Midday Munchies

Up the Creek without a Paddle

And by creek I mean river.

And let me tell you friends, when that river is 4Rivers Smokehouse you will chuck the darn paddle right out the canoe and stay a while.

Summer must be in the air if I’m making references to eating BBQ sandwiches in a boat, but considering how deliciously messy the Messy Pig sandwich is eating it on the water isn’t too bad of an idea.

Don’t believe me? See for yourself.

Big. Beautiful. BBQ.

Oh and coleslaw, and pickles and jalapenos. Messy Pig, I love you. The 4Rivers sauce is worth keeping around too.

See, I’m very picky about bbq….I don’t like just smoky meat. It’s far too abundant in the world of every boy next door having a smoker attached to his grill. I’ve had a lot of dry pork in my life time, and let’s just say this gal like to keep it a bit wetter and sloppier. My bbq, people. Keep your head in the game.

If you have similar feelings about the good ol piggie than this Messy Pig is the sandwich for you. 4Rivers smoked, pulled pork is moist and tender on it’s own, but when you sandwich it between two juicy layers of coleslaw (that has fresh parsley in it…so good!) and drown it in the vinegary 4Rivers house sauce things are indeed a bit sloppy. This is a knife and fork sandwich through and through.

The toppers of pickles and jalapenos just add that kick to take the flavor profile from “wow this is good” to “oh my goodness, can I eat this everyday for the rest of my life?” Yep, I like a little zing with my ‘Q.











All served up on a lovely afternoon date with my best foodie Michael, alongside some fresh out the oven mac n’ cheese and classic collard greens.

Life is good in the South, friends. Now go wipe that sauce off your chin.

Love to all,
~the messy little southern gal, Jess

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A Teahouse the Mad Hatter Would Approve Of

Anyone who is friends with me in real life, on Facebook, Twitter or even just follows my boards on Pinterest may have noticed I’m a pretty huge Alice in Wonderland fan. Basically anyone who could get me an original edition of Alice Through the Looking Glass would be my BFF forever. (and yes, I know that is redundant, thanks) 

Any girl who follows instructions on glass bottles reading “Drink Me” and glass classes containing cakes labeled “Eat Me” is obviously a winner in my book.  While I’m a big fan of door mice, late white rabbits and silly, emotional girls, one character who still freaks me out a touch is the Mad Hatter.

And Johnny Dep’s portrayal, with the awkward chemistry with Alice? Only made me scareder. (and yes, I know that isn’t a word, thanks) But finally the Mad Hatter and I have something we can agree upon.

That something is Pom Pom’s Teahouse and Sandwicheria located in the funky Milk District of Orlando, FL. Pom’s is a pretty popular hangout spot with the older emo/hipster scene. While I personally didn’t see the appeal of hanging out in a crowded, slightly smokey from the sandwich press, atmosphere for an extended period of time, I will gladly stop in for a quick lunch and a brief perusal of the newest rotation of art on the walls. (both for sale, of course. The lunch and the art, I mean.)

Behold my newest aquisistion from Pom Pom’s.

The Fu Man Chu – Asian Pulled Pork, Watercress, Goat Cheese, Ginger Cranberry Chutney & Red Onions on Pumpernickel Bread. 

Aka, a delicious wacky, perplexingly rich and light with each savory, sharp and sweet bite, sandwich. A sandwich that is I dare say, befitting tea time with the Mad Hatter. And considering I had this delight of a meal with a side of hot, sweet, oolong tea in the middle of the afternoon that is close enough to tea time for this gal!

And just think, I didn’t have to fall down a rabbit hole, defeat the Red Queen at croquet or even paint a single rose red while enjoying my sammy. A win for me, and a well deserved nod to the Mad Hatter, himself.

