Travel

Surfside, Miami

Travel guide to Surfside Miami. The where to stay, what to eat, and shopping guide for Miami's luxe neighborhood! Thewoodandspoon.com

Last month, Brett and I took a celebratory trip to Miami’s Surfside neighborhood. From the white sand beaches, ridiculous-amazing shopping, and yummy restaurant offerings, the city left quite an impression on us. I wanted to share about our trip and pass along a colorful mood board of Surfside, Miami-inspired buys. First up: where we stayed!

Travel guide to Surfside Miami. The where to stay, what to eat, and shopping guide for Miami's luxe neighborhood! Thewoodandspoon.com

Where We Stayed in Surfside, Miami

Surfside is an oceanfront neighborhood in Miami that is home to a number of luxury hotels, storefronts, and restaurants. We opted to stay at the Four Seasons Hotel at The Surf Club, a new luxury hotel with a legendary past. Although The Surf Club initially opened in the 1930’s. Since then, the property has been revamped into a glamorous, photogenic beach hotel.

The property common areas are expansive- think tall ceilings, wide hallways, and numerous arched doorways- and the decor leaves me looking for Ernest Hemingway around every corner. Inside the lobby, palm trees and clay tile flooring juxtapose with vibrant velvet upholstery and mirrored tabletops. The greenery continues through the lobby bar and restaurant where planters overflow with fronds and moss. Outside, the hotel offers two pools, both of which serve as a quiet respite from the usual party noise of Miami’s beaches.

While the main areas of The Surf Club reflect its storied past, the rooms are definitively modern with minimalist luxury touches throughout. I loved the plush white bedding, sleek marble bathrooms, and floor to ceiling windows that offer a glimpse of ocean waves. At the spa, patterned tile and shuttered windows offered cozier beach vibes, which I absolutely loved during my services. All in all, the Four Seasons Hotel at The Surf Club was divine, and I’d revisit in a heartbeat.

Travel guide to Surfside Miami. The where to stay, what to eat, and shopping guide for Miami's luxe neighborhood! Thewoodandspoon.com

Where We Ate

Narrowing down our restaurant choices in a city brimming with options was tough, but we ended up enjoying a number of fabulous meals. A collective favorite was our dinner at Bar Harbour’s Makoto. We enjoyed a number of small-plated Japanese dishes, and their cocktail menu was fabulous too! On the evening of Brett’s birthday, we popped over to Thomas Keller’s Michelin star restaurant, The Surf Club Restaurant, and enjoyed classic American dishes like beef Wellington and chocolate soufflé. Everything we ate was fabulous, and I’ll share a restaurant list below.

Travel guide to Surfside Miami. The where to stay, what to eat, and shopping guide for Miami's luxe neighborhood! Thewoodandspoon.com

Makoto Coloful, spunky, and full of sass, Makoto is the coolest Japanese restaurant in the city.
The Surf Club Restaurant Tremendous service and classic American dishes is just the beginning of what to expect at this Michelin-starred restaurant.
Lido Restaurant and Terrace Perfect cocktails and small plates come with a lively Art Deco atmosphere.
Atlantikos A serene white and blue dining room sets the scene for a contemporary Greek meal.
Aba Mediterranean cuisine in a modern atmosphere.
Doma Come for the Italian food and stay for the cocktails!

A Taste of Surfside, Miami

One of my favorite parts about Miami? THE SHOPPING. There was no shortage of boutiques, niche stores, or high-end shopping, and I loved every minute of it. Surfside drips with luxury beach feels, and I found myself flipping over glasses and salt shakers in restaurants trying to find out who made all the beauty I was seeing. As a result, I landed with this happy little guide that reflects the vintage prints, citrus colors, and clean lines I saw all over the city. Give a peek below and pass along any favorites! Happy Shopping!

Travel guide to Surfside Miami. The where to stay, what to eat, and shopping guide for Miami's luxe neighborhood! Thewoodandspoon.com

1. Assouline Miami Beach Guide 2. Rattan Cane Tray 3. Stemless Glassware 4. Beaded Citrus Coasters 5. Acrylic Shadowbox Frame 6. Montce Sarong 7. Tory Burch Raffia Slides 8. Georg Jensen Salt and Pepper Shakers 9. Turkish Towel Robe 10. Retrospec Bike 11. Lorna Murray Pleated Hat 12. Larkspur Lamp 13. Woven Tote

Birmingham, AL

Two very important things today: first, a potluck all-star dessert. Brown butter peach berry crumble, anyone? Second, a breakdown of my favorites in one of the coolest Southern cities, Birmingham, AL. If you’re in need of a simple but scrumptious dessert (or an itinerary for a day in Birmingham!), you’ll love today’s post. No time to waste- let’s dive in!

Brown Butter Peach Berry Crumble by Wood and Spoon blog. This is a recipe from my first book, Her Daily Bread. Fresh peaches and summer berries combine and bake under a brown butter brown sugar crumble that makes a terrific summer crisp dessert. Learn how to make this yummy fruit dessert on thewoodandspoon.com

Peach Berry Crumble

Let’s start with the main event: this brown butter peach berry crumble. The recipe is an excerpt from my first book that I’m incredibly proud of, Her Daily Bread. If you haven’t heard about the book, you can learn more here and here! If you have heard of it, you may know that I’ve been sharing one recipe from its pages every month this year. This crumble makes the 7th recipe, and, man, it is definitely worth the wait.

Here, peaches, strawberries (or blueberries and blackberries!) combine and bake together into a bubbling fruit mixture. On top, a brown sugar and butter streusel bakes comes together with butter and salt; the end result is out of this world. While this isn’t the fanciest or prettiest recipe on this site, it’s one that rocks. Summer fruits and the warm flavors of cinnamon and brown butter shine here, making an unassuming, approachable treat.

Brown Butter Peach Berry Crumble by Wood and Spoon blog. This is a recipe from my first book, Her Daily Bread. Fresh peaches and summer berries combine and bake under a brown butter brown sugar crumble that makes a terrific summer crisp dessert. Learn how to make this yummy fruit dessert on thewoodandspoon.com

I love to serve this brown butter peach berry crumble for casual group dinners. A scoop of ice cream or dollop of whipped cream balances out any tart fruit flavors and cool down an otherwise warm treat. This is a great recipe you can batch and serve even for larger crowds, although even a little goes a long way here. If you get a chance to make this recipe, do let me know what you think! Now, on to my Birmingham faves!

Birmingham, AL

Birmingham was my first home away from home. I moved there a number of years ago to attend college, and at one time, I thought I’d live there forever! While plans changed, my love for the city never died. I often have people ask my about my favorite places to eat and things to do in Birmingham, so I thought I’d share a few with you here today.

The croque monsieur at ChexFonFon, the on-tap selection at Diplomat Deli, and a feast of appetizers at East West.

Where to Eat in Birmingham: Lunch

Chex FonFon My Favorite place for pommes frites and fancy lunch cocktails!
Brick and Tin Delicious seasonal food in a beautiful quick-service environment.
Diplomat Deli Sandwiches and craft beers come together in this divey cult fave.
Little Donkey Tacos, mars, and outdoor seating? Yes, please!
Saw’s BBQ Alabama is serious about barbecue, and this is definitely the best in Birmingham.
The Essential A hit among foodies, this new American spot always serves beautiful and flavorful dishes.
Olexa’s A great place for a girly brunch or champagne lunch!

Where to Eat in Birmingham: Dinner

Automatic Seafood Regulary regarded as one of the best restaurants in Bham, this is THE cool place for seafood.
East West Asian fusion cuisine in a hip downtown area.
El Barrio The ambiance and Mexican-inspired food here is hard to beat.
Rojo This is my pick for casual late night Tex Mex.
Gian Marco The undisputed best Italian food in the city.
Slim’s Pizzeria A newcomer to Birmingham with pizza that holds its own.

Barbecue at Saw’s, cocktails at Paper Doll, and rolled ice cream downtown.

Where to Eat in Birmingham: Bakeries

Continental Bakery Come here for artisan breads and good coffee!
Edgar’s Bakery Take-home baked goods and lunch options too!
Pastry Art The legendary baby bites sold here are to die for.
Magic Muffins A casual breakfast option that never fails.
Olexa’s Hands down, the best vanilla cake I’ve ever had. Order warms slices or whole cakes to go!

Where to Drink in Birmingham

The Collins Bar Fun cocktails in a spunky environment.
Paper Doll Craft cocktails in an upscale environment.
Neon Moon Don’t miss karaoke night in this college student fave!
Avondale Brewery Beer drinkers will love this watering hole!
Innisfree Pub This divey place is a weekend late night fave.
Juniper A newcomer, this gin bar has beautiful inside and outdoor seating.
Pilcrow Cocktail Cellar Another trendy can’t-miss option for cocktails!

A concert at Avondale, shopping at the Summit.

Where to Stay in Birmingham

Valley Hotel This new hotel is a perfect option for weekend trips to hotel. A safe neighborhood, food options within walking distance, and a location just minutes from the airport.
Grand Bohemian This Marriott hotel is great for people looking for a boutique hotel option with a great restaurant in a great neighborhood.
Elyton Hotel For people hoping to stay downtown, the Elyton is without a doubt the best option!

What to Do in Birmingham

Nose Around on 18th Street in Homewood
Catch a Birmingham Barons Baseball Game at Regions Field
Buy Local at Pepper Place Saturday Market
Stroll Jemison Trail
Hike Red Mountain Park
Catch a Backside View of The Vulcan
For Kids: Birmingham Zoo or McWane Science Center

If you like today’s peach berry crumble recipe you should try:

Stone Fruit Skillet Cobbler
Skillet Fruit Pancake
Cherry Pound Cake
Peaches and Cream Trifle

Brown Butter Peach Berry Crumble by Wood and Spoon blog. This is a recipe from my first book, Her Daily Bread. Fresh peaches and summer berries combine and bake under a brown butter brown sugar crumble that makes a terrific summer crisp dessert. Learn how to make this yummy fruit dessert on thewoodandspoon.com
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Brown Butter Peach Berry Crumble

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This brown butter peach berry crumble features baked summer fruit under a brown butter brown sugar crumble!

