Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Bartaco Nashville

Bartaco Nashville

Bartaco


          Bartaco is one of the newest additions to the 12 South neighborhood in Nashville! I'd heard that this place gets pretty crowded the later in the evening it gets so my Hubby and I made sure to get there right around Happy Hour time. I'm glad we did because by the time we left there was a pretty long wait to get a table. This wasn't even on a weekend night........it was a Tuesday evening!

Here's what I like about Bartaco:

✠ The decor is awesome

✠ They have a great patio in front of the restaurant so if you like to people-watch as folks go down the street, this spot is for you!

✠ They have an AWESOME warm Apple Cider made with Apple Pie Moonshine (It may be just a winter thing....I'll have to double check). It's so awesome that a couple of days later I went out and bought a jar of Apple Pie Moonshine and a jug of Apple Cider to re-create it at home :-). It's quite a tasty wind-down drink for us at home!

✠ The Mexican Street Corn is ON POINT! My husband and I are currently looking up recipes to re-create this at home too :-)

✠ The service was fast and good

✠ The tacos are delicious !

✠ The Key Lime Pie in a jar and the Chocolate Gelato are both great desserts I highly recommend!




Bartaco Nashville



Bartaco Nashville



Bartaco Nashville



Bartaco Nashville


2526 12th Ave S
Nashville, TN 37203

- Dr. April

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Alluvian Hotel and Viking Cooking School in Greenwood, MS

Viking Cooking School


          This year my husband surprised me with a trip to Greenwood, MS, a stay at the wonderful Alluvian Hotel and a cooking class at the Viking Cooking School!! That man knows exactly what I like :-)


Happy Birthday to me!
       

           I've lived in Mississippi since I was 12 years old and have many friends from college from the Mississippi Delta, but I've never been there in person.



          Smack-dab in the middle of downtown Greenwood, MS is an amazing hotel - The Alluvian. It's honestly a bit odd that this super fancy hotel is sitting in the middle of downtown Greenwood, but it's great because it's such a precious jewel in this Mississippi Delta town. We arrived to a lovely receptionist who checked us in then we proceeded to our rooms where I began taking pictures of the room before we scattered our suitcases and bags down everywhere lol (Taking photos this way has been my habit on every vacation I've ever been on since I was in high school lol!)

          We arrived right before the nightly turn-down service and enjoyed talking with the housekeeper who performed our turn-down service and placed that delicious little piece of chocolate on our nightstand when she was done :-)

The Alluvian Hotel
The Alluvian Hotel




Everything about the hotel is as elegant as you see in these photos!
The Alluvian Hotel


          We dined at Giardina's Restaurant during the 1st night of our stay at the Alluvian and we enjoyed some of the BEST Oyster's Rockefeller either of us has ever had!! My pasta was amazing too!


Giardina's Restaurant in the Alluvian Hotel
Giardina's



          On our 2nd day there we participated in a cooking class offered by the Viking Cooking School which is directly across the street from the hotel. We literally met people from all over Mississippi and other parts of the country who came just to participate in the cooking class just like we did!



Viking Cooking School Store
Viking Cooking School



One of the Kitchens at the Viking Cooking School
Viking Cooking School



Our Kitchen for the day at the Viking Cooking School
Viking Cooking School




We created a number of Cuban Dishes from scratch during our "Lunch in Little Havana" that day :-)
Viking Cooking School



          Yummy Yummy!! Chicken, Rice, Black beans, salad with homemade dressing - all CUBAN Style and all made by us!!
Viking Cooking School





Of course we had to have a little wine with our Cuban-inspired meal!
Viking Cooking School

          Being in the Viking kitchen with my husband was such an awesome experience for us and one we will never forget! I love staying at great hotels, dining at awesome restaurants and now I can add participating in cooking classes to my list!! This was a great birthday ( My 1st as a married lady!) and certainly one to remember :-)

--Dr. April

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Love Is In The Air

Love Is In The Air!


Hey there everyone! 

          I know it's been a while since I've published a blog post here! The reason is because........Love is in the air & life happens lol! 2015 has been an amazing year for me, one that continues to bring me so much love and happiness :-)

          2015 has been the year that I started dating, got engaged to and became married to my awesomely wonderful husband, Mr. Lionel Washington! So, to say I've had a lot going on is an understatement. It's also the reason why I haven't posted much on the blog. He and I both love finding great restaurants to enjoy, but I've been more into him than into pulling out my cell phone and camera while dining to take photos of our experiences and featuring them here on the blog.

          However, my hubby's an awesome cook (maybe even better than me!) and loves great restaurant dining just as much as I do so I will have some posts coming your way soon! Navigating all that this life has to offer us involves adjusting to new adventures and prioritizing our time. Being married to such an amazing guy is both a long prayed-for and well-appreciated gift from above. God has certainly blessed me "real good" with my husband :-)

          Nashville is still exploding with great new restaurants and holding it down with those that have been around for awhile. The great news is that I have an awesome new partner to accompany me on these adventures! That means more to share with you!!