Love to all,
~the silly gal who sometimes wishes she could escape to wonderland, Jess

Categories: I'll Have What She's Having, Midday Munchies | Leave a comment

Eatin’ Like Teacher

So, we already know that teachers don’t get paid squat-diddly (especially those of us who teach in Florida). But it gets even better. Not only do we not get paid enough (and yes, that 3% cut off the top to my supposed pension plan did hurt more than I expected) none of our extra-curricular programing has any funding or support from the district (well, the athletics programs do, but even that doesn’t make ends meet).

So that means that every team, club, music program and of course SGA are constantly fundraising (and as a club sponsor I can assure you this gets dirty….don’t even think about selling candy or baked potatoes bitches…I will cut you…err that is what my club actually makes money off so please don’t step on my toes). And guess who the kiddies hit up first to buy their token chicken dinner, bbq plate or chili cook off ticket? You got it! Us broke ass teachers.

So this week the band was selling a bbq brisket plate, and I really hesitated getting it. I mean, I only eat so much meat, and dry smoked meat just isn’t my thing.

Thank God this box of wonders was neither dry nor overly smokey. Let’s go on a tour.

Juicy brisket with tangy bbq sauce and bright mixed peppers to top the sandwich, which was encased in the softest roll. SO GOOD. I actually devoured this like an enthusiastic 2 year old with birthday cake. No really, I was super messy and didn’t care that I got sauce on my favorite pencil skirt.

On the side were potatoes, two ways. On the bottom was a sweet potato cake of some sort. It was very dense and moist, unfortunately I’m just not a “sweet potato dressed with more sweet stuff” gal. I like my sweet taters savory. But if you love sweet potato casserole you would enjoy this side dish.  The upper potato puff was a pipped and baked outside the shell “twice baked” potato. I think this would be amazing hot…and possibly with bacon? Yes, bacon FTW!

The icing on the cake in this boxed lunch was well….. the cake! You probably won’t believe this, but I’d never had a whoopie pie before. Um, can I have one of these for lunch for the rest of my life? Okthanksbai! No really, the cake was soft and giving, with the perfect amount of crumbs. And the whipped cream, oh the whipped cream…somehow there were little pockets of sugar crystals that crunched for a millisecond and then melted. Heaven.

All dished up by the Side Dish Catering Company. Aaron Wiley is actually our tech guy at school. Amazing with computers and amazing with grilled meats? Cindy is a lucky lady! (and she is in culinary school-double lucky!)

And I am “lucky” that I guilted myself (and my empty pocketbook) into supporting our music department and my foodie soul.

Now, does anyone have a good whoopie pie recipe? Please?

Love to all,
~the broke foodie teacher gal, Jess

PS. In the ongoing classroom saga, check out this sweet little gecko I caught hiding in a box of new textbooks. I almost kept him as a class pet, but he was a wee babe and I was afraid he would die. So cute though! And yes, that is my watch band he’s lying under. I think he liked me!

Categories: Hey Teacher (Wo)Man, Midday Munchies | Leave a comment

Woman Vs. Food

I’ve met the man of my dreams. What’s that? You want to meet him too? Oh, just to make sure you approve of my hubby-to-be? Ok. Well, I can handle that. Meet Adam.

Yes. I have a ginormous crush on none other than Adam Richman. And yes, at times he grosses me out with the massive volumes of food he consumes (the steak challenges give me the heebie-jeebies the most).

Recently, I was in Fort Lauderdale to celebrating some fabulous birthdays femme fatale style when it hit me that one of Adam’s favorite haunts was nearby! Hello Primanti Brothers! (Ok, ok fine. I know that Adam has been to the original Pittsburgh location and probably doesn’t ever plan on setting foot in this beach side sister deli, but a girl has to start somewhere!)

 I went with the classic Turkey Breast & Cheese, which comes loaded with lettuce, tomato, vinegary coleslaw, fresh cut french fries, all wedged in between two slices of white bread. Now that is what I call a sammy!

I basically had to dislocate my jaw like a snake to get through the first bite! 

