Category Archives: Fooooood

Paris: Stay There, Eat That

I don’t think anyone realizes how much input my husband puts into this blog. He’s not just the photographer/videographer, he’s an idea man as well. When we had our weekly content meeting last week, he suggested one of the topics for this very post. The conversation went like this:

JOEL (sitting on couch after work): “You should write a post about Paris next week.”

ME (walking up the stairs en route to bathroom): “What about Paris specifically? I have a lot of posts in mind.”

JOEL: “The food. Talk about the food in Paris…. I’m hungry. What should we make for dinner?”

FINE, JOEL. I GUESS I’LL TALK ABOUT ONE OF MY FAVORITE THINGS EVER: FOOD. But first…

The Paris of Joel and Sarah Blumer’s future is centered around the Four Seasons, Michelin Starred restaurants, and shopping at Christian Louboutin. It’ll be just like in that Bruno Mars song: “shopping sprees in Paris, everyday 24 karats”. The Paris of our present, however, is more along the lines of a pleasant hotel or Airbnb, cheap eats, and window shopping at the Christian Louboutin store (because shopping sprees in Paris would equal everyday 24 carrots because that’s all we’d be able to afford to eat). Although the future version sounds great, I wholeheartedly LOOOOOVE how we see Paris now!

This was, technically, the third time Joel and I have been to Paris (remember the first and second time?) and I make sure to casually bring that fact up in conversation as much as possible (yet somehow I’m not the most pretentious person I know). It’s a city that outdoes itself every time we see it. Paris really is the epitome of everything charming and beautiful.

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Normally, we’d pick Airbnb for accommodations in any city for more than 3 nights, but Hotel Panache was not only too cute, but way too much of a steal to pass up! At just over $100 per night, we got a room on the top floor with the best views of the 9th Arrondissement.

Boutique hotels combine the unique and charismatic elements that you’d get with an Airbnb with the simplicity and ease you’d get with a hotel. Win/win.

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With a sweet and knowledgable staff ready to drop recommendations about whatever tickles your Parisian fancy, Hotel Panache really has it all! Instead of pillow mints, you can expect fortune cookies with something funny written inside; Joel’s said “never make eye contact with another person while eating a banana”.

One thing you should know is that one of the toiletries provided by the hotel is body lotion NOT hair conditioner…. the label was in French and I made the mistake of assuming it was the latter, which will explain why my hair might start to look funky in a lot of our vacation photos.

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Fine. I guess we can talk about food now…

At home, we try to stick to a diet of mostly “plant-based” meals. When we do eat meat, it’s usually turkey, chicken, and fish and almost never beef or pork. In France though, that way of munching goes out the window. Not that it’s hard to find amazing vegetarian options in Paris, we just didn’t want to. We’re on vacation, damn it!

Before we went to Paris the first time around, I did a ton of research and asked people we knew who had been where the best cafés were, only to find out that when you’re on the streets of Paris, you can’t throw a rock without hitting a cute café. The hypothetical rock you’re throwing will probably bounce off of one cafe and hit two more before it slows down.

To save some dough whilst in Paris, we only ate at cafés, brasseries, pâtisseries, and my personal favorite: crêperies. These are all especially great options if you feel awkward making dinner reservations in a foreign country (we rarely go to places where reservations are needed stateside anyway). Just go in, find a seat, eat and enjoy! 

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A lot of cafés in Paris are not only charming, but come with so much cool history too! Le Consulat in Montmarte happens to be where Picasso, Van Gogh, Renoir, and Toulouse-Lautrec used to all go to have a drink and shoot the shit, artist style. And Au Vieux Paris d’Arcole (located right by Notre Dame) was established in 1512, making it one of the oldest buildings still remaining in Paris! Just look at that wisteria growing, hiding it from the prying eyes of most tourists! C’est vraiment magnifique!

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Can we give a shout out to “mixte” plates, real quick?! It doesn’t get much better than a big plate of various meats and cheeses (sometimes with a side of pickles!) served with warm bread and washed down with cold beer. We ordered them a couple of times not really knowing what kind of meat or cheese we’d get specifically, but they never disappointed.

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For burgers in Paris, Mamie Burger is THE BEST (also conveniently located right outside of our hotel)! If you don’t want to be an asshole or an “américain stupide,” be sure to order your burger medium. Yes, there will be blood, but it’ll be worth it. Trust me.

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I can’t look at the pictures below without drooling. The street food in Paris is so. freaking. good. My last meal in France was a gyro with spicy cheese sauce that I ate at 10 p.m. and had the worst heartburn from, but couldn’t get enough of! The pizza and garlic knots were also so very tasty.

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We Blumers are all very big fans of Belgian beers. Belgium is France’s adorable northern neighbor, so drinking a good Belgian beer in France is as easy to do as going anywhere in the U.S. and drinking a Bud Light or any other trash beer. Hooray! We also had a few cocktails and a few bottles of wine because, like I said before, vacation.

