Monday, July 27, 2009

Hello and Goodbye!

I'm not dead! I've just been traveling around in Europe for the past two and a half weeks! We were in Germany, France and Holland! We just got back this afternoon and I'm turning right around and packing up to fly to Atlanta tomorrow morning. I usually always visit my parents around this time of year. Molly comes back from visiting her father and then we take a few extra days to spend with my family. She is really close with her cousin Christian and I always love the opportunity to spend time with my sisters. The suitcase is full of presents so I hope they all make it down in tact. Amazingly enough, everything we bought in Europe made it home!

I have a massive list of goodies that I brought home to cook with and to play with not to mention many many pictures of fabulous and amazing food. I will have even more to write about once I get home from The Dirty South!

I'll be back!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009


I'm not one for drinking milk. My daughter is the exact opposite. She would probably take an IV of milk if I would allow it. We buy her the super fancy organic milk in the glass bottles that come from a dairy farm in Pennsylvania so I doubt we'd be able to afford a continuous supply to her bloodstream. I hear so many awful things about the hormones in dairy that I refuse to take the chance with cheap, crappy milk.

We are pasteurization freaks here in the U.S. I've read several interesting books about the benefits of the cultures found in raw dairy products. In Europe, it is readily available and I am really looking forward to tasting creams and especially butter! I am excited to see how it affects the flavors of chocolate and other things that have dairy in them.

I'm not sure how great of a lead in all of this is for a review of yet another book I've read in the past month about Paris. French Milk is an adorable graphic novel written by a girl who travels to Paris with her mother for six weeks during the end of 2007 and into 2008. She talks a lot about art and food which are to things I plan to focus on for my trip! The illustrations are similar to the ones found in The Persepolis in that they are simple but manage to convey a lot. It's a much quicker and lighter read though. I had a lot of hope in me when I finished the book. I hope we are able to have as interesting of an experience in Paris and also I hope to be as close with Molly when she is older as the author is with her mom. I feel like we are on the right track! She's a great girl and I'm so proud of her. I've already promised her we'd take her to Paris someday.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

How Sweet It Is

I feel in and out of the loop with this latest entry. I finished reading The Sweet Life in Paris a few weeks ago and the book has only been out for about two months. However, David Lebovitz, has been cooking up some amazing food along with equally amazing food writing for years. I have to say that this upcoming trip to Paris has opened so many new doors for me as far as discovering great books, blogs, foods and ideas. I haven't even left yet and I already feel so enriched.

About the's a cleverly written memoir of his experiences as an American chef who has been living in Paris for about seven years now. It's similar to A Homemade Life in that there are several short stories with accompanying recipes. After reading the book, I feel that I am a little bit more prepared for what to expect on our trip. His stories are informative and hilarious! I have learned several bits of etiquette and such from reading the book will hopefully save me from the occasional faux pas in France! For example, I was at one of my favorite food shops here in Princeton. I'm usually chat with one of the girls behind the counter if she is working and we've become casual acquaintances. I was telling her about this book and some of the tips I've picked up and she asked me for an example. I told her that I'd learned to always greet shopkeepers when entering any sort of establishment. Apparently it's considered to be quite rude not to do so! She stopped and thought for a second. I know she has visited Paris and she was probably reflecting on past experiences. She looks at me and says That explains a lot!

His blog is an even greater resource. He is beyond generous with his insider tips on everything from chocolate to food photography. His post on what he considers to be mandatory Parisian noshing sounds way more appealing than standing in line to get into the Louvre or the Eiffel Tower! I only wish I were going to be in Paris at the same time as one of his tours!! What an experience that would be!

I know I'm arriving late in the game with some of these amazing blogs but I'm thankful to have discovered them at the perfect time so that I am able to really put the information to good use! We are leaving for Paris on Saturday! My mouth is watering just thinking about it!

Monday, July 6, 2009

Sunday Morning

One of my absolute favorite mealtimes is Sunday Brunch. There's something amazing about that particular time of week. It's peaceful and relaxed and when it comes to potential palate pleasers, it feels like anything on the sweet to savory spectrum is possible! The more creative, the better!

That being said, it doesn't take a crazy concoction to make me happy. Some eggs served along side a little sweetness (With maple syrup perhaps? Or maybe a cinnamon treat!) and I'll be pleased as punch. Champagne mimosas are totally optional. I'm fine with tea.

I don't mind getting my hands dirty and throwing down a proper brunch myself but every once in a while, I like to go out. There are several places in the area that are willing to step up to the plate and a few weeks ago, we decided to go to Winberie's in Princeton. Make sure you are in the mood to splurge. This is not the place to count calories or pinch pennies. Brunch for two is about $40 but you get a wide variety of choices and it is all you can eat. There are fancy savories, sweet bites of cake, an omelette station and even some Sam Adams cheesy fondue. The quality isn't over the top (there is syrup but not maple syrup) but you definitely get a lot of options for your money. Plus, it's a cozy atmosphere. You also have some great options nearby for walking off your meal.

