TGIF! Oh wait, I think I promised I wouldn’t say that every week. Look how well that turned out, breaking my flimsy internet promises already!
Just kidding, I did that on purpose. It’s like I’m starting to tell Dad jokes all the time… how do I stop this?! I need a sign on my blog: Watch for Falling Puns.
There are times when life is at its dandiest with a few simple pleasures: the company of good friends, the smell of delicious food cooking on your stove, and maybe a few snuggles from a tiny lap dog. In other words, one of my favorite moments this week was trying this recipe for my friend Rachel (and her little dog too!) – drinking wine, talking about the perils of online dating, and making sure little Berkeley had all the loving snuggles that she needed for a night. And maybe a couple of puppy snuggles that we needed too.
This is more of a medium five, since at its worst its really a neutral item (what can I say? I got lucky this week!), but last Sunday my roommate and I cleaned out our pantry. Cleaned the entire thing, from top to bottom, plucking out expired cans of soup from the depths of the “communal corner” and determining just how many bags of pistachios we really have (hint: more than two ladies probably need.) Again, if this was the lowest point of the week (and it really wasn’t that bad), then I’m in pretty good shape. Also, we watched the new Game of Thrones episode as a reward.
And now, some things for you!
1. Beware: this article about one woman and her husband’s experience selling all of their possessions and traveling the world will make you want to…well, do it too.
2. Did anyone else watch both installments of the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants series in theaters? Or read all five (yes there are five) of the books? Just me? Alright then, you probably won’t care who Blake Lively’s baby’s godmothers are…
3. It might be a slight obsession, but I love reading books and articles and blog posts about blogging, so this post by Hallie of Corals & Cognacs pretty much made my week!
5. Roommate and I watched this movie tonight and I absolutely loved it – I’m curious to know what you think! It’s available on Netflix right now.
This weekend I’m looking forward to a good mix of coffees with friends (and seeing this movie) and getting some lounging cleaning done around the apartment. Maybe I’ll go for a run Saturday morning. What do you have planned?
You may not have guessed this about me, but I don’t consider myself a religious person. I may be spiritual in many ways (although that term still makes me feel very crunchy-granola) but I don’t identify closely with any organized religion, and there are a lot of things I see nowadays about religion that put me off. That said, I still celebrate the secular aspects of my favorite Christian holidays (hello, CHRISTMAS CHEER) and Easter is one of those holidays.
Just ask my mom – I get sad every year when she refuses to buy me Peeps (“Those are just gelatinous sugar blobs that aren’t good for you!) until she lets me toss them in the cart at the grocery store while we’re shopping for Easter dinner. Yeah, I get away with a lot of stuff, even at 28.
This year, I got the distinct urge to bake! I wanted to mix flour and water and maybe an egg or two (hey I don’t know, I’m just reading the recipe here) and put it in at one time and taking it out at another and have some fluffy little baked good turn out just perfectly.
And more than anything, I wanted to bake something that reminded me of Easter! Sunday mornings with crisp pastel dresses, fluffy bunny tails, and the act of searching tirelessly for the last brightly colored egg in lawn grasses that inevitably stain those little white patent leather shoes kids always end up wearing.
To me, this is summed up by lemon poppyseed scones.
(Click through to see the recipe, some food pics, and a story about my mother’s ancient hand mixer…) Read More
You should know by now that I’m not too squeamish when it comes to food. Non-typical things (kangaroo meat, rabbit innards, any kind of marrow) are not necessarily top of my mental To Eat list, but with enough goading I would probably try even the weirdest of things (I ate alligator quiche in New Orleans and am a big fan of chopped liver.)
So it should come as no surprise to you that I am a huge proponent of the oyster. And anyplace that has oysters available in my cocktail? I’m there.
Lowell’s was started in the early 1900’s as Mannings Cafeteria, serving the people of Seattle as they came to the Public Market to buy their goods for the week. In 1957 it was transformed into the 3-story mega diner it is today, featuring panoramic views of the Sound and the Port of Seattle.
Yeah yeah, enough with the history lesson – let’s get on with the food, shall we?
Carly and I were there for one thing only: Bloody Mary’s. Oh, and coffee. And bacon. Alright, so we may have had a list in mind for this journey, but the overall idea was the get a delicious brunch in our bellies so we could continue on with the rest of our Seattley day (including a visit to this Confectionery.)
