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Queen on the Road

So I Visited The Game of Thrones Bar in DC

July 12, 2017

So if you know me, you know that I’m a huuuuge Game of Thrones fan (House Targaryen, FTW!) and I love visiting Washington DC. So when the opportunity came to go to DC to visit the Game of Thrones Pop-Up bar in Shaw, I was alll over it.

Cocktails + Game of Thrones = my new favorite spot.

Since the premiere of Game of Thrones is this Sunday, I figured I’d tell you all about it. I’d been to this bar’s other pop-ups (an awesome Christmas/Stranger Things Bar in the winter and Cherry Blossom / Mario-themed bar in the Spring), so I had high expectations going in.

Last night at #miracleon7thstreet we found the #strangerthings-themed Christmas bar! #christmasbarcrawl #miracleon7th

A post shared by Sydney Gallimore (@dcfoodiequeen) on


The line was about an hour, even on a Monday night at 6 pm. Luckily, I tricked my best friend Lauren into waiting in line for me as I finished up another Happy Hour, so by the time I got there, I only had to wait about 10 minutes.

Thanks Lala!

When you first walk in, you’re in “The North,” complete with crying weirwood, Jon Snow look-alike (although I thought he looked more like Khal Drogo), and branches with leaves across the ceiling.

Or maybe Adam Driver from the new Star Wars

The second bar, which is attached to the first, was made to look like The House of Black & White, and featured a wall of faces, which was only moderately creepy.

I had a really hard time closing my eyes and taking the picture at the same time.

The third bar was decorated to look like the Red Keep, with house sigils on banners and a real life replica of the Iron Throne (which required a second line to wait in, which was another hour, so we just took pictures of other people).

Also, the bar was dark and full of terr…ible lighting.

There is also a little hallway decorated to look like Meereen with “Kill the Masters” written in blood* on the walls, the Sons of the Harpy masks on the wall, and dragons coming out of the ceiling.

I’m sure she’ll love me for posting this photo.

The drinks, albeit expensive, were creatively named and delicious. My favorite was the Shame cocktail (grapefruit + tonic, $13), which came with an adorable little bell, and also the entire bar screaming “shame!” at you, while a bartender rang a bell. It was awesome.

Game of Thrones Pop-Up Bar Shame Cocktail from Sydney Gallimore on Vimeo.

The other drinks we tried were the What Is Dead May Never Die (Green Hat Gin, fino sherry, shrub, district celery shrub, cane sugar, celery bitters, sparkling water, $13), The Lannisters Send Their Regards (Vodka, fino sherry, contratto bitter, strawberry, lemon, sparkling water, $13), and the Lady Mormont (Plymouth Navy Gin, madeira, honey, passionfruit, lemon, falernum, and orgeat, $14).

Shame came in the big glass and the Lady Mormont came in the little bear.

All in all, it was an awesome experience, and I can’t wait to go back to see what pop-up they do next! The Game of Thrones PUB is happening through August 27th, so get there before it’s gone!

We match The North.

Queen on the Road Restaurant Reviews

Ritz Carlton Lake Oconee Part 3: Linger Longer Steakhouse

July 1, 2017

Recently, I had the pleasure of attending a 4-day stay at the Ritz Carlton Reynolds Lake Oconee as a representative of The Daily Meal. This is part 3 of a 3-part series. For more about my experience, read my review of Gaby’s By The Lake and Georgia’s.

Keep in mind that this meal was complimentary and that for official review purposes, I was treated to a prix fixe menu. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Linger Longer Steakhouse

The most upscale of all of the dining options at The Ritz Carlton Reynolds Lake Oconee was the Linger Longer Steakhouse. Chef Casey Burchfield has put together a menu that appeals to both casual and sophisticated palates in a way that is very approachable. Because I’m adventurous, he put together a special prix fixe menu for the purposes of this review. Our waiter was also a certified sommelier and took a lot of pride in pairing each course with the perfect glass of wine or cocktail. And because I’m a big jerk, I apparently didn’t take a photo of a single one of those drinks.

