2016 Foodie Love Letters

10. Dearest Prato,

Oh Prato, you were so loyal and good to me this year, just as you always have been. Time and time again you are my first choice as a hosting partner during a celebration of life or a Peaches-and-Herb-type reunion with dear ones.

I've sat with gaggles of lady friends, laughed and drank, brought family for first time meals where there was much debate as to why you don't serve honey mustard dressing, and of course had private time in the bathroom with the meatballs I would not share.

Thank you for being there, and for always keeping me guessing as to which server is mine as they all fade into an oblivion of plaid. And while I may never make it to Italy like some of your other friends who just come by to say "it's better in Italy", you will always be my Italian restaurant.

Lastly, I leave you with this plea. Never, ever, for any reason what-so-ever, should you ever take off the Italian Citrus from the drink menu.

To you I dedicate Billy Joel's "Scenes from an Italian restaurant."


9. Dear Lineage Coffee, 

This may not be the healthiest relationship, since I'll admit there are hints of a very real addiction hiding at the bottom of each cup. As Avril would say, it's complicated, since right as I feel ripples of joy shooting through my veins from the first sip, I simultaneously feel pangs of distress sending signals for me to find the nearest whiz Palace.

Despite each visit that hurts so good, it will forever be worth it to walk up to the counter and order a "Leslie Knope".

One day I pray that you'll have matcha lattes and secretly name it the "Crazy Ira & the Douche".

To you I dedicate  Mouse Rat's greatest hit, "The Pit."


8. To my dear Pizza Bruno,

Before you Bruno, I thought I knew what good pizza was.  I thought the Drake-like, "best I ever had" slices were reserved solely for my trips back home to the Northeast, to hole-in-the-walls where you are warmed by the brick ovens and don't mind the sightings of a friendly neighborhood rat.

Before you, there was not an inkling in my mind that the love I'd develop deep in my pepperoni-grease-soaked heart would be found here where I live, in the trappings of a square shaped slice. You turned the game upside down on me, and I am left shook.

As if that wasn't enough, like a good friend you knew to keep unabashedly giving me more and more, in the form of garlic knots. Knots so good that I recently resorted to privately eating them in my pajamas, on my couch, garlic chunks dribbling down my face.  Thanks to you and UberEats I can keep my dignity.


To you I dedicate Stephanie Mills song "I never knew love like this before."

7. Dear, sweet, perfect Midnight Sun,

You've teased me all year long with brief sightings that last but a moment and leave me in want for weeks at at time. I try to make each encounter last as long as possible, which is why I hang outside your small yellow truck's window twirling my hair and laughing giddily as if a boy band where all the members are the same level of hot were inside delicately scooping my artisanal flavors.

But inside can be found something better; Jocelyn and Levi. Perhaps the greatest and most effortlessly cool duo I've encountered in all my days.

By the way, congratulations for being one of the only places that is allowed to actually use the word "artisanal" to describe anything you create. Creating something as perfect as Olio Verde Olive Oil - pistachio praline ice cream on a citrus pound cake grants you that right (someone please tell Panera Bread).

To you I dedicate Klymaxx's "I miss you."


6. Dear Strand,

In a sea of carefully designed and staged restaurants, your sweet simple diner vibe gives me the most joy. I assume this is because you subscribe to the same philosophy as me: Pretty doesn't equal good. Yet you've struck this amazing balance of aesthetically pleasing to the eye and beyond enjoyable to the palate.

So let the others fret over floors worthy of having a thing with and colorful indoor murals that are impossible to take good pictures of. If you look like Anthropologie but you taste like Arby's can you really be proud of yourself?

Much like Mr. Timberlake, this I promise you: no matter what new lookers come to town I'm not going anywhere.

My one request is that you bring back into my life your amazing Olive Oil cake.

To you I dedicate Rick Astley's "Never gonna give you up."


5. Dear DG Doughnuts,

What a year we've had! You've managed to not only create a sweet so perfect that you've taken my doughnut addiction to a whole new level, but you knew me so well that you arranged to deliver these creations straight to my doorstep.

You've been a true friend because as we all know, not everyone stays close through the best of times and the worst. From carefully crafted food tours with friends to sitting in sweatpants that hadn't been washed in as many days as a baker's dozen, you were the loyal friend who didn't mind the posh highs and nose-wrinkling lows.

I do blame you that my already tight jeans are now a little tighter, but hey that's true love for you.

To you I dedicate Soul For Real's "Candy Rain."


4. Dear Farm & Haus,

Oh Farm & Haus, you are the secret domestic partner that I've always wanted. The one that says "You've had a long day, let me whip up something both nutritious and delicious for you", and for those acts of reciprocity I fell for you, in Ke$ha terms, hard.

You took our evening delights into the broad daylight when you dropped the bombshell of breakfast ALL DAY on me.

So now I'm that weird girl, hanging out at the market pacing back and forth waiting for my breakfast sandwich or avocado toast. Things I know I could make at home, but I prefer your special hausmade touch. Never change, unless changing means adding more breakfast items.

To you I dedicate The Gap Band's "You dropped a bomb on me."


3. Dear Wandering Wonton,

My hunger led me to you, as it does with most, but pure adoration came bursting forth the moment I devoured your amazing wontons. You cemented your status as not only a Chef, but a solid human after a few hugs and smiles.  Look at what an afternoon indulging in delicious, warm & crispy morsels has turned into! A full fan girl obsession!

You are truly a "sister doing it for herself", a brilliant one-woman show who conquers everything she looks at.  Not to be forgotten, a lady who makes the most amazing peanut sauce I've ever had in my life. I'm still waiting on my bathtub filled with it so it can soak deep into my pores.

I will happily follow anywhere you lead me, camera in hand, knowing a culinary adventure my taste buds have never known await me! I am your biggest cheerleader and I can't wait to see to heights to which you wander.

To you I dedicate Drake's "Started from the bottom."


2. Dear Pig Floyd's

Well, truly you are the main reason I will never be able to be a vegetarian. I suppose I could try and live solely and your delicious corn, but that isn't really living.

Not a month goes by without a visit to see you and feast on all your trimmings. With you, I never have to worry. I sit back and explore your menu, even the daily specials which are often things I might not usually try. No matter what I explore with you I never have to worry about being disappointed. You are simply solid.

Get some rest my friend, I think 2017 is going to be a busy year for you.

To you I dedicate Ashford & Simpson's "Solid as a Rock."


1. Dear Buttermilk Bakery

This is my formal request to be adopted into your beautiful family. I'll gladly take crumb patrol and be captain of creamer refills in exchange for a formal name change. LemonHearted Buttermilk has a nice ring to it.  Sometimes I worry I come around too often, but I can't apologize for being addicted to your goods.  Perhaps if I were a member of the family no one would think it was quite so weird that I'm always around.

You've turned me into a savory loving junkie which I didn't think was possible with my powerful sweet tooth.  Since when do I eat quiche? Only when I take a seat at your table.

I legit love you so much that I show up looking my worst just so I can eat my best. Thanks for being my second home.

To your family I dedicate what else but Sister Sledge's "We are family."


All photos belong to LemonHearted and all food was paid for by me.