Disclosure: Two weeks ago I received an invitation to a complimentary tasting experience at Pulpo.  The restaurant recently hired Chef Billy Klein and radically reinvented their menu.  In the words of the invitation they now have “a vastly improved core menu, a top-flight craft cocktail program, greatly enhanced standards of service, and coming in Autumn; Billy Klein’s tasting menus and chef’s table.”  This all means that the meal you’re about to see was free but all of the opinions are my honest and non-influenced thoughts as well as those of my dining companions.  

We arrived a bit early for our 5pm reservation since we opted to take the Metro.  The restaurant is less than two blocks away from the Cleveland Park Metro station and, since parking is limited to street parking and I don’t parallel park, riding the Metro was easy and painless. The hostess was very friendly and happy to seat us right away.  She warned us that the brunch crew hadn’t completely left upstairs, so that it would be a bit noisy for a few more minutes, but I certainly didn’t notice an unpleasant volume.  Art, who is a bit sound sensitive, did notice the increased volume, but only when we were first seated.  During the rest of the meal the noise level in the restaurant was great for all of to enjoy each other’s company.  

In July, Lance and I were in Columbus for an event and we had an unplanned evening meal.  I did a bit of research to find a tasty place within walking distance, and decided upon Kooma Sushi.  Lance isn’t a sushi lover, but the menu looked robust enough that we’d both be happy with our options.  The location was also right, since it was a very easy walk from the convention center. 

foodDeep Fried Gyoza
Meat and vegetable dumplings

We started off with dumplings to share.  They were super tasty, just the way they should be! 







Earlier this year, Lance and I found out we’d be going back to Atlanta to work at an event.  I immediately went to Open Table to make a reservation at the fantastic Woodfire Grill.  This is Kevin Gillespie’s restaurant and we had the pleasure of eating there in January 2011.  It’s rare that we’re able to be repeat customers at any restaurant outside of Indianapolis

I’m pretty sure they keep notes on their customers because when they called to verify the reservation they mentioned my HFCS allergy and, once we were seated, our server mentioned that she knew we didn’t drink wine but asked if we’d like anything else.  That’s a neat touch – to be remembered. 

We opted, again, for the 7-course chef’s grand tasting menu.  We had no idea what to expect, but were happy to trust the chefs.  We were asked if we had a problem with raw fish, so that gave us a hint of what was to come. 

breadOur meal started with a lovely basket of small rolls and herbed butter.  The bread was warm and delicious. 









A few months ago, Lance read about a restaurant in Oslo called Maaemo.  In March 2012 it was awarded two Michelin stars.  This is the first time a Nordic restaurant has received two stars right off the bat in its first inclusion in the guide.  The restaurant focuses on local ingredients and certainly falls into the category of modernist cuisine.  We had been bouncing around the idea of fine dining while in Norway and this announcement seemed like a good sign. 

Lance worked hard to secure us a reservation and we were thrilled to be able to dine at Maaemo on May 30th, one of the last days of our trip.  Lance’s dad was kind enough to drive us to the restaurant, but, since it’s right across from the bus terminal in Oslo, we took the bus back to the house after our meal. 

I’m hoping the pictures will do a lot of speaking for themselves because I can’t possibly do this meal justice with my words.  It was just too amazing and complex and astounding.  This certainly counts as the most dramatic culinary experience of my life. 


In March, Lance and I had the pleasure of working at an event in the Gaylord Opryland in Nashville, TN.  This is an amazing place.  It’s the largest non-casino hotel in the US and covers about 9 acres of land.  Inside, in addition to the rooms, convention rooms, shops, and restaurants there are also rivers, waterfalls, plants, and fish.  It’s a gorgeous space. 

The one downside is that once you’re in the biodome, you’re sort of stuck there due to the size of the venue and the size of the grounds surrounding it.  As a result, we ate all of our meals within the hotel.  The good side is that our meals were super tasty.  The bad side is that our meals were also super expensive.  I’m going to combine them in this one post instead of making a separate post per meal – two of our meals were quite brief!

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