  • Author: Kate Wood, taken from HER DAILY BREAD
  • Prep Time: 15
  • Cook Time: 30
  • Total Time: 45 minutes
  • Yield: 8 Servings
  • Category: Dessert

Ingredients

For the crumble:

  • ½ cup unsalted butter
  • 1/3 cup light brown sugar, packed
  • ¾ cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup quick-cooking oats
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon table salt

For the filling:

  • 2 cups peeled, pitted, and chopped peaches (from about 2 large ripe peaches)
  • 2 cups hulled and chopped strawberries 
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • Pinch of table salt

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 and lightly grease an 8” or 9” baking dish. Begin to prepare the crumble by browning the butter. Cube the butter into tablespoon-sized pieces and place it into a small, heavy-bottomed pan over medium heat. Stir regularly as the butter melts, bubbles, and begins to foam. Continue stirring continuously and looks for small, amber-colored flecks begin to form on the bottom of the pan. Once the butter is fragrant and golden brown, remove from heat immediately and pour into a large heat-safe bowl. Stir in the sugar and add the remaining ingredients, stirring just until combined into thick clumps. Place in the fridge to cool briefly while you assembly the filling. 
  2. Toss together the filling ingredients and pour into the prepared baking dish. Crumble the topping over top of the fruit and bake in the preheated oven until the crumble is golden and the fruit beneath is bubbling, about 25-26 minutes. Allow to cool slightly before serving with ice cream or whipped cream. 

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A Mommy and Me Trip to NYC

A Mommy and Me Weekend in NYC by Wood and Spoon. An itinerary for the restaurants, shopping's activities, hotels, and what to do for a girl's weekend in NYC with kids! My favorite spots for shopping, sightseeing, broadway shows, and more to do with young girls. Read about it on thewoodandspoon.com

Dreams really do come true. Not to be dramatic, but when I found out I was pregnant with Aimee, I started dreaming of stuff like this: mommy and me trip to NYC. Finally, just a few weeks ago, that dream came true. Aimee and I traveled to New York to celebrate her 8th birthday with my mom and nana; it was nothing short of memorable, and I will, from now on, be recommending a similarly special trip to everyone I know. Today, I am going to share my favorite girly spots in the Big Apple so you can have your own kind of trip. Let’s get started!

A Mommy and Me Weekend in NYC by Wood and Spoon. An itinerary for the restaurants, shopping's activities, hotels, and what to do for a girl's weekend in NYC with kids! My favorite spots for shopping, sightseeing, broadway shows, and more to do with young girls. Read about it on thewoodandspoon.com

Where to Stay

For this trip, my hotel decision was based on two pieces of criteria. First, the hotel had to be centrally located to our (mostly) midtown itinerary. Second, it had to have loads of girly touches. While there is no shortage of fabulous hotels in NYC, I’m not sure there is a more suitable option than where we ended up: The Whitby. Located a couple of blocks from both Central Park and Rockefeller Center, The Whitby is a brand new boutique hotel designed by Kit Kemp. A celebration of color, pattern, and design, the hotel is a feast for the eyes and senses. Located in a quieter section of midtown, I found the Whitby to be a charming respite from the city. The hotel room are ultra-luxe and the attention to details is endless.

A Mommy and Me Weekend in NYC by Wood and Spoon. An itinerary for the restaurants, shopping's activities, hotels, and what to do for a girl's weekend in NYC with kids! My favorite spots for shopping, sightseeing, broadway shows, and more to do with young girls. Read about it on thewoodandspoon.com

We enjoyed a few meals, including a room service breakfast, at our hotel. The dining room at the hotel restaurant is stunning and refined. From the fresh pastries and great wine selection to the charming English china used at afternoon tea, I found myself continually amazed by the details. While some may think a hotel like this is not suitable for children, I thought it was the perfect venue for our special occasion.

Where to Eat

My goal here was simple: fun approachable food or fancy pinkies-out dining. Every meal had to check one of those two boxes. So it’s not surprise we found ourselves at a bunch of touristy venues I ordinarily wouldn’t land in on a trip to NYC. Still, we were really pleased everywhere we went and found that everything exceeded our expectations.

A Mommy and Me Weekend in NYC by Wood and Spoon. An itinerary for the restaurants, shopping's activities, hotels, and what to do for a girl's weekend in NYC with kids! My favorite spots for shopping, sightseeing, broadway shows, and more to do with young girls. Read about it on thewoodandspoon.com

One highlight worth mentioning was our afternoon brunch at The Plaza. For us, a formal tea there was a bucket list item, and while it was certainly pricey, I am so glad we did it. Another highlight was our lunch at Laduree. Aimee adored the glass cases of macarons, and the food (and cocktails!) was delicious. Here’s a list of places I’d recommend.

Tea at The Plaza
Serendipity
Laduree
Tavern on the Green (watch Mr. Popper’s Penguins with your kiddo before you go!)
While We Were Young Kitchen
La Lanterna di Vittorio
La Mercerie
Tick Tock Diner

A Mommy and Me Weekend in NYC by Wood and Spoon. An itinerary for the restaurants, shopping's activities, hotels, and what to do for a girl's weekend in NYC with kids! My favorite spots for shopping, sightseeing, broadway shows, and more to do with young girls. Read about it on thewoodandspoon.com

What to Do

There is SO MUCH to do in NYC. It’s kind of overwhelming, right? I knew that a detailed itinerary would help us maximize our time and ensure that we spent our limited weekend having fun. Given that this was Aimee’s first trip and she’s still pretty young, I wanted to do fun stuff. We will save the museums and history for the next trip. If you’re looking for something in a similar vein, check out my recommendations below!

The Color Factory
Museum of Ice Cream
Catch a Broadway Show (I recommend “Aladdin” or “The Lion King” for kids!)
Tea at The Plaza
Carriage Ride Through Central Park
Catch a Bicycle Carriage to See Times Square at Night
Shopping at FAO Schwartz, the LEGO store, or Stoney Clover Lane
Get a Blowout or Manicures at Nordstrom

A Mommy and Me Weekend in NYC by Wood and Spoon. An itinerary for the restaurants, shopping's activities, hotels, and what to do for a girl's weekend in NYC with kids! My favorite spots for shopping, sightseeing, broadway shows, and more to do with young girls. Read about it on thewoodandspoon.com
A Mommy and Me Weekend in NYC by Wood and Spoon. An itinerary for the restaurants, shopping's activities, hotels, and what to do for a girl's weekend in NYC with kids! My favorite spots for shopping, sightseeing, broadway shows, and more to do with young girls. Read about it on thewoodandspoon.com

Our Itinerary for a Mommy and Me Trip to NYC

A Mommy and Me Trip to NYC Itinerary

If you’re looking for more travel guides, check out my recent trips here! For more on my (more adult) faves in NYC, look here!

Our Walt Disney World Favorites

Sugar Cookie Pops and our Favorite hotels, meals, desserts and how-to tips for Walt Disney World!

How’s that saying go? You can take the girl out of Orlando, FL, but you can’t take the Disney out of the girl? Well, for today’s intents and purposes, let’s pretend so. A few weeks ago, Brett and I took the kids back to my hometown of Orlando, FL for a trip to Disney World, and, it felt so good to be back at a place that once was home. Per usual, I got so many questions about Disney from friends on Instagram that I thought we might take today to map out a few of my personal faves. Let’s get to it.

We should start with a disclosure: everyone does Disney different. There are some people who are one-and-done kind of visitors and others who go as often as possible. There are some that like the shut the parks down everyday, and there are other (raises hand) who are really just there long enough to eat as much Dole Whip as possible. Regardless of what camp you fall into, Disney has changed so much over the past couple of years that even those of us who have been nearly 100 times need a little help. With that being said, I highly recommend doing your own research prior to any trip to Disney, and but if you are interested in a few of our Walt Disney World favorites, here they are!

Sugar Cookie Pops and our Favorite hotels, meals, desserts and how-to tips for Walt Disney World!

Walt Disney World Favorites: Hotels

  • Disney’s Riviera Resort. This is my current favorite Disney resort. Fresh paint, loads of suite options for those traveling with little ones, and an overall more quiet and polished vibe make this a comfortable place for kids and parents alike.
  • Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort. Have you seen the beautiful new over-water bungalows at the Polynesian? They’re to die for! Plus, proximal location to the Magic Kingdom makes this an easier option for those traveling with young kids.
  • Animal Kingdom Lodge. You know what never gets old? Waking up to seeing giraffes, antelope, and zebras outside of your balcony. My kids love this resort for the animals, and Mom loves it for the dining options.
  • Four Seasons Resort Orlando at Walt Disney World. I know most people will roll their eyes at this one, but I do really love a Four Seasons hotel, and this one, one Disney property and with shuttles on location, makes luxury accommodations possible even on a Disney trip.

Walt Disney World Favorites: Meals

  • Sanaa at Animal Kingdom Lodge. This is probably my all-time favorite Disney restaurant- Middle Eastern cuisine in a comfortable, kid-friendly environment. Don’t miss the bread service with all the dipping sauce- SO GOOD.
  • Rose & Crown at Epcot. This was my parents’ fave as a kid, and old loves die hard. Now, as an adult, I come here for the fish & chips and a pint.
  • Topolino’s Terrace at Riviera Resort. Fine dining at Disney is rarely actually fine dining, but at Topolino’s, it really is. The pastas are housemade and the cocktails are a welcome addition after a long day at the parks.
  • Flame Tree Barbecue at Animal Kingdom. Why would someone who lives in Alabama go all the way to Disney for barbecue? Let me just say, the smoked meats are actually really good, and the intoxicating smells from the smoker literally draw you in. Don’t miss this quick dining spot.
  • Pecos Bill Tall Tale Inn at Magic Kingdom. My kids love a burrito bowl. LOVE one. With most of the dining at Magic Kingdom consisting of burgers and chicken fingers, a little guacamole is a welcome change of pace.
  • Tusker House Restaurant at Animal Kingdom. If you are set on doing a character meal, I love this one at Animal Kingdom. Moroccan flavors in an indoor/outdoor dining setting make this for a really enjoyable meal.
Sugar Cookie Pops and our Favorite hotels, meals, desserts and how-to tips for Walt Disney World!

Best Themed Dining

  • Sci-Fi Dine-In Theatre Restaurant at Hollywood Studios. One word: TELEVSION. If you’re traveling to Disney with kids, let them zone out at this drive-in while you relax for a minute.
  • Restaurantasaurus at Animal Kingdom. Again, this one is here for the kids. My boys love checking out the dinosaur bones on the wall, and this mom appreciates any dining option that keeps them busy for a few minutes.
  • Biergarten at German Pavillion Epcot. It’s a meal AND a show! My husband loves this meat-heavy menu, and I love the beer flights.
  • Cinderella’s Royal Table at Magic Kingdom. If you’re traveling with a little princess (or want to feel like one yourself!?), could there be anything better than dining INSIDE of Cinderella’s castle? I think not.

