Time To Go Home

Goodbye, Philly!


I had an absolute blast visiting Philly for the first time. The little break was just was I needed and I loved seeing all the sights and eating all the delicious food. I didn’t get any cheesesteak OR cream cheese…but dinners at Stella, Square 1682 and James on 8th were fabulous. More on James on 8th in a second. Plus, I loved meeting so many of you for frozen yogurt on Friday. Thank you again for coming!

Speaking of James on 8th…..we ate there last night and it was quite the experience. The restaurant was in a really cool part of town (don’t ask me where; I have no sense of direction whatsoever) and seemed to resemble something I would find in either Savannah or Charleston.


I ordered what might be my new favorite cocktail…champagne with kir and peach with a bitters soaked sugar cube at the bottom.


Mom, can we make these on my birthday? Please?


Dinner, like that cocktail, made my heart utterly swoon. I started with a simple green salad—-


And then la piece de la resistance:


Gnocchi and macaroni & cheese got hitched and this was their love child. All I could do was smile and eat on. I had no say in this matter—it was out of my hands.


But then there was more! Salmon so buttery it literally melted in my mouth. The chef poached the fish in an olive oil bath for sublime deliciousness.


Note to self: try this at home. Stat. And in case you’re wondering, the fish actually doesn’t absorb the oil so it’s not like frying or anything like that. It’s actually a very healthy way to cook the fish and one of the most delicious preparations I’ve tried. I saw a recipe for olive oil poached salmon awhile back in an old issue of Cooking Light so I’m going to go hunt that down once I get home.

Dessert? Yes, please.


Espresso mousse with bruleed blood oranges and hazelnut nougatine. Pretty unbelievable actually.

In the end, we were at the restaurant from 7:30 until 11:30 but no one minded in the least. It was magic….pure magic.


I went to sleep in a pure food coma with a gnocchi-induced smile on my face but was rudely woken up at the hour of two am by some young hooligans next door who clearly had just come home from the bars and were shouting, blasting music and slamming doors. I took the opportunity to chat with the boyfriend for a bit, who was on the Vegas leg of his super-man-adventure-roadtrip, and then finally fell back to sleep at three.

If anyone has been wondering, Willis has been doing just fine and will be making the trip through Death Valley and into Yosemite today. Around 8pm last night this text message took place:

me: why do I feel like you are living The Hangover, minus tiger, plus basset hound?

the boy: hahahahaha Willis is just chillin.


It’s been a long day of traveling….for us all. Turns out California is quite far away from the rest of the world. I just landed after a solid 6 hours and now I’m trying to catch the bus back to Santa Rosa. I’m pooped. But TGFABP (Thank God For Au Bon Pain).


I got some oatmeal this morning and then this awesome salad to take on the plane for lunch.

My eyes feel like they are being super glued shut at its only 2:15 in the afternoon. Time for the rest of the long journey home!

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  • Allie
    June 6, 2010 at 2:18 pm

    that dinner looks amazing!! i loved your description!

  • Suzanne de Cornelia
    June 6, 2010 at 2:25 pm

    Great post! Love the pink dress! Food, as usual, looks terrific. Esp the ‘love-child’ Mac. Hmm

  • Tammy (Defining Wellness)
    June 6, 2010 at 2:29 pm

    Glad you’re almost there and can relax! Philly misses you already. 🙂 Come back soon!

  • Jessica @ The Process of Healing
    June 6, 2010 at 2:37 pm

    I saw the gnocchi on Tina’s blog and I almost died from food envy.

  • Evan Thomas
    June 6, 2010 at 2:40 pm

    Nothing feels better than a night in your own bed, doesn’t it?

  • Freya @ Brit Chick Runs
    June 6, 2010 at 2:41 pm

    Such an incredible looking dinner; you officially have the best job in the world!
    Have a safe trip back 🙂

  • crunchy granola gal
    June 6, 2010 at 2:44 pm

    That mac and cheese gnocchi looks amaaazing. Whew!

  • Gabriela @ Une Vie Saine
    June 6, 2010 at 2:51 pm

    James on 8th sounds sooooo freaking good, I’m glad I’ve gotten so many restaurant suggestions from your trip!! I definitely need to try all the restaurants you went to with my parents 🙂 Hope you make the rest of the trip safely and get some rest!!

  • Helen
    June 6, 2010 at 2:52 pm

    Hope you have a safe journey back, no wonder you’re tired, 6hrs plus is a very long journey. I’m glad you had a good time in Philly, the whole time there looked brilliant!

