Thursday, December 2, 2010

It only seems appropriate... NYC Part 1

Let's begin with food. I mean really. Is there any other topic that we spend more time on? Maybe with certain people, but in general, I think it's the weather and food.

Without further ado... The food of NYC, through a very small window of time and personal preference.

When we arrived it was diner food - and so fun! There were about a bazillion things on the menu, the men working there were really nice, and the hot chocolate had lots of whipped cream.

The Best Ambiance award goes to our Friday night dinner - an Italian place near Times Square with giant portions (Most. Delicious. Alfredo. Ever.) and waiters who carried the trays way above their heads.

On my list of places to go was a chain called Le Pain Quotidien (never did figure out the pronunciation) where they had this delicious little number that they called a tartine or something, but it was basically an open-faced sandwich. More specifically, it was insane.

My traveling companion was a serious fan of the street food, especially the Halal carts - which he paired with Coke. I never tried it, but the smell was delicious. (I'm actually making myself hungry right now.) There were also hot nuts at these Nuts4Nuts carts that were quite good.

As long as I was in New York, I had to try a cupcake from Magnolia Bakery. I really wanted a hummingbird cake, but they were out, so I went for chocolate with chocolate frosting, and it was delicious. It practically fell apart in my hand. (I actually like cake with a little more substance, but when in Rome...)

Back at Le Pain Quotidien, Phillip decided to try their waffle. Research after returning home reveals that this is called a liege waffle and it's traditionally made with a yeast dough, pearl sugar, and large amounts of butter. I can tell you personally that the result is delicious.

The award for Biggest Surprise of the Trip goes to Sbarro of Times Square, for truly delicious pizza with crispy/chewy crust, just like it should be. I'm sorry I assumed you'd be just like the mall, Sbarro of Times Square, and thank you for allowing me to snap the maximum occupancy sign at your establishment. They're the same everywhere in NYC, and I found them pretty entertaining.

And now, *drum roll, please* THE TOP THREE BEST, MOST DELICIOUS THINGS I ATE! in chronological order because I can't decide which was best of the best.

First, at the MoMA Cafe - Pumpkin Cheesecake with Chantilly Cream and Spiced Pumpkin Seeds. Moist, flavorful without being overly spiced, perfectly balanced. Man, I'm hungry!

Next, my birthday main course at Aureole, a Charlie Palmer restaurant: Miso Alaskan Black Cod. The black things are deep fried (?) balls of black rice, it's on a bed of baby bok choy, the whole thing is in a "citrus butter sauce". Tender, flavorful, seriously one of the best meals I've ever eaten. I wanted to lick the plate. As a side note: the service was terrible, so I'm not sure if I'd recommend the place, even with its wonderful food.

And finally, Lemon Chess Pie from a picturesque little place in SoHo. Lemony, sweet, creamy texture... I didn't even know there was a such thing as Lemon Chess Pie, but I'm looking up recipes posthaste. This, I may be able to recreate.

There you have it and I haven't even mentioned the Indian food, the bagels, salmon cakes, salads, Mexican food WAIT! I can't sign off without letting you know this last little tidbit.

There is a chain called Shake Shack. They make ice cream that is legit. All other ice cream is dead to me. The sad part is that there are only 5 locations. The good part is - I went to three of them! Yes I did. Ain't no shame.

Now I'm going to snack and go to bed. I will return soon to tell you about another aspect of New York - next time something that won't leave me salivating.

A Thursday Night...

The Accidental Argyle Twins

A Rare Port Townsend Sight: Snowfall!

Tonight I worked late because of a recurring meeting that I jokingly detest. I've had a historically love/hate relationship with the meeting (okay it's been more on the hate side), but have come to terms and now reward myself for making it through the meeting with all my brain cells intact. Today's meeting was the usual - really not that bad, and when I talked to Mom on my way home, I told her I was going home to drink a bottle of wine and buy things on the internet. :) So here I am. I haven't drunk any wine, and I've only purchased a couple Christmas ornaments, but it's been a relaxing evening nonetheless.

Baby Ansel Looks to his Mom for Advice

You may have wondered where I've been, cyber-ly speaking - and the answer is, nowhere really. I went on a fabulous vacation, then came back to my mundane life, which is surprisingly busy for not being the Big Apple. :) I've included a couple pictures to spice up this post - and if you stay tuned, I'm about to post the first NYC post. I know, I know, it's about time.

A Thanksgiving Feast!

Black Friday Shoppers, out at the crack of NOON!

