Tag Archives: food heaven

#LongLiveLove

2 May

The past two weekends I have been grateful to live some extraordinary experiences. Two weekends ago Dave and I were witness to two great friends getting married. Not only are they awesome, creative people, but the bride is Indian, and I got to experience my first Indian wedding. I am totally converted. I am also convinced that if you want a dance party, there better be Indian music playing. It’s better than booze to get people going.

IMG_20150417_201627995
They had two events at the Howard House, which is right around the corner from us.

Everything about the weekend was extraordinary. Even the rain didn’t slow us down. Friday night was Mehndi night, which is typically when the bride and other female family members get henna on their hands (and feet). However, since it took the bride 7 hours, she had hers done the day before. But any guest could get henna, and it was so much fun. I had mine for about one minute before the groom smudged one of my fingers. I only gave him a little bit of grief about it since it was his big day.

IMG_20150417_195415781
My father-in-law is convinced it’ll stay forever. I wish!

IMG_20150417_200057008_HDR
I love all the color!

IMG_20150417_205007897
Best Indian food ever, and at a wedding too! I suspect it’s because the bride and groom are foodies (as well as graphic designers and musicians). You can only imagine the party they threw. The first night was a wedding in itself, and then the real weddings — they had two — were the next day!

IMG_20150417_194845114
I love that they’ve been friends since they were Walter’s age.

My only regret was not getting a sari to wear. I was colorful enough, but next time I will be all over that. Because there will be more Indian parties in my future.

Walter was, while we were gone, staying at home with our next door neighbor.  She is a kindergarten teacher nearby and really sweet, so I figure it’s almost like paying a tutor too! Walter still tells me, “I have fun with Julie.” I love it.

We got to cuddle in the mornings though.

IMG_20150303_091408515

Saturday was both the Indian ceremony in the morning, which we did not attend, and the American ceremony in the evening followed by a reception at Piedmont Park. Where, of course, Back Street Boys was blaring in the background across the lake during the very emotional ceremony (yes, I did cry). There was also a little Scottish flair thrown in there as well, and when they spoke their own vows — during a Methodist ceremony — they were actually quite great. The food buffet was amazing, and they had cakes (with the icing on top drawn by the henna artists from the night before) from Murphy’s, where I am going immediately to buy another one because those bites were the closest thing to heaven you can imagine.

11088941_947407045293285_2209941876127639056_oRuby’s Ruby Slippers

We were seated with Alex’s cousins, near the bride and groom table. We were flattered, and also Alex’s family is really cool. During the ceremony we sat next to Ruby’s cousin Prnay, who danced an ancient Indian dance, during the Mendhi night shindig, that he has spent years studying. When Ruby started crying, so did I! The fathers of the bride and groom also spoke wonderfully at the reception, both with humor and wisdom. It was a weekend full of awesome people, and I loved it.

10929939_10106844761734431_4871213604349765382_n

#rubyandalex #longlivelove

Advertisements

The Annual MamaJohnston Christmas Card

6 Jan

Front

Every year I love sending out a Christmas card. I love picking out the photos to use (and the taking of the photos!), designing the card, hand addressing and stamping over 200 cards during a time of year when everything is hectic anyway — and joyful of course! And I really love how I spend all year reading books so I can create an annual recommended reading list, and I hear back from a lot of people about that idea!

This year, however, is a bit bittersweet for me after last year. In 2013 I sent out our cards and one of my friends sent back a very cute card about The 12 Southern Days of Christmas with a note inside and I thought, “Oh gosh I really should invite him over for dinner since we haven’t seen him since Walter was born and that’s way too long” but I didn’t get around to it for three weeks and then I got a call from a mutual friend saying that our professor had killed himself. And now he will never know how much I regret not turning around instantaneously to send him a quick email saying “Yes, I want to see you!”

At his funeral I heard another friend say that she had gotten a surprise Christmas card from him as well, and I can’t help thinking that he was saying goodbye or maybe even reaching out one last time and all of us failed him.

So I will continue sending out the yearly Johnston holiday card, because I love snail mail and take every opportunity to share a bit of paper now and again with friends, but I will always think of the professor when I do so. I hope he sees all my 2014 and beyond cards from that peaceful afterlife we call heaven.

Date Night

31 Mar

Oh boy did I need a date night on Saturday night. Not only did I need some quality time with my husband, but I needed a Walter break. All grandparents were in Florida this past month so the only time I wasn’t on Walter-alert was when we went to my friend’s memorial service. Not so much enjoyment there. And this might be harsh, but this past week Walter flat out got on my nerves. He isn’t speaking English words yet (though David swears he’s moved on from Chinese to Korean), so when he isn’t babbling he communicates by noises and whining. Yes: loud, screeching, whining. Music to my ears. I would have exchanged large amounts of money for extra patience if I could have.