  • Kellie
    June 6, 2010 at 2:53 pm

    What a great time. I love long leisurely meals like that. They make me smile!

  • jenny
    June 6, 2010 at 2:53 pm

    That dinner looks fantastic. So many courses!

  • Gracie @ Girl Meets Health
    June 6, 2010 at 2:56 pm

    Glad you enjoyed it here! And it was so nice meeting you…even if it was just for .2 seconds 😛 And judging by the photos, your eats over the weekend FAR surpassed a cheesesteak!

  • Alycia @ Fit n Fresh
    June 6, 2010 at 2:59 pm

    Your dog = adorable. I bet he’s more ferocious than Mike Tyson’s tiger any day

  • Lisa (bakebikeblog)
    June 6, 2010 at 3:08 pm

    What an awesome dinner!!!!! Talk about food coma 🙂

  • Mom
    June 6, 2010 at 3:20 pm

    I cannot wait to meet Willis! Do you think he can sleep over one night?!

  • Lizzie
    June 6, 2010 at 3:22 pm

    I love gnocchi!! It’s SO good – might be a texture thing with me though. Soft and doughy . . yum!
    So ( and I think I have this right) Willis is the boy’s friend’s dog? And from what you’ve said, he’ll be living near you? My husband will be very jealous! We’re in talks about getting a dog (both would like one, both want different kinds) and his fave is the B-hound.

    Glad you had a safe and nutrition filled trip back to Cali! 🙂

  • Lori
    June 6, 2010 at 3:33 pm

    Why is your hair always so shiny? The shiniest of the all !

  • Julie
    June 6, 2010 at 3:35 pm

    Who’s Willis?

    • jenna
      June 6, 2010 at 3:44 pm

      my boyfriend’s best friend’s dog that is staying with him all summer.

  • Ash Bear
    June 6, 2010 at 3:43 pm

    James was always one of my favorite restaurants when I lived in Philadelphia and it is for the exact reason you described. It combined creative, delicious drinks with the cozy, eclectic feeling most Southern new American restaurants have at home in Savannah. *sigh* It looks like you had a wonderful weekend. I love long, wine filled dinners with friends!

  • M.
    June 6, 2010 at 3:49 pm

    Willis is adorable!

  • eatmovelove
    June 6, 2010 at 3:51 pm

    I want Willis…and definitely that name…and I’m with ya on the wine right now…and awaiting a ordered pizza…but yer mac and cheese is looking good too.

  • Camille
    June 6, 2010 at 3:55 pm

    All the food looks fabulous!
    And the drink doesn’t look too bad too 🙂

  • Jessica @ How Sweet It Is
    June 6, 2010 at 4:13 pm

    Gnocchi + mac and cheese?! That sounds like it would be my favorite meal.

  • Katherine
    June 6, 2010 at 4:16 pm

    cute top in those photos! puppers eyes are long and sagging- precious cuddle buddy I can tell

  • Sana
    June 6, 2010 at 4:34 pm

    Glad you had a great time in Philly :)! But there is nothing like home :)!

  • Stacey
    June 6, 2010 at 4:40 pm

    Good luck getting home and thank goodness you found some healthy airport food. I just got back from Vegas last week, so I know what you mean about the boyfriend being up at 2am.

  • Annie D. @ Annie's Simple Life
    June 6, 2010 at 4:55 pm

    Looks like you had a great time!

  • Jil @ Peace, Love & Munchies
    June 6, 2010 at 5:06 pm

    Looks like you had an amazing trip! And that meal looks fabulous (and Willis is adorable!!)

  • Robyn @ Frugal 'n' Fit!
    June 6, 2010 at 5:14 pm

    That gnocchi should be illegal. PICTURES of it should be illegal. Dang.

  • Heather (Heather's Dish)
    June 6, 2010 at 5:17 pm

    i bet it’ll feel great to get home, but sounds like you girls had the best time! sounds so fun 🙂

  • Sarah
    June 6, 2010 at 5:18 pm

    Honestly? I think the food you were able to eat this weekend was WAY better than any cheese steak or cream cheese you might have been able to get in Philly. (Although I’m from Reading, not Philly.)

  • Krystina
    June 6, 2010 at 5:48 pm

    That cocktail does sound divine.

  • Kait
    June 6, 2010 at 5:57 pm

    Sounds like a great trip, I’m glad you had a good time!!

