Tag Archives: travel

Southern Snow and Beaufort, South Carolina

I thought I would drop in and let you know that I am, indeed, still alive.  Unfortunately, some new health concerns have arisen to put a damper on culinary enthusiasm (and life in general. . . boo, no more whining, I promise).  Here is a little of life lately. . .

If you live on the East Coast of the U.S., you may have heard that we have another winter storm on.  Right before the last one, J. and I made an impromptu trip to Georgia.  We got there just in time to enjoy a little “family bondage” (a cousin meant to say “family bonding”, but this alternate version now has a permanent place of honor in the Baird family lexicon!).

treedownA lot of ^this^ happened, which resulted in a lot of this. . .

IspyIt is amazing how long kids will play “I spy, with my little eye”!  Jason, his superhero dad, and a cousin spent the next three days keeping 4 houses afloat with two generators,  my mother-in-law kept twelve people fed three times a day despite a nasty cold, and I colored, “I spy-ed”, and hide-and-go-seeked my heart out!

After a visit further south with my folks, Jason surprised me with a mini vacation on the way back to D.C.  We spent a morning wandering around it the sunshine in Savannah, browsing Broughton St. and people watching in the park before heading just an hour upcoast to Beaufort, S.C.  We attended a festival on the waterfront there during college, and came away with the impression that it was a hidden treasure.  Twelve years later, and  a few days of down time: it is a really comfortable, relaxing, FRIENDLY place to pass some time.  The waterfront is lined with rows of porch swings,  truly amazing homes spread for ten blocks back from the water, the food is good, and the views are lovely.  There is nothing fancy happening: this is not a shopping mecca, nightlife seems fairly non-existant, the beach is not easily accessible, and away from the waterfront the town becomes a bit run down, shut down, fast-foodie.  So, if you are a mover and a shaker who doesn’t care for an extreme change of pace, you might want to keep going up I-95 until you hit the Charleston exit.  But if you are looking for a pleasant place to pass a weekend, keep Beaufort in mind.

Jason caught this little guy having a rock star moment in his own private fountain.  So sassy!cardinalfountainThen we spotted this beauty. . .streetcatwhich made this inevitable :) (cannot pass by furry fabulousness!).rubme

lighthouseslickThe sheltered warmth of Beaufort made me long to see the ocean: inland warmth is deceptive, and sunshine is fleeting!  It was plum cold down at Hunting Beach State Park.scarethewolfScare the wolf!  If this reference means nothing to you, disregard.  Otherwise, greetings from the lost boys in Neverland!shylighthouseYep, did I mention. . .Plum. . .Cold.

Places we tried and enjoyed: Blackstone’s Cafe– great atmosphere, super friendly service, plain ol’ diner breakfast food, but with surprising gluten-free options (if you spend time traveling g.f. in the South, you will understand what a pleasant find this was!). Lowcountry Produce Market Cafe– really good food, lovely building, and fun browsing of local food and artisan goods.  Panini’s Cafe–  usually we skip places with enormous menus, but this one had the little “gf” symbol all over it (again, rare) so we had to give it a go.  It was great, and the waterfront side completely undersells what is waiting within.  Brick pizza oven and prep area out in the middle of the dining room, soaring ceiling, huge deck overlooking the waterfront, and solidly good food.  City Java and News– good hot chocolate and latte.

While in Beaufort I recommend: strolling through the neighborhoods, and don’t ignore the overgrown, dead end streets- they are the best!  A visit to Hunting Beach State Park- a bit of a drive, but well worth it on a warm day.  Grab yourself a waterside swing, or a bench, or a hummock of grass and just enjoy the view.  beaufortwaterHave you ever been to Beaufort, South Carolina?  I’d love to hear about your time there; leave a note in the comments below.


Baby Steps

Today is the first day I’ve been able to get out with collapsing into a coughing, wheezing heap of sick.  This is my third case of bronchitis this year, and by far the worst of the lot.  It has also been the most contagious; at last count we infected five family members (both families over Christmas) and one co-worker.  This afternoon I hauled my pale-as-a-sprout self over to the colonial area to walk around in the sun, and work with the camera a bit.  One of my favorite things about Colonial Williamsburg is the gardens.  We are here for work about twice a year, every year since 2008, and I still tour the gardens every time:  I am a dirt dauber!  They have formal English style gardens, working, educational vegetable gardens, and even a gorgeous estate size garden/park.  DSC_0323

Aren’t these cloches stunning.  The vegetable garden across from the church has an enviable display of winter greens, onions, and some hidden pockets of cheerful pansies.