Seven courses, NBD


As we sat down, we were treated to an amuse bouche, which consisted of a tartare duo. The beef tartare was served on a puffed piece of beef tendon (it had the consistency similar to that of a shrimp chip), and was a very unique presentation and use of ingredients. It was big enough for 2 bites, but much less messy to eat in 1, so that’s what I did. The tuna was served on a dehydrated rice cracker, and tasted very similar to what you’d find in a sushi restaurant.

A great way to start the meal!

The first official course was lobster bisque with butter poached lobster. I’m not sure what the deal is with the Ritz Carlton, but they’ve really figured out the secret to a great bowl of soup. The bisque was rich and decadent, but still light and airy enough so as not to weigh me down, which was good because I still had 6 courses to go. The lobster was perfectly poached, making this dish a definite winner.

Lobster bisque is the key to my heart, apparently.

The second course was a grilled leek and burrata cheese with truffle and garlic. Burrata (aka cheese-stuffed cheese) is one of my favorite cheeses because I love how creamy it is, and the combination of the tangy and smoky flavor of the grilled leeks was perfect with the cheese.

“Cheese-Stuffed Cheese” will be the name of my memoir.

Course 3 was seared scallop, ramps, strawberry, and white asparagus. I was really excited for this dish–despite the fact that I don’t usually like scallops–because I had been hearing a lot about ramps being kind of the “it” vegetable of 2017. For those who don’t know, a ramp is a wild onion that grows during the spring in Eastern Canada and the U.S. It has a sort of garlicky-onion flavor and is bite-sized. The combination of the buttery scallops (which were phenomenal, btw) with the tart strawberries and garlicky ramp was a harmonious orchestra of flavor.

I’ll never eat scallops the same way again!

Chef had recently spent some time in Thailand, so the fourth course was a Thai-inspired BBQ pork with sweet onion, green papaya, and a spicy tangy sauce. The pork itself had a nice crispiness on the outside and practically fell apart on the inside. Pork usually goes well with fruit, but the combination of the green papaya and the tangy sauce was exceptional.

Why don’t we put papaya in more things?!

The fifth course was Faroe Island salmon with sweet pea puree, ragout of spring vegetables, and a garlic emulsion. The dish was absolutely gorgeous in its plating, and the flavor did not disappoint. There was a lot going on, from the pea puree to the garlic emulsion, but it all came together beautifully.

I need to take a class on how to identify which flowers are edible and which will kill me. I’m assuming these were the former since I’m still alive.

The sixth course was a prime Manhattan steak with potato puree, sweet & sour ramps (yay, more ramps!), and a bacon-mushroom bordelaise. Holy moly was this good. If I hadn’t been so stuffed from the previous courses, I could’ve eaten like 3 more plates of this steak. Chef Casey is magical!

The thing on the bottom right that looks like a baby onion? That’s a ramp.

For dessert, we had a Valrhona Chocolate soufflé with white chocolate ice cream and fresh sliced strawberries. The souffle was basically a chocolate-flavored cloud, and the ice cream was a great palate cleanser.

Chocolate is always ok by me!

As an added bonus (an after-dessert dessert, if you will), Chef sliced up some Bentons Bacon country ham, which he served to us on a charred barrel plate with a rye whisky and amaro aperitif. The saltiness of the ham plus the sweetness of the amaro was a great combination, and I almost preferred it to the sweet dessert.

This photo comes courtesy of our awesome waiter who didn’t give me any details when he asked to borrow my camera. I’m just a very trusting person, and it resulted in this badass shot of Chef Casey.

Linger Longer Steakhouse Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Queen on the Road Restaurant Reviews

Ritz Carlton Lake Oconee Part 2: Georgia’s

June 23, 2017

Recently, I had the pleasure of attending a 4-day stay at the Ritz Carlton Reynolds Lake Oconee as a representative of The Daily Meal. This is part 2 of a 3-part series. For more about my experience, read my review of Gaby’s By The Lake.

