<![CDATA[Java Nagila! - Blog]]>Fri, 11 Mar 2016 23:13:07 -0800Weebly<![CDATA[Made the move to North Carolina, and I find myself in BLT Heaven.]]>Mon, 12 Oct 2015 23:44:47 GMThttp://javanagila.weebly.com/blog/made-the-move-to-north-carolina-and-i-find-myself-in-blt-heavenOk so I'm not exactly Kosher... at all... and I am not ashamed to admit how much I love bacon. Here is what I know for sure: when you happen upon Merritt's Store and Grill in Chapel Hill, you will be in for a fantastic treat. It's been a while since my last post! I had to make this one worth it. 
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Truth.
I only have two words to describe Merritt's Store and Grill in Chapel Hill: SIMPLY DELICIOUS.  I walked in the door at 1009 South Columbia Street and instantly knew I was in the right place. For one thing, there was a HUGE line out the door on a Sunday morning for lunch. Little did I know that the reason the line was so long would be waiting for me just beyond the sign marked "Simply the Best Food in Town." The reason being... a classic BLT with sourdough bread assembled and toasted to perfection. A sandwich like this makes me grateful for moving to such a simple, beautiful place.
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Their motto. You can even get it on a t-shirt!
​The thing about Merritt's is that the owner and staff make you feel like a member of the family, a very friendly bacon-appreciative family.

After opening as an Esso gas station in 1929, Merritt's has evolved into one of the most lovely gems a southern community could ever ask for. 

Menu options include burgers, breakfast sandwiches, hot dogs, specialty bbq, soups/salands, and the classic local favorite BLT. I had to get what they were most famous for... or I would have never forgiven myself.

You can make your BLT a single or a double, and I suggest adding some fresh avocado just to push it over the edge. The classic BLT is served with a choice of toasted locally made Bread, Mayo, Salt, Pepper, Bacon, Bacon, Bacon, Bacon, Bacon, Lettuce, and Tomato.

I don't really know how they did it; it's not even tomato season anymore and the tomato was still great! 

I was lucky enough to meet Bob Britt, the owner, who welcomed me as if I were a friend he hadn't seen in a long while! I encourage everyone and anyone in the Chapel Hill area to visit Merritt's whenever they get a chance, it is truly the restaurant with "simply the best food in town!" 
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The perfect place on a sunny day.
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I mean, check out that line!
Oh, so you wanted to know what perfection looked like? The sandwich was so delicious that I had to put a picture of it here twice, mostly for jealousy... also for the memories. 
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Happiness is...
So many bread options! I had to put them here just so I could brag about them! 
Your choices include...

SOURDOUGH
LIGHT WHEAT
WHITE
SUNFLOWER
MARBLE RYE
THREE SEED
POTATO (sometimes)
AND even some Gluten Free options. 
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I had no idea that North Carolina had the best bacon... but it DOES.
I also coupled my BLT with some traditional southern sweet tea, which by itself tasted like pancake syrup! I needed to cut it with some regular "un-southern" tea, so as not to have a sugar high to keep me awake until 4AM. 