Be blessed!

- Dr. April

Carmen and Lionel Wedding
My husband and I wed in an Intimate Ceremony at the Condado Hotel & Beach in San Juan, Puerto Rico in August 2015. This photo is from our private dinner on the beach after the ceremony :-)



Wednesday, August 26, 2015

The Gathering at Livingston Mercantile

The Gathering at Livingston Mercantile



Grits and Grillades (12 hour smoked pork shoulder, tomato pepper gravy, cheddar pepper grits)



         I recently had brunch with one of my good friends at a new restaurant in my hometown area (Madison County) in Mississippi called the Gathering at Livingston Mercantile. I had never heard of this restaurant, but was pleasantly surprised to visit this awesome new restaurant in the area. The minute I walked in I said to my friend "this place is sooooo Nashville!!!!".  Crystal lived in Nashville for years before she moved back to this area when she got married last year so she laughed in agreement!

          The decor is great and the service was wonderful! The food ->> Fabulous!!! The places is truly off the beaten path, but is well worth the trip. I have a feeling that it wont be long before that whole area it is located in is totally developed with new neighborhoods, other restaurants, store, etc.

I'm looking forward to my next visit back...I may try them for dinner next time!!



You can find The Gathering here on their website

- Dr. Carmen

Thursday, July 9, 2015

5th and Taylor

5th & Taylor



          One of the newest restaurants to hit the food scene in Nashville is 5th & Taylor in the Germantown neighborhood! I tried it out for an after-work social gathering with a couple of my girls a few weeks ago and loved it! Here are a couple of things a enjoyed from that evening:





 These dinner rolls are just lovely :-)



I almost could have just stuck with a 2nd order of these Sausage Cheddar biscuits (appetizer)...they are that good!!!



 This beer-can chicken is super delicious and juicy! (Note: I don't think they normally leave the can of beer with the diner, but you know his food blogger asked them to lol!). The mashed potatoes are perfect with this chicken!



 How dang-on awesome is this dessert?? It's the Elvis Moon Pie complete with bananas, peanut butter, chocolate, bacon on the bottom...AND a picture of Elvis crafted in chocolate right there on the plate!!!





Notes:
❒  Reservations are highly suggested
❒  I love that they offer complimentary valet parking (remember to tip the valet!)
❒  They have a pretty large outdoor patio with it's own bar!
❒  It's pretty easy to find because the address is self explanatory - 5th & Taylor Streets (lol)





- Dr. April

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Bacardi Rum Factory Tour Puerto Rico

Bacardi Rum Factory Tour Puerto Rico


         In my previous post I detailed the "EAT" component of my recent Eat. Pray. Dream. Vacation to San Juan, Puerto Rico. One of those stops along my culinary journey involved a trip to the Bacardi Rum Factory for a tour of the facilities.

         Bacardi is the largest producer of rum in the entire world and it was awesome to be able to see the history of the family owned company as well as the process behind how the rum is made.

Bacardi Rum Factory


           Don Facundo Bacardí Massó immigrated to Santiago de Cuba in 1830 when he set up business as a wine merchant and importer. Within a few years, he began to experiment with the distillation of rum. After years of experimentation he achieved a breakthrough that revolutionized the manufacture of rum and eventually transformed it from a local Caribbean beverage into an internationally consumed spirit.

         The new type of rum, Bacardí, much lighter and milder than the local spirits, became the local favorite. On February 4, 1862, Don Facundo Bacardí and his brother, José, bought a small tin distillery which included a copper cast iron alembic. With this the stage was set for Don Facundo to revolutionize the spirit industry. (From the Bacardi Website)


Bacardi Rum Factory


We jumped on one of the tour buses which drove us around the property and gave us a history of the company
Bacardi Rum Factory

 An example of one of the earlier types of barrels that held the rum as it matured
Bacardi Rum Factory


Many parts of the tour were off limits to photography, as it should be, but we were able take pictures again once we got to this part of the tour - a bar type environment set up with the various types of drinks crafted from the Bacardi Rum!
Bacardi Rum Factory


Parting gifts are always great :-). The tour admission includes a commemorative glass along with a Rum cocktail!
Bacardi Rum Factory

          The Bacardi Rum Factory is in the Cantano area of the island and isn't within walking distance of San Juan. We took a cab there and back with a cool cab driver named Guilermo! We paid him $80, round trip, and he acted as our personal chauffeur - he drove us there, stayed until we were done, then drove us back to our hotel. There are certainly cheaper methods of getting there but sometimes spending a little money for convenience is worth it!

For more info about the Bacardi Factory or if you're interested in taking a tour, visit their website here --->  www.visitcasabacardi.com

- Dr. April

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

The EAT in EAT. Pray. Dream. Puerto Rico

The "EAT" in EAT. Pray. DREAM Puerto Rico!

