2019 Bucket List

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As far as years go, 2018 is certainly a tough act to follow. This was a year of life-changing milestones, among them getting married, relaunching Geo’s Table, and completing the first year of my doctoral program in Educational Technology. As the year progressed and my schedule became more open, I took a moment to breathe and reflect. For the first time in my life, I was seeing my dreams and goals actualized, and to be quite frank, it scared me. Instead of recognizing my abundance, I became anxious about the future and my plans. For a period, I spiraled into a state of distress about my life and where it was going.

Through the support and encouragement of my phenomenal husband, family, and friends, I spent the latter part of 2018 beginning a personal journey grounded in mental and physical well being. I recognized the power in sharing my story, and receiving others’ experience with an open heart and mind. I recognized now how honoring my fears has been a necessary step in moving forward and has helped me in making space for new opportunities and challenges.

As I move into 2019, I plan to use the self work of 2018 as a springboard. Geo’s Table has always been a therapeutic outlet for me, and this year will be no different. For 2019, instead of a bucket list of places to try, or travel adventures, my focus is on Geo’s Table, and following a simple mantra: Move forward.

2018 revealed to me that a year, a month and even a moment or experience can challenge you or take your life in new or more interesting directions. So in the spirit of moving forward, I present my 2019 bucket list. It is my hope that other bloggers and content creators might decide to join me in my conquest, as I check-off each bucket list item, and expand Geo’s Table into new territory.

2019 Bucket List

  1. Take course to enhance a skill.

2. Collaborate with at least 5 local content creators, business owners or brands.

3. Collaborate with at least 5 content creators, business owners or brands of color.

4. Pitch a story to at least 3 media outlets related to food or lifestyle.

5. Be a guest on a podcast.

6. Develop a three year plan for the blog with quarterly milestones.

7. Build a resource guide or course for the blog.

8. Attend a bloggers’ conference or retreat.

9. Complete a photography challenge (with my DSLR camera).

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Around Town: The Indian Grill

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Just a few weeks ago, The Indian Grill made its debut in Old City, Philadelphia and I got the opportunity to get up close and personal with several of their delectable dishes. The restaurant, which is a BYOB, specializes in North Indian cuisine as well as a collection of Indo-Chinese dining options.

Stop by to check out some of their daily specials and most popular items including Tandoori Chicken, Seekh Kabab, and Chicken Makhani. They also have a sizable list of options for vegetarians including Malai Kofta, Navratan Korma, and Palak Panir. My favorite, the Chicken Tikka Masala was spiced just right, leaving a lasting impression. In addition to this, I got to indulge most delicious Mango Lassi I’ve ever tasted. In addition to the food, the contemporary decor mixed with the sensational aromas make dining a fantastic experience! 

Visit The Indian Grill at 114 Chestnut Street, Philadelphia PA, 19106, or call (267) 519-8499 to make a reservation. For more information about The IndianGrill, visit their website and follow them on Facebook or Instagram.

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The Foodies Guide to Cherry Street Pier

One of my favorite sites in Philadelphia, is the Delaware River Waterfront. From comfort food and family fun at Spruce Street Harbor Park sustained by Univest and the Blue Cross River Rink to breathtaking views of the Ben Franklin Bridge from Race Street Pier or Cherry Street Pier, there is plenty to do, see, and explore. This October, a brand new space debuted to the public offering a fresh experience for art and food lovers a like! Formerly, Municipal Pier 9, Cherry Street Pier is a well-placed and much welcomed addition to the waterfront. As a public mixed-used space the pier is designed to provide space for artists, entrepreneurs and restaurants.

Recently, I got the chance to spend the afternoon at Cherry Street Pier and samples all of the wonderful food and beverages it offers. The space currently hosts an array of restaurants serving food from Vintage Trolleys, and an on-site bar featuring Philadelphia beer and cocktails made with local spirits.

With an empty belly in tote, I left satisfied, and excited to share my experiences!