Still, my experience could not have been better. I also lucked out with a gorgeous day. There is also a wonderful outdoor seating area complete with a play-area for the kids in case you want to bring the family. Also, it's dog friendly! Everyone is welcome, and you feel it the second you walk in the joint. 
I really look forward to bringing my mom here when she comes to visit! Other than the fact that she also appreciates a great sandwich, I think she would love the atmosphere. Apparently they also host a BLT and Bluegrass event which sounds almost as great as the sandwich itself. I'm only worried about one thing when my mom comes to visit... I'm not sure she'll be able to handle the LOCALLY MADE TWINKIES. I mean seriously? Is this place trying to kill me with southern charm and kindness? I hope not. I have a lot more eating to do. 
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Flippin' homemade twinkies!
Thank you so much for reading! Make sure you check out Merritt's Store and Grill on your next visit to NC!
​Yum. 
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<![CDATA[The Black Sheep and some Sweet Espressions¬†]]>Sat, 21 Mar 2015 17:46:48 GMThttp://javanagila.weebly.com/blog/the-black-sheep-and-some-sweet-espressionsHey everyone! My goodness, my time on the road with the American Shakespeare Center is winding down and I am so excited to head back to Virginia. I have had an incredible journey and I can say, without question or argument, that my taste buds have especially enjoyed their tour across the country. I have tried so many new things as well as fostering my undying love for coffee and sweets. By new things, I mean Emu! Yes, that terrible ostrich-like creature that looks and acts more like a velociraptor than an ostrich. I truly believe that this animal is evil and, luckily for us, a delicious exotic meat that you should try the next time you see it on a menu. This, of course, is a rare occurrence. One doesn't usually see Emu as a regular ingredient. Luckily for me I was able to try this fascinating creature at The Black Sheep in Whitewater, Wisconsin. A beautiful farm-to-table gourmet restaurant located right down the street from my sweet heaven, the Sweet Spot Cafe. I walked in feeling very under-dressed, but none the less I sat at their beautifully decorated bar and perused their exotic menu. I landed on the house-made linguini (always opt for house-made pasta!) and Emu meatballs. This dish was absolutely delicious and so filling that I had to bring half of it home. The leftovers were even better. The noodles were perfectly cooked and the sauce was divine. One thing that was a total bummer was that the pasta was not hot enough. I do dislike when a dish comes out and it's only warm and not fresh out of the pan. Still, the presentation was lovely and the meatballs tasted great! Emu is very light and not chewy in the slightest. 
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Mmm fresh parmesan, my favorite!
I also absolutely loved the layout of the restaurant, exposed brick and comfortable seating. The hostess, Taryn, was incredibly helpful and not afraid to tell me what she liked and didn't like on the menu. I love that the menu is constantly changing due to the season and local farms/ingredients. It makes it feel like every dish is fresh and new. Also, the chef really has to be on his game because he must come up with new things constantly that both work and be a new favorite for the clientele. This restaurant is definitely for special occasions; it is not cheap and I do suggest making a reservation on busy weekends. If you ever find yourself in whitewater, wisconsin, do check them out! You will find something you like and you will not be disappointed. 
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It also seemed like a great restaurant to go to alone. Sometimes you just need to treat yourself!
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Exposed brick. Yes please. As always.
I loved my time in Whitewater and I do hope I can go back again someday! The people were so friendly and I loved speaking to all the restaurant owners talk about their restaurants like they were family. 

Make sure you check out The Black Sheep! 

My next stop was for my specialty, house made brews and delicious treats. After leaving Whitewater, Wisconsin, we made our way to Kirksville, Missouri. I know... I hadn't heard of it either, but only a few hours away from Hannibal (of Mark Twain fame!) I found a wonderful place to sit and blog and sip and daydream. This, of course, was the local favorite coffee shop Sweet Espressions. 
This coffee shop is constantly bustling with college students and art folk. I love the layout and it's the kind of shop where you can get lost in a book for hours and never realize how long you've been sitting on that comfortable couch. The staff is friendly, welcoming, and absolutely knows their stuff when it comes to the coffee arts. I got a Lavender latte to start, and then a cup of their maple walnut house brew. They suggested I add in a bit of cream and honey and damn was that a good decision. GOOD JOB SIR! I applaude your coffee knowledge and I will return again if I ever find myself in Missouri. The walls are covered in clocks and it feels a bit like you are stuck in a Sherlock Holmes/Alice in Wonderland universe. This is me... not complaining. 
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I love that chandelier!
This place is adorable. I had a yummy little breakfast sandwich, simple english muffin with an egg and cheese but it's so great when the eggs are freshly made on the grill right behind the coffee counter. I will say that the only thing about this place that is a little distracting is that they are constantly grinding coffee beans behind the register. This is extremely loud and can make for a noisy atmosphere. But, I got my headphones and can watch Broad City all afternoon! Once again this is me... not complaining. 