Keep in mind that this meal was complimentary and that for official review purposes, I tasted smaller portions of the menu. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Georgia’s


A slightly more upscale, but still casual offering is Georgia’s. They just brought in a new chef (Shaun Thomas) and did a rebrand of their menu and the restaurant itself, so I was one of the first to try everything the new restaurant had to offer. I visited for dinner and for breakfast and both meals were fantastic.

Dinner

As soon as I sat down for dinner, I was greeted with an adorable bread basket, which consisted of a salted yeast roll, cheddar bacon biscuit, and cornbread with whipped butter and jam. They were all delicious in their own right, but my favorite was probably the cornbread, which had just a hint of sweetness to it and practically melted in your mouth.

Although it’s rare for me to meet a bread basket I don’t like.

For dinner, I tried a number of things, but my favorite–by far–was the She Crab Soup (Lemon Yogurt, Chives, normal portion: $12). I sometimes tend to be wary of she crab soups, because people can be a little heavy handed with the sherry, which is not my favorite flavor, but this was perfection. It was creamy and had a nice depth of flavor that was balanced out by the lemon. A perfect cup of soup.

More like “ME crab soup,” amirite??

Because I was officially receiving tasting sizes of the different menu items, they brought out this adorable wooden board of appetizers, which consisted of the tomato salad (Duke’s Mayo, Red Wine Vinegar, Cucumber, Red Onion and Basil, Georgia Olive Oil, normal portion: $9), and Southern spreads with grilled bread (Tomme Pimento, Peanut Hummus, Georgia Olive Oil, normal portion: $10). The

I’ll take 3 more of these please.

The Seafood Purloo (Carolina Gold Rice, Local Oysters, Shrimp and Crab, Shellfish Stock, normal portion: $26) was absolutely fantastic. I was worried it was going to be overly fishy, but it was really well-balanced without being overwhelming. Plus, the rice was cooked perfectly!

Rice is the best because it basically just becomes whatever you cook it with.

The Meatloaf (Sparta Mushroom Gravy, Spicy Ketchup Glaze, Whipped Mash, normal portion: $18) was good also. My portion had crispy bacon wrapped around the outside, which gave a little smokiness to the meat, which harmonized well with the sweet and spiciness of the ketchup glaze.

Idk why meatloaf gets such a bad rep when it’s so delicious!

One dish that really surprised me was the Charred Okra (tomato jam, lemon, $5). I tend to think that okra is best either pickled or fried, so I had kind of low expectations for this dish. But in reality, it was exceptional! Charring the okra took out a lot of that signature sliminess, while adding in just the right amount of smoky flavor from the char. Plus, the tomato jam is my new jam (pun intended); I wish I could put it on everything!

Because you’re not truly a Southerner if you don’t like okra!

Their take on sort of a baked bean dish is the Sea Island Red Peas (with cornbread crumbs, $5). They were cooked almost al dente, and the thing I love about the Sea Island Red Peas are just how much more flavorful they are than other types of peas. Plus, the cornbread added a nice touch of sweetness to the dish that was nice and unexpected.

The best peas there are!

The Collard Greens (with ham hock, $5) were pretty standard. I like that they go ahead and bring out some pepper vinegar (house made) without having to ask, which saves us all some time. If you like collards, you’ll love these!

Vegetarians beware.

The Seasonal veggie (local squash, $5) was a local squash with a ricotta and squash topping and fresh roasted tomatoes. I kind of OD’d on yellow squash a couple of years ago with a CSA I’d signed up for, so I wasn’t really looking forward to this, but it absolutely blew me away! The homemade ricotta with the squash folded in was exceptional, and the squash itself tasted like it came straight out of the garden right before it was put on my plate.

One of the only times in my life that I’ve actually enjoyed yellow squash.