Monday, November 8, 2010

Empire State of Mind

Well, I've been back for almost two weeks (two weeks, really???!!?) and I've been internally debating that whole time: how shall I blog about my trip? By subject? Chronologically? Just a few highlights? If you have a preference, let me know in the comments - but as I've typed this, I think I've concluded: subject posts. We'll have food, shopping, art, buildings, fabric, parks, etc. How's that sound? Let me know if you have a subject for me to cover!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Meet Bosley

So, my parents have a new member of their family. I suppose you could say I have a new four-legged brother. His name is Bosley, and he's a mid-size Australian Labradoodle. He's goofy, he's a thief, he's got sharp little teeth, and he's just about as sweet as they come.

While I was blow-drying my hair one morning, he absconded with my sandal - luckily I caught him before any damage was done.

Bosley looks just like a stuffed animal that I had when I was little called Fuffy. Just like fluffy without the "L".

He's little now, but he should end up around 40 lbs.

Oh yeah - those sharp little teeth? Twice he's tested them out on my big toe. I was just standing there, minding my own business, and YEOWWW! Sure enough, the teeth work.

P.S. Poor Lillabee is terrified of him. I think it's cuz he's the only animal smaller than her that she's ever met. They'll be friends soon, I'm sure of it.

Alert! I need your fashion help!

This is the "Hot or Not?" portion of my blog. I'm going to post pictures of three pairs of shoes and I'm hoping you'll tell me that I'm on the right track as far as what to do...

The background is this: I leave for NYC in less than 24 hours (there are stops on the way, but I digress). I would like to look stylish while maintaining my comfort in the big apple. So, in a fit of indecision, I purchased three pairs of shoes yesterday. I will share them now with my comments, and I'm hoping you'll share your comments as well.

The shoes are meant to be worn with black leggings and long sweaters - so all are black shoes.

First up, a test shot with my Thanksgiving turkey socks.

Okay, now I'm serious. The first pair of shoes is the cushiest. They've got the highest heel and seem to be pretty comfortable, although it's difficult to know for the long haul. I think they're pretty cute.

Next we have suede slouchy boots. These always look funny to me. Even on other people, I start thinking about Robin Hood, or something. But, they don't look that bad in these pictures. The only issue is they have ZERO cushion. If you vote for these, and know of a good insole - please share that info, because I'm pretty sure that's the only way these are viable.

Finally, my personal favorites - but they're still not quite perfect... These are kind of cowboy, kind of motorcycle. I'm thinking these would be good, with another pair (or two) for variation for the toes. Again, it's the long haul that I'm a bit worried about.

So, there is my dilemma, in black and black. Speak words of wisdom to me, friends of electronic assistance!

I suppose a fourth option would be to shop when I get there... ;)

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Little Projects

I've gotten a few little things done! Nothing big, mind you, but they might add up to one mid-size accomplishment, so here goes!

I planted a "garden". It was contained in two pots, and I started them from seeds. I had bachelor buttons and marigolds, the seeds of which were both gifts from Firefly.

Here are the marigolds, just starting out - not very big.

Then, they started doing really well, but a raccoon decided that he wanted to eat the bugs that were living in the soil and he tore up my nicely tended "garden". These two flowers survived:

It's getting cold enough that they'll probably all go away soon, so I might get some bulbs ready to plant... they're always pretty in the spring!

Next, I crocheted a monkey! (One of my coworkers wonders if that's a euphemism for anything.) Isn't she cute! She needs a little sundress and a bow for her "hair", but for now the fact that she exists is enough for me.

Here she is trying out the strainer as a swing.

I like to buy myself flowers and practice my arranging skills - here's the latest: spray roses in a spherical vase.

And finally, tonight's project was a baby sling for a friend who's due to deliver next week. Nothing like waiting until the last minute, right? Turns out I didn't buy enough fabric, so it took some fancy cutting and sewing at the beginning, but it was a fairly simple process once I got those kinks worked out. I used the tutorial found here.

The inside fabric has the names of all different kinds of tea - picked out by the expectant mother. I found the polka dot fabric to match at Joann. It's reversible, and I believe that the words can be right side up. (That did stress me out a bit.)

Fun stuff, and like travel, it makes me want to do more!

Travels, part 2.

My second trip took me to Spokane area to catch up with old friends and be guest at a wedding. It was beautiful weather, as it often is in Eastern Washington. I've never been really sure about Spokane as a city (too much sprawl), but the people who live there are wonderful and I had a great time. This first picture shows what I mean about too much sprawl - this is "downtown".