We both immediately ordered the “Hangtown” Mary, which is “garnished” with an oyster. I put “garnished” in quotation marks because it was the biggest oyster I’ve ever seen and it gave even seafood-lovin me a moment’s pause before gobbling it down. Carly may have had to cheer me on like we were freshmen boys in the college cafeteria. Sadly, nobody else noticed this moment.
Since we knew we would be out and about most of the day, we decided to carb up. Carly got the breakfast tacos (you can’t go wrong with tacos, of any kind, in my opinion) and I got a combination of blueberry ricotta pancakes, bacon, and a poached egg for protein. Look Ma, I’m being so balanced!
I will say, my one disappointment of the day is that the blueberries did not come INSIDE the pancakes. I love when berries are cooked inside things (scones, muffins, what have you) and so they get warm and squishy, and the flavor bursts on your tongue with every bite!
These were still pretty delicious though. It may have been an ambitious undertaking, but I think we did alright with the stomachs that we had.
I tried to demonstrate here the beautiful view outside but the lighting was a little too dark inside to cooperate. Suffice it to say, if we had been sitting near a window this post would have about a thousand more pictures in it, merely from the scenic views alone.
The best part of the excursion? Wandering through the market on the way to and from breakfast, marveling at the fresh spring flowers and seasonal produce available for all to see and purchase.
We didn’t stay for the fish-throwing exhibition, but I’ve been there before and seen the marvelously quick handed action before. It’s like the oceanic Fast and the Furious over there.
If I lived in Seattle I would make Lowell’s a regular stop – and, if I were visiting, I would definitely make it a priority of any Pike Place venture!
—– Lowell’s Open Daily at Pike Place Market Breakfast 7am-11am (11:30am on weekends) Lunch/Supper until 6pm (7pm on Fri/Sat) Bar open until 9pm (8pm on Sun)
There are times (many, many times) when I feel so incredibly lucky to live in a city as iconic as San Francisco. What other city has peach and yellow and robin’s egg blue colored houses lined up in neat little rows by the sea? What other city has mysterious and romantic fog rolling in through the checkerboard streets, sweeping in at sunrise and sweeping out at sunset, like the deep inhale and exhale of the city’s collective body?
San Francisco has its problems, like any city, any place. But it also has a magical quality about it, born of ambitious and historic beginnings, that continues through to today’s generations living here.
Sometimes it’s easy to feel like the world is careening out of control, like there are too many problems to solve, and too many angles to every debate to come to a consensus. Things are getting too messy, too fractured, too far apart to come back together again for a productive and balanced society.
And then, you take a trip to the Sunset, and you see the little houses all lined up in their cheerful colors, and you remember the optimism from which this city was born. This is a city of possibility, of promise, of renewable confidence.
Sometimes you just need a little reminder of what you, and it, are capable.
TGIF friends! I’ll try not to start every Friday post with that celebratory acronym but that’s how I feel every week these days – t. g. i. Flippin. f! The weeks leading up to summer always seem to snowball until it’s a flurry of activity every weekend and a haze of exhaustion every night.
So uplifting, I am.
This is a pretty dorky High for the week but I sat down and, as I am wont to do about once every three months, I really got my finances in order. I rearranged my LearnVest budgets, called to lower my cable bill (I was going to cancel altogether but they got me with another sweet deal!), estimated how much I could realistically save up between now and the Great Job Search of 2015 that will be beginning in July, and took a good hard look at my spending lately. Sometimes it makes you feel really great just to be back in control of your choices, you know?
Again, this is not the most exciting of lows, but just general exhaustion this week was not my friend. I had been pretty good about getting back on a normal (read: non-college-aged-adult) sleep schedule and this week it just seemed to go out the window. I need to be better about making sleep a priority again, because when I am tired, I am just useless.
And now, some things to kick off your weekend!
1. While LC has been making a splash with her Kohl’s collab and her recent wedding, Whitney Port hasn’t been resting on her laurels since her stint on The Hills ended either – here, some sensible career advice from all she’s learned. (Note: I may or may not have watched ALL episodes of ALL Laguna Beach and spinoff shows…and I think Whitney is one of the most down to earth of the bunch!)
2. While I may not be 23 anymore (thank goodness), I lived at home through law school and the year after, so I can definitely relate to some of these feelings about what it’s really like to live at home after you feel too old for it.