Also, here is my first attempt at a knitting project.  I chose to start with a scarf for Jason done in rick rack stitch; I found the pattern on Purl Bee.  I’ve learned that I cannot keep up with stitch count from one row to the next.  I can’t even put counters on every other row yet.  I ripped everything out three times before I finally started marking each row!  Okay, enough of my fiber frenzy (seriously, I’m going to have to start another craft blog so that I don’t have to keep apologizing for talking about this stuff :) ).

Look for more pictures and some of my Williamsburg restaurant recommendations coming soon.

Brown Butter Cookies, Q, and a Merry Christmas to You!

Feliz Navidad, mes amis!  I know, I know, I’m mixing my languages, but those two phrases are each so lovely, they should be together once in awhile.  Jason and I are back in Georgia for the Christmas holiday, spending quiet, happy time with family.  My dad gave us an astoundingly tasty welcome with some homemade bbq.


Say hello to Frank’s Smokin’ Hot Butt!  After 17 hours of smoking and baking, we gorged ourselves on this porky pulled goodness.


Add homemade sauce, green beans, “cracked taters” and coleslaw, and it was a very nearly perfect meal.  And while I’m not allowed to share the secret recipe for that beautiful butt, I can slip you a little sugary Yuletide cheer.  What would you say to a gluten-free brown butter, chocolate-chip oat cookie?  If you are smart, you are saying, “Yes, please!”.




This recipe is an update of last Christmas’s gluten-free Chocolate Chip Cookie

Gluten-free Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Oat Cookies


1/2 c. gluten-free old fashioned rolled oats

½ c. brown rice flour

2 c. tapioca starch

1 c. amaranth flour

1 ½ tsp. baking soda

2 tsp. baking powder

1 ½ tsp kosher salt

2 ½ sticks butter, browned and cooled slightly

1 ¼ c. brown sugar

1 c. + 2 Tbs. granulated sugar

2 large eggs

2 tsp vanilla

9 – 12 oz. chocolate (I use 70% or higher), chips, chunks or chopped

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper or Silpat.

In a large bowl whisk together flours, starch, oats, baking soda and powder, salt and sugars.In a separate bowl, mix browned and cooled butter, vanilla, and eggs.

Stir wet and dry ingredients together until fully mixed. Finally, add the chocolate and stir until evenly distributed.  Allow dough to rest in refrigerator  at least one hour, or up to three days, then bake .

Bake cookies in oven for 8-15 minutes, depending on desired doneness. Note: cookies may appear lighter in color than wheat flour cookies when done.

Aside from eating and cooking, I’ve spent just a bit of time finishing up my last sewing project.  This is an unflattering photo of my badly ironed new shirt (I’m blaming my mother’s iron, which I am pretty sure predates the last ice age).


It is an ivory silk/cotton blend that feels amazing!  I love this fabric so much, this is the second time I’ve used it.  Anyway, enough about my boring-to-you shirt.  I really just wanted to take a few minutes  before Tuesday to say Merry Christmas, and may God bless you as this year comes to a close.

Merry Christmas


Virginia Beach

Virginia Beach Boardwalk|via One is Hungry

You know that saying, ”  If you can’t say something nice. . .”; well, this will be a short post!  Virginia Beach was a work trip.  We were looking at it as a nice segue from full, flaming sun, southern vacation to the realities of home.  This was our first experience of the mid-Atlantic ocean and ocean front.  To be brief, we found it was not for us.  I have lots of pretty, cherry-picked pictures from the boardwalk, but they are not an accurate representation of the place or the experience.  However, let’s focus on the good things:  We had a room immediately on the beach (that was a treat), and saw the sunrise colors spread over the ocean each new day.  The food offerings, in town, not the hotel (Hampton Inn, you really need to work on your breakfasts!) were quite good.

The first night we took a leap of faith on an Urban Spoon recommendation, wandered into what appeared to be a biker’s dive bar, and were pleasantly surprised to find ourselves eating some of the best Mexican food we’ve ever had.  Hello tuna tacos with mango-passion fruit-chipotle dressing!  Everything at the Side Street Cantina was fantastic and really reasonably priced.  A few nights later one of Jason’s co-workers introduced a group of us to Mojito Cafe…fantastic!  Thank you, Chris!!  They are open from 5 til whenever they feel like it; the staff is great and the food is truly outstanding.  Jason highly recommends the fried banana cheesecake!  Almost forgot, Sunnyside Cafe and Restaurant has gluten-free pancakes and waffles, enormous portions, and roughly five pages of reasonably priced breakfast goodness (bad news- real maple syrup is by request and $2.50 extra).