Best Disney Desserts

  • Dole Whip at Aloha Isle in Magic Kingdom or Tamu Tamu Refreshments at Animal Kingdom
  • The Kitchen Sink at Beaches and Cream Soda Shop
  • The Frosè at Bar Riva at Disney’s Riviera Resort
  • Funnel Cakes and Nutella Waffles at Sleepy Hollow Inn at Magic Kingdom
  • Ghirardelli Soda Fountain and Chocolate Shop at Disney Springs
  • Crepes from The France Pavillion at Epcot
  • Milkshakes from 50’s Prime Time Cafe at Hollywood Studios
Sugar Cookie Pops and our Favorite hotels, meals, desserts and how-to tips for Walt Disney World!

My Best Tips for a Great Disney Experience with Toddlers

Make a Plan.

So much time, energy, and waiting can be saved by knowing what you want to experience in the parks. Even as a seasoned Disney veteran, I always take time prior to a trip to look at the park maps (I even print one offline!) and make note of what rides, shows, and experiences my kids will want to check out. You can even take this a step forward by cross-referencing wait times (available daily on the Disney app!) with your list to determine which rides will get busy.

Get Genie+.

This most recent trip was our first time using Genie+, Disney’s new system which has essentially replaced the old fast pass system. Now, for a daily per person fee, you can have access to shorter wait times. Be sure to buy the Genie+ pass in advance and log in at 7am EST sharp to get your first round of passes. I highly recommend research Genie+ and Lightening Passes to noting which rides you want access for PRIOR TO your morning at the park.

Rise and Shine!

I used to think that people who got to the park before it opened were crazy, but now, I am among those people. Nothing makes riding rides easier than getting there 30 minutes prior to park opening times and being prepared to HUSTLE. For example, if a park opens at 9 am, I typically try to get my family there by 8:30, and we move fast to ride as many rides as possible during the first two hours of operation. Again, make a plan and knock out as much as you can in those morning hours.

Get a Lunch Reservation.

I’m sure other people feel differently about this, but by about 11:30, my crew just needs a break. Nothing, and I mean nothing, is more unnerving to me than trying to figure out where to eat, where to sit, and how I can take a break for a few minutes after a morning of hustling. Lunch is a great opportunity for taking a seat, getting out of the elements, and zoning out for just a few minutes. Your body and brain need this.

Know When to Call it Quits.

Brett always jokes that one day he’s going to make a website called “Meltdowns at Disney,” because for as much joy and magic as the parks bring, it also just makes people lose their minds a bit. That’s why my policy is always to know when to throw in the towel. I don’t want to ruin a perfectly great day by pushing my toddlers (and my sanity!) beyond it’s limit. The kids will have just as much fun swimming in the pool or watching endless Disney cartoons back at the hotel. If you don’t squeeze it all in, that’s ok. At the same token, don’t be bummed if you can’t ride every single ride! The kids will have a blast watching parades, exploring the park, or even use jumping in muddy puddles.

Pack for Every Forecast.

Florida weather is unpredictable. Come prepared for everything.

Don’t Forget the Snacks.

A backpack full of lollipops, Goldfish, and trail mix has gotten my family through many a waiting line. Disney is not the opportunity to make sure your kids get in all their fruits and vegetables- pack some snacks for insurance, and know they’ll get back to a normal routine at home.

In summary, going to Disney World is a lot of work, but it can (and should be!) loads of fun too. Move at your own pace and do what works best for your crew. These tips are just some that have worked well for our family, and I know there’s a good balance in there for you too. Be sure to share any of your Walt Disney World favorites with me! I would love to hear all about them. Have a magical day!

Orange Beach

Orange Beach, AL by Wood and Spoon Blog. These are a Southerner's Travel Recommendations for what to do, eat, and see when visiting Orange Beach, AL! My favorite restaurants, bars, and condos on the Gulf Coast. Learn about the best food and what to do while visiting OBA! On thewoodandspoon.com

I’ll be honest: Florida people are snobs about beaches. I grew up in Orlando, and somehow, a bit of arrogance came attached with that. Floridians believe, with deep conviction, that their beaches are the best. Mostly, they’re not wrong, but moving to the Deep South taught me something: Alabama has great beaches too. Now, with the Gold Coast just 3 hours south of us, we enjoy the white sandy beaches of Orange Beach. Today I’m sharing all of my favorite recommendations for OBA, so let’s dive in!

Orange Beach, AL by Wood and Spoon Blog. These are a Southerner's Travel Recommendations for what to do, eat, and see when visiting Orange Beach, AL! My favorite restaurants, bars, and condos on the Gulf Coast. Learn about the best food and what to do while visiting OBA! On thewoodandspoon.com

Why Orange Beach?

Orange Beach, located on the Gulf Coast just west of Pensacola, is a diamond in the rough. It amazes me that I can hop in a car and drive a few hours south of my rural, middle-of-nowhere hometown and be on white sands. Turns out, I’m not he only one amazed! I’ve met people from as far away as Texas and Chicago who traveled to Orange Beach for a getaway. With fewer people than many of its neighboring beaches, it truly is a hidden gem.

Orange Beach, AL by Wood and Spoon Blog. These are a Southerner's Travel Recommendations for what to do, eat, and see when visiting Orange Beach, AL! My favorite restaurants, bars, and condos on the Gulf Coast. Learn about the best food and what to do while visiting OBA! On thewoodandspoon.com

Where to Stay in Orange Beach

The only thing better than owning a beach house is having friends who own a beach house. That’s our story. We’ve been fortunate enough to stay with close friends on most of our trips to OBA; it’s no wonder I look forward to those weekends so much. Even so, we’ve had the opportunity to scope out a number of condominium/rental options in Orange Beach, and I thought I’d share a few favorites.

For People Who Love a Great Pool

The Caribe Resort is where you want to be. With nearly 300 rental options, 6 pools, a lazy river, and a number of other amenities, it’s a destination in and of itself. Try out their on-site restaurant, Cobalt. It’s where Brett and I ate after we got engaged.

For People Who Need Amenities

10/10 would recommend Turquoise. Two buildings on the beach boast a number of indoor and outdoor pools, beach access, on-site dining options, and more. We love Turquoise for a winter beach trip too- less crowded and heated indoor swimming.

For People Who Can’t Sit Still

Check out rentals at The Wharf! These new condos are walking distance form live music, dining, shopping, movie theaters, and more!

Orange Beach, AL by Wood and Spoon Blog. These are a Southerner's Travel Recommendations for what to do, eat, and see when visiting Orange Beach, AL! My favorite restaurants, bars, and condos on the Gulf Coast. Learn about the best food and what to do while visiting OBA! On thewoodandspoon.com

What to Do in Orange Beach

Don’t miss out on the obvious. The beaches are truly white sand and stunning. Numerous local companies offer guided deep sea and inshore fishing tours as well. (Brett can’t get enough of snapper fishing in the summer.) The wildlife is stunning, too! You might be lucky enough to see dolphins from the shore, or you could opt for a boat tour instead. Beyond that, here are a few faves.

The Wharf

This is definitely THE place for shopping and entertainment. Live music, fishing competitions, boats shows, and more happen here. Plus, there’s a number of coffee, dessert, and dining options too. My kids love The Wharf for its Ferris wheel and arcade. You’re sure to find fun here.

OWA

Part theme park, part water park, OWA is a destination. Garner some Disney World-level energy and bring any antsy kiddos here.

Hugh S. Branyon Backcountry Trail

This one goes out to all my sporty friends who need to exercise on vacation (not me). These seven trails span 15 miles and make nature and wildlife more accessible than ever.

Orange Beach, AL by Wood and Spoon Blog. These are a Southerner's Travel Recommendations for what to do, eat, and see when visiting Orange Beach, AL! My favorite restaurants, bars, and condos on the Gulf Coast. Learn about the best food and what to do while visiting OBA! On thewoodandspoon.com

Where to Eat in Orange Beach

Don’t you know this is my favorite part of our vacation time? One of my favorite parts of Orange Beach is its casual yet delicious approach to fresh regional foods. Here are a few of my favorites:

Breakfast

Brick and Spoon
Buzzcat Coffee and Sweets
City Donuts
Tacky Jacks

Lunch

Anchor
Fisher’s Downstairs
GTs on the Bay
Pirates Cove
Sunset Grill

Dinner

Fisher’s Upstairs
Playa
Voyagers
The Gulf
Moe’s BBQ

Bars

Flora-Bama
Flora-Bama Yacht Club
San Bar
The Gulf

Orange Beach, AL by Wood and Spoon Blog. These are a Southerner's Travel Recommendations for what to do, eat, and see when visiting Orange Beach, AL! My favorite restaurants, bars, and condos on the Gulf Coast. Learn about the best food and what to do while visiting OBA! On thewoodandspoon.com

Don’t miss the cotton candy sunsets and green waters of Orange Beach. Message me any of your favorites, and I’ll be sure to check them out next time!

The San Diego Zoo and Safari Park

Black and Blue Margaritas and our Trip to the San Diego Zoo

There may be a million typos in this post about today’s black and blue margaritas, because we have been traveling and my brain is still in a fog. This past week, we spent some time as a family in California visiting the San Diego Zoo. If I’ve never said it before, I’ll say it now: vacations with kids are a lot of work. Don’t get me wrong- good times were had by every one of the animal lovers in our house, but I’m definitely still recovering.

Black and Blue Margaritas by Wood and Spoon Blog. These are blackberry blueberry margaritas, the recipe which is from my new book Her Daily Bread. Get the how to on this refreshing summer marg on thewoodandspoon.com

If you’ve never been or have been considering going to the San Diego Zoo with little ones, let me be the first to cheer you on. With over 1600 acres of California real estate, the zoo and accompanying safari park are more like amusement parks than anything else. Gift shops, restaurants, and hundreds of species from all over the planet round out a destination that is somehow simultaneously fun and educational. Over the past year, my kids have turned into full-on animal enthusiasts, and the zoo was the perfect indulgence for their growing little minds.

