Archive for the tag “guest post”

99 yummy posts on the blog, 99 yummy posts…

In case you missed the goofy reference, I was channeling “99 bottles of beer on the wall”.  I’m kind of excited to approach a couple of milestones: 100 posts on this blog, and 25,000 views.

I know, small potatoes for many bloggers, but this is my side project, and one with a fairly narrow scope – so, I’m not looking for thousands of views per post.  I’m quite happy with the wonderful people who take time to read about my experiences.  So, thank you!

Since I won’t be eating anything very interesting in the near-term – because I decided to endure my first full-body detox/cleanse, starting last week, and ending at the end of November (before Thanksgiving and my second trip to Clemson this season), I’ve asked folks if anyone would like to write a guest post for “She Ordered What?”‘s 100th post.

My friend, SweetPhi, offered up her talents.  She recently attended ChoppedCon in Kansas City, and I suspect she has a story or two to share about the experience(s).  😉

In the year or so since I met Phi, we’ve had some really fun and pretty cool experiences.  Also, her blog has TAKEN OFF!  She’s really spent a lot of time and effort growing SweetPhi to become a food blog that partners with some great companies, and reaches the masses. Kudos to you, girl!

Phi and I originally met through a small Facebook group she started to bring together Milwaukee food bloggers.  That’s probably one of the traits about Phi that immediately drew me to her.  We both reach out to people and we hang on to those we really enjoy.  We also support each other – whether it be in terms of daily life, special events, or on our blogs.  I appreciate Phi!

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That brings me to the latest fun event in our friendship.  On her blog, and through one of her awesome partnerships with Pig of the Month, Phi was planning an epic BBQ giveaway.  Of course, being a Southern educated woman, I HAD to comment!  I mean, BBQ is a “Southern thang”.

Fast-forward approximately three weeks, and I get this text: “Girl! Omg!!!!!!!!!!!!! You were randomly selected as the winner of the bbq giveaway!”

What?!?!

SCORE!!!!

Fast-forward another week or so, and I had a huge box marked “perishable” at my front door.

Folks, these were the contents of that beloved box!

Pig of the Month Prize Pack

Pig of the Month Prize Pack

Oh, dear gosh…can I tell y’all how extremely excited I was first to hear that I won this prize, and secondly, to SEE the prize?? My box *slightly* deviated from the description in the link above, but not much!  I received six racks of ribs (2x Memphis style, 2x BBQ ribs w/ sauce, 1x dry rub, and 1x Key West style), 2 lbs of pulled pork in BBQ sauce, 1lb of pulled chicken in sauce, and brisket! Holy pig!!!

Sadly, I had to pull these beautiful packages out from the dry ice-packed cooler that was sent to my door and put them directly into my freezer.  I kid you not…this incredible prize pack came on the first night I started aforementioned cleanse/detox.  But, rest assured, I plan to host a great party at which my friends and I will ENJOY this Pig of the Month package.  I’m confident that this will make for a wonderful meal (or two+).

So, many thanks to Phi, not only for her friendship, but also for the wonderful BBQ prize pack, and for offering to guest post the 100th post on “She Ordered What?”.  Please stay tuned for her post here, and check out her awesome blog – GREAT recipes and occasional giveaways that you don’t want to miss!

Cheers!

Ker

 

Good Golly! An Amazing Dinner at the Holly Hotel (Holly, Michigan)

This post was written by a very good friend of mine, Jess.  She and her husband, Bryan (also a very good friend, who accompanied me for this blog post), are adventuresome diners and love to explore local spots.  I wish I had more of that in my DNA!

Jess was kind enough to vividly describe their anniversary dinner (happy belated anniversary you lovely couple!!) and Bryan was planful enough to take photos of many courses of this seemingly never-ending meal! He may have taken a cue from me, as some of the picture are of half-eaten dishes, or fully cleaned plates!  But, that’s okay…it’s all a sign of a thoroughly enjoyed meal!    I hope you enjoy their story as much as I did.