  • Alex
    June 6, 2010 at 6:43 pm

    It was so great to meet you on Friday and I’m glad that you enjoyed your stay in Philly! James is AMAZING and Bella Vista is such a fun, hipster area.

  • runnerforever
    June 6, 2010 at 6:44 pm

    I just had to say how gorgeous that pink top is, love it!

  • Adriana
    June 6, 2010 at 6:56 pm

    Wow! What a fun weekend!!!
    So are we ever getting a picture of your boyfriend???
    im so curious b/c i feel like i know you!!!

  • Evan
    June 6, 2010 at 7:31 pm

    Fine Cooking Magazine just ran an article about olive oil poached fish in their April/May issue. The recipes are DELICIOUS…I had the pleasure of taste testing them when I interned there 🙂

  • Cynthia (It All Changes)
    June 6, 2010 at 7:41 pm

    Oh my that is the cutest love child ever! If only dairy and I agreed I would be enjoying lots of that with my new gnochi.

  • Jenn (Jenn's Menu and Lifestyle Blog)
    June 6, 2010 at 7:53 pm

    What a wonderful dinner! Yumm 🙂


  • Amber K @ sparkpeople
    June 6, 2010 at 7:58 pm

    That looks like a FABULOUS meal! Stinks you got woken up by hooligans. I feel so *old* whenever I get woken up like that.

  • Hayley @ Breath of Fire
    June 6, 2010 at 8:04 pm

    That Gnocchi thing had to have been delicious. It reminds me of a crab dish at a New Orleans- style restaurant near me. A little bit of crab sprinkled into a huge bowl of straight up melted cheese, with bread for dipping. Glorious.

  • Ellie
    June 6, 2010 at 8:15 pm

    OHHHH Willis is SO cute

  • Heather Rose
    June 6, 2010 at 9:06 pm

    I would go to Philly just to go to that James restaurant! All of the food sounds amazing, and I’m going to have to try and recreate that cocktail.

  • Jessica @ Jessica Balances
    June 6, 2010 at 10:00 pm

    I LOVE basset hounds!!! Oh my gosh. How cute. Your bf is officially the coolest ever… because he has that dog. OMG.

  • Courtney (Pancakes & Postcards)
    June 6, 2010 at 11:37 pm

    Safe travels Jenna. And every time I see a picture of that gnocchi with cheese part of me dies inside because it is not in my belly… right now…

  • Faith (
    June 7, 2010 at 2:47 am

    Dinner at James looks AMAZING! And, yes, I second a big cheer for Au Bon Pain. I practically lived on their veggie soup in college!

  • diana@mymarblerye
    June 7, 2010 at 4:42 am

    What a fun little get away..girl time is a must and it seems like you got plenty of that! BTW if you ever want to do another auction you should totallly sell your clothes…we love your fashion choices!

  • Sarah (Running to Slow Things Down)
    June 7, 2010 at 4:51 am

    Oh my…at first I was going to comment on the delicious meal, and then I saw that sweet face of Willis. Too cute for words. I love bassets! :mrgreen:

  • jenna
    June 7, 2010 at 5:28 am

    your weekend truly looks amazing! I’ve never been to philly but your post make me want to visit soon!! It looks like a great city full of wonderful eats!

  • A Teenage Gourmet (Sami)
    June 7, 2010 at 5:50 am

    I actually made that olive oil poached Salmon from Cooking Light! But, believe it or not, mine turned out dry! If I were to make it again, I’d pay closer attention to the doneness of the fish.

  • Kelly
    June 7, 2010 at 6:04 am

    I can’t wait to hear more about Willis. I just love floppy ears!

  • Paige (Running Around Normal)
    June 7, 2010 at 6:29 am

    Glad you had such a fabulous time! The dinner looks amazing.
    Willis is adorable.

  • Becca
    June 7, 2010 at 7:38 am

    Oh my heart… Willis is a cutie.

  • Georgia
    June 7, 2010 at 10:14 am

    I’m from Jersey, just across the river from Philly. So glad you enjoyed our wonderful city! Ironically I was meeting some girlfriends across the street from Phileo Yogurt last week, but the timing would not have worked to make it there for the blogger meet up – next time!

  • Rebecca @ How the Cookies Crumble
    June 7, 2010 at 12:34 pm

    That dinner looks amazing! Another great champagne cocktail I had recently was champagne with a splash of lavender water and a mint leaf! Yum!