which I liked. Apparently, I'm not a fan of hoppy beers. He wasn't overly impressed, but I didn't hear any complaints from him either. My drink of choice was their Electric Lemonade that was this radioactive-blue color. It was extremely sweet, but I loved it! The only food we tried were the jalapeno poppers, although I have heard that they have the best pizza in Asheville. They had a HUGE outdoor patio with a large projector screen where I'm sure they show football games and such. Had we ventured there sooner than our last night in Asheville, we probably would have been back more than once!

Dobra Tea in Downtown Asheville, NC

Best Place for a Pick-Me Up: Dobra Tea — This was one of my favorite non-alcoholic spots that we stopped at. As we walked past, the sign outside caught my eye. After investigating their menu, Cody and I decided to give it a try. Going inside was like stepping into a temple adorned with all sorts of oriental-inspired decor, the setting was relaxing and serene. We chose to sit at a small bar in front of the large window so that we could people watch. I wasn't in the mood for anything hot, so I was on the lookout for an iced tea on their extensive menu. They hand you a bell (that you ring when you're ready to order) and a small mini binder with a ton of options to choose from! Still stuck on what caught my eye outside, I decided to go with the Kyoto Kinen. It was a mixture of Japanese powdered Matcha Green tea, local milk and local honey. It had just a hint of sweetness. I found it to be very refreshing! Something unique about this teahouse is that they actually travel to the regions in which the tea was grown to source their loose leaf offerings.

Vanuatu Kava Bar in Asheville, NC

Best Place for a Non-Alcoholic Buzz: Vanuatu Kava Bar — This watering hole isn't located in the heart of downtown, but it was practically right across the street from the Orange Peel, which is pretty dang close. A friend of ours told us about it the last time we came to Asheville, but we didn't get to go. We almost thought that an opportunity to try it was thwarted yet again because they were closed, but we ended up going back later in the day during their happy hour. It was a little hard to schedule because you can't have any alcohol in your system when you've had kava (at least you're not supposed to), so we just had to plan accordingly. 

Unsure of what to order, we briefly discussed our options with the “bartender” who offered some suggestions on what to get for first timers. After an explanation about what Kava is, and what it does, we got our bowls of the brown liquid and went out back. I can't say that it was anywhere near as tasty as some of the other things I've shared in this post, but it not supposed to be good. People drink Kava for its side effects, which can have a calming or euphoric effect among other things. It had a bitter and chalky taste that I found difficult to drink, but I almost finished it! My mood afterward seemed a lot similar to how I had already been feeling, so the effects were lost on me. I suppose that I'm just naturally laid-back. :D Although it was an interesting experience to say the least. I'd definitely give it another try the next time we're in town. For a non-drinker, this would be a unique place to go.

Well, that's all I have to share about some of the most interesting places I found to drink in Asheville. As I said, we didn't get to hit all the hot spots we were hoping to, but we'll save those for our next trip! To see more of what this city has to offer, I encourage you to visit some of the other posts I have already published. If you have any suggestions to add, please feel free to share in the comments! Or on the WW Facebook page!

Wanna see more? Check out "Local Restaurants in Downtown Asheville" Part 1 & Part 2

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I Miss Jacksonville Beach Montage | Florida

Jacksonville Beach, Florida

Sometimes I miss being able to head to the beach on a whim. Don't get me wrong, I love my mountains, but I do love playing in the sand and salt water, too. Scouring the shore for shells with my nephew is something I miss even more. To reach the coast from here in the High Country it would take at least a 5-hour drive. It's not something we get to do often because of the time it takes to get there. Usually, I'm okay with that, but I've found myself longing for another day by the sea.

Summer feels like it's coming to an end here in Boone, NC, which is probably why the beach is on my mind. This week we've experienced colder temperatures, especially at night. I've been wearing my knee-high Winnie the Pooh socks it's been so chilly! You won't hear me complain, though, because FALL is one of my favorite seasons. Honestly, I can't wait for it to arrive!

In the meantime, I'm going to attempt to soak up every last bit of summer I possibly can before the weather here in Boone completely changes course. So, until the next time I have the opportunity to head to the coast, I'll just enjoy the memories made this past summer at Jacksonville Beach with my family.

How are you soaking up the last bits of summer?

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Early Girl Eatery | Local Restaurant in Downtown Asheville, NC

Early Girl Eatery | Local Restaurant in Downtown Asheville, NC

This diner-style restaurant tucked away on Wall Street is a perfect place to start your day in Asheville. Due to its popularity we were met with a short wait where we hung out on the sidewalk. But we didn't mind, because this place came highly recommended by people we know and friends on Facebook. It was difficult to tell how large this place was because the dining room was hidden in the back. Surprisingly, it turned out to be much more expansive than it looked from the front. After about 20 minutes or so we were escorted through the hallway lined with creative sketches drawn by customers on the butcher paper used as table cloths. I would have stuck around to take a closer look had there not been an extreme amount of heat bellowing from the kitchen. There were some really fantastic drawings showcased on those walls.

