The One Sushi...

Last week, we ventured OCD (outside the City of Decatur) for dinner at The One Sushi in Brookhaven. I heard it was good, and I've been wanting to check out the strip of shops and restaurants on Dresden Drive. We were not disappointed.

Welcome. Come on in.

Although we made a reservation for 6:30, we could have walked in. The interior is sleek with lots of colorful abstract art.

 {I spy someone texting at the bar}

Sushi bar...

Let's start with drinks. They offer an exhaustive selection of wine, bubbles, Japanese and domestic beers, premium sakes, ginjo (super premium sake), modern cocktails and a separate "mule bar" menu. A few examples -- the "London mule" made with Miller's gin, Tennessee mule made with Jack Daniels, Japanese with sake, and so on. I was surprised there was no house-made ginger beer given the extensive list. I went with my usual -- the Moscow -- which was good for $7. Adding fresh ginger beer  to the "mule bar" would definitely kick it up a notch.

The grapefruit martini is fab. Pretty too. I would definitely order again.

On to food. The menu is huge, but we were able to navigate it with our server's help.

To start, the seaweed salad. Good for a few bites. But, too pungent to want any more than that.

Everything else was rich and delicious…

{miso duck breast nigiri}

 {Misoyaki Japanese black cod -- beautiful presentation}

{"Pandora 14" -- lump crab, masago, avocado and BBQ eel -- Osaka style (square rolls)}

{"Sex and the City 13" -- spicy tuna, mango, cashew nut, avocado and tobiko (fish roe)}

A feast for the eyes and palette, we'll go back for sure. Next time with a big group of people to eat family style. Great place for girls night out!

Opens at 5:00 pm for dinner every night with daily happy hour specials.

Have a good weekend!

Destination: Byron Bay Australia


I'm so excited to introduce you to my first foreign travel correspondent Rebecca author of the Global Glutton. A native Australian, Rebecca is a globe trotter in its truest sense. She's well on her way to filling her passport by age 29. I asked her to write about one of her favorite places in the world. She chose someplace close to home -- Byron Bay -- Australia's easternmost town. Known for it's surf culture, alternative philosophies and hedonistic indulgences, Bryon is the perfect place to kick back and relax.

Speaking of pleasure, Rebecca loves to eat. When she's not traveling or eating, she's thinking about her next "drool-worthy" meal. A girl after my own heart.

Here she is.

{Mmm, finger licking good!}

Let's get to know her first…

Q: Dogs or cats? Dogs, especially small fluffy ones.
Q: Tea or coffee? Coffee every time.
Q: Cooking or baking? Definitely cooking – I don't usually follow recipes, which often leads to baking disasters.
Q: Beach or mountains? Beach, beach, beach.
Q: Favorite city? New York.
Q: Funniest travel experience? Ah, there are so many! I think one of the funniest experiences would have to be riding a local bus in Vietnam – people brought all kinds of things onto the very full bus, including chickens and freshly painted car bumpers. 
Q: Last supper? Garlic, chili and prawn linguine at the Pacific Hotel in Yamba. Yamba is a small little coastal town in Northern New South Wales, Australia. Our family always goes there for holidays, and although it's not the best meal in the world it certainly makes me the happiest.

Tell us more...

BMH: Where have your travels taken you?
GGI've travelled all over the place, from Africa, South America, Europe, the States and South East Asia. I also lived in Tokyo for 7 wonderful and wacky months. That's why I decided to start my blog, so I could share all these amazing experiences with the world. 
BMH: Who do you travel with?
GG: Whoever will come! I've travelled with boyfriends before, my best friend, my sister, my family and even travelled with a group of 17 people to a music festival in Japan (which was a lot of organizing, but soooo much fun).
BMH: Please share a few travel tips.
GG: Sure. 1) Be flexible with your itinerary and schedule a few days in each city just to wander the streets – you always have the best experiences when you discover it yourself rather than read about it in a guide book. 2) Take advantage of new technology. Don't bother using guidebooks when you can jump on blogs or trip advisor for more-up-to-date information and definitely don't lug around photocopies of all your documents when you can email copies to yourself and keep your itinerary with great apps like TripIt.
BMH: If I were to do it again, I would… 
GG: No matter what trip I've been on, I always think if I were to do it again, I would go for longer. I never want to come home! Even when I was really little, my Mum would say I used to cry every time our holidays were finished because I didn't want to go home.

On Byron Bay...

Even though I travel a lot, I love coming home to Australia. The beaches here are some of the best in the world, and nothing else quite compares to the feeling of freedom you get from being outdoors in Oz.  A place that will always have a special spot in my heart is Byron Bay. We used to spend lots of time there as kids and, as we got older, I ended up spending even more time there with friends.

My two favorite meals in Byron are either Fish Tacos or these beautiful falafel wraps. You can get either of them to take away and sit on the beach while eating your lunch. Top Shop Cafe is one of my favorite places for take away. You also can't pass up a beer at the Beach Hotel, which overlooks Byron's main beach.