Black and Blue Margaritas by Wood and Spoon Blog. These are blackberry blueberry margaritas, the recipe which is from my new book Her Daily Bread. Get the how to on this refreshing summer marg on thewoodandspoon.com

Where We Stayed

Because the zoo and safari park are in two different areas of San Diego, we opted for two different hotels during our trip. Our first leg was spent near the zoo itself, and we stayed at a nearby Marriott on Coronado Island. The second leg was dedicated to the safari park and visiting friends in LA, so for that time, we found a Park Hyatt that was killer for kids. With water slides, multiple dining options, and even a Top Golf Swing Suite, this hotel was a destination in itself. We would 100% go back in a heartbeat.

Black and Blue Margaritas by Wood and Spoon Blog. These are blackberry blueberry margaritas, the recipe which is from my new book Her Daily Bread. Get the how to on this refreshing summer marg on thewoodandspoon.com

My Best San Diego Zoo and Safari Park Tips

  1. Do not try to do the zoo and safari park in a single day. Not only are these parks far apart locationally, it’s also physically taxing. I’d recommend setting aside two days to see both.
  2. Consider getting a membership! We actually saved a good deal of money by purchasing one adult and one child membership. Not only do you get discounts on food, merchandise, and some of the tours and safaris, but you also get a few guest passes and tickets discounts with some memberships as well!
  3. Pick a route and stick with it. You can download maps of the park on the zoo website, and I highly recommend scoping out a route ahead of time. The parks are both very expansive, and I found it helpful to have a plan that didn’t require much backtracking.
  4. Download the app! The San Diego Zoo app was extremely helpful for navigating the parks and exploring the animal options available.
  5. Consider additional excursions. We did both an inside look tour and a safari during our time at the zoo and park. I would 100% recommend the safari but would probably skip the behind the scenes option next time. Do make time to ride the double decker bus at the zoo though!

For more information on hotels, the zoo, and other San Diego attractions, I highly recommend checking out this and this site. I found her local intel to be really helpful and 100% on the nose. The San Diego Zoo is truly a great spot for young families, so keep it in mind for your next vacay! Now that we’ve gotten the travel talk out of the way, let’s get to the main event: black and blue margaritas!

Black and Blue Margaritas by Wood and Spoon Blog. These are blackberry blueberry margaritas, the recipe which is from my new book Her Daily Bread. Get the how to on this refreshing summer marg on thewoodandspoon.com

Black and Blue Margaritas

These black and blue margaritas are a simple summery drink recipe from my new book, Her Daily Bread. I was eager to include a margarita in the drinks section of the book, and this one is a great way to include fresh summer produce. With muddled blackberries and blueberries as well as a honey simple syrup, these margarita is flavorful, refreshing, and beautiful, too! Let me tell you how to make it.

Black and Blue Margaritas by Wood and Spoon Blog. These are blackberry blueberry margaritas, the recipe which is from my new book Her Daily Bread. Get the how to on this refreshing summer marg on thewoodandspoon.com

We start with the syrup. Water and honey come together on the stove until dissolved and smooth. Once cooled, the syrup is muddled with berries before fresh lime juice and silver tequila are added. Shake in a tall cocktail shaker filled with ice until chilled and then serve. This recipe for black and blue margaritas can easily be batched, so come thirsty or invite a friend to join.

Black and Blue Margaritas by Wood and Spoon Blog. These are blackberry blueberry margaritas, the recipe which is from my new book Her Daily Bread. Get the how to on this refreshing summer marg on thewoodandspoon.com

With summer kicking into gear, I hope you’ll give these margs a try. If you have any great kid friendly vacation destinations, shoot me an email to tell me about them! In the meantime, happy baking and have a great week!

If you like these black and blue margaritas, you should try:

Mai Tai Margaritas
Ginger Margaritas
Pinot Ritas
Rose Margaritas
Sparkling Margaritas
Honey Basil Margaritas

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Black and Blue Margaritas

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These black and blue margaritas are made with fresh summer berries, lime juice, and a honey simple syrup!

  • Author: Kate Wood
  • Prep Time: 5
  • Total Time: 5
  • Yield: 1 Drink
  • Category: Drink

Ingredients

For the margaritas:

  • ¼ cup fresh berries (I use a mix of blackberries and blueberries)
  • 2 ounces tequila blanco
  • 1 ounce fresh squeezed lime juice (from about 1 lime)
  • ¾ ounce honey simple syrup (recipe below)
  • Coarse salt (optional)

For the honey simple syrup:

  • ½ cup honey
  • ½ cup water

Instructions

  1. Muddle the berries in a tall cocktail shaker until they’re broken down and juicy. Add the remaining ingredients to the shaker and fill it with ice. Shake vigorously for about 20 seconds. Wipe the flesh of the lime around the rim of a margarita glass and dip the glass in salt, if desired. Fill  with ice and strain the chilled mixture into the prepared glass. Enjoy!

 

To make the simple syrup:

  1. Combine the honey and water in a small saucepan over medium heat. Stir with a whisk until the honey is dissolved and then place in a small jar or heat-safe container to cool in the fridge. This can be made ahead and kept in the fridge for up to two weeks.

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Little Exuma, The Bahamas

Southern Coconut Cream Pie and our Trip to the Exumas. This is a stovetop vanilla custard pie flavored with sweetened coconut flakes and topped with a homemade whipped cream. The butter and shortening flaky pie crust is filled with the coconut milk filling and it makes for a delicious summertime or spring tropical flavored bake ahead pie for dessert. Learn how simple it is to make southern pies on thewoodandspoon.com

If you live in my neck of the woods, it’s the first day back after a much-needed spring break. Although Mondays and I don’t typically get along, I’m feeling totally refreshed today. This past week, my family and I were hugely fortunate to vacation with our closet friends at Little Exuma in The Bahamas, and it. was. phenomenal. It’s been years since I’ve visited the islands, and this was my very first time scoping out any area outside of the hyper-touristy Nasseau. Today, I’m going to share a few pictures from our time spent there.

Also, full disclosure: I am not a travel agent. Planning trips outside of metropolitan areas is not my area of expertise. Fortunately, one of my dear friends absolutely rocks at it. Although I can’t take credit for anything about trip, I feel hugely fortunate to be on the receiving end of her travel savvy (thanks Rayne!). Lucky me.

Southern Coconut Cream Pie and our Trip to the Exumas. This is a stovetop vanilla custard pie flavored with sweetened coconut flakes and topped with a homemade whipped cream. The butter and shortening flaky pie crust is filled with the coconut milk filling and it makes for a delicious summertime or spring tropical flavored bake ahead pie for dessert. Learn how simple it is to make southern pies on thewoodandspoon.com
Southern Coconut Cream Pie and our Trip to the Exumas. This is a stovetop vanilla custard pie flavored with sweetened coconut flakes and topped with a homemade whipped cream. The butter and shortening flaky pie crust is filled with the coconut milk filling and it makes for a delicious summertime or spring tropical flavored bake ahead pie for dessert. Learn how simple it is to make southern pies on thewoodandspoon.com

Little Exuma

For those that don’t know, the Exumas are a small chain of cays that make up part of The Bahamas. Envision white sand and turquoise water and stretches of unspoiled beaches. (Sidenote: You may have heard of the Exumas as a film location for the Pirates of the Carribbean movies or the famously catastrophic Fyre Festival.) For this trip, we opted to stay in a more undeveloped section known as Little Exuma in a house called the Exuma Outpost (insert my praise hands here). It was incredible. Our house was situated on a little cove that was mostly ours. Truly, it’s probably the closet I’ll ever come to staying on a private island.

Southern Coconut Cream Pie and our Trip to the Exumas. This is a stovetop vanilla custard pie flavored with sweetened coconut flakes and topped with a homemade whipped cream. The butter and shortening flaky pie crust is filled with the coconut milk filling and it makes for a delicious summertime or spring tropical flavored bake ahead pie for dessert. Learn how simple it is to make southern pies on thewoodandspoon.com

What We Did

We opted to charter a boat for a couple days of our trip as a means of exploring the Exumas. Snorkeling, swimming with sea turtles and stingrays, and fishing were among the things we enjoyed on our boat days. The Exumas are definitely best seen by water and both of our tour guides were super knowledgable- I’d highly recommend. On the off days, we let the kids swim, even taking time to read, sleep in, and play games.

For meals, we enjoyed the hole-in-the-wall, open-air restaurants that speckled the island serving fish sandwiches and rum punch. Although Brett and I normally favor a few nice dinners or fancy outings, it was refreshing to be able to head anywhere in our sandals and jean shorts. We did opt for some in-house catering on two evenings, and that was terrific. Who better to give us a taste of local flavors than the locals themselves?!

Southern Coconut Cream Pie and our Trip to the Exumas. This is a stovetop vanilla custard pie flavored with sweetened coconut flakes and topped with a homemade whipped cream. The butter and shortening flaky pie crust is filled with the coconut milk filling and it makes for a delicious summertime or spring tropical flavored bake ahead pie for dessert. Learn how simple it is to make southern pies on thewoodandspoon.com
Southern Coconut Cream Pie and our Trip to the Exumas. This is a stovetop vanilla custard pie flavored with sweetened coconut flakes and topped with a homemade whipped cream. The butter and shortening flaky pie crust is filled with the coconut milk filling and it makes for a delicious summertime or spring tropical flavored bake ahead pie for dessert. Learn how simple it is to make southern pies on thewoodandspoon.com

For our family, the trip was a terrific time with friends and a chance to let our two oldest (Charlie stayed home!) get some play time and swim practice before summer arrives. Both of them fell in love with The Bahamas. When we returned home, George said he wished he could be on vacation everyday. Me too, buddy, me too. I would absolutely recommend this kind of a vacation for a couple, family, or group that is interested in a no-frills vacation in the prettiest location possible. What the undeveloped terrain of the Exumas lacks in fancy restaurants and touristy attractions, it makes up for in relaxation, beauty, and frozen mojitos (insert more praise hands). Here’s a few more photos!

Southern Coconut Cream Pie and our Trip to the Exumas. This is a stovetop vanilla custard pie flavored with sweetened coconut flakes and topped with a homemade whipped cream. The butter and shortening flaky pie crust is filled with the coconut milk filling and it makes for a delicious summertime or spring tropical flavored bake ahead pie for dessert. Learn how simple it is to make southern pies on thewoodandspoon.com
Southern Coconut Cream Pie and our Trip to the Exumas. This is a stovetop vanilla custard pie flavored with sweetened coconut flakes and topped with a homemade whipped cream. The butter and shortening flaky pie crust is filled with the coconut milk filling and it makes for a delicious summertime or spring tropical flavored bake ahead pie for dessert. Learn how simple it is to make southern pies on thewoodandspoon.com
Southern Coconut Cream Pie and our Trip to the Exumas. This is a stovetop vanilla custard pie flavored with sweetened coconut flakes and topped with a homemade whipped cream. The butter and shortening flaky pie crust is filled with the coconut milk filling and it makes for a delicious summertime or spring tropical flavored bake ahead pie for dessert. Learn how simple it is to make southern pies on thewoodandspoon.com

If you’ve visited Little Exuma, tell me all about your favorite spots! I’d love to hear all about it.

