Showing Up Fashionably Late For 2017

HI YOU GUYS! It’s been a long time. But that’s about to change. I’ve got a lot of things to share today.

First things first, let’s address the fact that I haven’t posted since early December. Since my husband is on deployment and I fortunately work from home, I headed back to Massachusetts right before Thanksgiving and just got back to California a few days ago. It was amazing to spend the whole holiday season with my family and friends back on the east coast, but it terms of cooking and blogging, I started slacking.

I got to see so many people while I was home, which resulted in going out to eat quite a bit. Not that I’m complaining. You know when you take a trip to somewhere you once lived and a list of your favorite places to eat automatically surfaces in your mind? Yeah. You do. In my opinion half the fun of travel is the food.

Coming up with new recipes wasn’t a priority while I was home. When it was my turn to prepare a family meal, I made them a lot of my past recipes. I’m not one to experiment when I’m serving a group. It was also really nice to share dishes I’d come up with this past year with my family, who hadn’t tried any of them yet. Shrimp tacos were a success, my ricotta stuffed chicken was an easy weeknight meal and twice baked potatoes made an appearance on Christmas!

I did post a couple times early in my visit, but I quickly realized my priority should be spending time with my loved ones. I would have plenty of time to cook and blog once I left. And eventually, sadly, I left.

I made my 5th cross country drive in two years (!!!), except this was a whole new experience because it was the first time I did it alone. Mona was with me, but she didn’t help with any of the driving. Also a big shout out to my friends Brian & Kelli who wined & dined me in Chicago and let me crash for the night, and to Sarah & Brad in Denver for doing the same thing a couple nights later. It was awesome to have those visits to break up a looooong trip!

Let’s take a moment to look at some road trip food highlights:

I popped in to Melt Bar & Grilled in Cleveland for a little chicken & waffles grilled cheese to go. Needless to say, I’m glad I only ordered a half sandwich, because it was HUGE.

This pizza from Piece Chicago was topped with local Honey Butter Fried Chicken & pimento-buffalo cheese sauce and made all my dreams come true. We also headed to The Revel Room for some adult beverages, as pictured in the feature photo.

I was craving something fresh when I got to Denver, so this pear & brie sandwich with balsamic fig jam & arugula from Bacon Social House hit the spot.

The only fast food worth posting because Popeye’s is the best and I love when they surprise me with a bonus biscuit!

With all the time alone in the car last week, I ended up thinking a lot about the past year. 2016 was a weird year, man. There were extreme highs and extreme lows, and judging from my social media feeds, I don’t seem to be the only one looking forward to a new year. The clearest give & take example from my life is my wedding took place in May, but my husband also had to go overseas a few months later. 2016 was an emotional year.

I have high hopes for 2017, at least personally. (I can’t comment on the state of rest the world.) My husband is coming home, we are going to go on our very belated honeymoon, my family is visiting me in the summer… lots of good things to look forward to. So I spent my car ride planning it all out. Don’t worry, I won’t bore you with days worth of self reflection, plans and ideas, just the stuff that has to do with The Picky Gourmet.

I started this blog on January 18th, 2016, almost exactly a year ago, for fun. I figured my friends would like it, and it would keep me motivated to learn more about cooking and food. It’s astonishing how much people have responded to this little project. I can’t thank everyone enough for being so supportive, and I’m happy that what I love to do is enjoyable to so many other people.

The Picky Gourmet may go through some more cosmetic changes over the next few weeks. I’m going to be working on an official logo soon, so that will be coming soon as well. I have also decided to reserve posts to every other Monday. There could be some exceptions, like special holiday posts or things like that, but you can follow The Picky Gourmet on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram to keep up to date.

This was definitely a different kind of post for me, but I wanted to start fresh for the new year. The second year of The Picky Gourmet. 2017 feels like the beginning of a new chapter, one that has the potential for a lot of growth and fun, new adventures.

I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday season like I did and that you are all welcoming 2017 in whatever way makes you happy. Check back here in two weeks for a brand new recipe!

Mona & the rainbow that welcomed us back across the California border