While we were waiting, Cody and I had taken some time to peruse the menu, so we would have a good idea about what to order. Our plan—which totally backfired—was to get an entree that we could share, so that we wouldn't be so full at the end of the meal. The reasoning behind that had something to do with the rather large breakfast we ate at the Tupelo Honey Cafe days earlier that stuffed us till dinner time. There were many more restaurants I wanted to try while visiting Asheville, so I wanted to make sure that we'd be hungry come lunchtime. Great plan, right? Wrong! 

Like I said, it backfired. Our plate of Shrimp and Grits ended up being a really hearty meal that left us feeling just as full. They were different than your normal run-of-the-mill shrimp and grits. Instead of just plainly piling ingredients over stone-ground grits, they concocted a sauce to top them with. It was reminiscent of a cajun-style gumbo, like you'd find in New Orleans. I enjoyed the spicy kick the peppers added to the mix. While these shrimp and grits were much different than the ones I ate in Charleston, I thought their spin on this classic southern dish was an interesting take. 

Early Girl Eatery was a great place to have a homemade meal. It's vegetarian friendly, the waitstaff was super friendly, and the atmosphere was relaxed and laid back. We would have stayed a little longer had we not been in a rush to go meet a friend for a day of tubing. The next time we're in Asheville, it'll definitely be on our list of places to return to!

Interested in taking a look at some of the other places to eat in Asheville?

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The Wizarding World of Harry Potter @ Islands of Adventure | Universal Studios | Orlando, FL.

Hogwarts Castle @ Wizarding World of Harry Potter | Islands of Adventure | Orlando, FL

I'm still surprised when I hear from some people that they haven't seen any of the Harry Potter movies. The books, I understand, not everyone enjoys reading. If you've read all of the books and refuse to watch any of the movies, well, that's just plain weird. Then again, maybe I'm the weird one because I rather enjoy reading about wizards that have magical powers. In any event, I think the Harry Potter stories are fabulous. The amount of imagination it took for J.K. Rowling to conjure such a fantastical and mystical world is beyond my comprehension. What I do know, though, is that the Harry Potter stories have captivated me since the beginning.

I've only read up to the 5th installment of the HP series. However, I have seen all of the films (most more than once), including the most recent movie that brought the epic adventure to a bittersweet end. It was pretty sad to realize that we would see no more movies or read any other books, but it is comforting to know that the Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Islands of Adventure is there to satiate any feelings of loss we might encounter.

The Three Broomsticks @ Wizarding World of Harry Potter | Islands of Adventure | Orlando, FL

From the moment I heard about the Universal theme park opening up this new area, it became my mission to get there. Instead of having to imagine walking through Hogsmeade and the Hogwarts castle, we would have an opportunity to see it in real-life. Okay, so it's not the real deal, but Universal Studios did an incredible job of recreating this imaginary world.

Wizarding World of Harry Potter | Islands of Adventure | Orlando, FL

I was completely enamored by the surroundings as soon as I stepped through the towering gate. The buildings stood tall and were all made of stone. Capturing images of the structures was quite difficult due to the amount of tourists lining the streets. It was impossible to get photos without a hundred heads popping into the frame.

Streets of Hogsmeade @ Wizarding World of Harry Potter | Islands of Adventure | Orlando, FL

One thing that I found particularly odd about the buildings was that they chose to adorn the rooftops with snow. In the summertime it just didn't seem to make much sense. However, I can see that being something special they could do in the wintertime.

Candy in Honeydukes @ Wizarding World of Harry Potter | Islands of Adventure | Orlando, FL

We stopped in a few of the stores that didn't have lines overflowing out the door. Zonko's Joke Shop & Honeydukes were the only ones we managed to peruse. I made a decision not to buy anything from the candy shop at the time, but I'm kicking myself now for not getting a chocolate toad or flavored beans.

Hogwarts Castle @ Wizarding World of Harry Potter | Islands of Adventure | Orlando, FL

After making our way through the streets of Hogsmeade, we headed toward the Hogwarts castle to take a ride on Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey. After waiting outside in a long and windy line, we actually got to go inside the castle. My camera was in the locker, so I didn't get any pictures of the inside, but it was wicked awesome. The ride itself was equally awesome. Read more about them in a previous post: My Favorite Islands of Adventure Theme Park Rides.