The Fried green tomatoes (Poached Lobster, Herb Aioli, Blackened Butter, full portion: $14) were really unique in that they were topped with a little bite of poached lobster. It was almost like a lobster roll + FGT all rolled into one. I love the cornmeal breading they used on the tomato, which was really light and still allowed you to get the full flavor of the tomato.

Like a little lobster nugget.

My favorite dessert (and the only one I took photos of) was Mary Beth’s Heath Bar Custard (tahitian vanilla, butter shortbread crumble, whipped cream, chopped heath bar, $10). The recipe comes from Chef Thomas’s grandmother, and he says it’s “the only thing I remember her ever cooking.” I love heath bar, so I thought this was fantastic (even though each bite made me feel like my stomach might explode, since I’d already eaten so much). It’s sweet without being cloying and the crunch of the heath bar was a perfect counterbalance to the creaminess of the vanilla custard.

Breakfast

For breakfast, I kept it simple and easy by ordering the Eggs Benedict (Two Poached Eggs, English Muffin, Choice of Canadian Bacon or Smoked Salmon, Hollandaise, Breakfast Potatoes, $18). It was your typical eggs benny, and my eggs were perfectly poached and runny. The hollandaise was really tasty, and was the perfect condiment for me to dip my home fries in!

Sometimes simple is best!

Since they had also just released their new breakfast cocktail menu, I tried a few of those as well. The first was their Bloody Mary (bacon-washed vodka, house made spicy Bloody Mary mix, garnished with heirloom cherry tomatoes, house pickled veggies, lemon, bacon, and purple kale straight out of the Georgia’s garden, $15). I don’t normally like Bloody Mary’s, but I have to say that this was pretty tasty!

And when it matches the backdrop this perfectly, how can you say no?!

Next up was The Motivator (Kahlua, Godiva, Disaronno, Iced Coffee, with Irish Cream Finish, $15), which was their take on an Irish coffee. I don’t usually like to mix coffee and liquor, but this was nice and refreshing. I especially liked that it was served over ice, which made it feel a lot lighter than normal.

Coffee with a kick!

Another option is the Sunrise to Sundown (Skyy Vodka, Orange Juice, House-Made Raspberry Syrup Drizzle, $12), similar to a Screwdriver with the added touch of raspberry syrup drizzle. It was the ideal drink for sitting out on the patio with the lake as a backdrop.

A drink that really says “good morning!”

All in all, I would highly recommend this for a casual breakfast or dinner, especially when the weather is nice because the patio is awesome!

Georgia's Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Queen on the Road Restaurant Reviews

The Ritz-Carlton Reynolds, Lake Oconee Part 1: Gaby’s By The Lake

June 16, 2017

Recently, I had the pleasure of attending a 4-day stay at The Ritz-Carlton Reynolds, Lake Oconee as a representative of The Daily Meal. Having never stayed at a Ritz Carlton before, I was expecting it to be luxurious, but my visit managed to surpass my already high expectations, not an easy feat to accomplish! I dined in all three of the resort’s signature restaurants, spent a ridiculously long time in the heated infinity pool, and even tried my hand at kayaking on the lake, something I haven’t done since college.

That’s Gaby’s right there to the far right (next to the infinity pool)

While the activities and amenities of the resort were luxurious and amazing (don’t even get me started on how much I loved the spa), the on-site restaurants really blew me away. Originally I was going to do 1 post about the entire stay, but I thought it would be more valuable to break it up by restaurant, because I ate a lot (like, an embarrassing amount of food) and want to make sure I do each restaurant justice.

The whole resort campus was a dreamscape.

For more of my Ritz Carlton adventures, read my review of Georgia’s.

Gaby’s By The Lake


Gaby’s is definitely the most casual of theThe Ritz-Carlton Reynolds, Lake Oconee restaurants, and for good reason.The Chef at Gaby’s, Brandon Peterson, does an amazing job of keeping food approachable, while also still ensuring that it’s delicious and not something you’ll find anywhere else. The atmosphere might be super casual, but their food is anything but. It’s located adjacent to the pool and has the tagline, “no shirt, no shoes, our pleasure;” Basically, that means you can get out of the pool and walk straight in to order something for lunch or dinner (which I may have done).

