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Posts Tagged ‘food’

I adore Las Vegas. From the crazy desert heat, the annoying street peddlers (seriously, do I look like I want a flyer about naked ladies?) and the aggressive air-conditioning; to the amazing food, the unique people-watching, and the amazing food (again), I am 100% on-board with driving to Vegas for a random weekend!

We arrived Friday afternoon, checked into our room at the Flamingo, and headed off to a happy hour crawl!

[t-shirt, coated denim shorts: Forever 21; wedges: TOMS; jewelery: BaubleBar, Nixon, Gorjana, Stella & Dot, T+J Designs]

I spotted this tiger shirt at the mall, and immediately cracked up. It got me a lot of attention, but my favorite comment was from a little kid who grabbed his mom’s hand, and said “Look, a tiger!” I enjoy observant children, apparently. FYI these wedges are incredibly comfortable. We walked and walked and walked and WALKED, and not once did my feet hurt. I may buy them in every color.

We had drinks/appetizers at Michael Mina’s American Fish, where we split small plates of tuna tartare on crispy sushi rice cakes, the lobster roll, the crab cake, and the mac and cheese; and then at Nob Hill Tavern, where I discovered gin is not my friend. See my Yelp review for the saga, as well as a heartwarming tale of what good can come when you hire nice bartenders.

Here’s a montage, because I like those, too!

[purse: H&M]

The top photo on the right hand side is from our late-night happy hour/dessert-fest at Max Brenner. We had the corn croquettes, the tempura bananas with toffee and chocolate fondue, and I had an Americano with a peanut butter liqueur. My friend had some sort of cake-flavored martini, which was also crazy good.

Saturday was pool time, and then a spin through the Cosmopolitan hotel (which is also where we had our last meal before leaving. We also had a fancy dinner at Sage at the Aria on Saturday night. If you can get there before they realize that their tasting menu portions are far too generous, GO! I also befriended a man who ordered a $100 pour of whiskey. I semi-recall telling him to “ball so hard” I believe. Guess their cocktails are stronger than I thought!

[gelato x 9]

Sunday’s brunch was at the Wicked Spoon. The brunch buffet is only $29, and for an extra $8, it comes with all the champagne, bloody marys, or mimosas you can drink! As we were on our way out of town, I didn’t partake, but that’s a pretty sweet deal! Pro tip: get there before 11:00 if you want quick seating (and if you also want to taunt the 500 people standing in line to get in at that time), and make sure you try the gelato bar! My favorites were the salted peanut (top middle), the mango (bottom right) and I will say the Thai tea (bottom left) tasted exactly like a frozen Thai iced tea.

[fatman from above]

In a stroke of genius, I took today off from work. I spent the morning resting, re-earning the trust of the cats who thought I’d abandoned them, and trying to get the last remnants of smoke out of my hair. I also took advantage of having a Monday off by hitting up the mall for some fall fashion! I’ll show you my purchases in my next post.

Viva Las Vegas! And Viva Sleeping In,

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Yes, you read that correctly.  Cookie dough + chocolate + truffle form.  My friends (one of my favorite married couples) bought an amazing house in San Diego, and had a housewarming party to celebrate this weekend.  Not wanting to show up empty-handed, and not wanting to force them to take care of a plant, I decided to make them some candy, namely cookie dough truffles (recipe courtesy of my friend Meredith (who runs the lovely blog “Eat, Drink, and Be Meredith“).  These are so good (and so easy to make) that it’s unreal.  There are no raw eggs in the dough recipe, so these are safe for consumption (if you don’t have an aversion to flour.)  Here’s the rundown:

Ingredients:

1 stick of unsalted butter at room temperature * 3/4 cups packed light brown sugar * 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract * 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour * 14 oz. can of condensed milk * 1 pound of chocolate   (In my quest to weigh 500 pounds, I also added some peanut butter)

Have I mentioned how much I love recipes that have ingredients I can count on my fingers?  And ones that call for no baking?

Instructions:

(1) Beat sugar and butter until light and fluffy.  (2)  Beat in flour, vanilla, and condensed milk.  Cover and chill until firm enough to form balls.  (2a)  Be 12, and laugh at the word “balls.”  (3)  Form into 1 or 1 1/2 inch balls; place on lined baking sheet and refrigerate until firm.  (3a)  See step 2a.  (4)  Melt chocolate in double-boiler, aka glass bowl over small pot of simmering water.  (5) Dip balls in chocolate, and place on lined baking sheet.  (6)  Refrigerate -or freeze if you’re impatient- until ready to serve.

So here’s how mine turned out:

Mmmmmm

I placed each truffle in a mini muffin liner and packaged them all in a reusable tupperware container for my friends’ housewarming gift.  Note the imperfect nature of chocolate coating.  I attribute this to my impatience (my inability to wait for the chocolate to melt completely) and to the fact that, despite being only 5’0″ tall and a large consumer of chocolate, I will likely not be cast on the next season of “The Little Chocolatiers.”  So this was the first batch.  I ran out of chocolate, and at the store, I had a revelation:  what if I put peanut butter in these bad boys?  So I did.

...with peanut butter!

