Mar 31

The Company I Keep

House guests are my favorite.


Well, some guests…

This weekend I had the best guests possible – two of my favorite blogger friends!  Heather and Sarah started out as internet friends, but we become fast “real” friends after meeting in person at food-related conferences (yet another reason you should attend the Blend Retreat!).

I was so excited to spend the weekend showing them more things I love about my city!  Our first stop was to Atlanta’s “ethnic” food strip: Buford Highway.  We dined on Vietnamese food at Chateau deSaigon.  We have some sort of shrimp patty wrapped around sugar cane sticks, a sweet and sour tamarind soup, shaken beef, and burnt rice.  The rice was my favorite, but the other tow said it reminded them of burnt popcorn.  Probably why I liked it…


We headed back to my house to chat and get ready for bed.  I planned a gym day for us the next morning and we needed rest.  We also needed dessert fuel.

A bowl of Halo Top Ice Cream (LOVE this protein-laced treat!) topped with Heather’s delicious balls.

Halo Top


The next morning we hit the gym.  I love getting to bring friends to House of Payne.  Sarena even came!  They all hung like champs through a killer Glute Camp and then a ridiculous shoulder workout with Jesse.  I could barely turn the steering wheel after that one!

We paused for pics before heading back to Buford Highway to buy them out of kabocha.  And then we went to Whole Foods.  ;)

glute camp


I had big plans for us to walk to dinner, but the weather wasn’t cooperating.  The evening turned out well despite the weather.  Sarena and Tony (her hubby and my partner-in-crime) met up again for a drink and dinner AND we got to meet Sarah’s beaux.

First up was Brick Store Pub.  This place is the most epic beer bar in Atlanta.  Their beer menu’s length rivals wine lists in fine dining establishments.  To top it off, they even have a separate Belgium beer bar upstairs!  After sampling half of the beers on tap (it was a very thorough decision-making process), we settled in with our selections and had some good laughs while deciding on dinner.

Brick Store


Dinner happened late.  It was a crowded Saturday night and we had a bit of a wait… but we made the best of it with wine, cheeses, and a charcuterie.  Troopers, we are.

Despite the wait, the crew at no. 246 made it a great experience.  The meal was incredible and the service was even better.  If you’re in the Atlanta-area and looking for good Italian, I definitely recommend it.  I think Heather got all the food pics.  I was too busy stuffing my face.

no. 246


After a late night and maybe one too many libations, we got a slow start.  #sorryimnotsorry

It was a gorgeous sunny day.  I was sad to say good bye to my friends, but I cheered myself up playing the first softball game of the season and taking a leisurely jog.  Weekends filled with laughter, friends, and views like the one below remind me why Atlanta is so marvelous.

Piedmont Park


This weekend flew by!  I wish I could keep Heather, Sarah, and Sarena.

Have you ever had Vietnamese food?  What’s your favorite dish?

Where do you take out-of-town quests?



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  1. Debbie @ Live from La Quinta

    Sounds like a great weekend! I want to come visit! I’ve never had Vietnamese food, but I’d love to try it someday.

    1. Laura

      Please do! We actually have a lot of fun vegan food here. I want to visit you too – we’ll have a trade. :)

  2. Christine @ Love, Life, Surf

    What a fun weekend! It’s always great to have house guests and for the chance to show people some of my favorite places. I haven’t had Vietnamese food in forever! Now I want some.

  3. Lucie@FitSwissChick

    Oh what a perfect weekend!! I remember being in Atlanta every single month when I was working for Swissair. Unfortunately we were pretty far out and I never had enough time to get in and visit something.
    Well, if you came to Switzerland, we sould for sure head to the mountains for breathtaking views and some traditional Swiss Food and good wine.

    1. Laura

      I wish you still worked there! You could schedule a longer stay over, right? :) It’s like $1500 to fly to Switzerland right now. *sigh*

  4. Arman @ thebigmansworld

    I am a huge fan of Vietnamese food (Pho) but I LOVE those prawns around sugar cane- they are so good- I need to find out the marinade for the it! Also let’s not forget the dipping sauce!

    I need some international guests. Hint hint.

    1. Laura

      If I had 3 weeks off in a row, I would crash AUS in a heart beat!

  5. Angela @ Happy Fit Mama

    Fun! Can I come visit??

    1. Laura

      Come on!!

  6. Carla


    it’s spring break here soon and we have no plans and…..


    1. Laura

      When shall I have your bed ready? :)

  7. Krista @ Tiny n Fit

    Gosh living right next to DC we usually take guests to the same sights- museums, monuments, etc. But this year we are taking a few to see the cherry blossoms!