Meet Jess and Bryan:

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My husband Bryan and I discovered the Holly Hotel last fall thanks to a Groupon deal, and since it was relatively close to our house (we live in the boonies, so nothing is close to us) and there seems to be a lack of chef-driven, seasonal menus anywhere in metro-Detroit, we thought we would give it a shot. Plus, it has been around since the 1860s and is supposedly haunted—how much more can you ask for on a Groupon deal? Even if the meal sucked, maybe we would see a ghost.

Image courtesy of the Holly Hotel

When we first walked in, we were a little surprised and not sure what to expect from the meal. I don’t think the interior has changed much since the hotel first opened, with the exception of adding some electricity. To add to the experience, we brought my parents along.  They are well-traveled foodies, and have eaten at some of the best restaurants in the world.

It turned out to be a wonderful evening, with fantastic food and great service, and an interpretation of the décor as being “shabby chic”. So, when it came to figuring out where we wanted to dine for our 1 year anniversary, we decided to go back to the Holly Hotel.

Now, I should say that Bryan is a pretty adventurous eater. Snack Street in Beijing was like a playground to him, so he always chooses the chef-driven menus whenever he can. He did so during our first experience and decided that it worked so well, he wanted the chef-driven menu again. Since I had also chosen the chef-driven menu the first time, I thought I would mix it up and try some of their staple items during this dinner instead. And, we generally share so it works in our favor and we get to taste more of the menu.  I say “generally” because there was a squabble over some black truffle mashed potatoes on this particular evening.

Bryan’s meal started off with an amuse-bouche of chicken mushroom spring rolls with sriracha and yuzu (an Asian citrus). I had never had yuzu before, but it was pleasantly tart and paired well with the sriracha and the woodsy mushroom flavor, bringing a nice brightness to the spring roll.  Luckily they gave Bryan two spring rolls, so I got to gnosh on one. For my starter, I had onion soup topped with a puff pastry, which was a unique twist and absolutely delicious. When I commented on my love for puff pastry to our server, she shared my opinion saying “I’d eat a dead cat if it was wrapped in puff pastry. In fact, I’d tell you that’s how I like my dead cat prepared”.

I’m pretty sure “wrap it in puff pastry” didn’t make the list

(This is Ker:  When Jess relayed that ‘puffed pastry / dead cat’ story to me, she and I both bust up laughing! )

Next, Bryan had a pumpkin parsnip soup, which he devoured. I love parsnips, especially seeing them used as a puree for heavier cuts of meat like short-ribs, but am not so much of a pumpkin fan, so this wasn’t my favorite. Even though I wasn’t in love with the pumpkin flavor, I have to say the texture was incredible—very thick but pureed finely, and lots of flavor. Meanwhile, I was still working on my onion soup.

For the salad course, I had ordered a Bibb lettuce salad with shaved Bavarian ham, parmesan and a Dijon mustard dressing, but as soon as they served Bryan’s salad I knew I was going to have to forfeit mine. Bryan was served a spinach salad absolutely loaded with Stilton crumbles, Stilton dressing, beets and roasted corn. The problem: Bryan HATES blue cheese. The good news is that I love it, so we quickly switched. The blue cheese flavor was intense—if you aren’t a true lover of blue cheese I wouldn’t recommend this salad—and the roasted corn added a touch of sweetness that I really liked. As for my original salad… the Dijon dressing was the perfect blend of sweet and spicy, especially when paired with the slightly salty Bavarian ham. Not that I got to taste much of it.

Next up for Bryan was flounder stuffed with chorizo and shrimp grits and topped with a champagne feta cream sauce. I am allergic to seafood, so Bryan was on his own here.

I was concerned about a lot of really strong flavors and how they would all mix together, especially the chorizo with flounder, and I was even more curious about a champagne feta sauce, but judging by the empty plate the server cleared away, apparently the flavor profiles were a success.

After a quick orange sour palate cleanser (yummy! Not too tart and just the perfect amount of orange zest) we were finally on to the main course.

Beef Wellington is a signature dish for the Holly Hotel, and wanting to try some of their staple items, this was my choice. I was curious to see how they would handle this—not only is it a dish that has somewhat fallen out of fashion (along with Chateaubriand), but it is also extremely difficult to prepare, getting the correct temperature on the beef without overcooking the puff pastry.