I melted down a bunch of Reese’s peanut butter chips and dipped the balls of dough in them; chilled them and then dipped them again in chocolate.  I also decided to make ganache (partially to make the peanut butter truffles easily distinguishable, and partially also because I like the shininess of ganache) to cover these, so that’s why they are slightly more shiny.  Again, they’re lumpy, but I can assure you they are delicious.  I think next time I might incorporate the peanut butter into the cookie dough itself, and just do a drizzle of peanut butter over the tops of the truffles.

Enjoy!  They are extremely sweet and rich, and should be stored in the refrigerator (or outside in the snow if you live in the Midwest.)  I’ve been told they are good with milk, but like any good Asian, I’m lactose-intolerant, so I’ll take my friends’ word for it.

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It’s Restaurant Week here in San Diego, which means getting to eat 3-course meals at places for the price of an entree!  Even though it’s been raining buckets and gusting wind (so much that they issued tornado warnings for LA, Orange, and San Diego counties), my friend and I braved the elements in the name of trying a new restaurant.

We went to Whisknladle in La Jolla.  Being type-a(ish) attorneys, our plan for success was to leave work promptly at 5:00, park at the bar, and have a drink or two before our reservation time.  However, by the time we both finally navigated the rainy roads and arrived inside, our table was ready anyway, so we didn’t get the chance to try out their happy hour.

Usually for Restaurant Week, local restaurants offer a prix fixe menu with 2 or 3 choices for each course, but Whisknladle had their entire menu up for grabs.  Well, almost their entire menu.  Noticeably missing from the dessert choices were the sweet potato donuts, which made me ridiculously sad.  A glass of Malbec cured that, though.  So what did we have?  (Full disclosure:  no pictures-I’m still working on remembering to put my camera in my purse when I go out.)

Before I start, the first thing we noticed was that the water had…a flavor?  After some guessing (and a lengthy discourse about the glory that was Bath & Body Works’ Cucumber Melon lotion) the server told us it was cucumber and lemon.  Interesting.  Not my favorite part of the meal, but a nice thought.

First Course

Crispy Sweetbreads with maple glaze, lentils, brussels sprouts, and house smoked bacon – I’ve never tried sweetbreads (warning: not for the faint of heart) but after hearing rave reviews about them for the past 6 seasons of Top Chef, I figured I should give them a try, especially since there were two more courses to come.  They were really good!  I wasn’t expecting them to be encased in as much batter as they were, but it wasn’t overwhelming.  If I had to choose a negative, it would be that the bacon was kind of superfluous (sacrilege, I know)  in the context of the dish, and the portion was a little too big for a first course.

I had a bite of my friend’s Butternut Squash Ravioli with brown butter, sage, and parmigano reggiano.  It was good–not too heavy on the brown butter, and there was a good ratio of filling to pasta, which places usually mess up, so that was refreshing.

Second Course

Red Wine Braised Lamb Shank with swiss chard and the largest brick of au gratin potatoes I have ever seen.  The waiter brought a knife, but the lamb literally fell off the bone.  The chard and the potatoes were serviceable, but nothing life-changing.  The portion again was huge, so I took some home for the next day’s lunch.

Third Course

I ordered the Asian Pear and Huckleberry Crisp with kumquat ice cream (which is actually not listed on their website.)  I love Asian pears, and was hoping for a dessert that wasn’t sickeningly sweet, and this certainly delivered.  The oatmeal topping was nice and crispy, and the kumquat ice cream was a little cold, a little sweet, and slightly tart, which balanced the sugars in the topping nicely.  The one miss with this dessert was that they left the pears still crunchy, whereas I prefer the insides of my crisps to be really soft.  The huckleberries and pears were a nice combination though.

My friend ordered the Butterscotch Budino (pudding) with fleur de sel carmel, creme fraiche, and pine nut cornmeal cookies.  The budino was incredibly sweet and with the creme fraiche and salted caramel, it made for an incredibly rich dessert.  The cookies evened things out.  They had a nice texture – I’ve never had cornmeal in cookies before, but I’m definitely going to check out some recipes for the future!

Overall, the place gets a B+.  Points off for the unimaginative entrees (although that might have been due to my ordering), the bait-and-switch re: sweet potato donuts, and too-big portions.  Extra credit for it actually being warm inside, the herb butter that came out with the bread, and the attentive waitstaff.  No joke, our candle went out partway during the night, and someone swooped in and replaced it–yessss.

With the La Jolla location and the new American bistro-y feel, I fear there’s a potential for this place to deteriorate into Douche-ville, but hopefully you prove me wrong, Whisknladle!

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inspiration

Welcome!  I love the smell (or look) of a brand-new blog.  My last few attempts at blogging were limited to snarky comments and complaining, but now that I’m older (and hopefully wiser) I’m going to give this another shot.

Lately, I’ve been really inspired by food and craft blogs.  I’m no expert; in fact, I’m not even particularly artistic or creative, but I’m willing to give anything a try, especially when it comes to things I want but don’t want to spend tons of money on.  (Hello, feather headbands.)  I can’t promise that I’ll come up with anything original or groundbreaking, but I can promise to document every attempt at a new recipe/project, regardless of how tragic and/or hilarious it turns out.

Without further ado, here are some of my current favorite things:

Cats

Feathers & Tulle

Pho

French-pressed coffee

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