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Ah, crêpes. The quintessential king of all street food in Paris. Try one with butter and sugar or Nutella and strawberries! Whatever you get on them and wherever you get them from, you’ll be satisfied by crêpes. I have so many photos on my phone of just crêpes. I love crêpes. crêpes. crêpes. crêpes.

Say crêpes one more time…

Crêpes.

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Pastries in Paris are an art form. No ifs, ands, or buts about it. It’s a fact. Macarons (NOT Macaroons, there’s a difference, okay?!), croissants, croissants aux amandes, pain au chocolat, eclairs, etc… each one is better than the next. It might literally be impossible to eat a bad pastry in France. Just sayin’.

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Ugh, crap. Now I’m drooling again…

Mrs. Steel Yo POPS

I know where your brain is going. No, I’m not referring to your “Pops” as in your father! I’m talking about “Pops” as in POPSICLES!

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I met up with my friend Jadie for lunch today and we both had our toddlers with us. If any of you have kids, you know going to a restaurant with kids that isn’t a Chick-Fil-A is a huge stress. There is only a certain amount of time a kid can handle coloring on the same paper with only a 2-color crayon choice. If you add on a popular restaurant during lunch hours, you’re looking at spending a good 45-60min. For a toddler, that time is an eternity.

Not too much time passes before bribes are made and 2 magical words slowly exit your lips. “I C E – C R E A M”. Bam. Automatic 5-10 minutes of decent behavior added to your meal.

I’m not one to not follow through with a promise. After we left the restaurant, we looked up nearby ice cream shops and came across Steel City Pops around the corner. Jadie and I were both immediately impressed with the atmosphere and vibe of the shop. Steel City specializes in gourmet Mexican Paletas, commonly known as “pops”. As I was struggling to decide on the perfect flavor, I asked the cashier about the company. She told me the story of how it was started by a husband and father from Alabama who followed his dreams to own a restaurant. Today, that 1 restaurant has turned into over 20 locations and continuing to spread through the United States.

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Finally, I made my decision. Are you ready? Might want to loosen your belt buckle and let out that top button on your pants. Cookies & Cream Cookie Pop dipped in dark chocolate, drizzled with fresh caramel and toasted coconut, and dredged with sea salt. I can get pretty vocal when I eat something satisfying and to be clear, I was NOT silent. Treating yourself once in a while is a must. Do yourself a FLAVOR and don’t waste that “treat” on something that won’t fully satisfy you. Take the plunge and go for it all. Your heart will thank you… but your slim fitted jeans might react a little differently.

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All in all, if you’ve never had a paleta, I encourage you to try one out. Follow your heart.

 

 

California Is For Lovers (Part 2)

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If I could transport myself to southern California for an hour a day to lay on the beaches, I would. They were absolutely breathtaking and the weather was perfect! My friend, Cyntia, and I had a girls day while the boys went on some long hike. We stopped first at the Santa Monica Pier and walked the beach and pier. There were some pretty talented street performers, one guy even had pigeons all over his body. NOPE.

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Isn’t she like the prettiest thing you’ve ever seen?

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Next, we checked out Venice Beach aka Muscle Beach. Let’s just say, it did not disappoint. Great food, big muscles, and soft green grass to take a nap. I had my very first açaí bowl, I’m not sure why I waited so long to have one because it was super scrumptious!

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Hello, is it me you’re looking for?

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Shortly after this picture was taken, this guy got arrested for having 2 guns and a 6-pack… just kidding.

Our last and final day in California was spent in Newport beach. We got a sweet deal on rentals for surf boards and wet suits so we had to at least try! Turns out, none of us were actually able to get up but we all got a pretty good workout trying. What matters is, we got some amazing pics and enjoyed the sun!

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Peace out, Cali! I’ll be back shortly!

xoxo,
Christina

¡Viva Fiesta!

Fiesta originated 125 years ago when citizens of San Antonio wanted to celebrate the heroes of the Alamo with what they named The Battle of Flowers. It became a tradition and is now ingrained in San Antonio’s culture. And get this, it is the only parade in the country to be planned and directed completely by women! GO GIRLS! When I was a kid, I was in synchronized swimming and our team, The Cygnets (baby swans), got to participate in the parade and had our own float. Being super clumsy, I was never allowed to go on the float so I had to walk. We were told to just throw candy at kids whenever we walked by them, which could be a little dangerous. When you think about it, the parade is a ton of giant piñatas spewing candy all over the place. No baseball bats or blindfolds involved so all the hard work is done.

source: walkerreport.blogspot.com
Photo: TOM REEL, Staff / San Antonio Express-Newsimg_1936

Being born and raised in San Antonio, I have a deep respect and appreciation for my city. When Fiesta comes around each year, I am again reminded of the history and culture of this beautiful city. N.I.O.S.A which stands for Night In Old San Antonio is where the party is at. Every year Sarah’s Dad, my uncle, volunteers and usually always asks for help. He works at the “Ranch Steak” tent. Ranch Steaks are a thin slice of chuck on a tortilla. Can’t get much simpler than that!

