this weekend, a group of my friends and i went to our friend’s lake house for the weekend in harbert, michigan. 

we decided to just go one night (mainly because we can only handle one night of intense drinking these days) and drove down friday after work. we went shopping and bought way too much food and only slightly too much booze. the night was filled with LOTS of drinking games - including heads up (ellen you are a genius), catch phrase, kings and an epic game of beer pong that went until like 4AM. we also got in the hot tub and had major dance parties. all in our sweats. it was amazing. 

the next day, a few of us stayed around and went to lunch at greenbush brewing company. i had this giant griddle of brisket mac n’ cheese with a cider based beer. yummy! we also played some bocce ball. i killed the competition. fair since i basically sucked at beer pong the night before. 

before heading home, we stopped off at oink’s dutch treat for ice cream. i got the literal last scoop of carrot cake ice cream they had for the season and it was amazing. 

saturday night, i stayed in and caught up on tv. ummmmm btw how to get away with murder is SO GOOD. 

sunday, i got up early for a quick run by the lake. and then my friend meaghan from college surprised me by stopping by my apartment and we had a big day of seeing chicago! we started by watching the bears game at bull & bear, stopped off at second city to see their main show and ended the night at lou malnati’s for some deep dish. 

all in all, a pretty packed weekend but so worth being a little tired today.

day two of the conference was pretty disappointing. it was so sales pitch esque. highlights were meeting robert irvine (he told me i had a nice smile!) and then drew brees’s Q&A session (he owns a bunch of jimmy john’s aka why he was at a restaurant conference). 

that night we went to commander’s palace for dinner. it wasn’t SPECTACULAR but overall the experience was yummy and it was cool to go to dinner in the garden district. highlight for me was my veal dish with goat cheese grits. and that bread pudding yum. 

after dinner we roamed jackson square and bourbon street. i found a tarot card reader who told me that i would marry soon and i would live a life of luxury (UM HAPPEN SOON PLEASE!) and that i had a fiery spirit. thanks tarot lady. 

we ended the night at lafitte’s blacksmith shop - this really cool old bar (oldest in the country!) and was once owned by a pirate!

immediately following feast portland, i had to scurry over to new orleans for FSTEC - a technology focused restaurant industry conference. all i had to do, luckily, was attend. 

i arrived around 2pm after a VERY early wake up call on sunday morning after drinking too much the night before. so that flight was oh so fun (especially without ANY entertainment on board). but i got there, survived and went to my hotel room to decompress before the main session started. 

i missed the opening speaker, but did catch a panel on restaurant technology before meeting up with my coworker joe and his girlfriend lindsey. lindsey just happens to be one of my best friends (she also used to work with us), so we were excited to all hang out in a fun city. lindsey’s parents are also from mississippi so they drove up for the weekend to hang out with us and go to dinner at sobou

the ambiance at this restaurant was sexy and chic and the food was really interesting. my favorites were the pork belly buns, the sweet potato beignets and the tuna cone with avocado ice cream on top. super inventive stuff. 

we drank a lot of champagne, and then decided to hit the town. probably because the saints game had been earlier, there were a lot of people out. so we bar-hopped - stopping first at the carousel bar. it’s an ACTUAL carousel that moves in circles. we hung out here for a while and then moved on. ending pretty early so we could get up early the next day for classes. 

last and final day at feast portland was much easier than day one. since our booth was already set up, we just had to show up. so my coworker and i decided to trek 15 minutes to go get some voodoo doughnuts. while they weren’t my favorite doughnuts by far, they did have some really cool flavors - like the cereal covered ones (yum captain crunch!) and the bubblegum one literally tasted by dubble bubble. 

we brought the donuts back to our booth, set up and got ready for the attendees to swarm in. and swarm did they everrrrrrrr. saturday was straight up nuts. everyone was like jumping on us for our bamboo plates and our line ended up being like a 15 minute wait! because of this i ended up having to help serve our rolls and got peanut sauce directly on my boobs. so attractive: party of one. 

we sold out of plates and food in under two hours and closed up our booth early. walked around the show for a bit (aka got lots of beer) and went home early to change for our dinner series we were sponsoring later that evening at our client restaurant bluehour.

before dinner though, we stopped off at saucebox for drinks. i got the downtown girl. it was spectacular. 

then we went to bluehour and drank and ate our asses off. the dinner was prepared by chris cosentino (top chef masters 2012 winner!) and kyo koo (current chef at bluehour), and was very interesting.

i say interesting because it was a lot of food i wouldn’t normally even consider ordering off a menu. but the wine pairings were spectacular. some of the photos above are of the piel de sapo melon salad course (one of my faves), the hazelnut fed pork tartare (this had the cider pairing from virtue that was AMAZING), the dessert carmelized sansa apple brioche…and then of course the picture of me man-handling the main squab course.

chef cosentino literally told us to eat this caveman style. like pick up the bird (with its full head on) and bite in. so i did. when in portland right? 

since i was a little bit tipsy and exhausted and my next flight to new orleans was in approximately 5 hours, i decided to skip the after party and head to bed. 

but portland, i like you. a whole lot. i’m coming back some day.