Was this sandwich perfect? Not completely (the fries needed salt, and of course I had to add mayo to the bread). Was it damn tasty? Oh yes. (Especially after I added said salt and mayo).  Would I be happy to stop by this little hole in the wall gone famous deli again? You betcha! Oh and did it serve as both lunch and dinner? Nearly. It was lunch and then a giant snack before a late dinner. Nevertheless….who doesn’t love a sandwich with longevity?

Nothing beats a turkey sandwich after a long day at the beach. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to find Adam and offer him a massive platter of some food group!

Love to all,
~the “I’m checking off the MvF locations til I find Adam” gal, Jess

Categories: I'll Have What She's Having, Midday Munchies | Leave a comment

Stealing from Whole Foods: Tabbouleh

You’ve heard me lament about my grocery woes before. You know, the whole “I live in the boonies blah blah, Publix is an hour away, blah blah, Whole Foods is over 2 hours away, blah blah, and don’t even get me started on Trader Joes!”

Needless to say, one of my favorite things to do when I’m traveling is to hit up the Whole Foods hot and salad bars. I adore loading my recyclable fiberboard box with a bed of mixed kale, then layering in grain salads, tofu Waldorf salad, Indian spiced chickpeas, snow peas, cold hard boiled eggs, ahhh.

And my “salad” typically ends up weighing nearly 2lbs! aka 20 bucks, ouch. I guess it’s a good thing I live so far away from my beloved WF.

I had a revelation the other day, that I could make many of my favorite WF hot bar dishes at home, so I’m starting yet another mini series on this little bloggie poo: Stealing From Whole Foods which will be apart of my Expanding my Repertoire challenge to myself to cook something new every week (or so).

I decided to start out simple. Tabbouleh. A Mediterranean classic and a perfect take along to a summer picnic or party. If you too are trying to expand your cooking repertoire, cut back on your Whole Foods bills or just like beautiful fresh herbs tossed with lovely, chewy grains, follow along.

Start with gorgeous bulgar wheat and cook your desired amount* according to the package. After the grains were cooked and drained, I spread them out to cool on a cookie sheet, this is quite optional.
*I just eyeballed 1.25 cups uncooked to make a large batch of tabbouleh to take to a party.

Chop, dice, juice and zest lovely parsley, green onions, tomato, garlic and lemon.

Toss the veggies and bulgar together with the pièce de résistance: feta. 

Stuff into a mini pita, with some accompanying blueberry/brie bites. Yummmmm. 
Based on this first attempt at stealing from the Whole Foods bar, I think this is going to be a very successful heist venture. 
Love to all,
~the Mediterranean loving little thief herself, Jess
Categories: Expanding my Repertoire, Midday Munchies | Leave a comment

A girl cannot live off pudding alone…..

 …even though I have been the last few days. Yes, I’m the genius who has her wisdom teeth removed right before Christmas.  And naturally what have I been doing other than watching copious amounts of Dexter, but catching up on all my favorite food blogs, magazines and cookbooks? Oh right, that is what I’ve been doing.

Um, hello, hungry dummy darling. This is what a girl will do when a diet of mashed potatoes and tapioca pudding is no longer cutting it. She gets creative, and a little kooky.

So, without further ado, here is my contribution to Christmas Dinner: Kristmas Krab Krudites, Kinda.

The goods*:
leftover mashed potatoes
chopped onion
1 egg
*all portions are based on the volume of potatoes….if you had say, 5lbs of mashed potatoes, you would probably want to use two eggs. Just keep adding flour until you have a slightly stiff batter. 

mix, mix, mix
“Flip n Fry” in olive oil

Krab salad (mine is a mix of krab, fine chopped green pepper, salt, black pepper, dill, sugar, mayo and Grey Poupon)

Top the potato pancakes with the krab salad and a drizzle of sriracha sauce, to “kick” it up a little.