But, then again - look at the sky!

I forgot my camera in the hotel when I went to the wedding, so I can't show you pictures, but I can tell you, it was a really fun wedding, and I hope the bride and groom will be together forever. They were really cute and seemed to genuinely enjoy each other.

Afterward, I went to a friend's aunt's house, and had some DE-licious cake.

Firefly loved it too.

While I was there, I actually did some work! I checked out a slow sand filtration system and met an expert in the field. It was so much fun, and I confirmed that I am, indeed, a giant nerd. The best part was the boat ride to the system.

I also spent a day with Mary and her daughter - don't you want to hug them!?! We had Red Robin (Yum!), which I love, and afterward found a little chocolate shop where I got a pretzel dipped in caramel and then chocolate. It doesn't get better.

Back at Mary's house, Kenzie and I modeled the latest in farming fashion. In fact, we submit that this will be the cover of the top-selling issue of Farming Weekly in history.
It was a good trip with all the essential elements: wonderful friends, good food, fabulous weather, and entertaining things to do.

Travelling (back in time)

Some time ago, I made a couple trips within days of each other... Here are the posts about them. First up, Tri-Cities, where we find a group of old friends descending upon the area for a birthday, a baby, and a whole lot of laughter.

Andria and I matched at church, reinforcing the fact that we are identical twins despite the drastic differences in our height and coloring.

I sat next to Loni's daughter, Alisha, who I would like to kidnap (not really, of course). She is such a doll!

While I was there, Andria and I visited Amber at her work, Chandler Reach Vineyards. It was a beautiful warm day, and I wanted to stretch out on the grass and just get warm through and through.
But, since there were people around, I opted for the more socially acceptable option of sitting at a table in the courtyard.

While there, we celebrated Tamara's birthday. She chose Starbucks, mani/pedis, and lunch out for the celebration, and we had a great time. Since she'd just had a sweet baby, there was a lot of birthing discussion. It was educational. Loni got a dessert at the restaurant that was nearly sinful - I forget what it was called, but it was basically mango whipped cream. Yum.

We spent time at Tamara's house, and got to see that Booger continues his quest for world-record status as the Biggest. Cat. Ever.

Little Ian stretched out the most for me that he had yet! He was such a brand new baby that he still preferred the scrunched up position, but here he is going for "tall".

Couldn't resist showing you this picture - baby bottom!

What a wonderful vacation. Now that I've written this up, I'd like to go back, please.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Recreate a restaurant sandwich...

When I worked at that restaurant in the Napa Valley, I had a couple favorite dishes - and up top was the heirloom tomato sandwich. I recreated the sandwich here at home, and after some tweaking, I think it's really good.

Sourdough bread
Heirloom tomatoes
Fresh basil
Havarti or fontina
Balsamic vinegar

1. First - put some garlic through a press, mix it with some mayo. Let that sit.

2. Lightly toast a piece of bread, spread with "garlic aioli". Next, slice the tomatoes. Here you can go two routes. If you're going to do it traditionally, you'll reduce the balsamic vinegar to make a syrup. If you're going to do it the easy way (how I did it this week), drench the tomatoes in vinegar and let them drip off a bit before setting on the bread. Add cheese, then make a basil chiffonade and sprinkle over the top. In the picture above, I used olive oil, but I don't recommend it - looks nice but the flavor just isn't right. Finally, pop the whole thing in the toaster oven until the cheese is soft but not melted and EAT UP!

3. Die of deliciousness.

I realize that middle step is really long, but this is my first "recipe", so bear with me. :)


Yesterday may have been the most beautiful day in Port Townsend ALL YEAR! It was warm (okay, like 68 degrees - that's warm for PT), it was sunny, it was gorgeous! A couple friends (including my mom, and a couple people my age and their mom) came up for the evening and we spent some time at Fort Worden, first at the lighthouse watching ships go by, then exploring the bunkers.

Then we headed downtown, where I thought "Oh man, I forgot my coat!" but I didn't end up needing it at all! The Port Townsend Film Festival was underway, and we caught some of the outdoor movie festivities between ice cream and dinner. Yes, we did have dessert first and it was wonderful!

We had dinner at The Fountain Cafe, which was described by one online site as a "foodie" place. We enjoyed the food, and even better, had great conversation! Topics included Facebook, the Napa Valley, travel, and carbonated beverages.

Fun people, delicious food, I came home and went to bed happy.