Phipps Conservatory Visit with Meaghan Cutrell Photography

Exhibit “SUPER. NATURAL. Glass Art by Jason Gamrath”

I recently had an opportunity to spend an afternoon exploring Pittsburgh’s Phipps Conservatory during the Super Natural glass exhibit. Phipps offers a beautiful, tranquil place to escape to for a relaxing time.  You can stroll for as long as you’d like to, refreshing yourself by soaking in the greenhouse air. These gorgeous professional photos are by my creative BBF Meaghan Cutrell Photography of Westmoreland County. See the full gallery here.

Check out more information about the artist and see more pictures and video from the display on the Phipps website here.

Girls born in October are the best kind of girls 👭

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La Bicyclette – Carmel by the Sea

la bicyclette

I recently got to fulfill a few dreams, taking an amazing trip to California with my BF! We traveled in late September adventuring through San Francisco, San Jose, Moterey, Carmel by the Sea and even Yosemite. A highlight of the trip for me was experiencing the food scene in the Montery, Carmel area. This area features many french inspired spots! The area served as my foodie side’s play area.

La Bicyclette – Carmel by the Sea

I had this spot at the top of my list ever since researching the Carmel foodie scene weeks before our trip. La Bicyclette restaurant is small, charming and quaint with rustic french country kitchen touches. It’s located right in the main shopping, touristy district of Carmel-by-the-Sea.

 

We stopped in for a late lunch on a weekday. I had read a lot about the pizzas, but we couldn’t resist the server’s description of the special mussels with fries, “Moules-Frites”. I usually don’t choose mussels, my BF loves them, and I was surprised to find that these were delicious! They were sautéed with shallots, garlic, fennel, and leeks and came in the classic “Pernod broth,” a white wine herb broth. It was outstanding, full of flavor and seasoning! The fries were truly tasty fried and crispy. It also came with a rich, decadent aioli dipping sauce. I couldn’t decide what was better with the salty fries, the broth or the aioli – I used both 😉

We also enjoyed the fromage board that was served with local honey comb and poached pears. The bread was filled with fruits as a nice, unexpected touch.

cheese board la bicyclette carmel california

I would recommend Carmel’s La Bicyclette restaurant for couples traveling to the area looking for a charming and interesting lunch spot. It was a memorable dinner, I hope I will continue to remember this meal when I look back to our trip! Next time I visit I’d like to enjoy a pizza and tap into the wine list 🙂 I can’t wait to share more from my trip to Carmel-by-the-Sea!

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Must Visit Foodie Spots of Seattle

View from Seattle needle

Seattle truly is a beautiful place to visit. Its also a foodie’s haven. I traveled here over a year ago, but am still totally carrying the 5 pounds I gained from a few glorious days eating my way through Seattle.

I visited in June of 2016. After checking in to the Kimpton Palladian Hotel, I headed straight to the foodie spot Seattle is most famous for, the Pike Place Market. I didn’t stray too far from this foodie paradise for the reset of the trip. This place is amazing, home to the first ever Starbucks, the famous fish toss at the Pike Place Fish Market, and endless food vendors.

I'm in heaven. Gimme it all please. 🦀🐡🐟🍤🍣🍷🍩🍫🍾🍽

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I found a french pastry spot right outside the main market, Le Panier. Le Panier is a classic French boulangerie and patisserie. These are life changing pasties. I woke up at 6:30 am every morning of my trip just to get here and start my day with these pastries. I tried the feuilletés which are puff-pastry tart with savory fillings. I tried the Normandie of chicken, cheese and onion in a cream sauce and the Champignon with Mushrooms in a cream sauce. Truly a savory, rich, flaky treat. I of course also had a sweet option the á la Framboise a croissant filled with raspberry preserves. So delicious. I stuffed my suitcase with these before leaving and would travel back across the USA just to experience these pastries again (probably).

Bonjour, ohhla la

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just look at the flakiness left over. #pastry #flakypastry

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Another amazing spot is the watch Beecher’s Handmade Cheese. They make the cheese right on site in a huge vat. They claim to have the world’s best Mac & Cheese – and it is really good.

Pregaming dinner #macandcheese 🐄

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Being in Seattle I was on a mission for fresh salmon. I visited Duke’s Chowder House on South Lake Union to try the Off the Hook Stuffed Salmon. This salmon was extremely fresh and stuffed with Dungeness Crab, Wild Mexican Pacific Prawns, Havarti, Parmesan and Asiago cheeses. It was really good, bu there was six HUGE fish bones in it. SIX?! When I showed the waiter he didn’t seem to care :/

I also enjoyed a meal at the Crab Pot. The crab soup was exactly what I wanted it to be creamy and flavorful. The crabcakes were also delicious with fresh crab and the perfect seasoning.

Bikini season?! It's Dungeness crab season. 🦀> 👙crab bisque & crab cakes with orange marmalade

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I had a delicious, fresh sushi roll in Belltown at WASABI Sushi & Izakaya, Japense sushi.

The Barbie roll haha 😛 #sushi #Seattle #foodporn #foodie

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Seattle is of course known for coffee so I couldn’t pass up trying the flagship location of Seattle Coffee Works.