Other good things, hmmm. . .dolphins.  So many dolphins at Virginia Beach; at least three separate pods of around ten dolphins each.  They come incredibly close to shore on a somewhat regular schedule.  One day while I was watching the water, a wave began to form about 20 feet ahead of me.  As it approached and grew, overtaking the couple in my sightline I saw a large grey form riding along inside the  translucent amber top of the wave, staying just ahead of the break.  After a few heart-stopping moments in which I was the only one aware that this sizable, unknown entity was eight feet from the swimmers ,it became comfortingly clear that it was a dolphin.  I’d never seen one so large (about 10 feet) and so close up. That moment had all the elements of my worst nightmares (sharks!) and best dreams (swimming with dolphins) rolled into one!

Finally, the airplanes.  We were near the Oceana Navy Base and received CLOSE, LOW fly-overs about ten times every day.  Once used to the almost sickeningly loud sounds (and I mean really, so loud as to nearly make one’s stomach hurt), it was amazing to see the various planes in flight.  We got to see quite a bit of the Blue Angels, in town for the air show, F22s, helicopters and more.

Those things were really the highlights of our time at Virginia Beach.  On our final morning, Virginia Beach bid us farewell with pelting sand like bee stings and a car that had been very carefully broken into and relieved of its hidden GPS.  More about that here.  So, my final words on Virginia Beach are these:  if you find yourself headed down the Virginia coast with time to kill and hankering for a good meal, by all means pull up at one of the fantastic restaurants this city has to offer.  Then get back in your car and out of town, preferably before 10 pm :).

Fun Slide, Virginia Beach Boardwalk | via One is Hungry



Back Down South: Part Two

courtyard fountain in Saint Augustine, Florida|via One is Hungry

St. Augustine.  I wasn’t born there, and my family only stayed for a year and a half, but it holds in my memory a strong sense of home.  I’ve been boasting of its riches to Jason since we were in college, trying to convince him that there really is one magical place on the eastern shores of Florida’s coast.  Though often we’ve talked of visiting (Jason with a lesser enthusiasm), this vacation presented the first real, and for Jason, inescapable, opportunity of going.  The siren song of that Spanish Colonial treasure lured us away from Fernandina Beach at the obscene hour of 7 a.m. (obscene by vacation standards).  By nine we had wrestled our way through the wilds of outer Jacksonville and were hoofing it in the historic area.  After a bite of breakfast at the Bunnery (don’t drink the lattes!) we were off down my memory lane, and joyously creating one that belongs to the both of us.

early morning on St. George Street, Saint Augustine|via One is Hungry

reenactment at Castillo de San Marco, Saint Augustine|via One is Hungry


Oh the faces you make when you forget to worry about the camera your photo-happy husband is holding! Potential internal conflict-   insane fear of sharks meeting intense love of ocean, desire to be a mermaid and hug dolphins, manatees and sea turtles :) or why, WHY did I wear jeans in 100 degree heat!


guardian, Flagler College, St. Augustine|via One is Hungry


 in the gardens of the Lightner Museum

I was actually the tiniest bit worried about revisiting this gem of my childhood, worried that maybe I had idealized it, that it wasn’t as fantastic as I seemed to remember.  What if I was wasting a day of Jason’s much needed vacation rest?  Now, after the fact, I can safely say that my 11 year old self’s love was not for naught; St. Augustine is amazing .  Sure, just like any other town it has its run down bits, tourist traps, and mundane everyday necessities.  But it also has gorgeous red brick and cobble paved streets hiding dozens of jewel-like courtyards overflowing with heady bougainvillea, palms, roses, oleander, aloe, moss hung trees and vibrant green grasses.  It has cool-tiled, melodious fountains, shady lanes, museums, colleges, bays, bridges–beauty abundant for those who would find it.

We eventually tore ourselves away, taking the A1A back up to Jacksonville and, in the end, “home” to the Hampton.  The remainder of our time at Fernandina Beach was spent exploring Fort Clinch, enjoying (or in one instance enduring!) leisurely meals, trying not to think about the upcoming return to reality.

Just a few quick notes, since this is a web site about food, on the difficulties of eating on this trip back down south.  It can be very, very challenging to find well-rounded, gluten-free meals (or even familiarity with the term gluten-free) outside of large cities in the south.  In restaurants, ask about the ingredients in your food, even if you are ordering something you have found to be a safe bet elsewhere in the past.  Even things like tomato soup, french fries, sauteed vegetables, fudge, ice cream and some salads may be prepared with a wheat component.  Luckily, the south is also home to some of the friendliest, most accommodating people on earth!  Most restaurants will do the best they can to make sure you leave happy and FULL (portions typically run large) once they understand your needs.  That said, do yourself a favor if you have allergies, and pack some supplies.  Breakfasts, snacks and desserts can be especially difficult to manage if you want anything other than fresh fruit.



Camera shy = Goofy


Jason finally made a friend who spoke his language

Sunday morning it was time to move on.  We stayed in town just long enough for Jason to shoot the footage for this video, then set our sites 547 miles north to Virginia Beach.  More on that next time.  Ciao!