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Check out their fish tank! I love this.
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paper flowers for any occasion




It's a bit weird to think that I'll be back in Virginia soon. I feel very lucky to have traveled so many miles and tasted so many sweet things. I love looking forward, and it's little homey and comfy places like this that make me excited to start a new chapter! I feel like you can make any couch comfortable with a few new pillows, a soft blanket, and a cup of coffee. Maybe add a little love and a dog on your lap? A good book too! You have to love these simple things because when you do, you realize how much more is out there and it is all about looking forward and up. Thank you for a wonderful time Sweet Espressions! 
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Yeah, part of me... could totally live here.
Don't forget to check out Sweet Espressions! Give em a great review and don't forget the coffee! 

Thanks for reading! 
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<![CDATA[Into the Wild in Whitewater, Wisconsin]]>Mon, 16 Mar 2015 03:37:15 GMThttp://javanagila.weebly.com/blog/into-the-wild-in-whitewater-wisconsinWhitewater, Wisconsin. This is the town where I had the best breakfast I have ever had. No joke. I went back on three separate occasions to The Sweet Spot Cafe for their baked oatmeal because it was so damn delicious. I will do my best to describe this wondrously yummy treat but I don't think my words will do it justice. Their baked oatmeal is, apparently, easy to make at home, and I will try and make it (indeed I must!) The truth is, I cannot explain to you how happy this breakfast made my soul. I was smiling while I was eating it. It made me feel like I was a kid sitting at my parent's wooden and kreaky kitchen table with my feet barely able to touch the ground. This oatmeal tasted like home, and I truly wish that you were there to share it with me. First, you pick your fruit.  They switch up the fruits depending on what they have available each week. I was lucky to get the peaches and strawberries week. This fruit, first, is perfectly roasted and put on the bottom of a baking pan, then the fruit is covered in oatmeal mixed with various ingredients including butter, eggs, milk, and brown sugar. THEN this oatmeal is baked in the oven. When it cools, you cut it into squares, scoop it out of the pan (fruit and all) and serve with steamed milk (almond if you prefer.) You mix the oatmeal and watch the steam rise over the bowl and you dive in and wish you had 1,000 more spoons diving into 1,000 more bowls of this stuff. I went back a second day and got the blueberry. Equally pleased! They are famous for their baked goods but I would put this baked oatmeal up against anything. I. didn't. Need. To. Add. Anything. No honey, no syrup, it was perfect just the way it was. 

Also, I had a london fog. This was just the simple combination of earl grey tea with vanilla, but it was a perfect pairing to my oatmeal. If anyone knows me and knows me well they KNOW that I love oatmeal and tea. See? Simple tastes. It's those simply delicious tastes that remind me that there is so much joy to be had out there. I am so lucky to be on this tour with the American Shakespeare Center. Without them, I wouldn't have been able to find such a wonderful place. Also, the lovely people working at the Sweet Spot were a pleasure to see every time I went in for another oatmeal fix. They were always friendly, welcoming, and happy to be surrounded by so many delicious cupcakes and pastries. I haven't even talked about the cookies yet. 
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I will travel back to Wisconsin just so I can have this oatmeal again!
The Sweet Spot Cafe is famous for their, you guessed it, sweet stuff. I was excited to try their sugar cookies, which were beautifully decorated and beckoned me to try even more. Turns out the Sweet Spot Cafe is a pretty well-known bakery about town, specializing in occasions like weddings and holiday parties. I wish they weren't so far away! They could have totally done my Bat Mitzvah. 
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I mean... come on!
In order to balance out all these delicious treats, I had to get a salad at SOME point on my trip. Still at the Sweet Spot, I had to try the asian cashew chicken salad. It was great! The dressing was so good that I wanted to take some home with me. To accompany my salad I had to get a cup of the house brew, which was a great dark and rich combo to balance out the sweet cookie. Yum! 
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The Asian Cashew Chicken Salad was served with freshly toasted sourdough, yum.
I was able to meet so many interesting and lovely people in this shop. This town was small enough that everyone (in the restaurant business) knew everyone else. I got fantastic local recommendations for dinners, drinks, site-seeing, and I only wish I could have stayed a bit longer. 
PictureWhat is the sound a doggy makes? Moo.
I cannot talk up The Sweet Spot enough. I can only recommend that if you ever find yourself in Wisconsin, make your way to this little nook of loveliness. and leave a great tip! 





Don't forget to check out The Sweet Spot! 