I asked the barista for something sweet #☕️ #seattlecoffeeworks #seattle

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I might also want to go back to Seattle to explore the outdoors. Its just a little breathtaking.

Mornin' Seattle

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💙

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🌊⛵️🗻 Lake Union Seattle.

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Okay one more. 🌲🌄#spaceneedleview #seattle #travel #sunset #westcoast

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As for the stay, I found the Palladian so quirky and interesting. Described as “eclectic accommodations that capture the gritty elegance of Belltown’s back-alley speakeasies, hip wine bars and chic urban boutiques,” it certainly is a place you remember. I’ve never met a Kimpton hotel bathroom that didn’t immediately make my jaw drop. This one had all my favorite elements gold, hexagon tiles and white marble.

As for the quirkiness, the paintings and art features paintings of vintage war profiles, with modern-day celebrities.  It’s pretty funny. I snapped a picture of myself laying in bed with my Leonardo DiCaprio pillow. I’ll save the internet from that one.

 

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Summer Visit to Gervasi Vineyard in Canton Ohio

gervasi vineyard lake

As I’ve raved many times before (first visit, second visit) Gervasi Vineyard, a winery in Canton Ohio, is simply amazing. The grandeur starts as you pull in the grounds, and doesn’t diminish in any detail throughout the compound. Seriously please just check out these 360 tours on the Gervasi site to see more of the space. The grounds feature plenty of spots to explore including the vineyards, lake, Marketplace gift shop, casual dining spot the Crush House, outdoor patio the Piazza and main Italian Bistro.

I was lucky enough to visit this past weekend for their annual 8th Annual Bellissimo arts & craft festival.

To me, one of the best things about a visiting a winery is the fun of a wine flight! The Brigante, their sweetest red is my favorite wine by Gervasi (besides the moscato of course).  It is is described as having an “assertive structure, complex berry flavors – ‘Bad Boy’ personality. I’m surprised that I like this wine so much because its not just sweet, but has another layer of something, maybe a smokiness, that I didn’t think I’d like so much. It is delicious. I can’t help but take another bottle home with us after each visit.

Gervasi wine Gervasi wine Gervasi wine moscato is my mantra

 

I am still fascinated with how gorgeous the Bistro restaurant is. It appears to have been designed with an attention to detail. From the looks of it no cost was spared on the hardware, finishes or decor, really creating a lovely ambiance. I was lucky enough to be treated to another amazing dinner here by my boyfriend 🙂 For dinner I enjoyed the Apple and Brie Salad with mixed greens, dried cranberries, toasted pecans, and a balsamic vinaigrette. My main meal was a delicious and rich pasta dish the Breaded Chicken Campanelle of garlic, shitake mushrooms, spinach, fresh tomato, garlic cream sauce.  My boyfriend had another great meal. The Mela Maiale a bone-In Pork Chop with blue cheese, creamy polenta, topped with brussels sprouts, pancetta caramel apple sauce – a pretty fancy dish for $22!

 

gervasi bistro gervasi bistro gervasi bistro dinner menugervasi bistro dinner menu

 

On this visit we were able to take a free behind the scenes tour of the winery in the Crush House building!

 

 

I love looking around in each building on the compound, the unique lighting really stands out to me! I see myself having a wine bottle chandelier of my own in the future.

 

As lavish as the decor is you’d think the menu would be too right? It is! Full of rich, rustic Italian fare, so many delicious choices. Check out the menu here. The best part of all of this? It is affordable. I’m serious. A trip here is a lot more affordable than the usual upscale Italian in downtown Pittsburgh.

It is hard for me to say if its the wine, the food, the scenery or the ambiance that keep me wanting more of Gervasi. I love it all.  Even the drive home through the fields of Ohio is great scenery. I’d love to stay here someday, everytime I call it is booked </3. I’ll keep waiting to see the inside of those villas. I would encourage anyone to check Gervasi winery out for themselves.

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Foodie Spots in NYC for Tourists

Foodie spots in NYC

Eataly, Flatiron

I have no shame for my completely schoolgirl boy band crush level of enthusiasm for Eataly. It is one of the most magical places on this earth. I’m sure of it. It’s definetly my most favorite food spot in NYC. Eataly is a foodie’s ultimate destination. It’s a gourmet grocery store full of produce, freshly prepared foods and pantry goods but that’s not it. The space features also features counters in which you can order a specialty items. They have a meat and cheese counter, butcher, exquisite bakery, Nutella coffee bar, fancy top of the line espresso bar, gelato bar, meat & cheese bar, fresh pasta section, plus my favorite a section full of fresh focaccia bread. Thers’ also 6 full fledged restaurants weaved insides the grocery sections and counters. It’s a huge food hall full of everything. There is nothing regular or ordinary in this foodie paradise land.