3. My coworker is doing this AWESOME Hawaiian Tasting Menu for Feastly – if you’re in the SF/Bay Area, definitely check it out! She’ll be having future events too.
I love living in San Francisco. I love the weather (I could do with a little less regularity of the wind-swept hair look, but damn if a beautiful sunny day in the park doesn’t cure all), the people (obnoxious tech bros just offer more fodder for mocking and future short stories), the fashion (socks with heels are coming back!), and, most importantly, the food.
Did you know you can spend over $4 on toast in San Francisco? This is a luxury – and a novelty – that has crossed the nation so that even my New York folk know of its existence.
This Hipster Toast is made at none other than NoPa’s very own The Mill. And, as many articles can attest, the reason for the (somewhat Marie Antoinette-ian) pricing is due to the fact that all of the bread is baked in-house and is cut thick enough to satisfy a family of four. This article paints a picture of a society that fetishizes the maker culture and uses this slab of hearty bread as a symbol of that (I don’t entirely disagree with this…) while this one takes another angle on the larger toast craze of today.
Whichever way you slice it (yep, had to), this movement is not just about the cool factor of forking over slightly less than $5 for a meal you could make yourself at home. It’s about the atmosphere of the locale, the energy put into the meal (each loaf of bread at The Mill takes 36 hours start to finish), and the comfort you gain from enjoying this simple, slowed-down moment.
I haven’t ventured to the other toast houses mentioned in one of the above linked articles, but The Mill definitely has more going for it than just the food. Stepping inside the rustic white-and-wood decorated room, I felt serene and comfortable, even though the noise level was that of a typical San Francisco cafe (that is, bustling and active as business meetings and friend reunions took place, but not so quiet that you would feel awkward after that accidental coffee slurp.)
My favorite thing about The Mill is how clearly it aims to be a casual atmosphere for business and personal purposes alike. There are gorgeous, simple items for sale along each wall; loaves of bread line the rack near the cash register; and the outdoor seating is situated perfectly for people watching along Divisadero Street. This is a place you could come for hours, or for a quick chat, and they would be equally happy to have you.
After a few minutes catching up with Rachel and Samia (not pictured – they are not the donuts), we decided to see what all the fuss was about. They both ordered the cinnamon sugar toast, which – to be honest – sounded the best to me too, but I felt I should branch out if I was going to blog about it.
I got the rye bread with cream cheese and salt & pepper.
I will be completely honest here: the cream cheese didn’t entirely do it for me. It might have been that it reminded me too much of a bagel, without that signature bagel flavor. It might have been that this was mid-afternoon and I’d already had lunch so a sweet snack sounded more appetizing than a savory one. Or, maybe, this just wasn’t my cup of tea (or, if you will, my slice of toast.) Either way, the bread was still incredible, and I will definitely stop in to buy a loaf the next time I’m in the area.
The cinnamon sugar toast was indulgently delicious, in case you’re wondering. Rachel let me sneak a bite of hers.
And we all still managed to clear our plates…somehow.
(Wait for me, walnut bread! I’ll be back for you!)
The Mill 736 Divisadero Street San Francisco, CA 94117
*Apologies in advance for the difference in photos, my camera died halfway through dinner so I had to resort to iPhoneography.
I think when we last left off on Maddy’s Whirlwind World Tour, I had just landed in Seattle (and of course took some outfit photos featuring the iconic Space Needle) to visit Carly and her manfriend Matt!
They graciously hosted me for two whole days and three nights, which meant that we got a lot of good eating, drinking, meandering, philandering (just kidding), and catching up in. And we got to see Matt’s improv performance! Which, I’m going to be honest, I highly enjoyed. We were definitely the ones laughing the loudest.
There also may have been a completely random, out of the blue joke he made onstage that Carly had just whispered to me a minute before, and that’s how I know they’re soulmates. Gross.
When they first picked me up at the airport Friday night, we had to drop my luggage off at the apartment before venturing out to the dinner they had planned. This meant I got to take in this stunning view of the Space Needle from right outside their apartment. Seriously – they walk outside at night, and it looks like this. I’m starting to regret not living on a higher hill in San Francisco…
Then we ventured (drove) downtown near Pike Place Market to Vespolina, a restaurant that had, admittedly, just lost its chef as Jason Stratton announced that day he was leaving immediately for a sabbatical in Spain.