And I encourage you to do it as well. After all, you’re on vacation!

I started with a cocktail, the Strawberry Fields, which was basically a strawberry lemonade with Tito’s vodka ($15) and the perfect cocktail to sip poolside on a warm sunny day. It was sweet and tart and refreshing.

It’s glowing because it floated straight from heaven into my hand.

Let’s take a minute to talk about the brussels sprouts (Korean chili aioli, pickled shitakes, crispy onions, shaved radish, $8). Oh. Em. Gee. They were so yummy. I came back and ordered them a second time for dinner, they were that good. The korean chili aioli was just a little spicy, and a very creamy, while the pickled shitakes added a nice tang, making the whole dish an explosion of flavor.

I’ll take 100 orders of brussels sprouts, please.

My favorite entree that I tried was the ribs platter. I’m not usually excited about ribs, but these were some of the best I’ve ever had. Apparently, they’re glazed with a Coca-Cola sauce, and they have just a nice hint of smoky and sweet… you gotta try them. And the biscuit and pickled vegetables are awesome side dishes, and offer very different, yet harmonious, flavors.

And just look at how colorful the platter is!

One of the things they’re most known for is the lobster grilled cheese (Havarti Cheese, Parker House Bread, $21): holy decadence, Batman. This bad boy had lots of butter, lots of havarti cheese, and lots of lobster. It’s like a lobster roll, but taken to a whole different level. I could (but probably shouldn’t) eat this every day.

I mean is it really a trip to the Ritz Carlton if you don’t eat lobster at least once?!

If you like fried fish tacos (marinated catfish, chipotle slaw, fresh cilantro, lime sour cream, $17), the ones at Gaby’s are very tasty. They’re also nice and light so you can eat them in your bathing suit and not feel gross and bloated afterward.

Is there a more appropriate pool-side food than fish tacos?

At one of the meals that I visited, we started with the Southern Hummus (boiled peanuts, black-eyed peas, Lebanese salad, Greek yogurt, warm pita and tortilla chips, $12), which was a fun play on regular hummus. I like that it had a sharper flavor than traditional hummus, and the Lebanese salad paired really well. If you like hummus, you’ll love this!

These veggies definitely negate all the cheesy, buttery lobster I ate earlier, right?

Sour Cream and Onion Baked Pretzel with local beer cheese ($12) were just ok. The beer cheese was really delicious (can I please dip some fries in this??), but the pretzels were a little on the dry side. They had good flavor, they just didn’t taste as fresh and soft as I would’ve liked.

Beer cheese is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy.

For my dinner entree, I ordered the grilled swordfish (cumin-spiced carrot puree, Israeli couscous with grilled veggies, cucumber and fresh herb salad, basil oil, $29), which was spectacular. The fish was cooked perfectly and paired really well with the grilled veggies and couscous. I love Israeli couscous because it’s so pearly, and each bite was sheer perfection.

I barely edited this photo. It was naturally this vibrant.

My mom ordered the 12 oz Prime NY strip (garlic and herb smashed potatoes, melted leeks and mushrooms, roasted garlic butter, smokey house steak sauce, $45) and absolutely loved it. It was cooked perfectly to her medium-well request, and was a high quality steak. The real winner of the plate in my opinion, however, was the garlic and herb smashed potatoes. We’re both pretty particular when it comes to mashed potatoes because my mother thinks she makes the best mashed potatoes in the world, so we were both blown away by how good these were.

You get the Tina Gallimore seal of approval, Chef Brandon. A truly rare occurrence.

Whether you’re staying at The Ritz-Carlton Reynolds or just visiting Lake Oconee, I recommend giving Gaby’s a visit for lunch or dinner!

Gaby's by the Lake Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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