Bryan had Lollipop Lamb Chops, Filet Mignon and Black Truffle Red Skin Potatoes. Which is where our sharing-system broke down.

First of all, my Beef Wellington was incredible. I’ve already mentioned my weakness for puff pastry, but throw in some flavorful, creamy mushroom duxelles on top of a tender filet and I am in heaven. I drifted off for a while, sipping my wine, enjoying my classic dish. It practically melted in my mouth. Bryan was also quiet, tucked into his lamb, filet and taters.

Finally, we came back to earth, decided to engage in conversation again, and shared bites. Wow. Wowwowwowwow. His filet mignon was one of the most tender I have ever had, which is saying something, because filet mignon is my favorite dish – hands down.  I almost always order it. His was like cutting through butter. I thought the beef wellington was good but this…. This was incredible.

And the potatoes…. I don’t even know how to describe them. The black truffle took the flavor on the potatoes to mythic heights. When I reached for a second bite, I nearly got stabbed with Bryan’s fork. After some pleading on my end and reminding the hubby how kind I was to forfeit my original salad to him (not like that was really a loss for me since I love blue cheese, but whatever), I was allowed a second bite. A blissful, perfect little bite. I would go back to the Holly Hotel for those alone.

Alas, soon the potatoes, the filet and my beef wellington were consumed and we were on to the cheese course. The server brought us (okay, technically Bryan) a tray of porter cheddar cheese, smoked cheddar, homemade caramel sauce, candied nuts and dried blueberries. I am a fan of smoked cheddars and the smokiness of this one was a perfect complement to the heavier flavors of our dinner. I was also digging the caramel sauce and dried blueberries and even dipped the cheddar into the sauce, which was surprisingly good.

As if we hadn’t been gluttonous enough at this point, Bryan had one more course to go—the dessert course. I had been eye-balling a puff pastry wrapped apple for dessert (are you sensing a theme here?) but Bryan’s trio of cheesecake was enough for the both of us (courtesy of the server, who knew it was our anniversary dinner) so I decided not to be piggish. We had a cheesecake slice topped with a chocolate and the aforementioned caramel sauce, one with a raspberry sauce and one with a strawberry sauce. Unfortunately, this was our least favorite dish of the night. We found the cheesecake to be very dense and dry, and were somewhat disappointed to wrap up our otherwise incredible meal on this note.

Overall though, our meal was amazing—the slightly kitschy atmosphere was quiet and romantic, the food was heavenly and our service was fantastic. We picked the perfect place to celebrate our anniversary, and it stacked up to our first experience there almost a year prior. In fact, it was so good that we became Dining Club members there, and will be taking my parents back when they are in town this weekend.  So, for anyone in the metro-Detroit area who doesn’t mind a bit of a drive for a truly wonderful dining experience, we highly recommend the Holly Hotel.

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Thanks to Jess and Bryan for taking time from their romantic anniversary dinner to prepare a blog post!  Yes, folks, I did razz them a bit about thinking so much about this blog while they were out celebrating such a special day!  But, I love them for having done so!

Now, I’m off to find dinner.  After reading about eight delicious courses, I’m starved, friends!

Cheers!

Ker

PS. Since I stopped writing my other blog, I don’t really have a good place to post general experiences.  Since y’all must know about my adoration for my beloved Clemson Tigers, I’m going to direct you to my friend Anthony’s recap of our weekend in God’s Country last weekend.  Thanks for the wonderful memories, Ant and everyone else with whom I spent QT in SC. xoxo.

Answering the question: What were your favorite dining experiences?

I started this blog back in April, and I’ve had many people provide support and feedback along the way.  I wrote a post about that early on, and since then, I’ve received even more encouragement!

Recently, a former coworker of mine, who is a super picky eater, told me that he has taken the baby step of allowing barkeeps far and wide to choose his drinks for him, ala this post. A small step toward surrendering dinner plans to his server!