I’ll be honest… that didn’t change my opinion of the place. It was a little more relaxed than it should have been on a Friday night in downtown Seattle, but I was in love with almost everything we ate and drank there, and would gladly go again. I would even take my parents!
First, we got drinks.
Next, we ordered a starter salad – I tried to look this up for everyone, but I think it was a special. All I know is it involved a watermelon radish and another root something or other, and shaved parmesan with a tangy caper vinaigrette, and it was delicious. I want to make this at home and bring it to every potluck as if I am a fancy Italian lady who just casually throws together these kinds of dishes all the time.
For our mains, Carly got the trout, which was deboned and served with a light salad tableside. It was actually quite a nice little production – I wish more restaurants would do things tableside! Really!
I think Matt got another special, as I couldn’t find it on the menu – but it was duck, and it was delicious. Quack.
I got the tagliatelle with rib eye ragu and ricotta on top. You guys, I wanted to slurp each bite of pasta and ragu like a small child eating her first bowl of spaghetti. Like my mother hadn’t made me go to two years of cotillion and awkwardly learn the waltz with my adolescent schoolmates. Luckily for my companions, I held back… but only barely. This was spectacular.
Oh yes, and I was still working on the salad and my martini. It takes me a fair bit of time to get through a real drink that doesn’t have sugar on the rim or “fizz” in the title.
When we moved on to desserts, we decided the only logical thing to do would be to get three and try them all. Obviously.
We started with the Sweet Marscapone Fritters… which actually were my least favorite bit of the whole meal. They just seemed slightly dry on their own, and improved greatly when dipped in (or unceremoniously dragged through) the pistachio gelato of our other dish.
The other dish being this Sweet Potato Crespelle (or some version thereof) – pistachio gelato, dark chocolate ganache, and potato chips on top.
We finished the evening with the Olive Oil cake. The house made jam was really the best part – who doesn’t appreciate a good homemade topping?
Overall, I loved Vespolina, and I hope Jason Stratton’s departure does not detract from the quality or popularity of the restaurant. Unless it’s a night I want to pop in without a rezzo, and then, I hope it’s immensely unpopular. Special treatment for me please!
The next day, Matt had to work. So what did that mean for the girls? A brunch at Lowell’s (separate post forthcoming) and buying fancy shampoo and coffee while looking at old fashioned candy shops. Specifically, The Confectionery in University Village Shopping Center.
Seeing as Carly and I were both trying to eat more healthfully, and I knew I had another trip (to Puerto Rico!) to pay for coming up, we both held back on making any actual purchases. But if I lived in Seattle? This would be my first stop for gigantic birthday treat bags. How cute would a celebratory batch of colorful candies be, with a little chocolate animal accompanying it?
Oh, and did I mention they have adorable stationery from Rifle Paper Co.? It’s a miracle I got out of here with my wallet intact.
Finally I made Carly pose next to the shop sign (I’m loving those springtime colors!) and we headed back towards Queen Anne for dinner and a nap before meeting Matt’s improv group for drinks. I made her my famous pasta with salmon cream sauce, because that’s just the kind of houseguest I am!
No, really, I’m a pretty good houseguest. Everyone let me stay with you! Travel is the greatest!
Don’t worry, this isn’t the last of my Seattle posts. Not by a longshot.
Have I mentioned I’ve been working at Google for the past year and a half? I know sometimes I may make references to it, but in general, I think I try to keep it on the low.
Yeah, this post is going to ignore all of that.
At Google there are gigantic plaster (and plastic?) statues they’ve made for each iteration of the Android Operating System – there’s Jelly Bean, Honeycomb (seen below), Ice Cream Sandwich, Donut, FroYo, Cupcake, etc etc. One of the first things I did at Google was take a picture of my head in the donut hole, of course.
They used to be right near main campus and then they were suddenly gone, into the vapor, hidden away like a Disney princess awaiting her tech prince to bring her back to her rightful place in society.
It turns out, gigantic statues are actually harder to spot than you’d think. It took us a good twenty minutes or so of biking around aimlessly through buildings, searching our Maps app, and biking in the opposite direction to finally achieve our lofty goal.
Thank goodness this outfit was prepared for all that activity!
