31 March 2013

A Perfect Birthday

This month has flown by.  I don't know why I haven't been in the mood to blog but it's been a nice time to hibernate.  Spring finally arrived in DC yesterday which makes me so happy.  I can't wait for the cherry blossoms to bloom in the coming days.

This post though is about my time in NYC when I had a pretty to close to perfect birthday.  I did all the things that I love to do.

I don't remember ever having a snowy birthday but I loved it.  It didn't really snow in DC this winter and I missed it.  I wasn't wear the right shoes which made me walk very carefully as I wasn't in a mood to fall but I still loved having snow falling on my head all day.

I headed straight to Buvette to drink the hot chocolate and eat a poached egg with lentils.  This place is a given whenever I'm in NYC.

And I stopped by Sockerbit right around the corner for an assortment of licorice, chocolate and sour candies.

I traveled up to the Upper East Side to the Met to see Matisse and also the Impressionism, Fashion and Modernity exhibit.  I had no idea how impressed I would be with seeing examples of or sometimes the actual clothing in the paintings.

I love Giacometti and I wasn't allowed to take photos in the other exhibits.

I ate one of my birthday treats at the Dominique Ansel Bakery in Soho.  It involves lots of caramel and hazelnut.

I went shopping in Soho and stopped at the Steven Alan shop in Tribeca which I love so much.  Across the street is this great market with flowers, nunu chocolates, ice cream, a butcher and a bar/restaurant.  I stopped in for a quick snack and found this ice cream which is my new favorite.

And then I traveled to Queens to eat at Sripraphai with people I love.  Trish knows what I love with her gift.

I dream of this food when people ask me what is good Thai in DC.

12 March 2013

It took us 2x

I loved my NYC weekend.  I saw beautiful friends, ate beautiful food and bought beautiful things.  Someone told me that for me returning to NYC was like seeing my ex-boyfriend - we know each other too well but we're not sure how to react to each other.  I just kind of dove in and didn't think about how much I miss it.  I like a birthday where I don't consider the consequences.

I got off the train in Penn Station and ran down to Little Italy to meet up with Brigham and to drop off my bag.  Brig has had a rough week that he may or may not discuss on his blog but I was just really happy to see him.  Our goal was to eat at Mission Chinese at long last.  We tried to go back in December but the restaurant was closed for a private function.  We arrived this time and they wouldn't even put our name on a list as it was too full.  We took advantage of ordering food to go and went off to find dessert.  But I did see Danny Bowein, the owner/chef, in the kitchen which was fun.

Brig led me to il laboratorio del gelato where I had peanut butter and vanilla chocolate chip.  I've been obsessed with peanut butter sweets lately.

We ran back to the restaurant, picked up our food and headed back to Little Italy. People have been going crazy for Mission Chinese since it opened in NYC.  I visited the original in SF in Oct 2011 and wasn't too happy as I found hair in my food.  I dragged my feet eating at the NYC place but I needed to see if it was any better when it was hairless.  We ordered Tiger Vegetable Salad, Tingly Smoked Chicken, Broccoli Beef Brisket and Thrice Cooked Bacon.  I liked the last dish the absolute best and everything was fine but not David Chang amazing.  Now I know where I need to spend my time in NYC.

07 March 2013

Cranium Forever

I have some amazing memories of playing Cranium with my family at Christmas time and I think I'm always trying to replicate those memories.  I've come close a few times especially playing with Kris and acting out lava lamp.  I love having fallen into a group of friends in DC who equally love board games.  And when I mentioned my desire to play Cranium, Hannah was right there with me.  She even brought her super special difficult version since she already mastered the first version.

We always start off game night standing around the kitchen eating really good food.  I made these pork meatballs that I'm now crazy about as they contain ricotta and pancetta.  Jenica brought these amazing lemon pesto veggie dip and Robbie made guacamole (no leftovers).  Thankfully Anne brought the tray of Ghirardelli brownies that we all kind of attacked.

This is what the special version of Cranium looks like.  Beyond how it looks, they are also new challenges like spelling a word backwards as a team (opens up the possibility to hate your teammates more) and something called Sideshow which is essentially playing puppet master to a teammate to act out charades.

Sideshow demonstrated by Robbie and Hannah.  We all guessed Lumberjack except for their team members. 

Thankfully clay creation is still part of the game.

We finished it with Apples to Apples.  I won again.  I was on the losing team in Cranium so this helped a little.

I'm off to NYC today for my birthday weekend.  Let me know DC friends if you want me to bring you back anything.

06 March 2013

Cran-Apple Crisp

I like having people over to watch the Oscars for two reasons - 1) to comment on the dresses and 2) to feed friends.

I knew I wanted to eat a crisp so I looked through my books and found one in Baking by Dorie Greenspan that looked easy and delicious.  I changed it a little based on what I did and did not have in the cupboard. It's the perfect balance between sweet and tart.


 3/4 c flour
1/2 c light brown sugar
1/2 cup oats
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 stick of cold unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces
1 teaspoon salt


4 medium apples, peeled, cored and cut into 1/2 inch chunks (I used Granny Smith)
1 cup fresh or frozen cranberries (I used frozen)
1/2 cup dried cranberries
2/3 cup sugar
1 tablespoon flour

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Make the topping - combine all ingredients in a food processor and pulse just until the mixture forms big curds (about 1 minute).

Make the filling - Toss all the ingredients together in a 9 inch pie plate and spoon the topping over it.  Bake for 40 - 45 minutes or until the topping is golden.  Let it stand for 15 - 20 minutes before serving.  I served it with vanilla bean ice cream.

03 March 2013

Ai Weiwei

Seeing the documentary, Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry, was a needed introduction to the artist before seeing his exhibit at the Hirshhorn.  It gives context to his art and the environment he functions in. The exhibit closed last weekend but it will be in Brooklyn in 2014.

Before we walked over to the Hirshhorn, we ate at the Garden Cafe in the National Gallery of Art.  I've been wanting to go there since January because Cathal Armstrong from Restaurant Eve designed the menu around the current Pre-Raphaelite exhibit.  It's very good and I highly recommend it.  No pictures there but I did love the flowers in that museum.

We walked over to the Hirshhorn and I took a picture of my zodiac animal - the rabbit - that Weiwei designed and stands in the center of the museum.

I don't know how I feel about Weiwei's art but I know that he is putting his life in peril because of what he's trying to do.  I have enormous respect for his endeavor to collect the names of every child who was killed in the Sichuan earthquake because the government refused to release that information to the public.  Every victim deserves to be given a name.

I love these sculptures outside of the Hirshhorn and I forgot to write down the name and artist.  I feel like they are conspiring but I really love how plush you think they would feel.

02 March 2013

Happy Birthday Marcilyn!

I knew I would be great friends with this girl as soon as I saw her dressed up as Princess Leia at a Halloween party.  She pulled it off that well.

It was her birthday earlier this week but we gathered for a celebration last night.

I like seeing Richie enjoying himself at a party.

Of course the night ended with a game of Catchphrase that Jenica conveniently had in her purse.