Both yummy and gum friendly! 
You could easily make these into a true appetizer, and therefore krazy krudites, by making the potato pancakes bite sized.  Merry Christmas.
Love to all,
~the, “yes, I know crudites are raw veggies, but I can’t have crunchy food right now so I’ll call them what I want” gal, Jess
Categories: Midday Munchies | Leave a comment

Three Cheers for Ri Ra

It’s a chilly day in Uptown Charlotte and as you wander the streets, admiring the oversized Christmas trees, ornaments and other items of holiday cheer. Hunger strikes.

And what better to quiet the belly beast than with classic Irish fare, in a certified haunted building, with really cute waitstaff? You down? Come on!

I started things off right with a Flat Tire on draft. Yes, I know, Flat Tire is an American craft, not Irish, but Flat Tire isn’t available in FLA, so I have to get it while I can.

Yum. Amber and delicious and much less hoppy than one (and by “one” I meant myself, obvs) would expect.

Sweet bar, right? It is over 200 years old and was imported directly from Ireland for Ri Ra’s. Oh and it has a resident “protective entity” in the form of a 30-something bar-tender ghost. The upstairs bar apparently has a few ghosts too, including a little girl who practices her penmanship on the draft chalkboard.

This mess, that I dove into before taking a picture, was one of the lunch specials: Fried Haddock Sandwich with house cut “chips”. So good. The fish was flaky and delicious, and the chips were tender and flavorful. Amen.

Abigail got the special of the month, otherwise known as “The Roast,” which was a 1/2 cow serving of the tenderest beef I have tasted in long while, with mashed potatoes, which bled into the roasted beets.  And were amazing. The beets, not the bleeding part. I’m so roasting beets when I get home.

Stay tuned for more excitement from Charlotte, NC.
Love to all,
~ the good Irish gal, who loves the Queen City, Jess
Categories: Midday Munchies, Take Me Away | Leave a comment

ABP, Museums and FroYo….oh my!

My flight up to DC was quite the adventure, so after a lightening storm caused delay in Orlando, a missed connection in ATL, a night stop over in SoALT courtesy of Wyndham Garden and an early flight into Reagan (which I learned is actually in VA, not DC-so funny to me!), by the time I landed I was ready to ROCK!

What better way to start of a wonderful 3 day weekend with my soul sister, Becca  than a picnic of Au Bon Pain on the National Mall? Don’t mind if I do!

A delicious white bean salad and peach sweet tea

With an amazing view- In the Sculpture Garden, part of the Smithsonian’s Art Museum
Which of course I had to visit! How amazing is the the Grand Atrium? 
(Actually, I don’t know what this room is called, but I would name it the Grand Atrium!)
The only DaVinci (or Dah-Vinch! if you are Dr. Jiang) in the U.S. AND it’s double sided….that Leo, he was a fancy dude!
One of my favorite portraits. Mom has this in her office, because it reminds her of me! 
Loved these- both are about 7 feet tall, and yet all the “action” is in the bottom 14 inches of the canvas. 
The “Art of Dissection” was a great, if tiny, exhibit. I actually took a ton of pictures, to use in my classes…but I’ll spare you-for now at least! ha.
The following afternoon I hiked back down to the Mall solo to hit up the American History Museum.
I took about 90% more photos than I’m about to share, but most of them are of the “Founding Fathers of Science”, so I’ll spare you…again, great resources to use in my classroom. If only I could swing a week long field trip to DC for my kidlets!
The Food Blogger’s arbitrary visit to Julia’s Kitchen. If you haven’t been yet, it’s a tiny exhibit and was totally packed. I was a bit disappointed, but I’m not really into the cliche stuff anyways.
I really enjoyed the side exhibit on pop-up books. 
Can you believe that is a pop-up? So awesome!
Of course I visited the First Lady’s exhibit. 
Michelle’s dress was by far the best. Not that I’m biased or anything.
All that museuming worked up an appetite- FroYo was a must. 
Now, I’ve had my share of frozen yogurt, and I lean towards the tart/green tea varieties, but holy-moly was that Red Velvet Ah-MAZ-ing! I would eat it everyday, hands down! Whoot.