The Foodies Guide to Cherry Street Pier

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Little Baby’s Ice Cream

A Philadelphia favorite, Little Baby’s Ice Cream is known for their out-of-the-box flavors as well as their dairy and non-dairy options. Grab a cup, cone, or a whole pint to share!

What to Try: Pumpkin Speculoos (Dairy) and the Chocolate Speculoos (Non-Dairy)

littlebabysic.com | Instagram: @littlebabysic

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Hardena

This was my first time trying authentic Indonesian cuisine, and I must say that I’m in love. Originally opened in 2001, Hardena is a small family-owned restaurant in South Philadelphia. For the pier, they have created a sizeable menu of traditional small bites ranging from chicken and lamb skewers to cooked salads and delicious corn and vegetable fritters.

What to Try: Satay Ayam (Chicken Skewers) and Bakwan (Mixed Veggie Corn Fritters)

hardenaphilly.com | Instagram: @hardenaphilly

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Cooperage

A Philly favorite for wine and whiskey, Cooperage also is known for their eclectic mix of new American fare. Their offerings at Cherry Street are no different. With a variety of options to choose from you can nom out on one of their many fresh sandwiches or salads. The best part, many of their menu items are packaged that make it easy to explore!

What to try: Old City Turkey Sandwich or the Broad Street Taco (with Salmon)

cooperagephilly.com | Instagram: @cooperagephl

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Drinks / Beverages

Boasting an assortment of local beers, wine and spirits evenings at Cherry Street Pier can be lit! With a fantastic list of curated cocktails made with spirits form Manatawny Still Works and Philadelphia Distilling, each cocktail pays homeage to best part of our city! If cocktails aren’t your thing, no worries, beer and wine is in abundance!

What to try: The Philly Phizz (made with Bluecoat Gin), or the Pier 9 Punch (made with Manatawney Whiskey)

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To learn more about Cherry Street Pier and the other attractions on the Delaware RIVER Waterfront, visit:

Delaware River WATERFront CORPORATION’s Website: delawareriverwaterfront.com

Brunch Style for Fall

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Over the years, I have met some pretty awesome people through various food events and gatherings. If you follow me on Instagram (where I got my humble beginnings) you have probably noticed my right hand woman, Bari, in a few of my photos

Bari and I started on the food and Instagram scene around the same time and became quick friends. Nearly four years later, we are a bit of a dynamic duo pretty hard. She is a fantastic food photographer and influencer covering food from “street to elite” in Philadelphia and beyond. You can follow her adventures via her instagram: @baris_belly

Growing out of our mutual love for food, fashion and photography, we organically formed our own past-time we call Sunday Funday. A form of soul therapy, the recipe for Sunday Funday is simple. We plan brunch in an area of the city we would like to explore, don our Sunday’s best (or whatever fashion mood strikes us) and spend the day together eating, partaking in libations and snapping photos of street art (and of each other). 

For our first Sunday Funday of the Fall season, we coincidentally arrived at brunch twinning in oversized scarves and capes.

A timeless trend that is probably my favorite staple of fall fashion is the art of layering. Bari has always been the Queen of Layers and showing up in an off the shoulder sweater, black skinny jeans and an over-sized scarf. This year, I’ve been particularly inspired by turtlenecks and capes, which have been making a strong appearance in my favorite stores this season. My favorite combination of the moment is pairing turtlenecks with a button-up shirt and slacks.  We both completed our looks with Chelsea boots and hats.


We dined at W.M. Muhlherin’s Sons a former whiskey blending and bottling company turned modern Italian Restaurant and Boutique Hotel, which is always a stellar dining experience. Following we explored some of the great murals along Front Street including a few the Honeygrow headquarters completed as part of their Front Street Walls project. As an added bonus, it’s Mural Arts Month here in Philadelphia, so be sure to learn more about some of the artists and the abundance of murals we have in the city.