BUTTERBEER @ Wizarding World of Harry Potter | Islands of Adventure | Orlando, FL

Once we rode a couple rides in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, and visited a couple of the shops, the only thing left for me to do was grab a cup of butterbeer! I patiently waited in a 15 minute line so I could get a taste. It was well worth the wait, too, because I loved it. The flavor reminded me of cream soda, and the foamy froth on top was sweet. I'd love to have another one right now!

The only downside to the WW of HP was the large amount of people. Other than that, the whole place was amazing, especially for someone who's enthralled by the Harry Potter stories. I'm dying to go back already!

If you had a magical power, what would it be?
Have you followed the Harry Potter books or movies?
 Please share in the comments!

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Local Restaurant Guide to Downtown Asheville, NC: Sweet Treats (Part 2)

Cupcakes Sisters McMullen Cupcake Corner in Asheville, NC

Last week I published a blog post about some of our favorite restaurants in Downtown Asheville, NC. Part 1 of the Local Restaurant Guide to Downtown Asheville, NC included great places to eat breakfast, lunch, or dinner. However, there was one crucial component to a well-rounded meal that I left out. There's only one thing left to do once you're sufficiently stuffed, and that's to have some dessert! I mean, there's always room for dessert, right?!

Well, when you have some great places to grab a sweet treat, it's easy to find some extra space in your belly. There were a couple of shops that Cody and I tried while in town, and I'd like to share them with you.

Black Forest Cupcake @ Sisters McMullen Cupcake Corner in Asheville, NC

For the Best Bakery: Sisters McMullen Cupcake Corner — This unassuming little nook sits on a busy corner across from Pack Square. If you blinked while walking by you just might miss it it's so tiny, but that would be a crying shame. On a whim, we popped in to see what they had available. The small glass case was full of yummy looking cupcakes that were too tempting to pass up. It was tough to decide on which one we'd share, but the Black Forest Cupcake caught our eye. I loved the cherry pie filling they used on top, and the icing was light and not too sweet. We devoured it in a matter of minutes! Had we not taken the last Black Forest Cupcake, I would have gotten another one to-go it was that delicious.

Sipping Chocolate @ French Broad Chocolate Lounge in Asheville, NC

For the Best Sweet Shop: French Broad Chocolate Lounge — Any place that you walk into with a line that stretches to the door is obviously the place to be. Their menu is positively massive with all sorts of chocolately options to choose from, most of which I had never even heard of before. At some point while waiting in line I overheard a lady talking about a liquid truffle that she just had. A liquid truffle?! That's a new one. I had to try it! After browsing through the liquid truffle flavors available, I decided to go with the lavender and honey. Cody picked the cayenne and cinnamon. They came in a miniature coffee mug and were piping hot. I was surprised by the amount of chocolate we received. This ganache-based hot sipping chocolate was velvety-smooth and oh-so rich. I loved it. Next time, we'll share one, though, because they were very sweet. However, we both savored every last drop.

Beer Float @ French Broad Chocolate Lounge in Asheville, NC

We loved this place so much that we visited again the next night. Mainly, because it was a neat little hangout, but also because I couldn't stop talking about the Lavender Crème Brulee that I passed up the previous evening. I'm so glad that we did go back, because it was incredible. The caramelized crust on top was done just right, and the custard had the perfect consistency. A faint hint of lavender made this one of the best crème brulee's I've ever had the pleasure of tasting. Cody tried a beer float served with either a stout or a porter. I can't recall. Anyhow, it was topped with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. I don't usually like those dark beers, but they were a lot more appealing to me in float form. Even though Cody kept dipping into my crème brulee, he seemed to enjoy his beer float. I didn't think it was half bad either. We've actually talked  about trying to do something similar at home :D

Not only does Asheville have some great places to have breakfast, lunch, or dinner, but they also have some pretty awesome places to stop in for dessert.

Did any of these desserts spark your sweet tooth?
I know I could go for a cupcake right about now!

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A Glimpse of Asheville Architecture

Asheville Architecture Collage

I can't say that I'm a huge architecture buff, but I like to photograph cool looking buildings when I'm out and about exploring a city. Downtown Asheville, NC is home to a wide array of architectural wonders, so there are always interesting buildings that catch your eye when walking down the street. While the handful of images I captured of the unique structures aren't nearly as exhaustive as the pictures taken of the places we ate in Asheville, I still thought it might be fun to share a few that I did manage to get. 

What's your take on architecture? Is it something that interests you?
Please share in the comments or on the WW Facebook page!

If you'd like to learn more about Asheville's Architectural history, I would encourage you to visit the National Park Service website where an in depth essay can be found. It's pretty interesting stuff! Click here to read more.

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