If you ever find yourself in Asheville, North Carolina. Let me start over. Plan a trip to Asheville, North Carolina. And when I say Asheville, I mean 12 Bones. When you combine perfectly smoked meat, incredible specialty BBQ sauces (blueberry chipotle is my favorite), and incredibly rich sides, it’s no wonder 12 Bones has been voted hands down best ribs in the country. They have two tiny locations with rickety picnic bench seating, the food comes out on tin miner pans, each restaurant is open five days per week, and when the run out of ribs they close. You play by their rules. And trust me, you will want to play. These ribs are what dreams are made of, especially when paired with cheesy jalapeno grits and buttered green beans. (Mmm, is 8am too early for ribs?)
Today is my cousin’s birthday (Happy Birthday Ellie!) and we spent this past weekend celebrating. I picked her up from her university on Friday and most of our three days together were spent partaking in our two favorite things: eating and shopping! (We are so predictable.)
One of the amazing stops was Trilogy Café, a 100% organic, vegan, gluten free and soy free café that sits on a rooftop in downtown La Jolla. My mom accidentally found this place and I’m so glad she did! If you also read AnneandElle.com, you know that my mom and I are health nuts, so we were stoked to discover they serve up tons of raw and paleo goodies! But this cafe does not discriminate – even those who could care less about health will be salivating as they watch the fresh salads, wraps, smoothies, acai bowls, and desserts pop out from the kitchen.
I ordered The Wrap of Zen: a raw paleo coconut wrap filled with sprouted house made hummus, butternut squash, beets, avocado, and cucumber, topped with their infamous Almond Love Sauce. It was AMAZING! My cousin ordered a chocolate layered mousse masterpiece, my mom got a superfood salad with the most amazing dressing, my littlest brother devoured an acai bowl, and we ordered an apple pie for the table because we simply couldn’t resist. It was all DELICIOUS!
Trilogy’s rooftop location doesn’t just offer incredible views to gaze at while you eat. You can also stop in for a yoga or aerial yoga class. So my dear San Diego friends, make your way down to La Jolla and check this gem out! I’m sure now that the secret’s out, lines will be winding out the door of this new cafe in no time!
What would a summer in London be without a proper afternoon high tea? Incomplete, that’s what. So when it came to my attention that there was a popular tea room and bakery that served up a cake stand filled with gluten free goodies, I was sold! Enter Bake-a-boo, a darling destination tucked away in West Hampstead. With about 20 brews to choose from, I took advantage of the endless tea by ordering first a pot of vanilla and then a pot of almond, both of which were delicious!
And of course there were the treats! I started by nibbling on the finger sandwiches before digging into the scones. I layered on the cream and jam quite generously… to the point of needing to take a break before diving into the cupcakes and chocolate covered strawberries. Laura and I killed some time by chatting and sipping on tea… but it didn’t last long because the blueberry and vanilla cupcake was
calling screaming my name. As were the chocolate covered strawberries immediately after. But that’s where I had to admit defeat. I couldn’t stomach the last raspberry cupcake, so that will have to be my dessert with lunch tomorrow!
Bake-a-boo is the perfect place for anyone looking for an amazing afternoon tea, but especially fantastic for those of us with food sensitivities! In addition to their gluten free spread, they have a dairy free and sugar free option! And the entire café is adorable… right down to the bathroom adorned with a wall collage of hilarious and clever canvases. Ok, all of this reminiscing is making me crave that last cupcake. Maybe it won’t last until lunch tomorrow after all…
Last weekend, Laura and I headed to a Mojito Master Class. We had such a great time in our attempt to master the mojito, we decided to continue the pursuit in perfecting our new craft. So just four days later, we were back in the hands of the Ping Pong bar master for another round of beverage lessons… this time accompanied by amazing food!
