Thursday, May 27, 2010

Thai Moon

I want this cappuccino in the morning.

But alas, It's in Bangkok off a small street near Koh San Road. So I'll just have to find another one that looks this good, and in my general area.... of California.

I just love how clean the line of dark espresso is around the white foam. It kinda looks like the full moon we have here tonight, huh?
This cup made me so happy when It was delivered to my table all shiny, foamy and caffeinated. I was a wreck at the time, exhausted from sweating and traveling all day. I took this photo because I had no one to share my excitement with at the moment. I remember just staring at it in Aw, for a good while. It was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen. And to take a sip was like taking its virginity. So I just stared for awhile, and then I indulged.

well, thats all I have to say- Full moons and Thai cappuccinos. I'm happy with that.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Grapefruits & Goodbyes

I spent a bit of time in the great state of Texas last year. Austin, Texas to be exact. I went out there with a friend to visit a music festival, drink sweet tea and cheap beer, and get my years fill of pulled pork. I've always fantasized about being a Southern girl- with a cute little twang, debutant stature, and family heirloom recipes for fried okra and peach cobbler. But alas, I am a Southern girl from the great state of California. San Fernando Valley, California to be exact. A SoCal girl who awkwardly can't wear high heel shoes, has an heirloom recipe for dijon chicken from her Irish Grandma, and opts for saying words like "Ciao!" "Adios!" and even "Peace Out!" (yes- an embarrassing residual from high school...) instead of Goodbye. But I do think I have some real Southern blood in my veins- I wear rustic leather boots with jean shorts, I love lard, I proudly use the word "y'all" whenever possible, and I honestly admit to enjoying a good queso dip (even though I know well, that queso dip isn't really cheese at all.) But most importantly is that some of the most genuine, inspiring, and closest relationships I have in my life, have all come from those great Southern states. So I am pretty convinced that I am attracted to these folks because I am just one of them, thats all there is to it!

I was back to Austin a few months after my first visit to dabble more deeply in the food scene. Pulled pork Sandwiches from Iron Works BBQ, Gingerbread pancakes from Magnolia Cafe, crepes and cupcakes from Airstream trailers, crawfish boils, cheap beer in personalized koozies, softball sized grapefruits and peaches, and breakfast tacos with an endless bowl of queso dip on the side. But best of all, the city is filled with the scent of smoky BBQ, and the songs of constant live music all day! And no matter how hard the humidity is weighing on your chest, or how bad it is to tame the mass of curly hair that has tripled in size- happiness is found in the city of Austin.

My friend Sean and I traveled back and forth from Santa Barbara and Austin last summer in search of live music and good eats in each others cities. We camped and hiked up the California coast, stopping at hippy bakeries and seeking out quality coffee. And I introduced him to my favorite cocktail alongside California Oysters- The Greyhound Proper. Quality Gin mixed with fresh grapefruit juice, over ice, with a candied grapefruit rind. He jumped right on board with the lovers of Greyhounds, and soon we were drinking sweet Texas grapefruit juice and gin, out of mason jars in the Austin sunshine.

Greyhound Proper-

1 1/2 oz Plymouth Gin
5 oz of fresh grapefruit juice (Texas grapefruits... of course)

combine all ingredients in a cocktail shaker with ice and shake well. pour over ice into a highball glass and serve with candied grapefruit peel. Enjoy!

I got to spend a day with Sean just this past weekend while he was in-between flights on his way to New Zealand. He sold his belongings, moved out of Austin, packed a backpack and is moving to New Zealand for a year of adventure and unknown. I love it when people make choices to take charge of their life and independence like that. To answer the call deep inside you that just wants to run to a far away place, filled with nothing and no one familiar, climb a mountain, sleep in a van, think, read, acknowledge, be, and just breathe in your own existence. Traveling alone is the most rewarding thing I have ever done for myself, and I know it will be for him too.

So I dedicate this post to Sean. And his adventure of a lifetime. To answering those questions, walking those trails, and creating those stories that will shape his life forever.

When you travel,
A new silence
Goes with you
And if you listen
You will hear
What your heart would
Love to say.

May you travel safely
Arrive refreshed
And live your time
Away to its fullest
Return home
More enriched and free
To balance the gift of days
Which call you

And most importantly- May you bring me some quality farmstead cheese, and arrive back with a ferocious appetite for Barbeque and Greyhound Propers. Bon Voyage and Good Luck, Sean!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Bend for Breakfast

Sparrow Bakery in Bend, Oregon February 2010.

I woke up this morning with a sore throat, dizzy head, achy arms and legs, and this pastry on my mind.

So, does that mean that all the late night sangria, mid-day beers and bottomless breakfast Bloody Marys I enjoyed in New York, this past month, may have had something to do with my current discomfort? Definitely not! And I'm also sure that my "Welcome Home to California!" fresh strawberry margarita escapades with friends in the warm Santa Barbara sunshine had NOTHING to do with my sloth-like physical state at the moment... And for the record, I really do think that I am the only happy, healthy, 25 year old on the planet whose liver looks like a shriveled, yellow kitchen sponge after just 3 days of enjoying my youth. Once my liver has decided to take a holiday from processing my toxins, my immune system quickly follows and thus leaves me here. At home. With a luke warm cup of Throat Coat tea, and a pyramid of bed-side vitamin C and Ricolas.

But I really did wake up thinking about how much fun I had in Bend a few months back, and how cozy and wonderful my trips to Sparrow Bakery were. The first image is one of the infamous Ocean Roll- croissant dough, sprinkled with freshly grated cardamom, cracked black pepper and sugar before baking. It is, hands down, one of the BEST breakfast pastries I have ever had! After touching my Pacific Ocean again yesterday for the first time in 6 weeks, I can completely understand why a city in the high desert of inland Oregon would name their prized pastry, the Ocean Roll- Because it induces pure bliss.
Oh, and the croissant breakfast sandwich with avocado and a poached egg was equally as good. Do keep Sparrow Bakery in mind if you ever make it up to Bend.

I will say though, that having just dabbled in the first of our summer strawberry season, it is going to be a great one! I'm totally and completely prepared to gorge on everything strawberry for the next few months.... just hold the tequila please.

Here is something that i am looking forward to making as soon as I can get out of my pajamas. Enjoy!

Strawberry Frozen Yogurt (adapted from David Lebovitz)
About 1 quart

1 pound (450g) strawberries, rinsed and hulled
2/3 cup (130g) sugar
1 cup (240g) plain whole milk yogurt or greek yogurt
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice

Slice the strawberries into small pieces. Toss in a bowl with the sugar and vodka or kirsch (if using) until the sugar begins to dissolve. Cover with plastic wrap and let stand at room temperature for 2 hours, stirring every so often.

Transfer the strawberries and their juice to a blender or food processor. Add the yogurt and fresh lemon juice. Pulse the machine until the mixture is smooth. If you wish, press mixture through a mesh strainer to remove any seeds.

Chill for 1 hour, then freeze in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer's instructions.