And just as if I didn't love this place enough, right next to the register... an entire selection of Boylan Soda. It's as if they knew I were coming :) Thanks Sweet Spot! 

The proper way to enjoy a Boylan Soda:

Purchase ONE black cherry soda and ONE creme soda. Combine half of each together and enjoy! 

This is my friend Tess Hall's combination that absolutely never fails. Try it and lemme know what you think! 

Until next time Whitewater...
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The perfect drink to share with your significant other. Believe me, I KNOW!
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<![CDATA[A Red Bike in the Heart of Germantown.]]>Sun, 08 Mar 2015 23:20:34 GMThttp://javanagila.weebly.com/blog/how-about-a-ride-on-a-red-bike-in-the-heart-of-germantownI haven't updated this blog in a bit… so here are my last few great eats in Nashville. Firstly, I feel like this is important enough to talk about… I do not know how to ride a bicycle.  I just wanted to get that off my chest. Now, I would very much like to learn. If I did know how to ride a bike, I would have gotten to Red Bicycle Coffee and Crepes much faster. I absolutely loved this joint. It was small, friendly, and entirely welcoming to all who passed by. The community-seating allowed for a lot of both awkward and fun interactions with fellow coffee-goers. This place specializes in it's namesake, coffee and crepes. Luckily, that is exactly what I was in the mood for. It's facade looks straight out of Willy Wonka (the book), and is (of course) painted red like Alice's roses. GET AT ME LITERARY REFERENCES. 
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They had a terrific of both savory and sweet options, but I optioned for the sweet, I know… you're surprised.
After perusing the menu my eyes fell upon the great Funky Monkey. This crepe consisted of peanut butter, nutella, walnuts, and bananas. Add some bacon and honey and you have one hell of an Elvis. I don't believe that those last two ingredients were an option but maybe one day they could be. The crepe was delicious and their medium columbian house-brew was great. Here is a picture before I totally demolished my dessert breakfast. 
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So gooooood I want to go back!
This is just a little bragging moment because I am so proud and happy to know Sebastain Handley. He is a wonderful person, musician, and poet that I was lucky enough to become close with during my graduate school experience in England. I fell in love with a performance collective known as GYPSY. This group is made up of all kinds of artists, actors, writers, poets, stand up comedians, and musicians from all across the UK. I met Sebastian during one of our GYPSY gatherings in London. One of his projects that I learned about was his micro-library in Lewisham. I had no idea what to expect! Sebastian had created London's smallest library; an entirely free literary resource near his home in south-east London. Here is a link to his Facebook page to learn more about the library and how maybe one day you could create your own! It's about 200 books all in a little telephone box just like the one at the Red Bicycle! 

Sebastian's Micro-Library 

Alright, now back to the Red Bicycle Coffee and Crepes. I was lucky enough to meet some aspiring photographers (mostly students at MSU) and they asked if I would be a subject for their shoot that day! I had the greatest time and was shown around parts of Nashville I would never have gotten to see, from train stations to forgotten cookie factories. I had an unforgettable time and I am counting down the days until I can go back and explore even more. 


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You cannot blame me, I had to get the Funky Monkey.
The coolest thing about this coffee shop was their micro-library. Yes, a micro-library made out of a model of a british telephone box. This, I absolutely adored. I believe they got the idea from my friend Sebastian, who opened the first mini-library in Lewisham, England. You can take out any book that you like, and even leave some you want to donate! I hope this catches on in more cities across America. 
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I even loved their book selection!
I also could not forget to post the RB daily special… my absolute favorite drink. 
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What could be better?
Make sure you check out Red Bicycle Coffee and Crepes! 
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<![CDATA[The best coffee in Nashville, Tennessee]]>Sun, 08 Mar 2015 22:40:19 GMThttp://javanagila.weebly.com/blog/the-best-coffee-in-nashville-tennesseeBeing on the road is like backpacking through Europe, more specifically you walk EVERYWHERE no matter how "far" it may seem. My walk to this coffee shop was treacherous; up serious hills, filled with ice and snow, and although I almost got lost in a maze of hipsters, beards, and black-rimmed glasses, I found my way to the beautifully sculpted wooden counter at CREMA in Nashville, Tennessee. This drink, particularly the Cuban, which is espresso with condensed milk with a hint of cinnamon, was entirely worth the schlep.  
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Delicately delicious.
The Cuban was delicious and totally turned on my taste buds. I wanted to get it to-go on a sunny day and walk along the river in Nashville. Located a bit outside of the city, Crema is a perfect destination for coffee aficionados. I would suggest it to anyone that thought they have already had the best coffee in the world. It certainly rivals my favorite coffee shop EVER Cocoa Cinnamon in downtown Durham, NC. I never thought I would meet Cocoa Cinnamon's equal. In craft, yes Crema is it's rival. However, there aren't many choices when considering their coffee menu. Crema has about 6 different drinks; each one is made with perfection and total attention to detail. Every drink is a work of art in this establishment and I could not recommend it's coffee high enough. I look forward to going back in the future, with a great outfit on. 





