Easter Sunday and New Baking Creations

Easter Sunday, I went home to visit my family and took my boyfriend with me. My mum has been cooking and baking ubiquitous amounts of food since my grandmother arrived in the fall; she decided that the dessert for this holiday weekend was to be a project of my own. I didn’t mind, as I haven’t had the opportunity to prepare any dishes for my faPoundCakemily since Philip and I began to cook more advanced meals. I scrounged the internet a couple days before. I came across an absolutely gorgeous pound cake from Food and Wine’s online magazine. The fresh fruits and colors absolutely inspired me and I became so excited to bake this Clementine and Yogurt Chia Seed Pound Cake.
Although, I love poppy seeds far more than chia, so I decided to do a little bit of improvisation in the recipe, replacing the amount of chia seeds with poppy seeds.

One of the best aspects of this recipe was how easy it was to make. Truly it wasn’t difficult at all, I was quite amazed. Even if you have never baked before, this recipe is more than capable of being your next food creation in your baking career. Please be forewarned, however, that this pound cake recipe is incredibly sweet. Not the ingredients within the cake itself but the candied clementines and the clementine syrup, in addition to the powdered sugar lemon icing it becomes incredibly rich. Personally, I have an insatiable sweet tooth (seriously, I ate a whole pint of Ben and Jerry’s Vanilla Heath Bar ice cream last night… lawwwwwwdd soooooo delish), but if you follow this recipe (almost) exactly you are likely to want a steaming cup of dark black coffee to accompany a rather small size bite of the cake. Do not fret, the cake lasts for at least a week in the fridge and it still tastes absolutely delicious on day 6 and 7 as it did on day 1. I hope you try out this recipe and even alter it to make it a bit of your own, as I absolutely adored it. Happy baking, happy eating, and happy joyous living.

Advertisements

Earls in Downtown Toronto!

This past weekend I had the wonderful opportunity to spend four days (a mini vacation!!!) with my boyfriend’s family in Mississauga. On Friday we drove to celebrate his brother’s girlfriend’s birthday in Toronto. The first stop was a restaurant located in what I believe to be the heart of downtown Toronto (King’s Street), Earls. The outside was dazzling, with a covered patio, twinkling lights, and greenery to complete the setting. Earls 1Our reservation was for nine P.M., however, the table was not quite ready when we arrived. For the postponement the hostess provided us all complementary glasses of champagne, which lasted an entirety five minutes, as everyone basically chugged their glass. Even the ladies. After about three cigarettes a piece we were finally seated on a very long table, from where I sat I could view the bar, which included the woman bartender dancing to the songs that were playing overhead. My boyfriend, his cousin visiting from Croatia, and I sat on our own end of the table and decided to split a bottle of wine. photo 3
They had steak and I enjoyed a pair of corn tacos with a side of French fries, (because clearly I can never get enough fries and ketchup in my life, although you know a place is fancy if they don’t even provide you the entire bottle for consumption). photo 4The tacos themselves were rather dry for a dish, at least in terms of how they generally taste, but it did not ruin the flavor at all. It was even quite refreshing to not have the juice of the dish dribbling down my face and on to my dress. If you’re ever in Toronto, I highly suggest the restaurant. You won’t be disappointed in your gastro choices.

Philip and Me

The best most exciting news EVER!

