Farm to Table Brunch

Mike and I spent a beautiful, sunny – Sunday morning experiencing a new restaurant  in Historic Downtown Bryan, Texas.  Housed inside the rustic and recently restored Ice House on Main, Ronin Restaurant brings new life to the 1912 building.

For many years, Chef Brian Light and his wife Amanda have connected our community through local food production and provided a venue where guests can enjoy the traditions of a simpler life at Ronin Farms. The outdoor event venue under the Texas sky will make you fall in love with the Farm to Table concept.  Ronin has now created a second space where our community can experience this same concept in their new location in Historic Downtown Bryan.

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Guests at the Ronin Restaurant can choose from a variety of seating, including outdoor tables with a view of  Historic Downtown Bryan, a indoor community style table or simply a seat at the bar.

The menu selection was carefully crafted, providing us with the feeling that we were out on the farm and even included recommendations of drink pairings for each menu item.

Mike selected the Texas Wagyu Chicken Fried Steak and Farm Egg with Cream Gravy and Roasted Sweet Potato.  Although I helped Mike finish most of his delicious Wagyu Chicken Fried Steak, I went with a sweeter selection for my entree- the Cinnamon Pecan French Toast with Spiced Apple Compote and Spiced Caramel – and it was as delightful as the name.

Although the food and venue were amazing, please note that the pricing for us would be for special occasions only and not a weekly stop.  Based on your budget, I would recommend reviewing the menu pricing before dining.  I definitely see this venue as the perfect spot to host a bridal brunch, baby shower or even a birthday celebration with your closest girlfriends.

The Ronin Restaurant also has seasonal hours, so be sure to check their website for the most up to date hours.  If you are dining this Winter, the hours for Ronin Restaurant are:

Dinner 5pm-10pm
Thursday, Friday & Saturday

Brunch 11am-2pm
Every Sunday

Happy Brunching xx Jennifer

The Crafty Pig Food Truck

The food truck craze continues to make it’s way to the Brazos Valley.  I found a Southern comfort dream at The Crafty Pig Food Truck this week at the Lake Walk Town Center in Bryan, Texas.  Local chefs, Brad Dees and Cody John recently opened The Crafty Pig Food Truck and they are busy tearing up the roads in the Brazos Valley bringing locals their delicious southern style food creations.

Brad Dees and Cody John (KBTX)

Photo Source: KBTX Media

Once I made my way to the window, it was tough to even choose because the menu was so awesome, everything just sounded delicious.  After changing my order at few times, I ended up trying the Southern Porkadilla filled with oak smoked pork, grilled onions, cheese and BBQ sauce.  I’m glad I had my friend Lauren with me because I would have consumed the whole thing!  The Southern Porkadilla just wasn’t complete until I added an order of shoe string sweet potato fries garnished with sea salt.  Honestly I didn’t even need the ketchup I grabbed at the window because the flavor of the fries stood alone.

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If you want to find The Crafty Pig Food Truck’s next stop you can follow the truck on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter for all of their local stops.  They do a great job of releasing the menu ahead of time and giving you a look at the southern food they will be cooking up that week.

If you want to learn more about Chef Brad and Chef Cody, check out KBTX Media’s interview with the duo.

Home Sweet Home

I’m officially moved in, semi-unpacked and getting back into my “normal routine.”  I will admit I have driven the wrong way home from work a few times just out of habit but quickly realized…oops I don’t live here anymore.

One of the feelings I hadn’t expected was the huge since of pride that comes along with owning my first home.  A year ago, I didn’t even think this was a possibility but now that I’m in it, living it, I am so happy I took the leap.  I may have a few extra grey hairs but that’s nothing my hairdresser can’t fix.

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I also feel like more of an adult, that seems silly to say out loud, but right or wrong, I do.  Spending my Saturdays wandering the aisles of Home Depot or sketching out my elaborate backyard Spring DIY projects, it’s been a fun and exciting experience.

In meeting my neighbors, so far I have received rose bush pruning tips by the retiree on the next block over, and I’ve even met several of the neighborhood dogs – Jack has approved and is looking forward to his next playdate with his new furry friends.

