Happy Halloween!

A sneak peak of our costume.

HAPPY HALLOWEEN. Made it through Hurricane Sandy, safe and sound. We were very lucky. I just spent the extra two days, cooking up my own storm. Sorry to those I made hungry via instagram!

I’ve got a crockpot going, so when I get home I don’t have to worry about dinner and I will hop into my costume and pass out candy. Hopefully the kids will be trick or treating. This is my first Halloween at my new home and I am excited to see how many kids will come!

I know a majority of the Halloween parties happened this weekend, but mine is this weekend. What are you up to tonight?

One Year Bloggiversary!

Guess what, hard to believe, but one year ago, miemonster.net went live! I know that my content has been around since before then, but that was when I finally decided on a dot com (yes, miemonster.com is mine now too finally!) and begin my blogging identity. You see I also have an online portfolio, miemomedia.com and that was where I started blogging. But then I realized, in my blog I didn’t write about design, so it made no sense being there. I work all day everyday with design stuff and I needed an outlet for my other interests, traveling, cooking and well, eating of course. So that’s how Miemonster was born.

So a year ago today, my brand spanking new site hit the interwebs. And if you hadn’t noticed, a new layout! (which will always be in progress because as a designer I get tired of looking at the same site all the time).

This blog has introduced me to cool people in the world and I hope to get to know many more with similar interests so that we can swap tips and recipes! There are still more adventures to come, and thank you to those who decided to join me.


Epic Smokehouse

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Epic Smokehouse, 1330 Fair Street Arlington, Virginia 22202
The name suits it well. It’s pretty epic. This place is what you would call, upscale bbq. Bacon is a key player in their menu, and I am appeased. On one our date nights, the boo and I chose this place because, after the Bacon Shortage scare, I wanted to consume as much pork product as possible. Lucky for us, there was plenty.

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The Appetizers

We chose the bacon app, and the kahlua pig roll.

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The Verdict

The bacon appetizer is just a slab of pork belly, smoked and cooked, topped with sprouts and their fig and mustard sauces. Delicious and fatty. The kahlua pig roll was something to write home about. It’s pulled pork and kimchi rolled in an egg roll wrapper, with a lemongrass coconut dipping sauce. I don’t like kimchi on the regular, but the way the flavors presented itself in that rolled up bite worked really well. Top it off with the cool, creamy coconut dipping sauce, it made me sad when the appetizer was over. But at least the entrees were next!

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We had the filet mignon with the crawfish hollandaise, with fried asparagus and an extra side of bacon sprouts.  Also the applewood smoked baby back ribs with fries and an extra side of sauteed portobello mushrooms.

The filet was perfectly seasoned, and you could cut it with a butter knife. I ate it with a bite of mushrooms and it was amazing. Making my mouth water just thinking about it. I love asparagus. But battering and deep frying it was a bad idea. There wasn’t really any flavor to the batter, but the asparagus was perfectly cooked. They topped the steak with two crawfish tails, which was pointless and didn’t bring anything to the meal. Our hollandaise came out later and had no flavor. It literally just tasted like egg and butter..no salt. Nothing. Disappointing.

They don’t say how many ribs on the menu. It’s just “Ribs”. Its a full rack. I got mine with a side of mushrooms, it also comes with fries. These were smoked to perfection. I loved it. It was quite intimidating when it came out, there really was no right way to go about it, so I just dug in. I really enjoyed it. But I like things extra saucy, so I might ask for more ‘cue sauce on the side next time.

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Overall, I had a great meal and would love to go back again! Who doesn’t love a bacon dominant menu? If not for food, then at least for dessert!!!


Bacon Wrapped Pork Loin with Bacon Sprouts

Yep. That really happened. What we have here is a bacon wrapped pork loin, with a jazzed up bbq sauce and bacon sprouts. Yes BACON SPROUTS. The best way to get your man to eat veggies (if you have that problem, I don’t).

The best part? It was pretty easy.

It all started, because I found these at our local Trader Joes. I had NO IDEA that brussels sprouts came from a stalk. Nuts! It was 3 bucks so I was like hmm, why not?!

I didn’t realize I was going to end up with so many sprouts. Chopped in half and I had twice as much…I literally only make about 10 sprouts at a time. I was intimidated. But I calmed down and just made a meal of it. Everything tastes better with bacon right? And that’s how it all began.