I like to think of this look as work-to-night. I don’t wear heels to work very often (the atmosphere is decidedly casual) but that doesn’t mean I can’t dress up a simple denim-and-blouse combo once in a while – especially if I have plans after work that don’t involve immediately collapsing onto my couch with a bowl of pesto something or other.
Maddy’s rule number one of dressing up a daytime look? Add statement jewelry! I had to forcibly pry my little fingers off this Jenny Bird bib that Rocksbox sent me (the premise of the jewelry club is that you eventually send most things back…), but I got a lot of use out of it while it was in my possession. I also love the textured (and slightly neon) look of this Deux Lux clutch. Oversized clutches are my new favorite thing (I’m lusting this one in particular…), which is perfect, because I just finished knitting the Hold Tight clutch from a few posts ago! This will be the Summer of Clutch.
Let’s say that a few more times – clutch clutchy clutch clutch. Ok, all out of my system.
A while back I used to participate in a weekly link up with Lauren Elizabeth (have you guys checked out her blog? It’s one of my favs!) called High Five for Friday where I’d post five pictures of five things I did that week.
The problem is, these pics would mostly be Instagrams – and since I update my life down to the minute over there (have you joined the party yet?), it seems a little redundant to just recap all of the things you could see if you’re following me there.
So I decided to switch it up a bit. I love LE’s link up, but I need to structure this place in a way that works for me…and for all of you!
Introducing the new High Five for Friday: a weekly round up of links and fun things I’ve found on the internet that will hopefully educate, entertain, and interest you. That way we all win on Fridays… and if you’re already following me on Instagram, it won’t be like a weekly showing of Groundhog Day.
1. Planning a trip to Rome (or just like imagining you are)? This guide to 36 hours in Rome will help.
I’ll give you a hint: you have to use fake noodles. Noodle imposters. Noodle wannabes.
You have to use zucchini noodles.
Now, if we’re being honest with ourselves, a lot of times noodles are just the vehicle for the other good stuff. The creamy alfredo sauce, the hearty bolognese, the comfortingly cheesy pesto. The real noodles get kind of lost in translation in those cases anyway.
So this recipe has, honestly, changed my eating life. Why? Because now I don’t feel bad about wanting pesto “pasta” two or more nights a week. Now I feel sated by just the healthy oils in the pasta sauce, and I’m getting some veggie nutrients in my bod without really meaning too (zucchini is high in antioxidants and potassium, which is great, because I hardly ever eat bananas.)
This is one of the few recipes I’ll post where you need special equipment, though even now, you could probably get away with a potato peeler if you were really motivated.
– a spiralizer (I got mine from Walgreens – they should be readily available these days, and it’s worth the investment.)
– 2 or 3 small zucchinis (or 1 large one) per person
– 2-3 tablespoons pesto sauce per person
– 1 heirloom tomato or several small grape tomatoes per person
– parmesan, salt and pepper to garnish
Step 1: Start boiling a pot of water like for normal pasta. I add a dash of salt and olive oil too. Then, wash and spiralize your zucchini. I learned to stop every few turns or so, so that the noodles are not all one long strand (harder to eat like real noodles.)
See? Not so big or complicated! And they leave these funny little guys at the end…
Step 2: Chop up your tomatoes – this recipe literally takes me less than 20 minutes to cook, so I like to have everything ready to mix at the end.
Step 3: Once your water is at a rolling boil, add your zucchini noodles and stir for 2-3 minutes (but on the shorter side of 3 minutes – closer to 2 minutes. Otherwise it turns into mush, which is still delicious with pesto on top, but isn’t the same feeling.) Drain your “noodles” right at the 2ish minute mark and add back to the pot.
Step 4: Add your sauce over your noodles and cook on high heat for a minute or two. We want to really get the sauce infused into the zucchini! It’s ok if your “pasta” is making some little cooking hissing noises, that might just be the zucchini losing some water.
Now, add to your bowl with your tomatoes and parmesan, and dig in!
For maximum effect, enjoy on weeknights when you’ve been working 10 hour days and are craving carbs like nobody’s business but are trying not to be such a pasta monster. This recipe gives you the satisfaction of a big bowl of noodles without all of the guilt (and stomach bloat, if we’re being honest) later.
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I always try to give proper credit to any content or images by others, so if you see something is not accurately sourced, contact me at madeleine (dot) douglass (at) gmail (dot) com and I will gladly fix or remove the material.