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Here are a few lessons I learned after move in…

Ask friends for help. One of the best moving decisions I made was to invite friends over to help unpack.  Now they may not see it that way, but it was a huge time saver when it came to my kitchen.  We had the entire kitchen unpacked out of boxes and in cabinets in an hour.  I always think organizing a new kitchen is hard because you’re not sure how to set it up.  But having five women help organize the kitchen was a life saver.  It was also just a lot of fun having friends come over and hangout.  We played music in the background, ate sandwiches and unpacked – I wouldn’t have wanted it any other way.

I should have taken notes. This is a little bit like taking your first college exam and flunking it.  When you are in a high stress situation or receiving a lot of information for the first time it’s easy to forget half of everything.  From the final walk through on my house all the way to closing I received a lot of information… most of it started out something like this “Don’t lose this paper, it’s very important.” Or “You will want to fill this out and mail this to ______(fill in the blank).”  So don’t be afraid to take a pen and paper and ask clarifying questions every step of the way.  Here’s your second chance to be the straight A student you never were in college.

Make lists. After moving in I had created a mental list of all of the items in the house of what needed to be fixed or still needed to be done.  This list swam around in my head for days and even kept me up at night.  It’s just good to write it down or create a digital list on your phone or computer.

It doesn’t have to ALL be done today. I really like to knock things out… give me a list and it will be done before noon. I’ve always been that way, I like to just get stuff done even if it kills me or I have to spend the next week catching up on sleep.  After I finally stepped back and made my list of “to dos”, and prioritized them, it really helped me feel more relaxed and I could enjoy my house more.

Change of address. Someone needs to create a button or magic wand for this. I recommend making a list of all of the places you need to change your address starting with the most obvious mail forwarding with USPS.  Others would be your employer, bank accounts and credit cards, updating your driver’s license and most important your Amazon Prime account.

 

Hopefully a few of the lessons I learned will help you with your home purchase.  With home ownership comes new responsibilities, new challenges and new adventures.  I’m excited to see where it takes me.  I’m excited to be home.  – xx Jennifer

A new take on hanging out with your Girlfriends

Finding new reasons to hangout with my best gal pals has never been an issue for me.  I’m constantly looking for new ideas on ways to strengthen my existing relationships and start new ones.  Last weekend my friend Cait and I went on a little adventure and came up with some fun activities to go do this Fall, besides the traditional dinner or happy hour.  (But just to be clear, this is in addition to wine drinking and our big Italian family style dinners – we wont be giving that up anytime in the near future.)

All of these ideas will spark your inner creative at heart and hopefully you’ll learn a few new skills with your besties by your side.  Among the ideas were Succulent Planting Party, Watercolor Party, and a Cake Decorating Party…. I’m starting to see a theme here – so let’s get this party started!  Here are the ideas:

1. Succulent Planting Party – this is really just a gateway to shopping in Downtown Bryan, but I’m good with that, and kudos to Market 1023 for their clever traffic drivers.  Stop by Market 1023 to pick your succulent, find a planter and then check out.  They will help you plant your succulent and give you directions on how to care for it.  I think you could easily make this into a stop during your First Friday adventures, tacking on a drink at the LaSalle Hotel or a classic movie at The Queen Theatre and your in “girls night out” business.

 

2.  Watercolor Party – With the trend of brush script and beautiful watercolor paintings continue to flood everyone’s Instagram feeds it only seems natural to jump on the band wagon and try your hand at the craft.  A wonderful friends of mine and local artist Beth Symons, owner of Bethany Joy Design, is now booking private parties.  You can contact her directly through her Facebook page to setup your next Watercolor Party!

 

3.  Cake Decorating Party – I’m generally more interested in the consumption of cake and cookies, but I’m willing to put my sweet tooth aside and learn a few new baking skills. The Chocolate Gallery in Downtown Bryan will offer a fresh take on their adult classes this fall and they’re also upgrading their classroom!  For more details about scheduling a class reach out to Christina Patterson via email: cpatterson@bcscocoapantry.com

Also as a side note, The Chocolate Gallery has licensed Texas A&M chocolates and gelato hand dipped into a waffle cone that will take you back to your childhood.  If you are an aspiring chef like myself, you will enjoy browsing through their very nice selection of kitchen gadgets from Le Creuset bakeware to high-end appliances that you would find at a retailer similar to Williams-Sonoma.

Now, go call all all of your gal pals and plan a creative party! Cheers!  xx-Jennifer