Friday, February 26, 2010

two minute lunch: nate's taco truck

Today I took my morning calls from my house and decided to grab lunch before heading to the office. Richmond is scattered with food trucks but I had heard rumors of an amazing taco truck on VCU's campus. Too far from office on ordinary days, I checked it out. I have to give props to RVA Foodie whose Camarelized Opinions first informed me of the exhistance of this magical truck.

Nate's Taco Truck is found where Staurt and Grove meet, in the middle of the VCU campus. A very nondescript truck (Nate, lemme know if you need a graphic designer!) there were constantly a few folks, all of whom appeared to be college students, waiting for tacos. Nate (I'm assuming) was incredibly friendly, chatting with the girl in front of me about The Real World and serving up tacos with a smile.

There are a range of tacos, with meat (chicken, chorizo, beef) and vegetarian (TVP, potato, black bean) which come with sour cream, salsa, cheese and lettuce. Quesadillas and "frito pie" are also available. (Frito pie is a bag of fritos with beef and taco toppings. Sounds delish!) I ordered 3 tacos- chorizo, beef, and potato- for $2.50 each.

Potato and chorizo tacos.

I ate the first two- potato then beef- in the car immediately. Started with the potato, which I had expected to have small squares of potato. Instead it was potato hash, shredded potato similiar to the type used at Waffle House. It was highly seasoned with some delicious unknown spices and despite the starch content felt very light to eat (maybe it was my speed wolfing it down?) but then I cracked into the beef taco. The seasoning tasted more along the lines of taco seasoning you buy at the supermarket, but somehow more intense. The beef was a little greasy and my tortilla that had been previously perfectly crisped got a bit soggy. Still, delicious and after the second taco I started to fill a little full. I decided to head to the office. About halfway through I started to crave my third taco. And get worried that it too would be soggy.

Ground beef taco.
Luckily the chorizo was not as greasy and the taco was in perfect condition. In fact, the time being wrapped up in the foil let the cheese get all melty and the sour cream had sort of infused the whole taco. It was the most delicious of the three (though in close competition with the pototo taco.)

All in all, I'm planning on being back on Wednesday.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

brian jungen

Currently at the Museum of American Indian. From the promotional materials:

Brian Jungen turns objects inside out. By deconstructing them, he changes not only the things themselves, but the ways we think about what they used to be, and what they've become.

He begins with objects that are ordinary, useful, and comforting. When he's through, they are unique, expensive, and useless.

Jungen explores the intersection of art and Indian artifacts, by creating masks, totem poles, bones, and other 'Indian' items out of everyday materials. I took a few photos and wish I had taken more.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

weekend review

[san fransisco]

[afternoon shopping]

[fresh fruit everywhere]

[lunch in napa]

[they grew their own veggies]

[ian's bloody mary came with a shot of beer]

[my prickly pear margarita, lots of salt...]

[from their own cactus]

[after our delicious meal we had to lie down in the car]

[then ian taught me to play chess]

[napa scenery]

[sunday brunch]

[afternoon at the moma]

[home decor idea? maybe not.]


[barry mcgee]

[pretty mondrian cake]

[delicious cake!]

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

flowers for valentine's day

On Friday, this bouquet showed up at my office. While not a complete surprise (text from the bf the day before asking for my office suite prepared me) it was very lovely.

Look at how many flowers they packed in there! I prefer a more simple arrangement and decided to spread the love around my house.

Flower type 1.

Flower type 2.

Combined together.
These lovely pots were my Christmas present to the bf who had to leave them at my place since he was flying home. Now they live on my shelf and I love them. I think I'll hold them hostage until he sends my bar cart.

This lovely arrangement ended up on my bathroom sink.

A sweet little set for my hall table to accompany Gracie's leash.

On my headboard.

And lastly, over the kitchen sink.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

sublet clothing

Two years ago I fell in love with a dress. I was in college and definitely could not afford the dress. Over the years, it's popped back into my life thanks to being featured on various blogs and fashion websites. I still want this dress badly, despite being totally unsure where I would wear it. I still check in on my dress sometimes, but I know I'll never own it because despite the sales, it is still way more than I can afford. So I will share it with you!

This company has gorgeous photography.

Love it in khaki!

Sublet Clothing is an amazing company owned by two friends who many ecologically conscious clothing. The dress I love, the Alison dress, is made from organic cotton, bamboo and a bit of spandex. Eco-fabric has layers of complications, but I support companies that I believe are truly trying to push fashion in the right direction.

In stalking them, I found a similiarly styled dress that I may actually love even more. It's on sale here and comes in a stunning blue. I always want to do the design/professor thing and dress in all neutrals but with colors like this how can I!

The draping on both dresses and the black detail at the waist just is so romantic to me. It's sexy and yet casual. I would want to throw this dress on all the time, but instead would keep it in my closet for some special occasion because after all this time I wouldn't want to mess it up!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

snowed in recipes

My roommate and I did not really prepare for the past weekend's snowstorm that kept me home all weekend. Wednesday we had a conversation that went like this:
Roomie: What else should I get at the store?
Me: Um... wine. potatoes? more pasta. milk.
Thursday I picked up a few more things but the local Krogers was going crazy so I grabbed random things, couldn't find most of what I wanted and bolted. Friday night roommate was out and I was trying to decide what to make. I had a craving for scalloped potato despite Krogers was out of rosemary. I also really wanted to use my mandoline. Finally! So I used this recipe that was in my Epicurious recipe box with some adaptions. Namely, I added bacon. Potatoes and bacon are two of my favorite things, after all. I estimated reductions to make a single serving, having no idea how to take a recipe in pounds of potatoes and translate that into one potato.

