20 April 2014

Happy Easter!

There are so many reasons to be grateful for this time of the year.  One of those reasons being that it is an especially beautiful spring and I'm trying to be outside as much as possible.

Phor and I went to Dumbarton Oaks yesterday which is one of those places that I should have visited within my first 2 years of living in DC.  Visiting the gardens are tricky though because they are only open from 2 - 6 pm daily. You can read more about the history of the home and garden here but I was going strictly for the garden.

It's a large and beautiful garden.  I took so many photos but it's because I'm so excited for Spring.

There are so many gorgeous walkways leading to cool gates and to other parts of the garden.

I couldn't believe how many different shades of green that were in this view.

Pan is telling us which way to go.

The tulips are blooming and I love the colors that they chose.

I look one way to see this view and turn the other to see something equally as beautiful.

A memorial to the original owners of the home - Robert and Mildred Bliss.  I love the initials at the top of the gate.

One of the very colorful murals around the pool.

Phor loving the crabapple tree blossoms.

The back of the house.  The lawn went on forever.

The front of the house.  I could not fit it all in one photo.

I loved this delicate pointy tulips.

I hope you are all able to enjoy this incredible day and have the opportunity to ponder on what it means to you whether it be about Christ, the Passover, or the beauty of Spring.

17 April 2014

Carrot Cake

I'm in the midst of compiling my Mom's recipes for a book for the family.  It's taken a few months figuring out what recipes to include and how to create the book.  But Mom did the hard work of typing all of them out and now I'm feeling the pressure to make sure the book is as special as the recipes.

We had a going away at work recently and the goer away told me that she loves carrot cake.  I remembered seeing this recipe while editing and decided it would be a perfect dessert. 

The photo doesn't come close to capturing how good this cake really is.  I've had quite a few friends tell me that they don't typically like carrot cake but they like this cake. (They may have said this out of kindness but I still think it's pretty delicious).  I thought it was a good recipe to post possibly for Easter dinner this Sunday.

Carrot Cake

1 ½ cups oil

2 cups sugar

2 cups flour

2 teaspoons cinnamon

2 teaspoons baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

3 cups shredded carrots

4 eggs

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Mix sugar and oil.  Add sifted dry ingredients and carrots.  Add eggs one at a time, beat well after each egg.  Bake in two 9 inch pans, a 9x13 inch pan or a bundt pan for 35 to 40 minutes. 

Can add 1/2 cup nuts in cake and 1/2 cup in icing.  I usually just sprinkle some on the top.


8 ounces cream cheese, softened

1/2 cup butter, softened

1 box powdered sugar

16 April 2014

Beautiful DC

Last Thursday was the peak bloom date for the cherry blossoms around the tidal basin.  It was a gorgeous day and everyone in DC was just happy to be outside and in the sun.

I met up with Derek outside the Smithsonian Metro and we just started walking hoping to meet up with the rest of our friends before it got dark.

You get kind of an idea here about the crowds but everyone was on their best behavior. I wanted to take a photo of the entire area to show the magnitude of the blossoms but an iPhone can only do so much.

It was one of those perfect DC evenings with friends on the steps of the Jefferson Memorial watching the sunset.

14 April 2014

My Favorite NYC Restaurants and Where To Eat Next

I've been compiling a list of my favorite restaurants in all of the cities I've lived or visited for a few years.  I've eaten at a lot of fine restaurants but once was enough.  These are the restaurants where I cannot wait to eat at again and this is an update to this list.  I mentioned this list to Ty and he thought I should post it here and also the NYC restaurants that are on my list to try.  There are too many places to write descriptions after each one but I'll link it to a post if I've talked about it here.  And if you go to any of the places that I want to try next, let me know.

These are in no particular order.

Clinton Street Bakery - brunch, not dinner
Momofuku - all of them
Gramercy Tavern
Buttermilk Channel
Bills Burgers - I can only speak for the one in the Meatpacking District but I always loved my burgers there.
The Smile
Torrisi Italian Specialities
Cafe Cluny - there is a new chef since I've been there
Char No 4 - a particularly great night with Whitney but not a place that is on any best of lists
M Wells Dinette
Locanda Verde - breakfast
Eleven Madison Park
Mile End/Sandwiches
Pies n Thighs
Redfarm - brunch and dinner
Pok Pok
Per Se
Russ & Daughters - this is the shop, not the restaurant
Yunnan Kitchen
Mighty Quinn BBQ
Han Dynasty
No. 7 subs
Charlie Bird
Rose Bakery


Momofuku Milk Bar
Rose Bakery
Maison Kayser
Laboratori del Gelatio

To Try

St. Anselm
Uncle Boons
The Elm
Katz Deli

13 April 2014

One of My Favorite Places in Paris, Now in NYC

I was so excited to hear about the opening of Dover Street Market in NYC because it meant Rose Bakery would be that much nearer to me.  I fell in love with the bakery back in 2010 on a trip to Paris and I've tried to replicate some of the recipes from the cookbook - Rose Bakery Breakfast - Lunch - Tea - but it's so much better when it's already made for you.

I attended another Soul Cycle class my last day in NYC and it was fine.  It didn't excite me as much as my first class but that often happens with different instructors.  I chilled with Brig for a little while and headed out to Kip's Bay to the market.  I've walked through Dover Street Market in London and it's a beautiful store but this trip was about the bakery.

I arrived right when it opened, sat down and then felt that little embarrassment when you're alone and the only customer in the place.  I didn't take too many photos.  The kitchen staff were bringing out the baked goods while I was sitting there and everything looked so very good.  I knew I was leaving with something to eat on the train ride home.

I ordered the eggs and toast.  I love that it was served with Marmite which I did not open. I've tried it before and it doesn't taste good to me at all.  The fruit salad was a simple salad of citrus fruits but it was such a good fruit salad. Another example of how the simple things are often the best things.

I walked out with a chocolate chip walnut cookie which I think is the best one in the city I've had and I've tried a lot.  I was told that they only have one type of cookie at a time and they alternate it with chocolate chip peanut butter. 

I walked around the city and later met up with Ty and Brigham for a late lunch at Han Dynasty.  We tried to eat ssäm at Momofuku Ssäm Bar but it was closed for a private event.  Private events are never convenient.

I caught the train home and it was nice to walk into my own apartment but I always miss my friends in NYC.

02 April 2014

I Want To Be In NYC For All Of My Birthdays, Part 5

My last night in NYC and the last of the birthday celebrations in NYC.  I met up with Trish who I love so much to celebrate both of our March birthdays at Charlie Bird.  This is one of the restaurants that I kept reading about it and deserves all of the favorable press.

Trish looked lovely as usual.

This Farro Salad is one of the best things in the world. It's mixed with pumpkin, mint, parmigiano, and pistachio.  We both commented that we could eat this everyday and thank you NYTimes for publishing the recipe here.

Just believe that everything we ate was incredible.

Gnocchi Rosa with ricotta, basil, and travaglini tomatoes.  

Crispy Skin Cod with Tuscan bean ribollita.

Crispy Brussels Sprouts with spicy garlic sauce.

Blood Orange Cake with caramelized hazelnut gelato.

Happy Birthday Us!

I met up with friends that night to see The Grand Budapest Hotel.  Long Live Wes Anderson!