Lunch at A Tavola

After spending an hour or so at Krohn Conservatory, feverishly taking pictures of anything and everything, Antoine and I were hungry.  We debated on what to get but finally we decided pizza sounded good, as it usually does to us (especially me!) and I suggested A Tavola.  Antoine had never been and I had only been once, a little over a year ago.  We were happily seated right away at the pizza bar, right by the beautiful brick oven...
If you haven't been it's definitely a fun place to sit.  You get to watch them not only assemble your pizza but then skillfully slide it into the big brick oven.  It's crazy how fast it goes from being raw dough with toppings to a perfectly cooked pizza with lightly charred crispy crust!

We started off with drinks, which is a totally unusual thing for us.  Antoine and I are generally not the type to get drinks when we go out (unless our purpose is to get significantly tipsy...a la margaritas at Barrio during Midpoint).  But we figured what the hell!  It was our day of fun and they had a Rhinegeist porter that Antoine was eyeing, and once I saw "house-made ginger beer" I was sold...bring on the Ginger Beer Me!
A dark and stormy with house-made ginger beer...yum!  And potent!  This was the second drink I had had at A Tavola, the first was a Flinestone Pushup for my birthday last year and it was equally tasty.

For an appetizer we got a trio of sliders, beef, chicken and eggplant (with a side of goat cheese), which they kindly cut in half so we could share.  Surprisingly enough the eggplant was my favorite and the chicken was my least favorite...totally unexpected as I love chicken and I usually only half like eggplant.  For our pizza we got the brussels sprout with caramelized onion, fontina and artichokes!  Our waiter suggested we add some bacon and boy oh boy were we glad we did, it was delicious!  The caramelized onions practically melted, the bacon was heavenly and the still crisp brussels sprouts were a nice contrast to all the other rich flavors.

After lunch we were kind of tipsy and extremely full, but since we were so close to Holtman's and we don't get down to OTR very often decided it was necessary to walk a little farther up Vine Street for a donut...for later obviously.
Holtman's not only has an absolutely adorable sign, but some kickass donuts!  This time we decided on a chocolate frosted cream cheese filled donut and a blueberry fritter to share!

A little while later, once we were back home, I made myself a cup of coffee and Antoine and I dug into our donut/fritter!  Oh my, that blueberry fritter was so good!  I'm glad Holtman's isn't right down the street from us, because those could be habit forming for sure!

I've still got one more post lined up, but not sure when it will make an appearance yet.  If I'm not back before the weekend I hope yours is wonderful.  Try to stay warm out there!!


Krohn Conservatory Addiction

So, I might have bought a new camera.  A fancy one that I was drooling over and wanted so badly.  Antoine gives into my whims a little too easily...he just smiled and said why not, and then laughed at me while I was ordering it and geeking out.  It's beautiful and I love it!  So this weekend, the first weekend with the new camera, Antoine and I decided to have a day of fun!  We started the day by dropping Cheese off at daycare and then going to the gym (not so fun!).  Then we got ready and headed over to Krohn Conservatory, because if there's one thing I love taking pictures of it's flowers!  Krohn is having their Spring show right now, this year it's called Avant Garden.  It's a beautiful arrangement of lilies, hydrangeas, delphiniums, and name a few.  I would highly recommend it!  Of course as soon as we got there I made a b-line for the orchid room, because it's my favorite.  In Krohn the orchid room is pretty small, but they have a decent selection considering.  Here's some of my favorites...
I think these might be my favorites.  I've only seen them at Krohn and the DC conservatory, but I love them, their color and their shape!
Have I mentioned how much I love orchids?  Yes?  Okay.  Well, I gotta say I love Antoine's understanding of my orchid love even more!  He followed me as I rushed over to the orchids, then proceeded to point out all the not-so-obvious ones I'd missed.  Then he sat patiently while I went back through the room a second time and took even more photos!  He's so patient.  Thanks Tran, for being awesome!

Next up, the desert room.  Usually it's not one of my favorites, but having the new camera made me a little more observant and I noticed some really cool plants that I'd normally pass right by!

Next up was the Avant Garden room.  I gotta say, this is one of the best spring shows I've seen in a while there.  It was jam packed with flowers of all different colors and variety and I love the addition of the koi pond.  And it smelled heavenly in there!  Seriously, it felt good to just go in there and take a deep breath.
Love this little bonsai and the way the sun was hitting it.

Last but not least the two main tropical rooms. 
This plant looks so scary and alien, I love it!

I had a blast at Krohn, playing with my new camera!  In a couple weeks they're having their annual Orchid Show (March 15th and 16th), I've never been but I've always wanted to go.  This year it's happening!

Stay tuned later in the week for more fun day goodness!  Hint- the poster will involve food and an overlook of the city! 


Snow Covered Spring Grove Cemetery

This past Saturday, after the big snowfall we had received the night before, Antoine and I decided to bundle up and head over to Spring Grove Cemetery to take a walk and snap some pictures.  Neither of us had ever been to Spring Grove during the winter months and I'd been told by a friend and coworker how lovely it is blanketed in snow, so I was eager to check it out.  Since it was so snowy there were really many other people there, which was nice...though that proved to be a little bit of a problem after two hours of walking when we got ourselves lost.  Luckily after three hours of wandering around we were able to find our way back to our car, with the assistance of a map (which a nice security guard had given us earlier in our visit).  If it hadn't been for that map we probably would have been out there 4 or 5 hours.

Still, being lost has its advantages...we got to see parts of the grounds that we've never been to before.  I even stumbled across a new favorite grave stone/monument. Here's some of the photos from our little adventure...

My new favorite monument...
If you can't tell from the photo, she's a mermaid!  With fish swimming around her tail!  Isn't she beautiful!? 

I couldn't resist.  He's just so cute all bundled up!

Snow flowers!  Antoine actually spotted these in the midst of us being lost.  I love having him around when I'm taking pictures, he points out things that I don't always see.  In this case I was paying more attention to the gravestones/monuments at my eye-line and he was looking up!
Another new discovery (for us), this (and another) gravestone with a petrified log on top of it!  So cool to see up close, especially this large of a piece!

We also came across this nearly hidden mausoleum!  So neat.

After our little adventure we rewarded ourselves for finding out way out by ordering and devouring some tasty Dewey's pizza.  We were both pretty tired afterwards, but I'm so glad we went and explored.  Spring Grove is so gorgeous in the snow, I highly recommend checking it out sometime!