As soon as I land in NYC Eataly is where I want to go. I’ve had the pleasure of visiting multiple times over the past 3 years, but my favorite go to indulgences are the:  prosciutto cotto parmacotto & housemade mozzarella focaccia bread counter, followed by the SPAGHETTI Cacio e Pepe pasta or the QUATTRO FORMAGGI pizza & a glass of delicious white moscato at La Pizza & La Pasta restaurant , and then gelato or specialty latte to go.

eataly
Image credit eataly.com

NYC Eataly

eataly pasta
Image credit www.eataly.com

NYC Eataly cappuccino

I love @eatalyflatiron a whole latte 💓☕️

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Nutella latte #eataly #eatalynyc #nutella

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P.S. I’m also a fanatic for the Eataly Chicago location too 🙂

Step one de-board plane. Step two find Eataly. @obvi_g @julieciccaglione @eatalychicago

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Dean and Deluca, Soho

Dean & Deluca is similar to Eataly a gourmet grocery, but not exclusively Italian themed. It’s now a chain, with the first one established in New York City’s SoHo district in 1977. This spot specializes in gourmet prepared foods and imported treasures. There is a coffee station, fresh produce, specialty meats, seafood, bakery, cheese & charcuterie and sushi items. It is a beautiful space with white interiors, white marble everywhere, extremely high ceiling and unique architectural columns. It was 80+ degrees in the city when I visited last, so I treated myself to a iced matcha latte. This was my first time trying matcha and I loved it, really refreshing.

dean and deluca

Hopping on this matcha 🍵 bandwagon. #wheninnyc

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Ralph’s Coffee

Ralph’s Coffee was a charming coffee shop tucked in a corner on the second floor of the Polo Ralph Lauren flagship store, in Manhattan on Fifth Avenue. It’s closed since my visit, but was truly an exquisite and fun spot. The baristas looked like male models, but to my surprise were also genuinely friendly. It was the perfect spot to stop for a break during shopping days.

Image Credit : http://www.ralphlauren.com/us/en/magazine/designing-a-new-brew

ralph coffee nyc

☕️ with Mister Ralph Lauren. Follow more of my NYC adventures on my snap stories at @moscatoismymantra

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The Plaza Food Hall

The Plaza Food Hall is a food spot of NYC that offers a “collection of fine food purveyors, as well as counter-style dining options.” Similar to Harrods of London’s famous food hall, this spot is glamorous featuring stations offering high-end versions of fun foods like sushi, pastry, pizza, salads, noodles and more. My favorite spot is Luke’s Lobster. The menu features fresh lobster, crab, and shrimp rolls, along with a selection of chowders and bisques. My go-to order is the “Luke’s Trio” of half a lobster roll, half a crab roll, and half a shrimp roll.  The seafood is so fresh, sweet, buttery, and seasoned perfectly. The rolls are served on light, fluffy perfected toasted rolls. Definitely another must stop spot in NYC! I mean you’re going to be hungry after exploring the Plaza, imaging you’re Eloise herself – right!?

theplazany.com
Image Credit : theplazany.com

Shrimp roll, lobster roll, crab roll sliders 😛

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Shrimp roll, lobster roll, crab roll sliders 😛

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Sneaking around at the Plaza as if I'm Eloise herself

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Black Tap Craft Burgers & Beer

Grammers this is your place! Such a fun spot for truly delicious, Instagram-worthy food! I bet everyone takes a picture of their food here. Black Tap is a funky spot featuring 90s hip hop and mostly bar seating. It is worth the wait!

The Greg Norman Burger of wagyu beef, house buttermilk-dill, blue cheese & arugula is award-winning & delish! I also enjoyed the Cookie Shake, it’s vanilla frosted rim with cookie crumbles topped with a ‘cookiewich’, crumbled cookies, chocolate chips, whipped cream & chocolate drizzle.

🍨🍪😛

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Pret a Manger

Pret a Manger is an international sandwich shop chain, originally based in the United Kingdom, commonly referred to simply as “Pret”. They “create handmade natural food avoiding all the obscure extras common to so much of the ‘prepared’ and ‘fast’ food on the market today.” I lived here during my semester abroad in London and always do at least breakfast or lunch here when in NYC. They’re not as common as Starbucks of course, but if you’re in Manhattan you’ll find them every 5-10 blocks or so.

I love their sweet caramel lattes, unique sandwiches and “Pret Pots” which are little pots of yogurt + goodies.  Two of my faves are the “Little Pot of Goodness: a sweet little pot of goodness; smooth Greek yogurt layered with freshly sliced apples and topped with brown sugar, granola and warming cinnamon.” Or the “Bircher Muesli: the perfect pot for breakfast: shredded apple, smooth Greek yogurt , granola and honey, topped with pomegranate seeds and lightly toasted almonds.” Some of my favorite sandwiches are the: “Balsamic Chicken & Avocado” or the “Pret’s Tuna & Cucumber”.  Another to go is the Honey Tangerine Juice, which comes in the cutest little bottle.

 

 

Pret a manger 😍👍🏻 #☕️

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By the Way, a Note for Pittsburgh Yinzers Visiting NYC…

Looking for a piece of the burgh while visiting NYC? Our signature Yinzeritas (margarita + mexican beer) are called Bulldogs in NYC!

Great weekend #🌃 called a bulldog in NYC not a yinzerita #sopittsburgh

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P.S. Fun NYC Snap – I’m working on getting my handstand back!

#🌆 #handstand #yoga #urbanyoga

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