    1. Laura

      I’ve always wanted to do that! I love DC, but have yet to see the blossoms.

  8. Tina Muir

    This is so cool! Can I come stay when Angela does? You had a wonderful weekend by the looks of it! I usually take my guests to reading terminal market in Philly, every time I find something new, and everyone loves it!

    1. Laura

      Philly has some of the best food. That shocked me when I visited! I’m coming to crash your place!

  9. Laura @ Mommy Run Fast

    I LOVE Vietnamese! Although I don’t think I’ve ever had burnt rice. Sounds interesting…

  10. Linz @ Itz Linz

    i’m not sure if i ever have had Vietnamese food before!!

  11. Jennifer F

    Oh how fun you had friends over! I wish I had friends coming to visit me. SOME ONE COME VISIT ME — I will take you to The Oasis looking over Lake Travis and we’ll have margaritas!

    1. Laura

      I’m sold! When is my bed ready? ;)

  12. Maureen

    You have basically now just invited all of us over to stay with you! ;-)

    1. Laura

      LOL! I’ll host a blogger retreat!

  13. lindsay

    i’m still jealous… but in the best possible way. love it all! my turn next

    1. Laura

      Yes please!!! Or I’ll crash Austin (which I SWEAR is going to happen one day).

  14. Erin @ Girl Gone Veggie

    I love fun weekends with girlfriends! I’m glad you had a good time! I’m actually really weird and don’t like pho. All my friends are obsessed but it’s just not my thing.

    1. Laura

      That’s the good thing about Vietnamese places – there are some many options you could eat something different every day for a year and never have to have pho. LOL!

  15. Jody - Fit at 56

    I kept seeing pics on all these gals & your IG pots & I was & m still jealous like Lindsay – yes, in a good way!!!!

  16. Megan (The Lyons' Share)

    I’ve been intrigued by that shrimp patty since I saw it on Heather’s Instagram … how is that even possible?! Glad you had so much fun!

  17. Sam @ Better With Sprinkles

    Looks like an awesome weekend! We don’t have out-of-town guests too often (because they either need a hotel or to sleep on my couch) but it’s great when it happens!

  18. Heather (Where's the Beach)

    Fun!! And very jealous mind you ;-)

  19. Heather @ Better With Veggies

    Sounds like a fantastic weekend, although I might disagree with Brick Store Pub as the best in Atlanta. Hehe – still good, but I think Porter Beer Bar is better. :) But ANYWHERE is amazing with that group – I’m jealous!!

    1. Laura

      Same ownership… but I’d admit it’s a toss up. Porter is just so crowded now!

  20. Lee

    Sounds like fun. Sorry I crapped out after basically inviting myself! Haha. Babies make you very sleepy.

  21. Tara @ Sweat like a Pig

    Sounds like a fun weekend! I love Vietnamese…. well, I love any type of food really haha!

  22. RavieNomNoms

    Sounds like such a nice time!! I need to try that Halo Top Ice Cream and those Buzz Bites!! YUM

    1. RavieNomNoms

      Just kidding about the Halo Top Ice Cream, just did a search and they don’t sell it within 100 miles of where I live!! haha, bummer

      1. Laura

        Yeah, I had to have them ship it. They aren’t in ATL yet either. :(

  23. Jordan @ The Blonde Vegan

    So glad I read this post, because then I clicked on the “Blend Retreat” page and it looks AWESOME! Are you going again this year? I am thinking about signing up– sounds like a fantastic experience, and would love to meet all of you awesome bloggers in person and put some faces to the sites! And so glad you had a great weekend. Xo

    1. Laura

      I am!!! You should totally go. It’s awesome – the only retreat I go to anymore. :)

  24. Kim

    Sounds like an awesome weekend – tons of fun with good friends and great food/drinks!

  25. Hannah


  26. Sarena (The Non-Dairy Queen)

    Incredible weekend!!! Tell Jesse thank you for the killer workouts! My shoulders feel ripped after that one! Hugs friend! xoxox

    1. Laura

      Steve said he was sorry he didn’t get a chance to talk!

  27. Kierston

    Love Vietnamese food. I really enjoy Pho and the make your own rice rolls :)

  28. Christa @ Edible Balance

    Looks like such a fun weekend!! Fabulous company all around :)

    1. Laura

      It really was! I wish we could have had more there (like YOU!).