Earlier in the week, when I got the green light for babysitting night, I went on a planning mission. Ever since I finished Zealot by Reza Aslan I’ve wanted to see the IMAX movie at Fernbank Jerusalem. To be honest, I don’t think I’ve ever seen pictures of the city even though of course I’ve heard about it my whole life. It has an amazing – albeit tense – history, and although the seats in the front of the theater are neck breaking, it was beautiful. I loved it. I felt like I wanted to travel there and move there and like I never needed to go there because I just was there all at the same time.

Jerusalem 800x285

After the movie I made reservations at South City Kitchen Midtown. Dave had been there for a work lunch and had said it was delicious but we could never afford it. Luckily I had gotten a gift certificate to the Fifth Group Restaurants from a good friend for taking some family photos. So of course I chose to go to there for our date night!

YUM.

It is southern food the way it was always meant to be cooked by your really exotically rich distant cousin on your mother’s great aunt’s side of the family.

Fried green tomatoes, a fancy salad with raspberry vinaigrette, shrimp and grits, fried chicken, and a bottle of red. My only regret was not being able to order the banana pudding or pecan pie, but Lent is Lent, and Dave and I opted to be good for once.

Screen-Shot-2013-06-09-at-2.49.32-PM1

One of the best parts of the night was that we managed to not talk about Walter or the house (we’re putting our house on the market this coming week and have been crazy getting it ready) pretty much the entire night. It was great to be able to enjoy each other for who we are rather than for what we share together. It’s easy to experience that when you’re dating and getting to know one another, but once you’re married with a mortgage and a kid, it can be hard to venture away from those subjects. They’re all-consuming, and for good reason. I like talking about those types of things with the person I’ve chosen to spend my life with. But for date night? That one special night for just the two of you that you only get every once in a while? It’s got to be different.

When we got to the restaurant it was packed (thank goodness for my planning ahead!). The only table we saw available on the ground floor was a two top in a most undesirable place. By the bar, in the path of the waiters, basically in the bumping zone, and we were sure that we were going to be seated there. As the hostess led us past that table, I looked back at Dave with a “oh whew” look. We were placed upstairs at this cute table that overlooked Crescent Ave. Across the street is the club Opera, and it happened to be prom night (with security guards and everything, frisking those terrible teenagers before they entered their house of fun). We absolutely people-watched, enjoying the limos driving up and dumping out hoards of teens ready for a night of dancing. Prom dresses sure have changed! They are all very flashy nowadays. It brought on a lot of introspection about our younger years and also imagining Walter at that age. And how much older we’ll be when he’s on his way to prom!

Of course we got home by 9pm like good little 30-somethings and watched a little HGTV before bed. It was a perfect night!

Food Food Food

14 Mar

Whole Foods is the heaven of grocery stores. Literally all the good little fruits and vegetables go there when they die. I hate it there because everything looks so delicious and wonderful that I just want to buy it all. Things I don’t even like or wouldn’t know what type of dish to put it in, I want to buy them so I can have that much more beautiful food in my house. The employees there seem to have college degrees and are friendly and happy, which is the complete opposite of my neighborhood Kroger. There is a wine and cheese section. Only my two favorite foods. The only thing I despise are the posh prices.  Which is why I can only step foot inside those doors (flanked with beautiful flowers no less) on special occasions.

Whole Foods
I can’t tell if I like it better than the Farmer’s Market. They both have delicious food. The Farmer’s Market is cheaper but Whole Foods is just prettier, and I do like beautiful things.

The little boy, as it turns out, likes kale! I think it has less of a strong flavor as a puree than it does as whole leaves. Though illogical, it could be true.

I’m not sure the food muses have entirely forsaken me, but a couple of meals have turned out less than stellar lately. They must not have liked my bragging, though I could swear I tried to sound more grateful than narcissistic. I attempted an easy spicy creamed corn dish involving cream cheese and I blame my wanting to go the easy route (it was pretty disgusting). I should always remember that the easy route isn’t always the best route, especially in the kitchen. And then I attempted veal cutlets a couple nights ago, which were actually fine except I wanted them to taste like my mother used to make them when I was little and when I asked her what she did she said she used flour to coat them, but when I told her they didn’t taste the same at all she said she must have meant bread crumbs.

Tonight we’re going to Piedmont Driving Club Park Room for dinner and out to the Atlanta Symphony with Dave’s parents. I haven’t had sushi since before I was pregnant, and they have some of the best sushi in all of Atlanta, so I’m looking forward to the night out, thanks to my mother last-minute babysitting for us. I really like having so many wonderful grandparents in town with us. They must like having us here too!

ASO
Bring on the Beethoven!