{Top Shop Cafe, Byron Bay}

{breakfast burger with bacon, has brown, eggs and relish}

There are lots of great Australian designer shops in Byron, like Mimco (an Australian jewelry, shoe and handbag company – ) and small boutiques that stock Sass & Bide ( and One Teaspoon (

My favourite thing to do in Byron is eat a BBQ breakfast at Wategos Beach, and spend the day lazing about on the sand, throwing a ball around and watching my boyfriend surf.

{Rebecca in her "togs"…}

{and boyfriend hanging out at the beach}

{beach in Northern New South Wales}

{sunset at Emerald Beach south of Byron -- so beautiful}

Thanks for stopping by Rebecca! I hope you'll come back again soon to tell us about one of your latest travel adventures. Be sure to check out Rebecca's blog for more about her travels, food and great recipes.

I don't know about you, but I'm sold. Adding Byron Bay to my bucket list for sure.

{images: Rebecca Ogg}

Sprinkles cupcakes...

This may be old news for some of you, but Sprinkles is open at Lenox Mall. I've already had occasion to sample the goods. Remember my red velvet cupcake wars when I was in DC last year?

Well, Sprinkles signature red velvet is my fave of the cupcakes I've sampled there so far. They also have red velvet cupcake ice cream that is pretty tasty.

 {cupcakes for my son's birthday}

A few things you may not know about Sprinkles. They have curb-side pickup for advance orders. And, these adorable cupcake boxes.

{three vanilla, three chocolate & three red velvet}

Some other helpful info:
Skip the chocolate butter cream frosting if you like a rich, dark chocolate ganache. I didn't
really care for the chocolate cake either.
Sprinkles does not have rainbow sprinkles. Gasp! If your little birthday girl or boy wants them,
you'll have to go elsewhere. I know mine was disappointed.
If you or your dog need a quick pick me up on the go, stop by the cupcake ATM located on the       bakery's patio.

In other cupcake news…

Georgetown Cupcake is coming to Buckhead soon.

Have a sweet weekend!

Floral styling with frog cubes...

George's is my absolute favorite restaurant on 30-A. When we were in Alys last year I was smitten with the cute frog cubes they display on their tables. Just one cube with a few fresh sprigs of mint transforms this table from drab to fab. It adds an edgy yet sweet splash of green without taking up too much table space or obscuring diners' views. As luck would have it, they are for sale in the restaurant's gift shop. Of course, I bought one. 

{George's, Alys Beach}

When I got home, I noticed the "chive" imprint on the bottom of the vase. I found them at and placed an order immediately. Not surprisingly, chive is a Canadian company. It's no secret that I think Canadian wares and clothing are high quality and very tasteful. I was so excited when my box arrived. When I opened it…  

{notecard enclosed}

Love at first sight. I adore green and white parrot tulips. They are one of my faves.

Chive sells cubes in 2 sizes (small and large) in a rainbow of colors. I prefer white for its versatility. I also favor white flowers, which for the most part come from my garden. Let's take a look at some of the ways I use them.

I always have one in my powder room…

{gerber a daisy, white carpet rose, phlox "David" and limelight hydrangea} 

A little pieris greenery (from my yard) frames these white flowers nicely. The tiny buds add texture. 

Cubes look good alone…

{seafoam cube}

{i can't think of a better way to showcase a hellebore bloom}

Grouped into larger squares...

Down the middle…

 {just flowers}

 {pumpkins, fresh herbs & votives on craft paper and burlap ribbon}

On a tray...

{evergreen clematis is in full bloom -- cut some and bring them inside -- delicate and fragrant!}

And, on my office (aka the laundry room) window sill…

As you can see, the possibilities are endless. And budget friendly -- less than $8 a cube. Pick something from your garden and stick it in. Cubes make excellent hostess gifts. Speaking of gifts, I got one from chive with my order. 

I'll be back soon to show you more fun ways to use frog dishes and cubes.

Happy Spring!

Destination: Puerto Rico part 1

Last month we visited  Puerto Rico over the school winter break. Too much to show and tell, so I'm going to break it up. This post will focus primarily on food and lodging. Part 2 will cover history and geography. Sounds boring, but I can assure you it will be interesting.

Coqui Cabana

This is what we nicknamed our villa at Las Casitas in Fajardo, which is located on the East side of the island. My son thought it was a clever twist on Barry Manolo's "Copacabana." Seems he has heard the song a few times in my car. Yes, I do I listen to the 70s station on satellite radio.

Coqui are tiny tree frogs indigenous to Puerto Rico. Their chirping, which sounds like birdsong, can be  heard at all hours day and night. But we never saw one. Las Casitas is part of Waldorf Astoria's El Conquistador Resort. If you are traveling with your family, I highly recommend staying at the villas. One-, two- and three-bedrooms with full kitchens can be had. You are secluded from the hotel, but share all its amenities, including shuttles to and from the hotel. My boys love to ride in the back of golf carts, especially at high speeds on winding roads. It's the little things, right. There was a pool right outside our door --  a necessity when traveling with kids. Remember, the keys to a successful family vacation -- an oxymoron in most cases -- are snacks, having more than one room, a pool and electronic devices -- only to be used when absolutely necessary, of course.

