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Table for One: Eating by Yourself in Public

Is it just me, or when you see people eating by themselves in public do you sometimes feel sorry for them being alone? Up until this year, I thought lone diners looked rather sad and as if they were missing a companion across the table. After living in a new city by myself for the past seven months, I have actually learned to feel the opposite and value time to myself, even if that means eating a meal in peace and quiet. I will no longer look sympathetically at people flying solo, but rather congratulate them for taking some alone time and courageously dining as a party of one. With experience hanging out independently at coffee shops and treating myself to indulgent brunch, I have gained some insight about the perks being at a table for one.

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You can make up stories about the people around you. When I travel, I sometimes play the game in the airport where I make up a story in my head about where someone is going or who they are traveling with. This game gets really fun in restaurants or coffee shops because you can to spend some more quality time (subtly/accidentally) gathering observations about the people around you and crafting more imaginative stories. I sound so sketchy saying this, so please do not take this advice too seriously.

You are the only person you have to entertain. No forced first date conversations or crying babies to calm. No awkward morning after conversations or small talk with people you may not ever see again. Just you, your food and some precious peace and quiet.

You can order whatever you want. If you are the kind of person that orders something different based on the people who you are with, eating alone is going to be your saving grace. Order that bacon mac and cheese or triple chocolate French toast without feeling judged by your dining partner(s).

You can eat the whole thing. No sharing required at this table, just one fork and knife to dive wholly into the dish. Unlike when you have a dining partner requesting bites of your food, you may have enough leftover to take home for later.

You can take your time or eat-and-go. There is no right amount of time to take when you are dining by yourself. If you want to hang out, catch up on your latest read or scan Instagram for an hour, go for it! If you want to eat and then get on the move, there’s no proper etiquette stopping you.

You can relish in the awkward looks you may will get. People around you may feel the same way I did before I started dining by myself. They may smile sympathetically at you or ask you twice, “Just one?” or “It’s just you?”. Smile politely back. If anyone in that conversation is going to feel awkward, it’s not going to be you.

Dining on your own may take some getting used to, but after a few meals you will begin to appreciate the quiet time and ability to totally indulge in a dish that satisfies your craving. Order yourself that mimosa or glass of wine and savor the time as a table for one. If you have any memorable stories, I would love to read them below in the comments!

Love food. Love self. Love life.
Gabriela

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Road Trip Tips for Your Next Adventure

In the midst of chaotic work hours and overly booked calendars, we often miss the beauty of spontaneity. While I was home in Arizona during winter break, my four good friends and I spontaneously decided the night before that we were going to take a road trip to Sedona, Arizona and do wine tasting at a quaint little vineyard called Page Springs Cellars. I am sure you can imagine the memories that come with packing four girls into a tiny car with barely any phone service…not to mention our throwback music selection. I created this short video as a recap to our laughter-filled-dance-party-packed-trip.

Here are my top five tips for your next road trip:

Pack Ahead
Have your bags packed and snacks ready for the trip the night before. Waking up at the crack of dawn when it’s still dark out is so much easier when all you have to do is throw your clothes on! Snacks like trail mix, pre-sliced fruits and some crackers will give you variety incase you get hungry throughout the day.

Yo DJ
Put the music guru in charge of being DJ. The time flies by in the car when you have a great selection of music everyone can rock out to. Whether it’s from a CD mix or a custom Spotify playlist, you can’t go wrong with a few hours of karaoke.

Prevent the Hanger
Map out a few spots you have read or researched about to eat, even if you just do your research through Yelp during the car drive. Having a general idea of where you want to eat will prevent the hangry (hungry + angry) side from coming out and allow you for more time to explore.

When in Doubt…
Listen to the locals. If you’re stuck about where to go or what to eat next, ask around and trust what the people around you are recommending. They often know about the hidden gems that get overlooked by tourists.

“Can you send me that?”
Assign one person to start a iCloud Photo Stream so everyone can share their photos of the trip at the end of the day. This will allow you spend less time on your phone and more time relishing in the beauty around you.

Where are you planning your next road trip in 2015?

Love food. Love self. Love life.
Gabriela

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Look Back at It: Gourmet Gab 2014

With one month of 2015 almost already in the books, I was reflecting on 2014 and how to top it this year in 2015. Graduating college, finishing my senior thesis, getting hired for my first job, traveling (visiting Giada’s restaurant in Vegas) and moving to Texas were all pretty big highlights.

Looking back at the blog statistics from last year, I found it so interesting that my top five most viewed posts were from the year 2012. Apparently Gourmet Gab is timeless! Anyway, I am working on creating even more engaging posts (video!!) for this year, so please comment below with anything you are really hoping to see on Gourmet Gab! Subscribe to my YouTube channel to keep up to date as soon as they are posted.

Top Five Most-Viewed Posts of 2014

  1. DIY Wednesday: Scrabble Coasters
  2. Tilapia and Shrimp Ceviche
  3. DIY Wednesday: Bedazzled Wine Glass
  4. The Accidental Parsley Guacamole
  5. A Day in the Life of a Food Network Intern

Some snapshots of the year…

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Love food. Love self. Love life.
Gabriela

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New Year’s Resolutions and Passionate Nutrition Giveaway

As the countdown to the new year approaches, I have been spending time reflecting on what goals and resolutions I would like to make. I am just as guilty as anyone else for saying, “No really, this year I’m going to eat healthier” and “I actually am going to workout 3 times a week.” When I was introduced to the book Passionate Nutrition I realized I had the tool to commit to these goals and keep my excitement about a healthy lifestyle last all year.

Immediately from the start of the book, I was hooked reading about nutritionist Jennifer Adler’s personal story. She was malnourished throughout her childhood and began to develop stomach problems. In college, while researching ways to help her mother fight cancer, nutrition sparked Jennifer’s interest. During trips abroad she noticed how frequently fruits, vegetables and spices were used in healthy and remedial cooking. This began Jennifer’s journey which eventually lead to her become a nutritionist and open clinics in the Pacific Northwest.

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What resonates most with me from the book is Jennifer’s unique philosophy about nutrition. She writes, “The core of what I do revolves not just around food, but around our relationship with it.” It is not about strict fad diets or recipes with superfoods we have never heard of; nutrition is a lifestyle that is woven together by moderation, education and listening to your body. Passionate Nutrition empowers you to look at health on the little and big picture. Healthy eating is not just counting calories or vitamins of every dish, it’s embracing a positive relationship with food and healing your body from the inside out.

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In the book, Adler covers everything from weight loss to beauty to sex. The book is jam-packed with tips, recipes, snack ideas, personal stories and nutrition facts. To kick off 2015 and healthy resolutions, I will be giving away one copy of Passionate Nutrition by Jennifer Adler! Giveaway will close on Thursday, January 1st at 12:00 AM.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Love food. Love self. Love life.
Gabriela

This post was sponsored, but all opinions remain my own.

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Holiday Photo Recap

What a fun holiday week it has been with family, friends and so much food. Looking back on the week via Instagram pictures makes me smile. Top row: Christmas with loved ones was so special and cooking with my dad from my grandma’s Cuban cookbook is my favorite Christmas tradition. Second row: I am all about theSkimm lately (it’s a daily newsletter recapping the most important news stories) and reunions with friends has made my heart so happy! Third row: I loved visiting my favorite little ice cream shop in Phoenix called Churn and Sprinkle’s gingerbread cupcakes were my favorite treat this holiday season.

Follow the rest of my food and travel adventures on @Gourmet_Gab.

holidayrecapLove food. Love self. Love life.
Gabriela