June 22, 2012 § 1 Comment
I’ve been wanting to visit all the farmer’s markets around Seattle neighborhoods for some time! Since my friend, Lena, lives near the Queen Anne market, we decided to meet up and explore.
I was blown away by how nice this market was. Parking was easy and the vendors were set up on either side of a wide side street off Queen Anne Ave.
I admired the beautifully presented vegetables and fruit.
Then we came upon the strawberries, which are FINALLY in season. They were gorgeous and red all the way through. I picked up a half pint because I couldn’t just walk away!
Around the corner in a medium-size parking lot where vendors with specialty foods and an abundance of food trucks. The samples were out of control…we sampled fresh mozzarella (that they were making on-site), fresh chevre, ginger caramel, pastries, jam, salad dressing, olives and ginger beer.
After all the sampling a chatting with vendors we had to choose which food truck to try. This is one of the toughest decisions at the market…from wood-fired pizza, po-boys, tacos, pulled-pork to Indian and Venezuelan food (what!!?) we went with Tandoozi.
I got the chicken tiki masala on fresh, made on-site naan, so.good.
To end our adventures at the market, we stopped at parfait ice cream, which still had a pretty long line even though the market was wrapping up.
Another tough decision, but since strawberries are just now in season, I went with the strawberry. This is a pretty bold statement, but that was seriously THE BEST strawberry ice cream I’ve ever had!
You’re doing great things Queen Anne, until next week!
June 14, 2012 § Leave a Comment
I’ve been dying to go back to Willamette Valley to explore more of the Oregon wineries and local food since last summer. Willamette Valley in Oregon is known for growing the pinot noir grape. There is a huge range of pinot noir wines and it is so much fun to taste four different glasses of Pinot side-by-side and determine which style you like. I was also looking forward to picking up some rose wine made from the pinot noir grape, which is becoming more and more available, and is literally my favorite drink during the summer months.
Mickey had a 2-week window between graduating and taking the bar exam; the timing seemed perfect, so off we went! We had a been having a gorgeous May for the Pacific Northwest, so I decided to take Thursday and Friday off work to enjoy an extra day in Portland on the way to wine country. Best.decision.ever.
We spent the day taking our time driving to Portland and stopping for a Doritos taco (guilty pleasure!) along the way. Once arriving at the Heathman to drop off our car and belongings, we made our way on foot to the local breweries for some tastings. Our first stop was Deschutes for some tasting and some food.
Next up, Rogue.
After what seemed like too much beer for a sunny afternoon, we attempted to regain some energy with lattes from Stumptown.
Dinner was pretty uneventful, which is pretty disappointing considering Portland is a known foodie city (next time we will follow our friends’ recommendations!)
On Friday, we had brunch at Mother’s, which had a very welcoming atmosphere and excellent food. After brunch, we made our way to wine country (about 30 minutes) and stopped at Rex Hill for our first tasting. By then I was ready for a drink, and the winery was a great start to our tasting adventure.
We visited two additional wineries including Soter Vineyards by appointment only. As we walked up the driveway to the gorgeous glass-walled tasting room, we were greeted with glasses of their sparkling rose wine.
Inside, a table with 8 settings of four wines glasses awaited us.
While waiting for the other guests, we sipped our pink sparkles and enjoyed gazing at the beautiful green rolling hills and played with the friendliest big brown dog (and I swear every winery after had this same type of big brown dog!)
The tasting lasted an hour and was by far the best tasting experience I’ve had. I would recommend this winery to everyone!
We went into Dundee for lunch and settled on the Dundee Bistro as recommended by our Inn-keeper. We sat on the large patio in the sunshine and enjoyed another glass of wine! I thought the most interesting item on the menu was the cauliflower, bacon beingets. I was right…so.good.
Late afternoon, we checked in at Le Puy Inn. The place was clean and clearly well-thought out with updated rooms with large private bathrooms, soft linens and the fluffiest towels I’ve ever seen! I was surprised to find chocolate caramels and local hazelnuts waiting in the room for us, yum! The inn-keeper, Lea was genuine and so welcoming. She and I had emailed prior to our stay and she took the time to recommend several of her favorite wineries and restaurants and even made us the appointment with Soter and reservations for dinner.
We took the late afternoon to relax and read on the deck just off the great room. There was comfortable patio furniture and the deck overlooked Chehalem Ridge. Not a bad place to hang out with a book.