  29. Kelly @ Cupcake Kelly's

    I had Vietnamese food in college but it has been years! Whenever I happen to visit Atlanta I hope you can show me around your favorite spots!

    1. Laura

      I’d love to! There’s so much good food here!

  30. purelytwins

    looks like the perfect time with some amazing girls ;)

    never had Vietnamese food before looks good

    1. Laura

      Really?! I guess there’s not a ton in FLA. You guys would love it!

  31. Cassie

    I LOVEEEEE Vietnamese food. I usually get a random rice noodle dish that sounds good… or pho :)

    1. Laura

      Pho is one of my favorites – but I have a very specific place I go for that. Not that I’m picky… LOL!

  32. Choc Chip Uru

    What wonderful week, it is a perfect time :D
    That Halo top ice cream is magic!

    Choc Chip Uru

  33. Meghan@CleanEatsFastFeets

    I think you treat houseguests pretty damn good. Your weekend sounded like a blast , Vietnamese food included, which I’ve never tried. I have eaten Ethiopian so that’s got to count for something.

    I have houseguests pretty regularly because my family is in a different state. Also I’ve got the Hubby’s cousin coming on Sunday for a week “or so,” but “no more than two.” I’m sure you can image how such vague terms set my planning mind at ease. ‘Eh, I’m going to assume it’s two weeks and we’ll see what happens. In any event, I’ve still got room if someone wants to come up from Atlanta. ;)

    1. Laura

      It counts-ish… but you really need Vietnamese. It’s a whole other world. Just come on over and I’ll show you. ;)

      And yes – I will crash your digs one day!

  34. Nicole @ FruitnFitness

    It sounds like a great weekend! I love ethnic food, I think my favorite is Indian. When my family is in town we always try to go to local restaurants, although my stepdad would be happy if we ate at the same restaurant for every meal while they were here.

  35. Dietitian Jess

    Sounds like awesome food and even better company! What a great weekend :) I’ve actually never had Vietnamese food, but I enjoy most Asian cuisines, but I’ll definitely have to try it out. I usually take my out of town guests to a local restaurant called the Tomato Bistro… they have awesome gourmet pizzas, salads, and delicious small plates. Pretty much something for everything too, because they also have great gluten free and vegan options.

    1. Laura

      That does sound good! I love small plates because then you can share. :)

  36. Shashi

    I love Vietnamese food, and Buford Hwy sure is a Mecca for exotic fare! One of my fav places to go is chat patti off North Druid Hills – so you bet I take out-of-towners there!

    1. Laura

      That’s a good one too! Have you been to Gokul Sweets?

      1. Shashi @ RunninSrilankan

        Oh my goodness – YES!!! Their “laddus” are fantastic! I do my exotic grocery shopping at Cherian’s – right by Gokul – I guess you must have had Zyka’s chicken 65?

  37. Lindsay @ Lindsay's List

    BAH! I love all of you girls SO much! seriously – Blend changes lives (but I might just be partial).

    1. Laura

      100% agree!!! Can’t wait for this year… and all the babies!

  38. GiGi Eats Celebrities

    If you came to visit me in Los Angeles…. I would take you to:
    - Universal Studios
    - TV & Talk Show Tapings (Including behind the scenes)
    - Disney Land
    - Malibu Beaches
    - Bike Riding Down the Boardwalk on the Beach
    - Horseback Riding to the Hollywood Sign
    - The Set of some of the shows I am on
    - Whole Foods, LMFAO!
    - A Male Strip Club and Maybe a Lady One too – If you’re lucky, LOL!
    - Hollywood Blvd – Oh good god. THIS ONE MEANS I LIKE YOU – because Hollywood Blvd is probably the WORST PLACE EVER – but you have to see it!

    1. Laura

      Ok, so when can I come??? I’ve actually been to LA, so need to revisit Hollywood Blvd unless you have a burning desire. Maybe I’ll be discovered at all these tapings!?

      1. GiGi Eats Celebrities

        Come this summer!! I will make sure you get discovered ;)

        1. Laura

          I am working on plotting a work trip…

  39. Heather @ Kiss My Broccoli

    You JOGGED?!?! Omg, I couldn’t even think about propelling myself forward any faster than a shuffle! Haha! The good news is that my kidneys have been thoroughly cleansed. ;)

    Thanks for such an amazing weekend, love! Can’t wait to do it again…although I’m thinking a little less wine next time! Ha! Oh and I’m putting up the foodporn pics today! ;)

    1. Laura

      AND I played 2 hours of softball. BOOM!

      Yes, next time we will refrain from channeling our Irish genes. :P

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