Winston-Salem

If you’re in America you’re probably well on your way to planning your Thanksgiving dinner for next week, but have you even considered what to feed your guests the morning of? The weekend after? Do you know what yummy treats are going to fuel your early morning Black Friday shopping? This morning you’re in luck, because today I’m sharing this seriously delicious recipe for cinnamon sugar scones! Let’s take a peek!

First, Winstone-Salem

This past weekend, Brett and I took the big kids on a mini road trip to Winston-Salem. The North Carolina city is a little big town with historical roots and loads of offerings for families and foodies alike. I was invited to by the PR team at Visit Winston-Salem, and our time there included tons of food, Christmas cookies, and fun things for the kids to do. I’d be remiss if I didn’t give you the ins and outs of each and every place we visited, so I’ll be sure to list them all out below.

Cinnamon Sugar Scones and our time traveling to Winston-Salem North Carolina by Wood and Spoon blog. Make-ahead breakfast pastries swirled and stuffed with cinnamon filling and topped with a simple icing. These scones are great for holiday breakfast or brunch and go great with a cup of coffee. Read about what to do eat and see in North Carolina including Moravian cookies, best hotels for kids, best breweries and where to eat! Thewoodandspoon.com travelsCinnamon Sugar Scones and our time traveling to Winston-Salem North Carolina by Wood and Spoon blog. Make-ahead breakfast pastries swirled and stuffed with cinnamon filling and topped with a simple icing. These scones are great for holiday breakfast or brunch and go great with a cup of coffee. Read about what to do eat and see in North Carolina including Moravian cookies, best hotels for kids, best breweries and where to eat! Thewoodandspoon.com travels

Hotels

Brett and I are well-seasoned when it comes to traveling solo. However, we were uncertain of how a road trip to a new city would go with two toddlers in tow. Thankfully we found that the city welcomes families in a number of ways. We stayed at The Kimpton Cardinal Hotel, and my kids would tell you it was one of the best parts of the trip. The hotel is located in the historic R.J. Reynolds building in the heart of downtown. While the rooms, lobby, and hotel restaurant are all outfitted with with an art deco meets Southern sophistication kind of vibe, the bottom floor of the building is a rec room straight out of a kid’s dream. A giant slide, bowling alleys, and a basketball court are anchors to the space that also features foosball tables, board games, and TVs.

We spent the pre-dinner hours sipping cocktails while we watched the kids run like crazy people. Bedtime was a bonus too, as the bathroom in our room hosted one of the biggest tubs I’ve ever seen situated smack-dab in the middle of an even bigger shower. The kids splashed and swam, and Mom didn’t give another thought to the water because it was, after all, in the shower. Best idea ever.

Cinnamon Sugar Scones and our time traveling to Winston-Salem North Carolina by Wood and Spoon blog. Make-ahead breakfast pastries swirled and stuffed with cinnamon filling and topped with a simple icing. These scones are great for holiday breakfast or brunch and go great with a cup of coffee. Read about what to do eat and see in North Carolina including Moravian cookies, best hotels for kids, best breweries and where to eat! Thewoodandspoon.com travels

What to Do

Winston-Salem has a strong Moravian background, and the city now has a number of culinary trails that celebrate those roots. Traditional foods like the thin ginger cookies (voted as a favorite by Oprah!), the Moravian sugar cake, and the chicken pie were among the comforting favorites that I taste-tested while there. During the holidays, Old Salem offers candlelight tours, performing arts, and hands-on experiences that give a feel for what life would have been like when the Moravians settled back in the late 1700’s. The immersive activities included a pottery workshop, gardening, and cooking over an open fire, although my kids most enjoyed rolling and cutting out Moravian cookies. The town is quaint, and we really enjoyed getting a taste (both literally and figuratively!) of what life was like back then.

Cinnamon Sugar Scones and our time traveling to Winston-Salem North Carolina by Wood and Spoon blog. Make-ahead breakfast pastries swirled and stuffed with cinnamon filling and topped with a simple icing. These scones are great for holiday breakfast or brunch and go great with a cup of coffee. Read about what to do eat and see in North Carolina including Moravian cookies, best hotels for kids, best breweries and where to eat! Thewoodandspoon.com travels

When we weren’t sleeping, we were eating our hearts out. Winston-Salem has a growing number of breweries and wineries as well as a host of bakeries and restaurants. I visited several bakeries for morning and afternoon pastries, and had a number of family-friendly meals that I’d recommend. You can check out my complete list of recommendations below, but first let me tell you about these cinnamon sugar scones.

Cinnamon Sugar Scones and our time traveling to Winston-Salem North Carolina by Wood and Spoon blog. Make-ahead breakfast pastries swirled and stuffed with cinnamon filling and topped with a simple icing. These scones are great for holiday breakfast or brunch and go great with a cup of coffee. Read about what to do eat and see in North Carolina including Moravian cookies, best hotels for kids, best breweries and where to eat! Thewoodandspoon.com travels

During our trip we visited Camino Bakery and had a number of sweet and savory pastries. A favorite was a cinnamon sugar scone that had a tender crumb and was blanketed in a spicy glaze. Bits of caramelized cinnamon-sugar were edging each piece and I absolutely LOVED them. I’ve had this recipe for  stuffed cinnamon sugar scones on deck for a while, and our trip to North Carolina was the reminder I needed to share them.

Cinnamon Sugar Scones and our time traveling to Winston-Salem North Carolina by Wood and Spoon blog. Make-ahead breakfast pastries swirled and stuffed with cinnamon filling and topped with a simple icing. These scones are great for holiday breakfast or brunch and go great with a cup of coffee. Read about what to do eat and see in North Carolina including Moravian cookies, best hotels for kids, best breweries and where to eat! Thewoodandspoon.com travels

Cinnamon Sugar Scones

The recipe for these cinnamon sugar scones is a mash-up variation of some of my other favorite scone recipes. The special part here is that the inside is “stuffed” with a swirl of cinnamon-sugar filling. Each bite is warmly scented and perfectly sweetened, and the glaze on top gives it an extra decadent bite that really makes this breakfast food feel like dessert. I love to make these pastries in advance and freeze them to warm at a later time which makes these the perfect make-ahead treat for holiday festivities that are on the horizon. Give them a try in the coming weeks and let me know what you think! Be sure to check out my list of what we enjoyed during our time in Winston-Salem, and many thanks to Visit Winston-Salem for hosting our family. Enjoy the cinnamon sugar scones!

Cinnamon Sugar Scones and our time traveling to Winston-Salem North Carolina by Wood and Spoon blog. Make-ahead breakfast pastries swirled and stuffed with cinnamon filling and topped with a simple icing. These scones are great for holiday breakfast or brunch and go great with a cup of coffee. Read about what to do eat and see in North Carolina including Moravian cookies, best hotels for kids, best breweries and where to eat! Thewoodandspoon.com travels

Where We Ate:

The Katharine Basserie and Bar. Casual French fare in in a chic location. We adored the cozy booths and the creative cocktail menu.
Mary’s Gourmet Diner. The breakfast tamale (complete with shredded pork, pico de Gallo, black beans, and poached eggs!) was easily the best dish I tasted in Winston-Salem. Brett loved the grits bowls and my kids destroyed the turnovers.
Mrs. Hanes Moravian Cookies. We enjoyed a mini tour of their space where bakers are hand-rolling and cutting Moravian cookies all year round. These little treats were named one of Oprah’s favorites. We bought several boxes to share as Christmas gifts this year.
Bobby Boy Bakeshop. Elevated pastries and strong coffee anchor the menu at this newcomer bakery with a cool vibe.
The Tavern in Old Salem. This restaurant was built in 1816 and offers a number of traditional Moravian dishes including the famous chicken pie!
Winkler Bakery. One of the oldest, continuously running bakeries in the U.S., and home to classic Moravian baked goods. Don’t forget to take home some baking mixes!
The Porch Kitchen and Cantina. Casual Tex-Mex in a family-friendly atmosphere. Don’t miss the Texas Pete Chicken Flautas!
Camino Bakery. Home to my second-favorite cinnamon scone (wink wink) and a ton of other breakfast faves.
Black Mountain Chocolate. Fair-trade chocolate desserts and coffee. Bring home some artisan chocolates or check out a behind-the-scenes tour!

What We’ll Try Next Time:

Canteen Market & Bistro
Milner’s American Southern
Social Southern Kitchen & Cocktails
Fiddlin’ Fish Brewing Company
Foothills Brewing

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Cinnamon Sugar Scones

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This recipe for cinnamon sugar scones makes 16 mini pastries with a simple drizzled glaze!

  • Author: Kate Wood
  • Prep Time: 10
  • Cook Time: 30
  • Total Time: 40 minutes
  • Yield: 16
  • Category: Breakfast

Ingredients

For the scones:

  • 3 cups (380 gm) all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon (9 gm) baking powder
  • 3 teaspoons cinnamon, divided
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup (100 gm) plus 1 tablespoon sugar, divided
  • 11/2 cups (360 mL) heavy cream, plus extra to brush on tops of scones
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

For the glaze:

  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 11/2 tablespoons milk

Instructions

To prepare the scones

  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees and prepare a sheet pan with a sheet of parchment paper.
  2. In a medium/large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, 2 teaspoons cinnamon, salt, and ½ cup sugar until combined. In a measuring cup, combine the heavy cream and vanilla extract. Pour the cream mixture on to the dry ingredients and fold or stir with a wooden spoon or spatula until evenly combined. It should be moist enough that there aren’t any dry pieces not sticking to the dough, but not so sticky that the dough is watery or doesn’t hold its shape.
  3. On a floured surface, divide the dough into 4 equal pieces and pat each out into a 6” circle. Do not overwork the dough. Combine the remaining teaspoon of cinnamon and tablespoon of sugar and sprinkle the mixture over two rounds of dough. Top the cinnamon sugar coated dough rounds with one of the plain rounds of dough and gently pinch the edges together to seal. Pat to smooth. Using a sharp knife, cut each of the two circles into 8 wedges. Brush the tops of each with heavy cream using a pastry brush. Place the pan of scones in the fridge or freezer for 10-15 minutes to rest as this will help the scones to rise well. Bake in the preheated oven for about 15 minutes or until the edges of the scones have browned and the center of the scones are no longer doughy. Allow the scones to cool for about 10 minutes before covering with glaze.