If a Ranch Steak doesn’t peak your interest, you could also try the infamous Chicken on a stick, or Steer on a stick, Elote (corn on the cob), or anything fried you can think of. Being a volunteer, you get all the sweet perks. Early entry, private bathrooms, air conditioned lobby, and free food. Whenever I had the chance to help out with my cousins, we would always be the ones taking tickets and banging the cow bell saying “RANCH STEAKS! GET YOUR RANCH STEAKS!” Then when 10pm came around (closing time) all the hungry drunks rush to your booth to get their greasy fill. Things can get a little crazy but overall, it’s a grand time.

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The whole month of April has Fiesta-related events going on, but the main events are from April 20th – April 30th. If you plan on making a trip, I would suggest coming for N.I.O.S.A., you will experience everything “Fiesta” in a span of 4-5 hours from good food, drinks, music, and partying. If you plan on bringing kids, I would recommend the Fiesta Carnival or one of the many parades. All information about the events and details can be found here.
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If you’re ever planning to visit San Antonio, come in mid-April and party like a local!

xoxo,
Christina

Coffee Shop Soundtrack

It’s been so difficult to keep this a secret, but….

WE’RE OPENING A COFFEE SHOP! For locals and anyone interested in visiting the ‘Burg in the near future, Cup Of JoeL Is now open in the trendy neighborhood of Lawrenceville! Do you love specialty lattes with pictures of flowers in the cream, European-style espresso, and organic ingredients? If so, this is not the place for you. Are you craving a crappy cup of coffee that you could probably just make yourself at home? Well, crave no longer, Cup Of JoeL totally has that! Here, it’s okay if you want call it “expresso”, because that’s not on our menu anyway!

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Seriously, this April Fools joke has been sitting in my list of drafts for months now. NO, we are not actually opening a coffee shop, but whatever… Joel’s getting really good at photoshop!

Your Chariot Awaits, Princess

Today my daughter turns 3 years old and we celebrated by taking a hill country drive to Floresville, TX on Sunday. The day couldn’t have been more perfect! Clear skies, 75-degree weather, and surprisingly, no traffic for the last day of Spring Break. This wasn’t just any normal drive, we were heading to a party fit for a princess.


My daughter was born 3 years ago and we made the awesome decision to name her Charlotte. We didn’t name her after anyone in particular, I’ve just always loved the name and thought it was beautiful. One year and about a month later, The Princess Charlotte of Cambridge was born. I always like to joke around and say that Kate and William called me up before she was born and asked us what would be a good name for their baby. Naturally, I suggested the best name out there, no big deal. But since then, I feel like we’ve had to up our game with party planning since most of Charlotte’s friends refer to her as “the princess”.



Charlotte asked for a unicorn themed party this year with ponies and carriage rides and that’s exactly what she got. My old neighbors live on a ranch with miniature ponies and horses so they offered to host the party, we were very blessed to have that opportunity. I whipped out my old cake skills and made a unicorn pull-apart cupcake cake. I was lazy and just bought a box of funfetti cake mix but I did follow the original icing recipe and it did not disappoint. I think I might do cupcake cakes from here on out. You can make pretty much any shape you want in hardly any time! It was super easy and no knives were needed. To wash it all down, we had some refreshingly sweet unicorn punch!





All the kids had a great time and stayed entertained with the pony rides and carriage rides. There was even a 2-hour old baby goat, no seriously, 2 hours old! (rejected by the mother) that was taken in from the owners and the kids fell in love. Overall, everyone had an amazing time and we’re all still talking about it. Perfectly fit for a princess.





 

 

Unicorn Bark

Have you ever felt the need to ingest some magic into your belly? Now you can with this guilt-free SNACK!


I pulled the original recipe from glow by pop sugar. Since trying the original, I’ve made my own revisions that I personally think make it taste a little sweeter. It’s completely sugar-free but is naturally sweet to enjoy.

Recipe

5-6 chopped strawberries

1/2 cup blueberries

1/2 cup blackberries

3 cups full-fat plain Greek yogurt (separated into 1 cup portions)

3 tbsp honey (separated into 1 tbsp portions)

2 tbsp unsweetened coconut flakes

3 tbsp chopped sugar-free chocolate, or sugar-free chocolate chips (I used Lily’s Chocolate)

Directions

  1. Microwave each fruit in a separate bowl for 90 seconds
  2. After being microwaved, mash down each fruit with a fork
  3. Add 1 cup of Greek yogurt to each bowl and mix with a fork
  4. Add 1 tbsp of honey to each bowl and stir until combined
  5. Grab a baking sheet and line with parchment paper
  6. Scatter big spoonfuls of each mixture across the baking sheet until full.
  7. With a butter knife, marble the yogurts together
  8. Sprinkle coconut flakes and chocolate on top of the yogurt
  9. Cover with saran wrap and freeze for 4 hours
  10. With knife or a cookie cutter, cut out yougurt into small chunks and serve
  11. If not eating right away, store them in a covered, freezer-safe container.


Enjoy your magical snack, tag me when you make it! @xtinatheunicorn
xoxo,

Christina