Make sure you check out CREMA in Nashville! 
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It's really too bad because I actually really wanted to climb on the bags.
This place was decorated in both a rustic and minimalistic manor. I absolutely loved the main room, if it hadn't of been packed with people on such a blustery and freezing day. There were very cool people everywhere and I did feel like I was being looked at. I just didn't take the time to get dressed very sensibly that morning, so I would suggest that you get your coffee to-go. Despite the people, the place was beautiful. Each drink was meticulously crafted and they even had a coffee-tranining lab (pictured below)! This place took their coffee, and their american apparel subscriptions, very seriously. 
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I would have loved to stick around for a coffee class. They do offer great training in the coffee-arts!
I have to mention the coffee wall complete with all kinds of coffee gadgets, their brews bagged and ready to sell, and chocolate bars that taste like heaven. This place, although incredibly pricey, was definitely one of my favorite spots on the road. 
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I really wanted to find the chalk so I could draw too… looks like I'll just have to go back and visit.
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<![CDATA[Johnson City, Tennessee]]>Sun, 08 Mar 2015 21:26:08 GMThttp://javanagila.weebly.com/blog/johnson-city-tennesseeThis was our first stop before our Nashville gig and I had some pretty great eats before we left that I had to rave about. First off, I had a pretty serious brunch at the Tupelo Honey cafe. I'm talking spiced sweet potato pancakes with a peach butter and topped with slightly spicy roasted pecans. As if that wasn't enough, they had to serve up some freshly made buttermilk biscuits with blueberry preserves on the side. Oh, and they have their own honey. Now,  the good coffee in Johnson city was a bit tough to find but I happily stumbled upon the Willow Tree Cafe. This cafe is an absolutely charming and cozy place that reminds me a lot of Ithaca, NY. 
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This was right above the stage in the back of the coffee shop. Simple and lovely.
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I am particularly impressed by their usage of the boston terrier as a subject for this modern art trio.
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Have a seat Shewiff.
So by pancakes at the Tupelo Honey Cafe… I meant pancake... as in one gigantic pancake the size of the plate. There was no way I could have finished this myself. 
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I mean it was kind of insane, and yes I was there by myself but it was entirely worth it. I was able to have pancakes for brunch and dinner.
What I loved the most about Tupelo Honey was that it was located in an old train depot in downtown Johnson City, Tennessee. Check it out at Tupelo Honey Cafe
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So much snow in Tennessee. And trains. But Peter Dinklage wasn't anywhere in sight!
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<![CDATA[Didn't I blow your mind this time?- Nashville]]>Wed, 25 Feb 2015 22:49:45 GMThttp://javanagila.weebly.com/blog/didnt-i-blow-your-mind-this-time-nashvilleI was lucky enough to spend a week in this gloriously creative, delicious, and beautiful city. I haven't ever been to Nashville; and I am definitely coming back. One, I am surrounded by so many artists! There is live music EVERYWHERE you go, and walking along the broadway strip I was blown away by the neon lights and eclectic bands that graced Nashville's countless stages. I, of course, had to grab a bite. My first stop was the Frothy Monkey cafe. This place had an awesome dark house blend, that reminded me of chocolate and oranges. I had a salad with candied walnuts, port-wine berries, and feta, which was great. I, however, could not stop taking pictures of the actual coffee shop. Such a cool building! All the exposed brick made me long for my own place, with all the exposed brick I can dream of. 
They had an assortment of hand-bagged teas and are known for their "sweet as can be" lattes, but I passed on that so I could stealthily grab a picture of a patron enjoying his iced americano. Oh wait, Andrew Goldwasser is that you?! 
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I went for the English Breakfast, but I will have to try that Honeybliss next time.
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This space was so gorgeous, and the tables were wooden planks held together by iron legs. It created a very rustic feel. I want those lamps for my actual house above my kitchen table.
The Frothy Monkey is located right around the corner from the Tennessee Performing Arts Center, a beautiful space that houses many touring broadway national companies on their way across the states. Very excited we got to perform there all week! I absolutely loved all their mercy as well, but had to hold off if I wanted to try more good eats. 
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the berries- I dig.
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A bit of the action behind the counter. The staff was really friendly too and let me take many pictures of their beautiful work.
I loved this coffee shop; a definite go-to if you are ever in the downtown Nashville area. The Frothy Monkey was a great spot for coffee, considering the rated #1 coffee shop in Nashville was a mile-walk away. I will tackle that one tomorrow! For now, I'm still gushing about my lunch at Rae's Gourmet Sandwich Shop. It's just a sandwich shop right? WRONG (said like gene wilder would). I had beef tenderloin with melted bleu cheese crumbles, cajun mayo, lettuce, tomato, on a freshly baked baguette. GET AT ME BEEF TENDERLOIN. This sandwich was as messy as it was delicious, therefore it was the best KIND of sandwich. Lots of capital letters and each one of them fully deserved. 
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This sandwich actually rocked my world. You know who I would take to this sandwich shop? BEN CURNS.
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Banana pudding for dessert? YES.
Here is the thing about the Banana Pudding I had for dessert at Rae's Gourmet Sandwich Shop. It was perfect. There wasn't too much whipped cream. The banana pudding was light and fresh. The actual bananas were evenly distributed throughout the pudding, and at the bottom of the pudding were nilla wafers that WERE NOT HARD and were just soft enough to soak in the banana pudding goodness, plus some nilla wafer crumble on top. This, to me, tasted like the South should taste. I adored it. My sandwich was great too and the beef tenderloin was hot and the bread was crispy and warm. Perfect. I cannot talk up this place enough. I will be back and I will be taking everyone I know. 