Stay tuned for more DC recaps! I’m fighting hard to resist researching jobs in the Nation’s Capital, instead of writing next week’s lesson plans!  Le sigh. 
Love to all,
~the “I must get my head of the DC clouds” gal, Jess
Categories: Midday Munchies, Snackage, Take Me Away | Leave a comment

Long Lunches are Lovely

If you have been reading closely, or even just reading at all, the last few posts you probably picked up on the fact that I’ve been outside the Sunshine State for a couple of days. Four fabulous days to be exact, enwhich I hoped a rather turbulent, but direct, flight up to Charlotte, NC to visit one of my dearest friends, Abigail and her wonderful hubby George (we were all college roomies, way back when). And even though we are all 2-3 years post college now, we still live on what seems like college budgets, so my vacation time with them was simple and oh so sweet.

We explored Uptown Charlotte and had dinner at a fabulous Cuban restaurant (stay tuned for details on those),  and caught a late night showing of Russel Crowe’s Robin Hood (if you like epic war movies than you will love this. I happen to be a fan, so I was very entertained, even if a two hour plus film is a bit excessive, no matter the theme).

But mostly we just chilled together: by the pool, on the couch, lounging in bed with Miss Shadow (Ab’s Pomeranian, whom I adore and missed seeing all the time. Love you Sha-Sha!), oh and did I mention over food? Yep, us girlies love some food and we found ourselves having wonderful conversations over breakfast, dinner and you guessed it, LUNCH!

And honestly, if you had this spread out before you, to enjoy with your best girlfriend you would take an accidental two and a half hour lunch, too. Don’t believe me? Check it out:

“Stinky cheese and sausage” (said by the hostess with the mostess, Abigail, not this crazy gal- the stinkier the better in my book!), tomatoes and avocado drizzled in olive oil and spices, black olives, the best cantaloupe of the season, whole wheat saltines and oh-my-orgasm homemade chocolate truffle balls. So divine. Washed down with a glass (or three) of strawberry spiked white zinfandel- usually I prefer dry white or spicy red, so I was a little hesitant when Ab pulled this out of the fridge, but it was perfect for a summer lunch.

A lunch which lasted until George walked in the door from work at 5:15pm! Whoops. Now that is what I call a “lunch break!”

Love to all,
~the extended summer luncher, Jess

Categories: Midday Munchies, Take Me Away | Leave a comment

Who doesn’t love a good BJ for lunch?

Now that I have you attention…I obviously meant who doesn’t love going to BJ’s Brewhouse for a good lunch? (No I will never stop with the raunchy jokes about BJ’s, and considering I frequent it at least once a month, just grin a bare with me, ok?)

Seriously though, hitting up BJ’s for lunch is great….let me show you why:Jerimah Red, shocking I know. But hey, this is my fave, especially while they have that “Brewhouse Lite” crap as the “seasonal”, might as well have two glasses of water with lemon!

Garlic and Parmesan Kettle Chips- honestly don’t waste your time or calories on these. I was really hungry when we got there and had dreams of the amazing Black n Blue Chips at Stonewood Grill. Not so.
Pros: came out fast (but so did our whole lunch!), the dipping sauce was good, and they are cheap ($2.89? whatev).
Cons: they are just chips. period.

My actual lunch- the 1/2 and 1/2 dealio:

Cup of Clam Chowder (OMG so good, so rich I couldn’t finish it….totally loaded-LOADED-with clams, drool!) with 1/2 a California Chicken Sandwich AND potato wedges (I took them home to the pups-well most of them ;] )

Now if that isn’t an overindulgent American Lunch to, ahem, “treat you right” on I don’t know what is. hehe.

Love to all,
~the naughty little American Girl, Jess

Categories: I'll Have What She's Having, Midday Munchies | Leave a comment

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