To prepare the glaze:

  1. Combine all of the ingredients in a small bowl. Whisk until smooth, adding more powdered sugar to thicken and more milk to thin. Drizzle the glaze over cooled scones and enjoy.

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Boston

Is it just me, or is it way too easy to come home from vacation straight up exhausted? Brett and I spent this past weekend up north, traveling a few days in Boston and Martha’s Vineyard. It was my first time to the area, and I’m excited to report that both were equally charming in their own unique way. Per custom, I have a new recipe to share with you this week as well as the run down on everything we ate, drank, and saw during our time in the northeast.  Stay tuned for the brown butter pear tart and read on about our trip!

Brown Butter Pear Tart and our time in Boston and Martha's Vineyard. This is the recipe for a sweet pastry crust tart filled with brown butter custard and layered red pears. Fresh pomegranate top the pretty holiday dessert for a crowd. Can be served at room temperature and made ahead. Read more about our trip to new England coast to Martha's Vineyard and historical Boston with this foodie guide of what to eat and see and do and where to stay. by wood and spoon blog by Kate Wood

Where We Stayed:

What started as a trip to Martha’s Vineyard turned into a two part vacay: phase one spent enjoying the big city historical scene of Boston and phase two spent relaxing in the off-season quiet of Martha’s Vineyard. After a few recommendations from friends, we opted for a spunky modern hotel option in Boston, The Envoy, and a quaint bed and breakfast on the vineyard, the Hob Knob. Both were well suited to their respective locations and felt right for our time there. I’d definitely recommend both if you’re looking for a sure thing on your next visit!

Brown Butter Pear Tart and our time in Boston and Martha's Vineyard. This is the recipe for a sweet pastry crust tart filled with brown butter custard and layered red pears. Fresh pomegranate top the pretty holiday dessert for a crowd. Can be served at room temperature and made ahead. Read more about our trip to new England coast to Martha's Vineyard and historical Boston with this foodie guide of what to eat and see and do and where to stay. by wood and spoon blog by Kate Wood

What We Ate:

What DIDN’T we eat might be the more appropriate question. This was a non-stop parade of food, fine restaurants, and pastries. I was excited to find many delicious lunch and dinner options in Boston, but found the bakery scene proved to be rather lackluster. There was, however, no shortage of amazing cocktails and pubs. We also loved checking out the food truck scene at Rose Kennedy Greenway.

We arrived in Martha’s Vineyard in what we were told was the last big week before the island shut down for the season. Luckily, we still found many of the places recommended by friends to be open! Our palates were equally happy to learn that the Martha’s Vineyard Food and Wine Festival was taking place while we were there. Brett and I were lucky enough to snag tickets to the main tasting on Saturday afternoon. Dozens of wine purveyors and chefs from the Northeast flocked to the island to serve up their goods, and it was a ball. There’s nothing like day drinking and bite-sized appetizers to help you make friends in a new place. If you’re ever in the region during the festival, I highly recommend giving it a try! See below for the full list of local restaurants we visited during our time away.

Brown Butter Pear Tart and our time in Boston and Martha's Vineyard. This is the recipe for a sweet pastry crust tart filled with brown butter custard and layered red pears. Fresh pomegranate top the pretty holiday dessert for a crowd. Can be served at room temperature and made ahead. Read more about our trip to new England coast to Martha's Vineyard and historical Boston with this foodie guide of what to eat and see and do and where to stay. by wood and spoon blog by Kate Wood

Boston Recommendations:

Fox and the Knife

An enoteca and restaurant by James Beard Award-winning chef Karen Akunowicz. We enjoyed delicious handmade pastas and Italian liquors there.

The Longfellow Bar

A neighborhood bar and restaurant in Cambridge offering shared plates with exciting flavors.

Shojo

Modern Asian cuisine in the heart of Boston’s Chinatown.

Pammy’s

New American bites in a modernized trattoria setting.

Tatte Bakery

With a number of locations across Boston, Tatte offers a variety of delicious baked goods, coffees, and lunch options in a seriously aesthetic atmosphere.

Sofra Bakery

Middle Eastern inspired baked goods. Check out their online schedule for baking classes!

The Food Trucks at Rose Kennedy Greenway

Martha’s Vineyard Recommendations:

Alchemy

Creative New American fare in a classic dining room setting.

The Port Hunter

A raw bar and approachable new American food are offered in this casual setting.

Back Door Donuts

Delicious donuts and baked goods in a carry-out setting.

State Road

New American cuisine in a cozy tavern setting.

Martha’s Vineyard Food and Wine Festival

Brown Butter Pear Tart and our time in Boston and Martha's Vineyard. This is the recipe for a sweet pastry crust tart filled with brown butter custard and layered red pears. Fresh pomegranate top the pretty holiday dessert for a crowd. Can be served at room temperature and made ahead. Read more about our trip to new England coast to Martha's Vineyard and historical Boston with this foodie guide of what to eat and see and do and where to stay. by wood and spoon blog by Kate Wood

What We Did:

Although there’s loads to do in both Boston and Martha’s Vineyard, both areas are spread out in such a way that they weren’t entirely walkable. Luckily, Uber and Lyft were both readily available, and we found it was simple to catch a ride to wherever we wanted to be. Boston is brimming with loads of historical sites and museums, so we spent a good bit of time checking those out. Brett was eager to grab a beer at the Beantown Pub, a bar across the street from Samuel Adams’ gravesite, so that he could “drink a cold Sam Adams while looking at a cold Sam Adams.”( I’ll pause for eye rolling.)

Per recommendation from friends, we took a day trip to Cambridge to get a glimpse of Harvard University. The school is spread out all over the city, but it was intriguing just to poke around and eavesdrop on random conversations. At one point, two gentlemen sitting beside me at lunch were having an in depth conversation about hydrogen atoms. Clearly this Dorothy wasn’t in Kansas anymore.

Although the landscape of Martha’s Vineyard is primarily suited for summertime activities, I found the chilly, autumnal version of the island peaceful and charming. We spent most of our time nosing through Mom and Pop stores in downtown Edgartown and taking in the coastal views. If you’re at all interested in fishing or water sports, I’d highly recommend checking out boat rentals as that would be a great way to spend a weekend there.

Brown Butter Pear Tart and our time in Boston and Martha's Vineyard. This is the recipe for a sweet pastry crust tart filled with brown butter custard and layered red pears. Fresh pomegranate top the pretty holiday dessert for a crowd. Can be served at room temperature and made ahead. Read more about our trip to new England coast to Martha's Vineyard and historical Boston with this foodie guide of what to eat and see and do and where to stay. by wood and spoon blog by Kate Wood

Brown Butter Pear Tart

Let me start by saying that I adore this tart. Months ago, I ran across a photo of a beautiful layered pear pie. It had, what appeared to be, a phyllo crust filled with thin slices of pears overlapping on one another in a concentric fashion. The crust was browned and flaked and the filling was speckled with fresh pomegranate seeds. Although I wasn’t able to find a recipe for the creation, I decided I needed to make a dessert with a similar look. The brainstorming began.

Brown Butter Pear Tart and our time in Boston and Martha's Vineyard. This is the recipe for a sweet pastry crust tart filled with brown butter custard and layered red pears. Fresh pomegranate top the pretty holiday dessert for a crowd. Can be served at room temperature and made ahead. Read more about our trip to new England coast to Martha's Vineyard and historical Boston with this foodie guide of what to eat and see and do and where to stay. by wood and spoon blog by Kate Wood

Here’s what I ended up with: a brown butter pear tart. A simple, press-in sweet pastry dough is filled with a thin layer of brown butter custard and a mountain of fresh sliced red Anjou pears. Upon baking, the pears release their juice and soften, the flavors from the fruit quietly melting into the custard underneath it. The pastry crust, albeit simple, is the perfect vehicle for the subtle flavors; it offers texture and sweetness while still allowing the filling to sing.

Brown Butter Pear Tart and our time in Boston and Martha's Vineyard. This is the recipe for a sweet pastry crust tart filled with brown butter custard and layered red pears. Fresh pomegranate top the pretty holiday dessert for a crowd. Can be served at room temperature and made ahead. Read more about our trip to new England coast to Martha's Vineyard and historical Boston with this foodie guide of what to eat and see and do and where to stay. by wood and spoon blog by Kate Wood

A Few Notes on This Tart

This brown butter pear tart features Kerrygold unsalted butter in two fashions. First, cold chunks of butter are cut into the dry ingredients to create a tender and mildly buttery shell. The dough for the tart crust is so ridiculously delicious; I found myself eating almost as much as I pressed into the pan. Kerrygold butter is also found throughout the brown butter custard. If you need a few pointers on browning butter, please check out my how-to post here.

Brown Butter Pear Tart and our time in Boston and Martha's Vineyard. This is the recipe for a sweet pastry crust tart filled with brown butter custard and layered red pears. Fresh pomegranate top the pretty holiday dessert for a crowd. Can be served at room temperature and made ahead. Read more about our trip to new England coast to Martha's Vineyard and historical Boston with this foodie guide of what to eat and see and do and where to stay. by wood and spoon blog by Kate Wood

This brown butter pear tart is without a doubt one of the most unassuming and delightful holiday desserts I’ve made in a long time. Although we’re still a couple of days away from the holiday season, it’s never too early to get planning, and I really think you need to consider this tart in the lineup of Thanksgiving and Christmas treats. Give it a try and let me know what you think! Many thanks to Kerrygold for sponsoring this post, and thanks to you all for supporting brands that make Wood & Spoon possible. Happy baking!

Brown Butter Pear Tart and our time in Boston and Martha's Vineyard. This is the recipe for a sweet pastry crust tart filled with brown butter custard and layered red pears. Fresh pomegranate top the pretty holiday dessert for a crowd. Can be served at room temperature and made ahead. Read more about our trip to new England coast to Martha's Vineyard and historical Boston with this foodie guide of what to eat and see and do and where to stay. by wood and spoon blog by Kate Wood

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Brown Butter Pear Tart

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This brown butter peat tart has a sweet pastry crust, a brown butter custard, and a layered pear filling.