Being gluten free doesn’t usually put a damper on my foodie adventures, however dim sum is probably one of the more difficult menus to navigate… and Ping Pong is a dim sum restaurant. Luckily this establishment is prepared for people like me and has an entire gluten free menu!!! I’ve actually found London in general to be pretty accommodating for those of us affected by gluten intolerance – many menus are allergen marked and/or have a separate gluten free menu of items. Ping Pong sent out round after round of piping hot, gluten free nibbles for me as my friends shared other dishes. I prepared my stomach for the alcohol to come with edamame, a vegetable and rice pot in black bean sauce, rice and meat rolled in banana leaves, a carrot and squid salad, and a citrus mochi ball. It was a feast!
After all that food it was time for drinks! I graduated from the classic mojito on to a blackberry and chambord variation. The result: sweet and refreshing!
Method: Add the blackberries, lime wedges, and sugar to a glass and muddle well. Add the mint leaves, rum, and crushed ice so that the glass is 1/3 full. Using a bar spoon, stir, pulling the mint towards the top. Pack the glass with crushed ice until full. Top with chambord. Garnish and enjoy!
It’s no secret that I’m a wine girl. But when I want to up the ante a bit, rum is my go-to liquor. So it makes sense that mojitos are one of my favorite beverages. I’ve had my fair share of these beauties over the years. When I studied abroad in Spain, I regularly ordered mojitos that were from a machine that emitted mojito mix, rum was poured in, and maybe a few mint leaves were thrown on top if the bar was feeling fancy that day. They were cheap, the size of small pitchers, and generous with the rum so that became my usual.
But let’s be honest – that’s not a proper mojito. A proper mojito requires fresh lime and sometimes some muddling… what is that you ask? I didn’t know either. Until Sunday that is when I attended an Indytute Mojito Master Class by Ping Pong located at the incredible Battersea Power Station. My friend Laura and I arrived early and were served (yup, you guessed it) a mojito to keep us busy. Once our fellow cocktail classmates arrived, the madness began. Demonstrations were thorough, but once the competition started, limes, sugar, and rum were flying in every which direction as we attempted to make the best mojito in the shortest amount of time. As the recipes got more elaborate and the intoxication level rose, the master barman’s face after each taste got funnier and funnier. “Did you forget to add ________?” became a common question. In the end we let him make our drinks while we sat in the sun and enjoyed a lazy summer Sunday.
Now that I’m completely sober, let me enlighten you on how to make a proper mojito… I am now a master after all.
Method: Add the lime juice, simple syrup, and mint leaves, to your glass. Add crushed ice so the glass is about 1/4 full. Using a bar spoon, mix the ingredients, pulling the mint leaves toward the top. Add the rum. Fill the glass completely with ice. Stir again. Top with a dash of soda water, a fresh lime wedge, and mint leaves for garnish.
Viola! A classic mojito made with fresh ingredients!
The week of the best day of the year has arrived: Thanksgiving, also known as the official start date of a month long of feasting before New Year’s resolutions to go to the gym every day begin. At least that’s what the average American’s final few weeks of each year tend to look like. But why? Why not strike a balance.
That’s what this month’s blog post on my mom’s blog is all about… the 80/20 rule that says if you eat well 80% of the time, you are free to indulge 20% of the time. And indulge doesn’t mean binge! Find out more over at the blog…
And also check out the amazing Curried Turkey Salad with Slow-Roasted Tomatoes recipe! It is the perfect way to strike a balance and nourish your body after a Thanksgiving feast. Get the recipe here!
If you have been following my blog for a while, you already know that over the last year I have been dedicated to getting in shape and eating healthy. My body, energy level, and overall well-being is thanking me every day for making the choice to put down the junk food, stop the late-night snacking, and get moving.
But what this post is really about is the launch of the food blog my mom and I have teamed up and created. This has been in the works for months and we are finally ready to go live! Our mission is to deliver delicious, gourmet, organic, and nutritious recipes that anyone can make no matter what their skill level in the kitchen. Each post will also educate readers on the benefits of adding certain health foods into their diet.
This post is all about BEETS! Did you know ancient Romans used beets as an aphrodisiac? And that they’re also an antidepressant? More fun facts and the delicious recipes are waiting for you at AnneMasri.com!
ROASTED BEET HUMMUS WITH THYME
BEET GREENS WITH GINGER AND DATES