I have been so excited about this revelation that I could not just wait to share the experience with perhaps the one or two people who read my blog by accidentally and definitely not purposefully stumbling upon my blog. My starchy, carby, comforty, and fattening cravings have increased exponentially within the past two days and so yesterday at work I decided that my lunch was going to be ketchup with a side of fries. ( I love my ketchup… don’t judge. Sometimes I think my boyfriend wonders if I love ketchup more than I love him… that is incredibly false by the way). I work in downtown Detroit, so lately there has been no shortage at all of fancy, hipster, or traditional restaurants to choose from. Really the copious amount of food options downtown is slightly mesmerizing now, and with the addition of all the food trucks that line Cadillac Square it is a foodies heaven. Anyway back to the fries and ketchup. On a whim I took the elevator to the bottom of my building and approached the counter; I soon ordered myself a very large pop (Diet Coke was featured in this machine, although I am a now die hard Pepsi fan)… and an order of fries. Now on the way down the elevator I inquired as to how these fries were supposed to taste and their level of deliciousness. I was told they would not need salt, and of course, I did not believe my team member, because really what fries could ever not use more salt? So I naturally grabbed about two salt packets and approximately 15 ketchup packets and waited in line. For a rather strip mall type of restaurant, Bellacino’s did a fantastic job on the fries. Yes I just now for the first time mentioned the name. Don’t tell anyone my secret because I will forever be commandeering their supply of fries. The bag handed to me was the size of a paper lunch bag; the fries inside amounted to somewhere between a McDonald’s small and medium, the perfect size for my hankering. The fries themselves were oven baked to absolute perfection, crispy on the outside with just enough crunch, and soft potatoey on the inside. And they were right… no salt needed, and the ketchup for these babies – completely optional. Did I mention the fries were only 69 cents? Happy eating!

Minnesotan Adventures

Hi all!

It has been absolutely forever since I have been on here; I am undergoing some major gradual changes in my life. Which sounds a little confusing, but I just realized this myself, in fact. It’s a pretty incredibly feeling actual, being able to reflect on yourself truthfully and with a complete raw and difficult honesty, to be able to see where and how you are making changes in your life. I grant a lot of this to my increased time devoted to yoga practice. Finding myself, finding peace, and breathing in life. How blessed we all truly are.

St. Paul Hotel, St. Paul, Minnesota
St. Paul Hotel, St. Paul, Minnesota

About a month ago, my mother, sister, and I traveled to Minnesota for a girls’ weekend. Overall it was a nice time, however, there are two parts of that trip that really left me feeling alive. One of the evenings we went to downtown St.Paul to visit the Jazz festival (one that we never really saw, however, was able to get my first taste of swing dancing) it ended up pouring rain so we walked throughout the sky walks. We came across the St.Paul hotel, as I spent almost twenty minutes analyzing the architectural drawings of the building from the early 1900s upon its conception. I was dragged away by an aunt to join the others in the small dining area tucked into the corner of the lobby, as soon as I sat down, however, I noticed the canvas on the wall across from us. Immediately, I thought… that must be a Gustav Klimt work! It looks stylistically just as similar to his work The Kiss. (This is my favorite painting, so I was incredibly excited about this revelation). Here, you can see it here. As I ran over there dragging my mother beside me almost

:: The Kiss ::  Gustav Klimt 1908-1909
:: The Kiss ::
Gustav Klimt
1908-1909

shrieking in excitement I showed her how the same vertical pattern of the painting was similar to his style and that generally the shapes are symbolically important to the story of the painting. Because I was not certain we decided to go speak with the concierge about the artwork, unfortunately they were unsure so we went back to our seats in the dining area. I decided to use the handy-dandy smart phone (although in a way in felt like cheating in this detective excursion) and come to find out it was in fact, based off the painting of Klimt, of the Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer I. However, the face was drastically different, in fact, it was not of any importance to the painting in the lobby, almost like it was hidden away and not mean to be a focal point at all. Which is exactly opposite to that of Klimt’s work. I was astounded by how enticing Adele’s face is in the original painting. It was one of Klimt’s last pieces during the golden era, the paint was by the way composed of true gold. As you can see from the image, there are so many similarities between the two. Come to find out the painting of Adele has recently culminated into a movie featuring Ryan Reynolds. Cool, eh? Okay okay so I finally get to the food portion of this, although it’s not yet about the beautiful delicious looking crepes featured on the beginning of this blog. Too bad I don’t have a picture of the food we gorged ourselves on at the hotel restaurant, however, we had the most amazing pizza anyone has ever had in their life. Wild mushroom pizza with truffle butter and arugula. My sister and I died and went to heaven it was absolutely amazing. Seriously go check it out if you’re ever on that end of the midwest.