  • Author: Kate Wood
  • Prep Time: 30
  • Cook Time: 30
  • Total Time: 1 hour
  • Yield: 9
  • Category: Dessert

Ingredients

For the pastry dough:

  • 11/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup cold unsalted butter
  • 1 large egg yolk, white reserved
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons of ice water, plus more as needed

For the filling:

  • ½ cup unsalted butter
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • ¾ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ¼ cup all-purpose flour
  • 23 large red pears, halved, cored, and sliced in 1/8” slices
  • Pomegranate seeds, about ½ cup
  • Toasted walnuts, if desired

Instructions

  1. In the bowl of a food processor, combine the flour, sugar, and salt. Pulse in the butter until it resembles pea-sized crumbs. Don’t over-process. In a small bowl, whisk together the egg yolkd and vanilla. Pulse the egg yolk mixture into the flour just until combined. Add the water and pulse to combine. Don’t process it to the point of it coming together into a dough. The mixture should still be shaggy but should clump together when you squeeze a bit of the mixture together in between your fingers. If it’s still dry add another teaspoon or so of ice water and then pulse to combine. Dump the mixture out onto a clean work surface and bring the dough together into a ball. Flatten it out into a disk, wrap it is plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes but preferably 2 hours.
  2. When ready to prepare your pie, roll the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface. Roll out the dough to fit into a 9” tart pan with a removable bottom. The dough should be about 2” larger than the pan on all sides. Roll the dough onto your lightly floured rolling pin and gently unroll it into your tart pan. Gently fit the dough into the edges of your pan and use a paring knife or kitchen scissors to trim any dough that extends over 1” the lip of the pan. Press the dough gently into the sides of the pan and use any leftover dough to reinforce the sides where needed. Put the pan in the freezer to set up for 30 minutes while you preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
  3. When ready to bake, prick the bottom of the tart dough with a fork a few times. Use a sheet of parchment to line the pastry dough inside the pan and f ill the tart pan with pie weights (you can also use dried beans or dried rice). Bake in the preheated oven for 15 minutes then remove the parchment and weights from the tart pan. Gently brush the crust with a thin layer of the egg white and bake for 5 more minutes. In the meantime, prep your filling.
  4. Cube the butter and add to a medium heavy-bottomed saucepan to being browning it. Place the pan on medium heat and stir gently with a whisk regularly to allow the butter to melt evenly. Once melted, keep stirring regularly to allow the butter to cook, sizzle, and foam evenly. You’ll begin to notice golden flecks appearing at the bottom of the pan and the butter will become fragrant. When there are amber-colored flecks throughout the butter mixture your butter is browned! Don’t let it burn! Immediately remove it from the heat and pour into a heat-safe mixing bowl. Stir in the sugar. Stir in the egg and vanilla extract and then fold in the flour. Pour the mixture into the par-baked pastry shell and spread to even it out. Cover the filling in a layer of fanned pear slices. Keep the slices in tight on one another to prevent the filling from baking up over on top of them too much. Bake in the preheated oven for an additional 35-40 minutes or until the crust is golden and the filling it cooked underneath. The pears shouldn’t jiggle on top of the pie when the pie is done. Allow to cool serve with a sprinkle pomegranate seeds and toasted walnuts. Enjoy!

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New York City

I’ve been dying to tell you all about our trip to New York City. My absolute favorite thing in the whole wide world is to eat my way through a new city, and while this wasn’t my first rodeo in The Big Apple, I certainly took in some sights (and bites!) that y’all need to know about. Before we dive into the who, what, and where, let’s first take a look at the granola, as in, the only granola you’ll ever need for the rest of your life.

Eleven Madison Park Granola Copycat Recipe and what to do in New York city foodie guide by Wood and Spoon Blog by Kate Wood. This is a healthy Rolled oat based recipe from NYC famous restaurant. Filled with chopped hazelnuts, cacao nibs, golden raisins, and flaked coconut chips, this is a sweet and salty delicious and easy granola. Tossed in a brown sugar, maple syrup, and olive oil based glaze. It keeps fresh and makes a wonderful food gift to share. Find the recipe and step by step how to on thewoodandspoon.com

Eleven Madison Park Granola

While in NYC, we dined at Eleven Madison Park (more on that later) and were sent home with our own individual jars of granola. Now, you guys know me. I like butter and chocolate and lots of sugar. I like fluffy cakes and drippy ice cream cones; granola really isn’t on my radar. But THIS granola… this was no ordinary granola. This is actually the best granola of my life.

I realized quickly that the tiny jar they sent us home with wouldn’t last long, and if I was going to make it last forever I’d have to figure out the recipe. Lucky for me, the kind folks at the New York Times had already nosed around about the how-to, and Daniel Humm, executive chef at EMP, had already shared his base granola recipe. With a few ingredient tweaks and modifications, I landed a granola recipe to share with you all that will from here out be known as THE GRANOLA. All others are dead to me.

Eleven Madison Park Granola Copycat Recipe and what to do in New York city foodie guide by Wood and Spoon Blog by Kate Wood. This is a healthy Rolled oat based recipe from NYC famous restaurant. Filled with chopped hazelnuts, cacao nibs, golden raisins, and flaked coconut chips, this is a sweet and salty delicious and easy granola. Tossed in a brown sugar, maple syrup, and olive oil based glaze. It keeps fresh and makes a wonderful food gift to share. Find the recipe and step by step how to on thewoodandspoon.com

Making the Granola

The recipe for this granola is probably the easiest one I’ve ever shared on my site. We’re literally going to dump a bunch of dry ingredients into a bowl and then dump some wet ingredients on top before baking it. That’s it. The dominant flavor in this granola is the coconut flakes which lend a warm and toasty crunch to the mixture. Hazelnuts follow suit and show off their delicious flavor in cozy chunks that are scattered throughout the granola. The secret star of the show is the cacao nibs which provide just enough savory and smoke to offset all the sweet happening here. Rolled oats, golden raisins, and maple syrup round out the flavor profile, and, oh, it is a sweet flavor profile.

Eleven Madison Park Granola Copycat Recipe and what to do in New York city foodie guide by Wood and Spoon Blog by Kate Wood. This is a healthy Rolled oat based recipe from NYC famous restaurant. Filled with chopped hazelnuts, cacao nibs, golden raisins, and flaked coconut chips, this is a sweet and salty delicious and easy granola. Tossed in a brown sugar, maple syrup, and olive oil based glaze. It keeps fresh and makes a wonderful food gift to share. Find the recipe and step by step how to on thewoodandspoon.com

This Eleven Madison Park granola needs no toppings. It needs no milk, no yogurt, no janky açaí bowl to carry it; all it requires is a welcoming hand and an open mouth. It’s crunchy, sweet and salty, and has ridiculous depth of flavor. Follow the instructions and you’ll be sure to experience the same level of deliciousness in your own home. Keep in mind that the ingredients make a difference here. Invest in thin rolled oats (I bought mine from the bulk section at Whole Foods) and quality coconut chips for the biggest impact.

If you haven’t left your computers already to make your own Eleven Madison Park granola, let’s talk about New York! This is your official baking blogger, fancy dinner-loving, pampered prego lady guide to NYC. Leh-go!

Eleven Madison Park Granola Copycat Recipe and what to do in New York city foodie guide by Wood and Spoon Blog by Kate Wood. This is a healthy Rolled oat based recipe from NYC famous restaurant. Filled with chopped hazelnuts, cacao nibs, golden raisins, and flaked coconut chips, this is a sweet and salty delicious and easy granola. Tossed in a brown sugar, maple syrup, and olive oil based glaze. It keeps fresh and makes a wonderful food gift to share. Find the recipe and step by step how to on thewoodandspoon.com

Where We Stayed

We stayed at 1 Hotel Central Park. This whole trip, by the way, was thunk up by my favorite husband and his BFF who decided to plan the trip for me and my BFF. They picked the hotel, booked a few reservations, and surprised us Christmas morning. While 1 Hotel maybe wouldn’t have been the hotel I would have chosen, I am so glad we ended up there. This boutique hotel is situated on the edge of Central Park and is within walking distance to a few great spots and a subway station.

Uniquely appointed in a vibe I would call “Nature Meets Industrial,” the iron-clad hotel sports an exposed pipes and beams look that is softened with rustic wood, an abundance of plants and greenery, and warm, neutral fabrics galore. We stayed in a City King, and while the room was small, it offered a thoughtful details and unique features that added a ton of WOW factor. A few perks to expect with this hotel include free fresh fruit from the farmer’s market every morning, a delicious hotel restaurant on the bottom level, and a street location that is relatively quiet by NYC standards.

Would I stay at 1 Hotel Central Park again? Absolutely. Would I recommend this hotel if you’re looking to capture a more touristy side of New York? Maybe not. You might find yourself better situated closer to Times Square and the Midtown trains for that kind of vibe, but that’s just my opinion. My girlfriend and I decided we’d love to check out The Greenwich Hotel in the future. With excellent restaurants nearby and a decidedly chic urban vibe, that hotel is definitely going to stay on my list.

Eleven Madison Park Granola Copycat Recipe and what to do in New York city foodie guide by Wood and Spoon Blog by Kate Wood. This is a healthy Rolled oat based recipe from NYC famous restaurant. Filled with chopped hazelnuts, cacao nibs, golden raisins, and flaked coconut chips, this is a sweet and salty delicious and easy granola. Tossed in a brown sugar, maple syrup, and olive oil based glaze. It keeps fresh and makes a wonderful food gift to share. Find the recipe and step by step how to on thewoodandspoon.com

What We Ate

What we didn’t eat might be the shorter list. Since I’ve visited New York several times in the past couple of years, I’m going to list out a few of those options below as well. Keep in mind that the food scene is ever-evolving in NYC, so if you happen to see this list in, say, 2024, maybe do your research and make sure it’s still the best recommendation. Cool?