Artists featured in this post:

Molly Crabapple

Lemon Sparkle Fantasy

Amberella

Mural Arts - Philadelphia

Dry Rub Chicken Pasta featuring SweeetHeat All Purpose Rub

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Proper and quality seasoning is the cornerstone to any stovetop recipe. So when I come across one that is a cut above the rest, my interest is immediately piqued. That was the case with SweeetHeat All Purpose Rub.

I was introduced to the owner of this fantastic product, Demond Mullen, via Facebook. A caterer, chef and creator of Sweeetheat brand, his passion and heartfelt belief in his product was resounding. He emphasized their versatility and how they were more than just spices, rubs and BBQ sauces, instead he presents them as an essential condiment to any kitchen dish. From using his BBQ sauces as a base on pizzas to giving his deviled eggs a savory pinch with his seafood spice, Demond was able to provide color to what differentiates his brand.

Allowing me to put his confidence to the test, he sent me his suite of sauces and rubs which included bottles of his Spicy Homey Honey, Sweeet St. Louis and Kansas City Classic BBQ sauces as well as his Savory Seafood Spice, Southern BBQ Blend and All Purpose Rub. The sauces and spices have become a quick go to for a number of dishes in my household, which have include using the Sweeet St. Louis sauce as a dressing for pasta salad, and seasoning my roasted vegetables with the Southern BBQ blend. Of all the SweeetHeat offerings, which will now be a mainstay in my kitchen, my go-to has been the All Purpose Rub.

 SweeetHeat’s All Purpose Rub includes a blend of sugar, Spanish paprika, sea salt, oregano and bells seasoning. Its hint of sweetness is what makes it extra special, and  Ihave found it pairs well with any meat, especially well ribs, steak and of course, chicken! Although I have made several dishes with this rub, one of my favorites was a one-pot chicken pasta made with a parmesan creme sauce.

As a child my mother would always add a little sugar to our pasta sauces, and as an adult, pasta just doesn’t seem right to me without a little sweetness. Using the SweeetHeat All Purpose Rub to season the chicken for this pasta took me back to my childhood, while getting to use these wonderful product in an unconventional way. Gathering a little inspiration from my good friend Quin, who made an awesome Cajun Chicken Pasta on her blog Butter Be Ready, certainly helped to bring this recipe to life!

Check out my recipe for Dry Rub Chicken Pasta below, and grab some SweeetHeat to upgrade your dishes!

Dry-Rub Chicken Pasta with SweeetHeat All Purpose Rub

Ingredients

  • 2 Large Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts (Cubed)

  • 2 Tablespoons SweeetHeat All Purpose Rub

  • 1 Tblspoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil

  • 1 Tblspoon Minced Garlic

  • 2 Servings or 1/2 Box of Penne or Cavatappi Pasta (or any pasta of your choosing)

  • 1 Red and Green Bell Pepper

  • 1 Cup Heavy Whipping Cream

  • 1 Cup Parmesan Cheese

  • 1 Teaspoon Crushed Red pepper

Instruction

  1. Cut the chicken breast into cubes, and season with SweeetHeat All Purpose Rub. Place in the refrigerator to marinade for up to 1 hour.

  2. In a cast iron skillet on high heat, heat the olive oil, add in red and green peppers and cook until they begin to soften (approximately 5 minutes).

  3. Reduce the heat to medium, and add marinated chicken and garlic to skillet and cook until it is brown.

  4. While the chicken is cooking prepare the pasta  (use package instructions) and parmesan sauce (use the package instructions).

  5. To prepare the parmesan sauce, pour heavy whipping cream into a medium sized saucepan and heat on medium heat until it come to a boil. Using a whisk, stir in the parmesan cheese and crushed red pepper until it thickens.

  6. Drain and place cooked pasta into the skillet.  Pour the parmesan cheese sauce overtop of all the pasta, cooked chicken and peppers. Mix together with a wooden spoon until all ingredients are well coated.

  7. Serve in a bowl topped with additional parmesan cheese.

Happy eating!

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