1 medium russet potato
2 garlic cloves, peeled, chopped
1 tablespoon chopped cilantro
1/2 cups heavy whipping cream
sea salt & pepper
2 slices bacon, chopped
grated Parmesan cheese
butter (about 1 tablespoon)

Position rack in center of oven and preheat to 350°F. Butter 13x9x2-inch glass baking dish. Place garlic cloves and cilantro in bottom of prepared baking dish. Combine cream, coarse salt, and white pepper in large bowl.

Using V-slicer or mandoline, thinly slice potato into rounds. Immediately add potatoes to bowl with cream mixture, turning to coat potatoes. Arrange potato slices evenly over in baking dish, reserving cream mixture in bowl. Repeat layering with remaining fennel slices, then remaining potato slices. Pour cream mixture in bowl over potatoes in baking dish. Toss any remaining garlic and cilantro on top. Dot with butter cubes.*

Bake scalloped potatoes until almost tender when pierced with knife, about 1 hour 15 minutes. Top with bacon and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Increase oven temperature to 425°F.Bake until potatoes are tender and top is deep golden brown, about 20 minutes longer. Remove from oven and let rest 15 minutes.

*I did not dot mine with butter, but doesn't that sound delicious.

It didn't come out just like scalloped potatoes but was crunchy on top and deliciously creamy on the bottom. A solid experiment and one that I'll replicate in the future! Enjoy!

Thursday, February 4, 2010

winter warning

Last week I was out of commission at a staff training in sunny San Antonio. I arrived home to find Richmond covered in snow. My car was under, oh, 7 inches of snow which meant I was not going to bother with grocery shopping. Instead, I scavenged my cabinets and freezer to make this chickpea stew. I used two recipes as inspiration, one from the amazing blog The Kitchn and one from the useful resource Epicurious. This recipe is, as often is the case, this is meant to serve as basic guidelines so adapt to what you have.

1lb bag of dried chickpeas, soaked in water overnight
1 sweet potato
1 large white onion
olive oil
8 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
1 tablespoon ground cumin
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 can chicken broth
asparagus, frozen, roughly the equivalent of 1 bunch
1-2 cups spinach
juice of 1-2 limes

1. Cut sweet potato into small pieces, coat with olive oil, toss with salt and roast in oven.

2. Heat oil in large pot over medium flame. Add onion and saute until translucent, about 10 minutes. Add garlic and spices, when fragrant, add the chickpeas and broth. Bring broth to a boil then add asparagus and spinach. Add sweet potato when ready.

3. Keep simmering to allow chickpeas to soften. I kept the liquid levels very low and added water only when I felt it was needed. Due to lots of stirring, the sweet potato completely disappeared though I could taste it. I left it on about 40 minutes before I ate and then on low while I ate, in all about 1 hour.

4. When almost done, add lime juice, salt and pepper if disired. Serve over rice.

In the end, the stew was sweet and cinammon-y. I loved it but think it could be improved by adding something more spicy, such as cayenne. I only used one lime and the flavor was lost. I didn't use salt or pepper but it probably would improve it.

This made enough for 8, of which I froze half.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

bon appetit steals my cravings

I swear Bon Appetit wrote this month's issue just for me. Grabbed it at the local drugstore before I even read the cover and was delighted to see the headlines. I should treat myself to a subscribtion, but I can borrow copies from my mom and grandmother (and use to find them too.) I'm glad I'll have a hard copy of this month.

Healthy winter salads fit in my resolution to eat healthy plus my love of salad and quick food. Chocolate and pasta are obvious favorites, as is my love of meat and potatoes (I am my father's little girl, after all.) Potato risotto sounds amazing, even if after reading I realized it has no actual risotto. And the sandwich on the front makes my mouth water.

Also inside (and online) are 15 (!) recipes for mac and cheese. I've been craving mac and cheese for months all the time (see my recipe here) and fell in love with the version at Eatonville in DC. I want to try to make a creamy version with the massive amount of various cheese I recently purchased at Trader Joes.

Plus, I just signed up for weekly emails with recipes and more. Bon Appetit has a nice balance of relatively easy recipes and harder, more complex recipes with instructions that make it possible for me to attempt them.

Monday, February 1, 2010

new year, new music

Over the past year, there some albums that came into my life that I loved. The Avett Brothers' I and Love and You, for instance, completely melts my heart everytime I hear it. Despite Southern roots, I joined the crowd of obsessed fans of Jay-Z's "Empire State of Mind" and The Blueprint 3. I was glad to see Miranda Lambert's sophmore album was more than sophmoric and a vast improvement over Crazy Ex-Girlfriend (while still leaving me a little scared of her.) But I loved (or at least liked) all these artists before. And many that I did love, I hadn't picked up their latest (hello, Yeah Yeah Yeahs!)

I began to realize that I listened to a small number of albums and musicians and that I needed a serious overhaul. I was still using the excuse that during junior year my computer crashed as rationale for having almost no music, but that was two years ago!

So belatedly, on the train Saturday, I finally made a New Year's Resolution. Only a month late.

I will listen to new music. Everyday.

My plan is to do this at work, turning on music to get started everyday. I'm taking suggestions. Today's first official selection comes from my boyfriend, who knows my love for cute, happy, slightly twee music. His friend from back in the day plays guitar and banjo, and having a banjo in your band means I want to listen to you. His suggestion? Freelance Whales.

They seem pretty legit on their Myspace (album coming out soon, big tour through the Southern part of the country before playing at SXSW.) They sound familiar, but I'm having trouble figuring out the right comparisons. They have a dreamy pop sound, not as depressing as Bright Eyes who I haven't heard in forever but whose name is coming to mind along with the Postal Service. I'm not reviewer but I say, give them a listen and I hope you like it!