Dinner was at Recipe, a newer restaurant that had been getting great reviews in Newberg. I ordered the mushroom soup and a fish entree. The atmosphere was perfect, but the food could use a little work. It wasn’t bad, but the seasoning was a little unbalanced. I would probably still go back.
On the way back, we noticed the town was deserted! It was a nice reminder to take it easy and enjoy a slower life for the next couple days! Another fun day of pinot noir coming up…
June 13, 2012 § Leave a Comment
I went to the Ballard farmer’s market this weekend on a mission to get some local strawberries. I knew from my twitter feed that they were making only their second appearance at markets this season. The reason I love the berries found at local markets is that they are teeny and packed with so much more flavor than their grocery store counterparts.
I approached the berry stand ready to pick out a carton and the clerk immediately offered me a second carton for only $2 more. And I, ever the deal spotter, said “ok!’ before she even finished her sentence…I am such an easy sell!
So…what to do with my extra carton of berries? The first carton dwindled down before the day was over, and I wanted to use the second in some sort of baked good and they would probably only last another day or two. I came across this recipe and Done! Here are the results:
The result was a thin, sweet vanilla cake with gooey strawberries bursting with juice as you sliced through them.
And the ice cream? Totally necessary. You can’t go wrong with vanilla ice cream. You also can’t go wrong making this on a random Tuesday evening. You significant other, roommate, kids…whomever you live with will thank you.
June 12, 2012 § Leave a Comment
with my niece Claire, the newest member of our family!
After about a month of obsessively checking my phone for new photos of Claire, I finally got to meet her in April and CANNOT wait until August to spend more time together.
Here are a few of my favorite photos I took during my visit.
Excited new family!
Sleepy little lady. (I just want to kiss her cheeks!)
August 8, 2011 § 4 Comments
I’ve always been a fan of crafting.
From from homemade flower pens out of pipe cleaners and fake blooms to elaborate scrapbooks. This weekend, with inspiration from the lavender vanilla latte I got in Astoria, I created a do-it-yourself lavender vanilla sugar.
You can catch me lingering next to the fancy sugars in Whole Foods during my weekly shopping trips, looking longingly at their creative blends. I think they are so interesting, but way overpriced. I thought it would be easy to create a similar product from scratch, and I was right!
The ingredients include:
1 cup white sugar
1 vanilla bean
1 tsp dried lavender bulbs
I used our mortar and pestle to grind up the lavender into an imperfect powder. Next, I sliced open the vanilla bean and scraped out the pod into a bowl. I combined the ground lavender, vanilla and sugar into a bowl and mixed by hand to evenly distribute the vanilla and lavender.
I slipped the vanilla pod into the glass jar and covered with the sugar mixture. At this point, keep the jar shut for the next few days to allow the vanilla and lavender to fully develop the flavors.
I also used this opportunity to create a unique hostess gift.
Mickey and I had dinner plans at our friend’s house on Saturday evening and besides a little wine and cheese, I wanted to bring something fun to add to their spice rack! So to the jar I added some tissue paper, a pretty ribbon and a small bloom from a bouquet of Pike Place flowers, voila!
And there you go…a great hostess gift with a little Rose and gouda (not pictured: Pike Place Market flowers!)
The sugar would be a great addition to tea, coffee, sprinkled onto scones, muffins or used as a sugar substitute to any recipe..I am thinking cheesecake with fresh blueberries, yum!
August 4, 2011 § 1 Comment
While Astoria is most known as the setting of the ever-popular movie The Goonies (and let’s not forget Kindergarten Cop and Free Willy!), my girlfriends and I chose to skip all the tourist attractions and bee-line to the beautiful Farmers Market. I can never pass up a good farmers market!
We began with food. There is something special about farmers market food. And the crab cakes…oh, the crab cakes. Even though I had to wait about 15 minutes for my crabby cakes…totally worth it!
This market had so much to offer from fresh fruits and veggies to dozens of baked goods, teas, lavender, lotions, crafts and fresh flowers. I ended up with 3 new teas and some culinary lavender, which I hope to create some delicious recipes with! I’ve been drinking the Astoria blend tea from Enchanted Tea Blends all week and it’s fantastic! I’m so glad they have an online shop!
Lastly, we stopped for lattes before taking on the 4 hour journey back to Seattle (holy traffic on Sunday afternoon, by-the-way!) I ordered a lavendar vanilla latte and it was as good as it sounds! Perhaps I will try to recreate one with the new buds I picked up!
I also found out my friend Emily from college lives in Astoria, so now I have an excuse to go back!
Maybe next time I’ll check out Haystack Rock in Cannon Beach!
Never say die.