My time in Nashville was not just about food mind you. I had an unforgettable time the other night at the Bourbon Street Blues and Boogie Bar in Printer's Alley. This little alleyway came out of no where and there it was in big neon lights, a Boogie Bar. Rarely does one have a night on the road that makes everything better. It's easy to feel down and alone when you're constantly working or staying in hotels, but this Blues Bash made me feel happy that I was on the road and lucky to have such great company. We walked in to this New Orleans-esque bar complete with a huge stage filled with talented Blues musicians born to make you want to dance. What a group! The man's name was Whitey Johnson and he had a band with him that did not stop playing for hours. There was a dance floor and... I couldn't help myself. Turns out that an actual Blues Dance group meets there every other Tuesday to groove to what Whitey's putting down, I would move to Nashville to dance with these guys. I had the best time with my tour mates that came along and we didn't stop grooving and moving until last call. 
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These two older gentlemen, one in white and one in black, sat and shredded those guitars until the sun came up. What a night! I am still sore from dancing so much.
One of my tour mates, Stephen Brunson, walked away with a pretty fantastic memory of last night's festivities. A signed and personalized CD from Whitey Johnson himself. Now that is what I call a great night in an unforgettable city. 

See? Love, Whitey :)

Please don't forget to check out the Frothy Monkey!

Also, Rae's Gourmet Sandwich Shop!