I’ve also had many people ask me about my favorite “She Ordered What?!?” experiences.  I must admit that I haven’t had too many lackluster experiences using the “let the server choose my meal for me” method.  I have had some rather spectacular outcomes though!  I’ve tried dishes I probably would have overlooked otherwise.  Not necessarily because they were “exotic” or “daring”, but more so that I would just default to other options.

Some of my favorite experiences include:

This one which was actually the meal that catapulted me into this blogosphere.  Seriously, the looks on everyone’s faces when I turned my order over to the server were classic.  And, the interest when my dish arrived…from a highly invested group of individuals.  This blog wasn’t even a thought in my mind at that particular dinner, so I didn’t take pictures, and thus, it wasn’t amongst the first posts.  The restaurant was fantastic enough to send me pictures of my dinner – even though I wasn’t a blip on the food circuit radar!

Another favorite? This one!  I recently revisited Tria at The Henry, and met up with Audra again.  We both shared such great memories of that night!  The staff had such fun choosing my every taste that evening,  and I had a wonderful time experiencing food and wine through their recommendations.

A third favorite? Right now, I’ll say this one: An incredible server really makes the dining experience.  Kelsey was that incredible server! On top of that…the food was amazing! Der Braumeister is a must-stop in Cleveland, OH, IMO.  And, please check out the video of Kelsey at the end…she’s got personality and spunk!

Special mentions go to:  Zingerman’s RoadhouseGood Girls, Crave Lounge, as they all provided fabulous experiences as well.  As did The Mac Shack – not once, but twice!

I’m also in love with all of my guest posts.  This is one that created the most intrigue: did they? or didn’t they? (have a second date) <– yes, they did! But, don’t forget these posts:  Hom, Fondue, and Bistro 70.

I’ve got some travel coming up next month (thank goodness!), as well as another guest post or two to come.  I’m looking forward to sharing more “She (He) Ordered What?!?” adventures.

Cheers!

Ker

Another guest post coming soon!

I was excited to go out with some friends for Mexican tonight, but alas, a ridiculously sore throat has prevented me from eating for two days.  So, plans have been postponed, and I have reached out to my network for help. As I’ve mentioned before, and as evidenced by the guests posts thus far, I’ve been blessed in how people have taken to the concept of having a server choose their meals for them.

One of my favorite bloggers, AllLacqueredUp, who writes the first non-tech blog I ever subscribed to, has offered to guest post about her dinner tomorrow. Her exact words were:  “I’m going out tomorrow and I’d love to do a guest post for you…You’re onto something fresh in terms of food blogging. I’m excited to put my meal in the hands of my server.”

She’s known to frequent fabulous places, and definitely knows her way around the social scene in and around Cleveland! I’m really excited to hear about her experience, and will share her story as soon as she’s ready.  In the mean time, if you’ve missed previous guest blogs…check them out in the “Guest Posts” category, or in the links below.

Jerod’s unique first date

Lisa’s foray into fondue

Rachel’s gourmet burger adventure (she almost missed it while she was on the phone!)

My dad surrendered his meal to his server

And, here’s to hoping I’m able to eat again soon.  I’m ready to get back to posting too!

The Melting Pot, Roswell, GA – It wasn’t just the server doing the surprising!

I’m so excited to share yet another guest post here!  Folks, I can honestly say that this screwy little idea is catching on.  In the few weeks since I launched this site, I’ve had several people tell me – both in person and in writing – that they’ve tried allowing their server to surprise them.  And, the list of guest post requests is growing!  Thank y’all for your support of SheOrderedWhat.com.

This post is from Lisa, someone I met through my friend Dennis.  She’s full of wonderful personality, up for adventure, and was delighted to document her first “She Ordered What?!?” experience for your reading pleasure!  Please feel free to leave comments for Lisa above.  Here is the story of her dining adventure.

Lisa’s adventure:

An unexpected dinner date led to a night full of fun surprises…
On Friday I was reading the “She Ordered What?” blog and came across Jerod Morris‘s guest post about his first date adventure, all the while modifying this in the back of my mind to work in any new restaurant situation, not just the first date scenario… Knowing that my weekend was already pretty planned out to the minute with events, I didn’t think about the blog again until Sunday evening.