Adele Bloch-Bauer, Gustav Klimt, 1907
Adele Bloch-Bauer, Gustav Klimt, 1907

So! The crepes. La Belle Crepe, is a restaurant/cafe that is probably the size of a five meter long and three meter wide space…covering the left wall (other than the large mirror) are bills of various amounts from different countries. Above there is an over-sized mixer and various other french pieces of decor, and to boot it is complete with 20 – 30 something French adults with blue and white striped shirts. the first time I went there it was November and freezing cold, so my good friend and I sat huddled in the small space of about three feet and ate the amazingness of their crepes. I recently went back because I just HAD to take my mother there, as she loves food just as much if not more than I do. To start we ordered our Cafe au Lait, because come on, if we don’t both have at least 6 cups of coffee in the morning between the two of us something is majorly wrong. The chef soon brought out the two orders (which we both decided to share) the first was the Dill & Lox which contained smoked salmon, garlic mushrooms, dill havarti, and topped with a delicious hollondaise sauce. It was an absolutely amazing combination that mumwas savory enough to fill an empty breakfast stomach, but light enough to allow room for the second crepe 🙂 we ate through it rather quickly because it was truly so good, we swiftly moved onto the second mango crepe filled with almond paste and creme fraiche. I know, with the coffeeyou’re jealous aren’t you? I mean I would be, because it’s delicious, but I’m not, because I’ve eaten there three times. So will you?

Wright & Co. : Burned rosemary, jazzy jams and aluminum ceilings

A couple Thursday’s ago I had my fourth opportunity to have a classy happy hour of beverages at Wright and Co. just off of Woodward. It’s hidden away, snuggled between John Varvatos and an alley, you have to first go up an elevator to the second floor. Once you exit you find yourself in a very short dark hallway, up above you a chandelier; you can hear sweet music in the background and smell burning herbs. The atmosphere is set – one similar to a classy 1950’s Sinatra joint. (Which if you ask me is pretty super classy). The lighting is low and the tables are so close to one another you would think you were in a European cafe- one where you are basically eating and conversing with your table neighbors. The aura of the restaurant is something that is comforting and edgy simultaneously and patrons are welcomed by a greeter with a bunch of tattoos and some slick eye make up. So basically OF COURSE I loved this place and had to come back multiple times within the same month. wrightandco

Maybe one day I’ll write a post where I don’t actually enjoy the food, service, or environment? Or maybe Detroit is just awesome.

Anyway…

My first time there I asked for the Rosemary Pine Sour. As a rosemary fanatic I could absolutely not pass up this opportunity. Seated at the bar I was able to watch my bartender make the drink before my eyes. There were small containers of herbs lining the bar. I was incredibly surprised as I watched him take a flame to the sprig of rosemary, char it, and then place it over top of my cocktail. I understood where the smell of burning herbs had come from and it was definitely potent near my face as I began to sip my beverage. The drink itself was absolutely delicious- however, for future reference, I would ask for my rosemary not to be burned.  Personally, I feel rosemary is rather strong on its own and the smokey flavor doesn’t do much to enhance the drink, it more so made me taste burnt embers and for that reason I wasn’t impressed. They also never separate the bill, so make sure you’re not in too large of a group because it causes a fiasco at the end.

A personal favorite in terms of their specialty cocktails has become the Blackberry Bramble, a great combination of liquor with a sweet blackberry tang, there is also a dry bite that tames off the sweetness. wright_co

The most recent occasion for dining I was out for a dinner with my parents. Wright and Co. is based off a small plates concept, (which really then reminded me of Europe because most of the dishes you can compare to fine tapas). We had three plates, an appetizer, and a dessert. All prepped to perfection and displayed in a way that made the food look like you didn’t quite want to ruin its display, but then you think you don’t care, totally miss the stereotypical foodie picture and dig in. We had chicken, roasted pork tenderloin, tuna tar-tar, and some AMAZING macaroni. Never underestimate the ability to perfect and gourmet-ify mac’N’cheese. This ditalini pasta was prepared with Gorgonzola cheese and Italian sausage. It was topped with a walnut crust that basically made you moan on the first bite. If you go, and if you wish to spend the money for food, I highly recommend you take a stab at this pasta dish. You won’t regret it. Needless to say, it was another very successful outing to Wright and Co. and I am eagerly anticipating my next opportunity to take someone new for their own first experience there. Stay classy Detroit. Love ya.