And of course… The greatest night you will ever have. 
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<![CDATA[Dancing Avocados + Warm rain = Daytona Beach]]>Wed, 18 Feb 2015 02:56:44 GMThttp://javanagila.weebly.com/blog/dancing-avocados-warm-rain-daytona-beachHey all! I love avocados. If you also love avocados, you should make your way to Daytona Beach, Florida for some serious invention and fun being had at The Dancing Avocado Kitchen on Beach Street. I had a pretty fantastic time in Daytona Beach (my first time here since I was a kid!) and I couldn't wait to get to my computer and tell you about my stroll in the pouring rain. It was raining buckets when I left my hotel, but it was still warm so it was actually beautiful. I had a fabulous lunch with my food buddy, Andrew Goldwasser who I spoke about in my first post. This restaurant has a ton of veggie options for part-time herbivores such as myself, and we started off our lunch with sweet fried plantains dusted with cinnamon/sugar and served with a  caramel sauce. GET AT ME PLANTAINS. Come on? Caramel sauce? Yes. Life's short eat dessert first. 
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I mean…...
I was pretty blown away by the plantains so it was difficult to have room for my actual lunch, so I brought it home and had an awesome dinner while I watched Louie Season 2. If it's rainy in Daytona beach, make lemonade, except in my case I made carrot juice. I know that it sounds simple but I think they put more in there than just carrots because that was the BEST carrot juice I ever had. I also like when juice has pulp so that was a plus about this joint. They were so friendly too; it's as if all the hippies in Daytona (really the ONLY hippies in Daytona) created a restaurant. Also, in the bathrooms they had a salt scrub by each sink, made with natural oils and smelling absolutely delicious. I used the lemongrass one, and felt for maybe 10 seconds that I was at a spa. I would totally come back here. 
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I loved all the local art in Sweet Marlay's, here are a few paintings I sat under.
The second course, for me, was their Dangerous Dancer Avocado melt complete with fresh avo, sliced tomato, onion, sprouts, three melted cheeses, on multigrain dusted with their signature "dancer" spices. Side quinoa salad was yummy too, light lemon vinaigrette, lots of lentils, my dad would have gone nuts for this one. 
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See it was kind of healthy with the side salad right? Avocados are full of good fat anyway.

Then… I found Sweet Marlay's. 

After lunch, I thought I wouldn't be satisfied with my short stint in Daytona Beach if I didn't try some of the local brew. Then, I found Sweet Marlay's. It was right down the street from the Dancing Avocado! This place had everything that I love about a little coffee shop. They had comfy couches and bookshelves to start. They sold a ton of local jewelry and art and they baked all their pastries right in the back of the shop. I felt completely at home here. I wanted to sample the grub so I had an amaretto latte and a rose-water raspberry filled cupcake.
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a little preview
The people that worked at Sweet Marlay's were really nice and told me where to check out before I left Daytona. I walked into this funky hot yoga studio right down the street and almost went to a class (if it hadn't of been cancelled because of the rain). Well, I worked out and therefore justified having a cupcake for dessert after eating leftovers from the Dancing Avocado. 
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I love when cupcakes look like flowers, and this one was almost too pretty to eat, then I remembered the raspberry filling.
My latte was delicious and my cupcake even better. After sitting in the car for 9 hours on the way here from Alabama, it was worth it to finally be able to walk around and enjoy the day even in the pouring rain. I walked until I found the coolest little local orange shop. They sold oranges and honey and that's about it! I couldn't leave Florida without having some oranges and my GOODNESS I have never truly liked oranges until now. I think my tastebuds have changed because these oranges tasted like candy. Actual candy. I even got some orange blossom honey, which is my favorite. A cup of tea later sounds like a great idea. The oranges would not have been complete without my new friend, the orange shop dog, Ned. Meet Ned everyone! What a love, a little toto. 
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honeybells and tupelo orlando oranges, fresh and beyond good
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Hey! I'm Ned!
Overall my day off in Daytona Beach was a success, even in the pouring rain! I had a wonderful time exploring and I found some pretty fantastic eats. I would highly recommend coming here when one can go to the beach, sit in the sunshine, eat honeybell oranges, and all while playing fetch with Ned. Til next time! 

Check out The Dancing Avocado! 