          I recently made an impromptu trip to one of the most amazing places I've ever visited -San Juan, Puerto Rico! This trip went from idea to actualization in about a month's time. It's one of the most awesome vacations I've taken in a long time because there was no stress involved in planning the trip. I first shared an overview of the trip on my Life Leadership Blog in a blog post HERE

San Juan Puerto Rico


Dr Carmen April Puerto Rico

          It all started from a conversation I had with a good friend of mine saying that in 2015 I wanted to travel someplace out of the country that I've never been before. I've wanted to travel to Puerto Rico for a long time - over 10 yrs, but have never had the opportunity because of school, residency, starting my medical practice, etc.

          I really needed a vacation and when she said she could use one to, it was game on!! Puerto Rico was at the top of my list of places to go so I booked my ticket and the hotel room and less than a month later I was kicked back with my feet in the sand on the beautiful beaches of San Juan, Puerto Rico!

(Yep, these are really my feet in the sand lol! I took this with my iPhone)


          There was no itinerary, no agenda. For the 4 days we were there we didn't really decide until each morning where we planned to go and what we planned to do that day!

          I considered this an EAT. Pray. Dream. Vacation! As I mentioned previously, I've already shared the "Pray" and "DREAM" aspects of the trip HERE on my other blog and now I'm sharing with you some of the EAT component I enjoyed during this trip to Paradise!


EAT.


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 Asere,  Cubano Kitchen and Bar


           This was the very first restaurant we dined at the first evening in San Juan and it surely set the tone for everything else good we would encounter during the trip! Because we dined outside on the patio and it started to get dark shortly after we arrived, I couldn't take as many pictures as I would like (y'all know I can't STAND using on-camera flash with food photography lol! )

Just trust me on this one...the food and ambiance was AMAZING!!!

Asere Puerto Rico
(This photo from the restaurant Facebook Page)




 White Sangria
Asere Puerto Rico


Asere Puerto Rico
 (This photo is from the Restaurant Facebook page)
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 Ocean Bar and Grill at The Ritz Carlton Hotel San Juan

          This restaurant is literally right on the beach connected with the Ritz Carlton and is simply gorgeous! We dined on the patio and soaked up the beautiful sun! This lunch was part of my totally relaxing day at the Ritz Carlton Spa - pure luxury :-)
Ritz Carlton Spa Puerto Rico


Cuban Sandwich (one of my favorite kind of sandwiches EVER!)
Ritz Carlton San Juan


I love a great spa day - Spa Manicure, Relaxation room, lunch on the patio, Steam room and whirlpool! Dreaming of my next trip back there :-)
Dr Carmen April Relaxation

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Mojito's Restaurant in Old San Juan

(Here's a link to it on Trip Advisor)

Pork is a staple of most Puerto Rican restaurant menus! It's usually cooked so well that no added sauce is needed.
Mojito's Restaurant Puerto Rico


 Amazing tropical cheesecake for dessert :-)
Mojito's Restaurant Puerto Rico



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Oceano

Oceano Puerto Rico
 (From the Oceano Website)

         Oceano......How I love thee!!! This restaurant is right across the street from the hotel we stayed in and the first visit there had us hooked for the rest of the trip!! Not only is the place chic and gorgeous, but the food is out of this world!!! 

All of the pictures below are pics I captured either on my iPhone or my DSLR camera and really show just how beautiful this place is. We literally went back a couple of times in the few days we were there...hehe!
 
Dr. Carmen April Puerto Rico
Just me basking in the gorgeous sun of Puerto Rico :-)


Oceano Puerto Rico


Oceano Puerto Rico


Oceano Puerto Rico


Oceano Puerto Rico


Oceano Puerto Rico


Oceano Puerto Rico
The restaurant at night!


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Waikiki

waikiki puerto rico

           I wanted to certainly visit this restaurant because it is co-owned by the owners of one of my favorite Puerto Rican Restaurants in Nashville - Salsa!

            As you can see, it was night time when we visited so my photos aren't the clearest, but you get the picture!! The food was amazing including that Seafood Pasta...Yum!! The ocean is literally on the other side of that white wall and it was so calming to hear the waves crashing along the shore during dinner :-)

waikiki puerto rico




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Bazille at Nordstom


Bazille Nordstrom Puerto Rico

          I LOVE a good Nordstrom restaurant and this one, Bazille, is in the brand new Mall of San Juan!! This new luxury shopping mall had only been open for about 3 weeks when we visited and some of the restaurants and stores were still being added. However, all I needed to know was that this one in Nordstrom was open and I was happy! We sat outside on the deck and enjoyed the weather and this great lunch!



Bazille Nordstrom Puerto Rico


Bazille Nordstrom Puerto Rico


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The Bacardi Rum Factory


Bacardi Rum Factory

            I'm actually creating a separate post for the Bacardi Rum Factory and I'll post that in a couple of days. Once I do I'll also create a link here leading to it!


          As I said earlier, Puerto Rico is absolute Paradise!!! The island is beautiful, the people are beautiful, the food is beautiful and the energy is beautiful! The dining experience alone is enough to make me want to take a monthly trip to the island lol!

 I'll be back....sooner than later :-)

- Dr. April