The Guardian + The Dime

Yesterday was again, another extremely cold day in lower Michigan. At least the sun was out so the warm rays would warm you as the rest of you was frozen in the notorious wind. We could hear the birds, however, which is such a nice reminder that the last day of February was bringing us hope for the (ideally) soon to come spring. To set the mood, the day just had the vibe that it was spring, you could even smell it and feel the happiness. (It sounds cheesy, but really that was how I felt).

The rents and I enjoyed a tour of the Guardian building. For more information, check out their Facebook page and website. They often give these tours on Fridays and Saturdays, and to top it all off they are FREE. The purchases made at the Detroit swag shop in the lobby are able to provide these tours to incoming travelers. You are not allowed access to view the upstairs of the building, but hey if you’re soon to be married and want to rent it out…that option is available to you. Future husband please note that as important. Anyway back to the point, there was a crowd much larger than I had originally anticipated. There were people from all over the country as well as the world! Which I find extremely exciting and hopeful for the city. A group of friends from Texas, a family from Puerto Rico, and a small group of Germans. In total there were probably close to 50 people.

Tiffany Clock (in the background)
Tiffany Clock (in the background)

We began the tour in the Guardian lobby just outside the Detroit shop. Built in 1929, the Guardian was filled with different cultural aspects as well as from different eras. There was definitely a 20s Great Gatsby vibe mixed with Azteca art-deco and some 1950s turquoise tile. Once a bank, the Guardian was filled with references to fidelity, trust, and security. If you are a stained glass, mosaic, culture, or state of Michigan fanatic I highly encourage you to take a road-trip to enjoy this monstrously beautiful building. Although anyone further west from Marquette (including my prided Keweenaw… we are not represented). I encourage all to take this tour, the guide did a great job despite the large unexpected group and we learned about the Ford Building, the Penobscot, and the First National Building as well.

Immediately following the tour we had a hot hour to get into the Dime and get lunch, so I eagerly pushed my mom and dad out of the Guardian and practically ran to the Chrysler House. It was my second time eating at this restaurant (located in the Chrysler building on Griswold) and once again I was not disappointed. If you are a goat cheese fanatic like myself, you surely want to get your fill of the amazing different recipes they feature in this small and very often crowded dining place filled with savory goat-cheese deliciousness. We walked into the room and were greeted by an incredibly cheerful hostess who had us seated at our table in less than two minutes. The majority of the diners were in their mid 20s and early 30s.

House Fries
House Fries

I was probably the youngest person (22) and my parents were probably the oldest (nearing their 60s). We were warmly greeted by a “hipster-esque” waitress and I started the Saturday-noon afternoon with an Atwater Dirty Blonde. (I can’t actually recall whether I have had this or not, but I believe it was more chilled at the DBC). I seemed to be the only one enjoying on tap brew, while everyone else had their Bloody Marys and black coffee. Whatever. I was going for the beer. I could have guessed exactly what my parents would like because they ordered what I had mentally chosen for them after reading the menu. My mother, decided upon the poached pear salad (by the way I can vouch for this, totally the best salad I have ever had in my life), my father, the steak and cheese sandwich (the not so adventurous eater of the family), and I myself had the smoked salmon benny.

Mutter
Mutter

Lawd oh lawd, I was taken back to my days in Spain, but almost better. The smoked salmon was salty and delicious, while the english muffin was covered with cream cheese and herbs with two perfectly poached eggs, topped with hollandaise and capers. On the side was a bitter arugula and spinach salad that complemented the salty smoked salmon beautifully. As you can tell, I have nothing but fantasticness to say about the Dime. Both of my experiences here have been delightful. But be sure to be patient with the service as they are always hopping mad with hungry Detroiters, but trust me the wait whatever the time frame may be, is totally worth what these chefs have to offer.

So go eat your heart out.

Vater
Vater