This is the first time I cooked a perfectly moist pork loin. My chops always end up dry. But this is why I like cooking over baking. Baking is an exact science, where as with cooking, I just put my heart into it, and it always works itself out. No recipes needed!!

What have you made lately? I am always curious to try out new foods!

Oh and remind me, that my sauce is just bbq sauce, vanilla apple cider, and chipotle hot sauce. WIN.

So Quiet?

October has been really busy! Doctors, dentists, work, LIFE. It is cold so now I have an even harder time getting up. The days are shorter so I get sleepy so early. I fill my schedule with friends and food, and though I’m taking pictures and thinking “I should blog about this”…I don’t. I know. I am a mess.  But here’s what I’ve been up to.

Baked chocolate bacon cupcakes, with salted caramel buttercream frosting topped with candied bacon. The cake was too thick. It was brownie like. I must try again.

I made “Cocktail Cupcakes” where I turned Ashley’s favorite cocktail into a cupcake. For her birthday I made “amaretto sours”. It was a amaretto cupcake with lemon whipped frosting topped with a cherry. Just like the drink!

So many birthdays! For my big brother’s birthday I made him, bacon egg toast cups for brunch. These are definitely a hit. I always overcook the egg though. I need to put it in for less time I guess. I like it medium.

My aunt and uncle are moving soon, and I am trying to get some time in with them before they leave.

It’s definitely been busy filled with eating, cooking and enjoying my friends and family. Oh and guess what, I am still going to the gym!! No more cardboard box diet updates for me though. I think I’ve gotten to the point where I am getting into the groove myself.


Oh and did I mention I contributed to the recent issue of Sage Magazine? Check out my piece on french comfort food. NOMMMMMM. Another busy weekend ahead of me. Isn’t fall great? What have you been up to?!


I love burgers. But you probably already know that from my other posts. Guess what? There’s a new place to satiate my hunger for juicy burgers and fries… Smashburger. Lucky me, I got to go try them out before they opened. And yes, they won me over. I got to meet the founder Tom Ryan, and he even took me into the back to teach me the secrets of how they get their burgers so juicy..oh yeah and I got to smash one myself!

But first, lets talk about food. Let’s talk about 100% angus beef, fresh not frozen, that gets bowl cut (meaning chopped into tiny pieces instead of run through a grinder) and then smashed and seasoned on the grill. Oh and butter? Butter is always better. Their patties get hand rolled into perfect 5 oz meatballs (for the regular sized burger) and then smashed into their signature smash patty shape. If you aren’t a fan of burgers, there’s chicken. Their chicken is smashed and then grilled, or battered and fried like chicken fried steak. Take your pick. I had the BBQ, BACON, Cheddar burger with added garlic mushrooms, with a side of Beefy chili, fried pickles, smashfries, and sweet potato smash fries, and downed it all with their signature mixed teas.

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They have 3 teas, which will probably be different at other Smashburger places (I heard there was a sweet tea and a mango tea somewhere out there) the ones are this location are called, citrus smash, passion punch, and classic crush. You can mix and match to your taste. I personally like the citrus smash. Light and refreshing! Tom found these guys (Teako Teas) at a farmer’s market and loved their display and their handcrafted flavors that Smashburgers became their first national client.

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Everything was amazing. I didn’t even need to break out the ketchup bottle. Yes I did use the Smash sauce (I’ll share the secret, mustard, mayo, relish and lemon juice). The fried pickles were crispy from the batter and puckering awesome. Both types of smashfries were seasoned with olive oil, rosemary and garlic came out crisp on the outside and perfect in the middle. Not a fan of meat? There is something for everyone…

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This right here is their Spicy Baja Black bean burger. Aka the veggie burger. You can have that or create your own with their multitude of sauces, buns, cheese and toppings. These are also made fresh in house.

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(Tom Ryan, Founder & Chief Concept officer)

Now I know what you are thinking, “Ugh, another CHAIN burger place?”. Okay stop right there, yes there are over a 100 locations and its the fastest growing “better burger” places out there, but founder Tom Ryan strives to make it unique. With each region the Smashburger is located at, he creates some regional menu items. He’s even traveling, and conducting beer pairings with local breweries for each region. Pretty awesome right?