Winberie's Restaurant and Bar
1 Palmer Sq E # 1
Princeton, NJ 08542-3718
(609) 921-0700

Sunday, July 5, 2009

That Summer Feeling

I had the most delightful time in Asbury Park last night! I saw some great places, amazing fireworks and ate some incredible food!

My friend Eliezer works in Asbury Park and has been raving about this pizza place called Crust and Crumble for a while now! I tend to get let down eventually when this happens but this place was anything but crumby! When you live in New Jersey, it's hard to get excited about a new pizza place because everyone I know already has a favorite spot or two (I know I do!). Asbury Park doesn't have the friendliest reputation but this place is very veg friendly! There is something for everyone here! You can even get vegan cheese and faux meats on your pie! Ours had whole wheat crust, smoked mozzarella, BBQ sauce, fake sausage and caramelized onions. We have two slices in the fridge and we're going to have it for lunch today! Mmmmmm....

If that wasn't enough to send you over the edge, this might! Right next to the pizzeria is a friggin' fantastic retro kitchenware store!!! The place is called Flying Saucers and it is full of antique and quality reproductions. I planned to expand my jadeite collection but I saw a few vintage pieces that I had to have. Since the jadeite isn't going anywhere, I decided to grab the other stuff since I had no guarantee it would be back.

I've been wanting to get my hands on a Fire King Candle Glow dish for a while now and this one on the back right was too good to pass up. I scored it for $13. The three plates on the right are also a favorite pattern and I got them for $15. The prices at this place are quite reasonable! I got my husband an old version of the game Stratego. He was happy because his game is missing a piece. The shopping center also has an artesian glassworker. Chris got me a gorgeous pendant made of sea glass and it was really inexpensive. $18 for a handmade pendant. There are some great things to be found here! We even had our pictures made in an antique photo booth. The machine is about 40 years old and has been donated and restored.

The owls were a flea market find later on in the night. A sugar dish, plate and napkin holder. The guy let the set go for $3! I was in dish heaven when I got home! We stumbled upon the market on our way to the boardwalk to see fireworks. We were right down the street from the famous Stone Pony. The boardwalk was packed but we found a nice spot to lay down a blanket and chill. I'd seen fireworks the past few nights but I was glad I was there because it was a prime spot and I don't think I've ever been this close to the action before. For lack of a better term, we all had a blast! The weather was absolutely perfect too!

On the way back to the car, Shannon showed us some of the other galleries where they like to shop. I should mention that one of our favorite merchants from the farmers market is also located in Asbury Park. Twisted Tree decided not to come back this year but while you're in the area, I'd definitely make it a point to stop in for some delicious vegan vittles and baked goods. You can purchase many of their decadent dressings and spreads to take home.

Asbury Park doesn't have the best reputation but hopefully this latest effort to revitalize the area will work. I definitely look forward to coming back!

Crust & Crumble Pizzeria
658 Cookman Ave
Asbury Park, NJ

Twisted Tree Cafe
609 Cookman Ave
Asbury Park, NJ

Saturday, July 4, 2009

I know, I know.

Hello! I know it's been a while but I always lose a little bit of steam at this time of year because my daughter leaves to visit her father for part of the summer while she is on break from school. I usually focus on a lot of things to keep myself occupied while she's gone. The previous post speaks of breakfast dates. We've actually been doing a little bit of catching up on actual dinner dates while she has been away! We've been trying to eat in more now because all of those dinners out can add up quickly! Lots of people who know Molly is away have been inviting us out and we've also had a few friends drop in from out of town too. We're always thankful for the distraction since a large fraction of our lives revolves around her.

We have a lot going on as of late! I've been on a cleaning and organizing spree. I was lucky enough to be able to salvage some organization cubicles and shelves from my friend Laura who was moving. I incorporated them into my bedroom yesterday and my little craft nook is lookin' pretty sharp now! Thanks Laura!!! There's definitely more that needs to be done but the difference so far is quite pleasing! I'm trying to get the condo looking nice and clean these next few days because we are leaving for Europe in exactly one week! We have almost all of our plans ironed out and booked. We actually ended up having to weave a little bit of buisness into our trip for my husband so after we land in Paris, we are taking the train to Nuremberg, Germany. I just happened to read in an old magazine at a doctor's office last week that it is famous for gingerbread and people used to travel from all over the world to learn how to make it properly. It also has a large Christmas market so I have a feeling we'll be picking up some early gifts. We will take the train back to Paris the following Wednesday and we'll be there for a week and a half. The last stop on our route is Amsterdam. We'll be flying home from there on the 27th. Exciting stuff!

I don't know how much blogging I'll be able to do from overseas but I'm sure I'll have plenty of pictures and stories to share when we get back!

In the meantime, Happy 4th of July!

What better way to celebrate than with some amazing cheese and Jersey fresh berries from the market? We're going to Asbury Park tonight to check out some fireworks. My friend Shannon says there is a store with reproductions of jadeite dishes for sale so I'm pretty stoked! I've been collecting it for a long time now. I am on the lookout for a pitcher!