You can check out interiors photos on tripadvisor. Just outside our balcony though…

 {yummy-colored flowers abound. not sure what these are, but they sure are pretty}

Let's take a look.

The resort is situated on cliffs above the ocean. Although Puerto Rico is often referred to as the gateway to the Caribbean, much of the island is surrounded by the Atlantic. The hotel leases space on the privately-owned Palomino Island.

{Palomino in the distance}

The free ferry service over to the island runs every 30 minutes and takes about 10 minutes. Described as "an unspoiled tropical oasis," the hotel has done a good job of commercializing the beach IMO. You can wade into the beautiful water for about 40 feet. The rest is roped off because of reef and rocks. This was a major disappointment for me as I was planning to get a lot of beach time in. We went once, never to return.

{adios Palomino}

That's okay, because the resort has a number of pools, and, more importantly, a fun (very clean) water park that overlooks the ocean.

{view over the edge of one of the infinity pools. ferry headed to Palomino}

I relaxed on the edge of the park taking in the ocean views and reading The Goldfinch….

{the island in the background is privately owned. nice place to retire or visit for a weekend junket}

while the kids raced down slides and floated around the lazy river. The resident iguanas would visit from time to time.

{the kid holding on to the wall for dear life does not look psyched about the visitor}

Not the Four Seasons and no heavenly beds, Las Casitas was the perfect accommodation for this trip. I doubt there is any other place where you can see the sun set behind the clouds hovering over the rain forest.

{view from the golf course at dusk}

Before I move on, there are some fabulous beaches you can visit via ferry from the Fajardo marina. I had my heart set on going to the famous Flamenco Beach in Culebra. To get there, you have to arrive at the marina at 7:00 am and wait in line to get $2 tickets (bargain!) for the 9:00 am ferry. Return ferries from Culebra leave at 3:00 and 5:00 pm. You have to take a taxi to the beach once you get there. Note: Ferry schedules vary by season. You can also catch a ferry to Vieques. The hotel staff told me that the beaches in Culebra are much nicer and less crowded. Bottom line: this is an all-day excursion unless you want to fly on a puddle jumper for $150 per person round trip. Not cheap. Plan to go on a weekday to avoid weekend crowds and pray for smooth sailing. Those who tend to get seasick should be prepared for the worst -- bring meds and a barf bag. We never made it. Next time though.

Garlic & Mojitos

Rip off from Ruth Reichl's book Garlic and Sapphires. I've become somewhat of a food critic myself. But I don't get paid for my reviews and have not been published -- that is, not yet.

Although the mojito is technically Cuban, they are ubiquitous in Puerto Rico. Most restaurants serve a variety of flavors. Champagne mojitos are common as are sparkling margaritas, which are topped off with prosecco. Locally produced Don Q Premium rum is the only way to go.

{mojito in Paradise}

The resort food was typical. Meh. Chops Steakhouse is one of the fancier restaurants. It was extremely dark. Steep prices for just okay food. I did enjoy this grapefruit ginger martini. Nice touch with the crystallized ginger garnish. An idea I plan to steal.

As with any travel destination, good things happen when you ask the locals where they eat. That's how we found this diamond in the rough. La estacion -- the station -- BBQ and grill. A hop skip and a jump down the road from the hotel although I would recommend driving. We ate there twice. Our first trip was after dark, so some of these photos are grainy.

An eclectic selection of vintage gas station memorabilia. So charming. Come on in.

{resident restaurant dog named after a Cuban sandwich taking a siesta}

{some of the fabulous menu -- everything is locally sourced}

{cool old motorcycle}

{working hard at the grill}

First stop, the bar. Each drink is made to order with great care. Well worth the wait. The best mojito -- not to mention strongest -- I've ever had.

{pigs galore -- i think that's a voodoo doll hanging on the right}

{knock your socks off mojio and watermelon lemonade for the kids}

Here's where the garlic comes in. Mofongo is a traditional Puerto Rican dish made with fried green plantains mashed together with broth, olive oil, some bacon bits and enough garlic to ward off vampires for a lifetime. It is often served as a side or topped with meat, fish or veggies.

 {mofongo topped with fresh shrimp and fish and lots of garlic. nice plantain chip garnish. delicioso!}

Other dishes we relished...

{grilled Caribbean lobster tail over spinach with fresh salsa and papaya drizzle with a side of garlic laden butter -- to die for}

{grilled shrimp & fried plantain cake}

 {best frozen Margarita ever}

{grilled bacon wrapped hot dog -- best dog my son has ever had}

I'll be back soon with part 2. In the meantime…

 {sign in la estacion restroom -- pretty blue walls}
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