Eleven Madison Park Granola Copycat Recipe and what to do in New York city foodie guide by Wood and Spoon Blog by Kate Wood. This is a healthy Rolled oat based recipe from NYC famous restaurant. Filled with chopped hazelnuts, cacao nibs, golden raisins, and flaked coconut chips, this is a sweet and salty delicious and easy granola. Tossed in a brown sugar, maple syrup, and olive oil based glaze. It keeps fresh and makes a wonderful food gift to share. Find the recipe and step by step how to on thewoodandspoon.com

Bakeries

Dominique Ansel Bakery
A James Beard Award-winning pastry chef’s flagship bakery. Everyone loves the Cronuts, but I’d recommend the DKA (Dominique Kouign Amann).
Mah-Ze-Dahr
Chef Umber Ahmad runs this newer hotspot and is up for a James Beard Award this year! I got to meet and speak with her during my visit there and was delighted to taste test some of the most delicious pastry bites I had in the Big Apple. My favorite bite there was the banana bread, but weekend crowds wait for a chance at the giant cinnamon rolls.
Milk Bar
Pastry genius Christina Tosi is known for her playful takes on nostalgic flavors. I’d recommend getting the Cereal Milk soft serve and a copy of her book to-go.
Breads Bakery
Just get the chocolate babka, okay?
Supermoon Bakery
I was promised an “Instagrammable” bakery but received so much more! Flaky stuffed croissants (I loved the PB&J) were among my favorite things I tried here.
Levain Bakery
Pro tip: Stop here on your last day and pick up a dozen cookies to bring home with you. They freeze like a dream and are worth every calorie penny.

Eleven Madison Park Granola Copycat Recipe and what to do in New York city foodie guide by Wood and Spoon Blog by Kate Wood. This is a healthy Rolled oat based recipe from NYC famous restaurant. Filled with chopped hazelnuts, cacao nibs, golden raisins, and flaked coconut chips, this is a sweet and salty delicious and easy granola. Tossed in a brown sugar, maple syrup, and olive oil based glaze. It keeps fresh and makes a wonderful food gift to share. Find the recipe and step by step how to on thewoodandspoon.com

Upscale Dining

Daniel

This Michelin Star restaurant from Daniel Boulud was a highly anticipated portion of our trip. While the price tag for this meal made me sweat a little, the service was superb and the food was excellent. I recommend dining in the bar lounge.

Eleven Madison Park

Dining at EMP has long been on my bucket list, and this meal delivered on all levels. Every bite was delicious, inventive, and stunning to look at. The service was precise and thorough without being the least bit stuffy or pretentious. A highlight of the meal was getting a mini tour of the kitchen. We requested this at the beginning of our meal and after we finished eating, one of the staff members brought us to the back. They treated us to a taste-testing game and a brief walk-through of the prep areas. Eating at EMP was, without question, the very most enjoyable portion of our trip, and I’d highly recommend to anyone with a taste for an incredible dining experience. For reference, we enjoyed the 4-course lunch menu in the bar area.

Gramercy Tavern

A New York staple, Gramercy Tavern has long been one of my favorite spots in the city. You’ll find cozy, seasonal bites and warm service all year round. I prefer to eat in the bar- it’s beautiful!

Scarpetta

Someone told me to check out the spaghetti at this Scott Conant restaurant. I was hesitant to order something so basic, but it blew my mind. I also recommend the San Remo cocktail which, to this day, is my favorite cocktail of all time.

Eleven Madison Park Granola Copycat Recipe and what to do in New York city foodie guide by Wood and Spoon Blog by Kate Wood. This is a healthy Rolled oat based recipe from NYC famous restaurant. Filled with chopped hazelnuts, cacao nibs, golden raisins, and flaked coconut chips, this is a sweet and salty delicious and easy granola. Tossed in a brown sugar, maple syrup, and olive oil based glaze. It keeps fresh and makes a wonderful food gift to share. Find the recipe and step by step how to on thewoodandspoon.com

Casual Dining

Uncle Boon’s
Quirky Thai food in a cozy setting. Expect intense flavors and HEAT.
The Spotted Pig
BURGERS AND FRIES. That is all.
Momofuku Noodle Bar
This is the Momofuku franchise’s most casual spot. We saddled up at the bar for big noodle bowls but stayed for the fried chicken.
Pizza Loves Emily
Would you believe that we came here for… the burger?!? We ordered a burger, the Brussels sprouts salad, the loaded fries, and the spicy pizza with the honey drizzled on top. Do the same and you won’t regret it.
Juliana’s Pizza
Owned by the same folks that started the cult favorite Grimaldi’s, Juliana’s in Brooklyn offers the same perfect slices with slightly less wait.

Eleven Madison Park Granola Copycat Recipe and what to do in New York city foodie guide by Wood and Spoon Blog by Kate Wood. This is a healthy Rolled oat based recipe from NYC famous restaurant. Filled with chopped hazelnuts, cacao nibs, golden raisins, and flaked coconut chips, this is a sweet and salty delicious and easy granola. Tossed in a brown sugar, maple syrup, and olive oil based glaze. It keeps fresh and makes a wonderful food gift to share. Find the recipe and step by step how to on thewoodandspoon.com

Bars

The Aviary
An inventive cocktail experience.
Death & Co.
A self-proclaimed “cocktail institution” with no-fail beverages in a speakeasy-style setting.
Mother’s Ruin
We visited this bar during the wait for our table at Uncle Boon’s and I wish I could have stayed all night.

Eleven Madison Park Granola Copycat Recipe and what to do in New York city foodie guide by Wood and Spoon Blog by Kate Wood. This is a healthy Rolled oat based recipe from NYC famous restaurant. Filled with chopped hazelnuts, cacao nibs, golden raisins, and flaked coconut chips, this is a sweet and salty delicious and easy granola. Tossed in a brown sugar, maple syrup, and olive oil based glaze. It keeps fresh and makes a wonderful food gift to share. Find the recipe and step by step how to on thewoodandspoon.comEleven Madison Park Granola Copycat Recipe and what to do in New York city foodie guide by Wood and Spoon Blog by Kate Wood. This is a healthy Rolled oat based recipe from NYC famous restaurant. Filled with chopped hazelnuts, cacao nibs, golden raisins, and flaked coconut chips, this is a sweet and salty delicious and easy granola. Tossed in a brown sugar, maple syrup, and olive oil based glaze. It keeps fresh and makes a wonderful food gift to share. Find the recipe and step by step how to on thewoodandspoon.com

What We Did

I’ve done the touristy thing in NYC more times that I can count. We specifically avoided the host of available tourist options on this most recent trip, however, if you’re looking for an out-of-the-box historical option for your trip, please check out the Tenement Museum! I was dying to go and couldn’t reserve a tour at the right time, but this little blip on the Manhattan museum scene offers an inside look at American immigrant life. If you’re looking for a fluffy, pampered NYC experience, check out the things we did below!

Eleven Madison Park Granola Copycat Recipe and what to do in New York city foodie guide by Wood and Spoon Blog by Kate Wood. This is a healthy Rolled oat based recipe from NYC famous restaurant. Filled with chopped hazelnuts, cacao nibs, golden raisins, and flaked coconut chips, this is a sweet and salty delicious and easy granola. Tossed in a brown sugar, maple syrup, and olive oil based glaze. It keeps fresh and makes a wonderful food gift to share. Find the recipe and step by step how to on thewoodandspoon.com

Makeovers at Saks Fifth Avenue

We treated ourselves to makeup consultations before dinner on our theatre night. They’re totally free and you can book a consult at the link above!

Workout Class at Pure Barre or Soul Cycle

If you live in a rural area (raises hand!) you’ll want to check out the big-city workout offerings. I visited a Pure Barre studio and my friend did Soul Cycle. Both were excellent! I recommend booking in advance.

FaceGym

“It’s not a facial. It’s a workout.” This is the slogan of FaceGym, the studio offering exercise training-inspired facial treatments now in NYC. Expect muscle manipulations, hydrating serums, and high-tech lasers and infusions.

Union Square Market

We tooled around the market to check out veggies, dried flowers, and even small-batch liquors. Highly recommend if you’re in the area!

Shopping in Greenwich Village

Check out the boutique offerings in the village for quirky gifts and fun take-homes.

Theatre

If you go to New York without seeing a show, did you really go to New York? We saw Hamilton for what will probably be my final time, but there are new shows popping up all the time! I’m dying to see Mean Girls and Ain’t Too Proud.

Walked the Brooklyn Bridge

If the weather is right, take time to walk (or bike!) the bridge. We walked to our Brooklyn dinner destination and took the F train home.

Eleven Madison Park Granola Copycat Recipe and what to do in New York city foodie guide by Wood and Spoon Blog by Kate Wood. This is a healthy Rolled oat based recipe from NYC famous restaurant. Filled with chopped hazelnuts, cacao nibs, golden raisins, and flaked coconut chips, this is a sweet and salty delicious and easy granola. Tossed in a brown sugar, maple syrup, and olive oil based glaze. It keeps fresh and makes a wonderful food gift to share. Find the recipe and step by step how to on thewoodandspoon.com

What I’ll Check Out Next Time

Via Carota
Buvette
Bar Sardine
I Sodi
Frenchette
Ugly Baby
Estela
Lilia
NoMad Bar

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Eleven Madison Park Granola and Our Trip to NYC

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4.7 from 3 reviews

This granola, adapted from Eleven Madison Park’s recipe, features a coconut base and loads of flavor from hazelnuts and cacao nibs.

  • Author: Kate Wood Adapted from Daniel Humm
  • Prep Time: 5
  • Cook Time: 40
  • Total Time: 45 minutes
  • Yield: 6 Cups
  • Category: Breakfast

Ingredients

  • 23/4 cups (250 gm) rolled oats
  • 1 cup (110 gm) hazelnuts, chopped
  • 1 cup (60 gm) unsweetened coconut chips
  • 1/3 cup cacao nibs
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/3 cup (100 gm) maple syrup
  • 1/3 cup (60 gm) extra-virgin olive oil
  • ½ cup (100 gm) brown sugar, packed
  • 1/3 cup (50 gm) golden raisins

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 300 degrees. In a large bowl, combine the oats, hazelnuts, coconut chips, cacao nibs, and salt. Set aside.
  2. In a small saucepan on the stove over low heat, stir to combine the maple syrup, olive oil, and brown sugar. Stir regularly and remove from heat when the brown sugar has dissolved. Pour the syrup mixture over the oat mixture and stir to toss evenly. Spread the mixture out onto a large sheet pan and bake in the oven for 35-40 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes or so. Once the mixture is barely golden and dry, remove from the oven. Toss in the golden raisins and seal in a large bag or tupperware once cool.

Notes

  • I love the balance of salt here, but feel free to trim back 1/4 teaspoon if desired.

Did you make this recipe?

Share a photo and tag us — we can't wait to see what you've made!