My boyfriend and I had tickets to attend a concert in a part of town we don’t usually find ourselves out in, and thinking we would be late to the event, we made no plans for dinner.  So when my boyfriend wanted to leave the event early (and we hadn’t eaten), he left the decision of dinner up to me… and that is where my story begins..

Being on a side of town I wasn’t all that familiar with I had no idea in which direction to begin so in the honor of a little spontaneity in our life I hit the little “Places” app on my handy-dandy smart phone and clicked “restaurants”,  deciding that the first place that popped up would be where we would go.  We walked into The Melting Pot without reservations on Sunday evening and were immediately seated in a cozy private booth.

Having never eaten at a fondue restaurant, I didn’t really know what to expect.  The décor was dark and sensual – in a “romantic evening out” sort of way.  Seeing that we had just come from an outdoor rock concert, we were a little underdressed, but the maître d’ and the wait staff made us feel completely at home.  They  took their time to explain how the menu worked and what we could expect with each course.

I surprised both my boyfriend and the waiter when placing my drink order – I told the waiter to surprise me… He asked several questions: such as about what I liked – which I declined to answer.   He glanced at my boyfriend with a questioning look –  to which Joey replied, “Go for it”.   He returned with my boyfriend’s water and my Gummy Bear Martini.  PERFECT! Strong, but sweet and refreshing after a long day in the sun!  The waiter was pleased at my response to his choice, and didn’t flinch when I told him to surprise me with the remainder of my meal.  He actually was enthusiastic about surprising me!

His only question was if I had any food allergies.  I informed him I did not, and he went to the kitchen with a smile on his face.  As he walked away my boyfriend looked at me like I was crazy (he does this frequently), and asked what this was all about, and I then explained the blog to him.  He laughed and shook his head.  It is a fortunate thing for me that he loves it that I am a little “out there” sometimes and will try anything at least once.

I was thrilled when the server brought out our first course of Cheddar Cheese Fondue: Consisting of aged medium-sharp cheddar and Emmenthal Swiss cheeses melted beautifully with lager beer, garlic and seasonings complete with bread bites, veggies and APPLES! Cheese melted and cooked in Sam Adams Beer.. My life is oh so good – and this is just the first course!

Our salads came out in perfect timing, just as we were finishing the appetizer.  My boyfriend ordered the house salad with their tangy house dressing, and I was brought a California Salad: Mixed baby greens, Roma tomatoes, candied pecans and rich Gorgonzola cheese with Raspberry Black Walnut Vinaigrette… I was impressed; it was exactly what I would have chosen – had I looked at the menu.  The candied pecans added a perfect crunchy texture and sweet flavor to the Vinaigrette dressing.

Our main course came out within several minutes of the staff removing our salad plates, and I waited in anticipation for our server to explain what he had brought me… My boyfriend, being a little picky about his food, had ordered The French Quarter (Filet mignon, chicken breast, and white shrimp all seasoned with Cajun spices and accompanied by Andouille sausage). I, on the other hand, was rewarded by a plate full of chicken breast, teriyaki-marinated sirloin, white shrimp, citrus-infused pork tenderloin, breast of duck and chicken and vegetable pot stickers – also known as the Pacific Rim.

Our server had chosen the cooking style known as Coq au Vin to complement our entrée’s.  He also explained the multiple sauces brought to the table and the cooking times for each meat before leaving us to enjoy our dinner.  I loved being able to taste a little of everything and was upset that I couldn’t eat it all.

I would love to say that we left the dessert decision up to the server, but I honestly was so full from the meal that we had to pass on the dessert menu.  If it had been something we could have taken home with us I would have let him pick for us both, but it has been my experience in the past that melted chocolate doesn’t travel well.

The Melting Pot is definitely a place we will visit again and big thank you to the staff for their excellent service and superb selection of food.  Thank you to Jerod Morris for the idea.   It was great fun, and I will do it again at the next new restaurant.  Thank you to Kerri for allowing me to share my experience on her blog…
– Lisa Hadden

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Thank you so much, Lisa!  I’m so happy you enjoyed “dining by surprise”, and that you shared your story.

You can find out more about Lisa at her: food blog, personal blog, and Facebook page.

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