Also, for your sweet tooth, Sweet Marlays! 
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<![CDATA[Left My heart in North Carolina]]>Sat, 14 Feb 2015 03:46:49 GMThttp://javanagila.weebly.com/blog/my-heart-is-in-north-carolinaHappy Valentine's Day everyone! First off, thanks for reading! Secondly, in honor of my heart being in North Carolina, I will write about the incredible meal I had at The Table in Asheboro, NC. I was lucky enough to stumble upon this beautiful building right across the street from the Asheboro Farmers Market. 
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nice digs!
This is only a sneak peak but all the pastries were so beautiful I probably would have felt terribly guilty eating them. Or buying them. Nothing compares to that satisfying buttery crunch of an almond croissant though… alright maybe I would have shoved that guilt right out the window. Plus, they love sheep! I want that painting. 
This place was completely packed and I soon learned that The Table is definitely a tourist destination for this tiny town. The Table is located right down the street from the Lyric theater. Mainly it specializes in delicious coffees, teas, sandwiches, and house-baked EVERY PASTRY YOU COULD IMAGINE. Or bread. Or dessert. On my first day at the Table I was able to try their BLT with a fried egg on it (my favorite sandwich in fact.) Simple, fresh, awesome. The sandwich was huge and came with hot chips, as well as house-cured bacon. The bread was enough to make your mouth water. But, I had to save room for dessert. The next day I was lucky enough to take my boyfriend Benj to the Table for lunch. I saw this pie in the window the day before and now was my chance! I couldn't leave NC without trying the Brown Sugar Buttermilk Chess Pie! 
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Baby…
Come on! That's a thing?! Yes, it is. This pie was mmmmmm. Talk about rich! This pie was absolutely delicious and, if you can believe it, not too sweet! It was a perfect pairing to my black coffee that was roasted, you guessed it, down the street. I loved the look and feel of the Table as well! That's exactly what it was; the large wooden benches and long wooden tables created this family-style vibe that matches almost anyone's taste. Totally pricey, but also completely worth it. I would move to NC for this pie… Oh WAIT! 
And just because pie is wonderful, here is another slice for ya, specifically a lemon pie from the former Coffee On The Corner in Staunton, VA. I'm a bit nostalgic tonight so, wanted you all to know how delicious this pie is as well. Pie for everyone! 
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love, your lemon pie
Shabbat Shalom! Happy Valentine's Day! Whichever you feel like celebrating, know that I'm sending love from… (where am I?) Birmingham, Alabama! If I had it my way, challah for everyone too! 

With love, 
Lexie 

Ps… check out The Table! 


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Man O Man I miss having a kitchen of my own.
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<![CDATA[Take Me Back to Lexington, KY!]]>Thu, 12 Feb 2015 18:50:03 GMThttp://javanagila.weebly.com/blog/take-me-back-to-lexington
I couldn't resist. Yes we were there a few weeks ago but A Cup of Commonwealth Coffee Shop is one of the reasons I would consider moving to Lexington, KY. What an adorable, eco-friendly, not-rude place to grab a cuppa. About a mile walk from my hotel, it was the perfect respite on my day off after seeing the Kentucky Basketball team kick ass once again. There you have it folks, the only sports related thing I will ever say on this blog. I realized that I hadn't written about coffee in a bit!  
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Their moto
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View from the bridge
I had a delicious medium roast from Africa here along with some serious chocolate that cost way too much but I'm still savoring it and I bought it weeks ago…Also their logo is adorable and when you walk in you are greeted by the definition of charming. 
Just so you all know, sometimes you just feel like a hedgehog. Especially today because I cannot be in Lexington drinking coffee. 
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why is everyone always laughing at me?
Sending love from A Cup of Commonwealth! 

Also from Miss Brown.

Creating this blog has already been such a pleasure for me. I have made so many new friends and have been greeted in each place with a great attitude and a welcoming vibe. I was so worried about going on tour and living in hotel rooms, feeling constantly on my own. Once I started this blog, it occurred to me that I meet so many individuals in this food industry that, despite the difficulties, love what they do. I think that it takes a pretty thick skin to be in this industry, both in acting and food service, and I have met some incredibly passionate and brave human beings. I have always admired how people can make life delicious, and finally I am able to express it in a creative and thought-provoking way! I hope this blog makes you want to visit new places. I hope that I stick with this thing and continue to write about it, because I feel like I am inspired every day and I look forward to every new venue. Thanks for reading! 
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