Tom had a vision. He wanted to bring the burger place back. When he was telling me his vision for what Smashburger is, it made me think of the fabulous ’50s, a time of sock hops and poodle skirts. Back when taking your date for a milkshake and a burger was cool. Here you can suck down some haagen daz shakes or a soda float, have a beer with your buddies and just hang out. The food is great, the vibe is fun, and could be the perfect start to your girl’s/guy’s night out.

Key things I learned:

  • The burger stays juicy because its chopped into tiny pieces not run through a grinder
  • The smashing on the grill seals in the juiciness and fat
  • Buttered buns keeps it from soaking in the burger’s juice and getting soggy
  • I am a terrible at flipping burgers in a fast food situation

Hope you guys get a chance to enjoy it! I almost went back the next day (if it wasn’t rush hour, it would have happened…even after the gym).


Cobbler Mountain Cellars

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What a great weekend! It’s always a good time when you gather a group of awesome girls and do a wine tasting. Place of choice? Cobbler Mountain Cellars. We loved it there so much, that we’re probably going to back next weekend, to hike the mountain and do a tasting of their HARD APPLE CIDER! How perfect is that? This family owned and operated winery opened its doors just last summer, June 2011! We got to spend time and hear the magical story of how everything came together on this farm, which has been in owner Laura McCarthy Louden’s family since 1959. The brief history can be read in poem form on their website. Or if you’re interested, I can tell you!
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What stood out to me was how the family turned sadness into positiveness at every turn. Laura’s father purchased the farm in 1959 and had to leave to make a bigger difference in special needs children’s lives in South Carolina. After not surviving a heart attack at a young 42, Mr. McCarthy left a daughter and a wife and a baby in the womb. That baby was Laura. After growing up in South Carolina, with frequent trips to the farm, Laura and her husband Jeff acquired the land. They started restoring the house 8 years ago. Jeff who was a finance man by trade, had a passion for wine making, and kept a stack of wine books for light reading. After making many hobby batches, and studying winemaking via UC Davis extension, the decision to turn the farm into a winery was made. Six years ago, they planted their grapes, moved into the house 3 years ago, and started selling their wines summer of 2011.

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Our tasting was in their cellar which was very quaint and cute. Twinkling lights and the decor made it a cozy place to hang out and sip your wine. They offer a box of goodies for purchase that has local breads, cheese and HONEY to complement the wine. You can take this box, along with a bottle of your favorite wine, take a seat at their many picnic tables or relaxing chairs and enjoy the mountain view.

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You can find their list of wines here, not listed are their Cobblestone White which is one of my favorites. Not only are their wines tasty, they are environmentally friendly! You can bring back your bottles to them to reuse, where they will sterilize and cork new wines in, instead of recycling and using excess energy to melt the bottles down into new products.  All their wines, except the chardonnay, are vegan, since they use clay based enzymes in their process, instead of animal products. They grow their own grapes for the chardonnay, Cabernet Franc, Cab Sauv and the viognier.

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They support local businesses by using local honey in their wines, as well as offer local cheeses and breads with their wines when you come to hang out! My favorite is the boursin cheese with the petit verdot! Or chocolate nibs with the cabernet franc… okay maybe they are all my favorite? You can find their wines at the retailers below.

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If you can’t make it to any of the retailers, or you want to make a trip to the winery and come home with a big order, if you buy a case you are automatically enrolled into their Bear Case Club. This gives you 15% off case and shop purchases, complementary tastings for you and a guest, and well as, if you refer a friend to buy a case, you get a bottle on the house. Plus, you get the added bonus…of having a friend you know who has a case of wine 😉

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The girls and I had such a great time. We will definitely come back to try the hard apple cider and maybe bring the puppies for a hike! 😀 Keep an eye out for events from Cobbler Mountain Cellars. They are definitely up and coming, and you don’t wanna miss out on their cool events. They are going to be an Oceania Cruise next summer where they will be part of wine pairings, vineyard excursions and not to mention exploring Rome, Pisa, Tuscany, Marseilles, Monte Carlo, Barcelona and Lisbon aboard the cruise line. If I had the money, I’d definitely wanna be on that!

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