Friday, March 26, 2010

When I went to design school, this is the type of work I hoped to create. While my life has made some turns, someday, in some way, I'd like to have tangible spaces like this to point to as my life's work.

Achievement First Endeavor Middle School, a charter school in Clinton Hill
by Paula Scher and Pentagram design team

Monday, March 15, 2010

Time Out New York's 50 most stylish New Yorkers.
Below are some of my favorites, though the accessories shots are perhaps the coolest.
There are 4-20 shots of each person, so click through.

[Cara Clinton, 28, head buyer of Beacon's Closet and accessories designer]

[Cats McDaid-Kelly, 25, MFA student at Parsons The New School for Design]

Holy self-made chain, Batman!
[Christian Joy, 36, costume/fashion designer]

Why do so many of the amazing women have names that start with C? And I must say, I love "Cats" with an s. Something to think about? Perhaps not.

[Kelly Framel, 26, stylist, jewelry designer and fashion blogger]
Disclaimer: I have long loved her blog

[Jeralyn Gerba, 28, DailyCandy editor]

Sequins were all over Copenhagen and I regret not buying anything with sequins when I was there (I actually bought NO clothes other my awesome- and needed- woolen mittens!)
[Mary “Mz. Skittlez” Seats, 22, rapper-singer, fashion guru, student and stylist

[Jessica Delfino, 27, twisted minstrel and subversive art lady]

[Golden Triangle]
[Alix Brown, Carly Rabalias, Vashti Windish]
I love a dandy.
[Bill Webb, 67, retired Wall Streeter]

Just for fun.
[Cheryl, Disco Shamans]

More here.

Friday, March 12, 2010

pasta with asparagus and sausage

Also found on my incredible vegetable buying extravaganza was a thick bunch of thin little asparagus. I came home from dance class last night craving comfort food but wanting to stay on the healthy side too. I decided to whip up an easy pasta dish. I've made something similar, from a recipe, so if this look familiar to you, please let me know what I first found the recipe. I've reconstructed below.

What I did:

Pasta with Asparagus and Sausage in a Lemon-Parmesan sauce
1 lb pasta
1 bundle of asparagus
4 sausages, cooked and chopped
1 lemon
3-4 tbs Parmesan cheese grated

Boil pasta. Add asparagus when you have ~3 minutes left to cook pasta and asparagus together. Drain, reserving 1 cup pasta water. Put pasta back in pot. Add cheese, squeeze lemon on top, add small amounts of pasta water until pasta is coated with lemony-cheesey goodness.

Simple? Yes. Delicious? Fairly.

I regret that I didn't start the sausages when I was boiling the water (instead I was doing yesterday's dishes.) So I just microwaved them, which really didn't do them justice. I loved it for dinner, the lemon made it so bright and fresh and that fact that there wasn't much sauce was refreshing. The next day for lunch, it was not so great. I should have added olive oil all over it, grated lemon peel on top and eaten it cold. I have some more leftovers and I hope that helps them. I could have added more cheese too but I was using up what I had.

- Add spinach or other vegetables you love.
- Use chicken instead of sausage. Or try it meatless.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

etsy loves geodes

I keep stumbling across beautiful jewelry made from geodes and after seeing an image of a beautiful neckalce on The Brightside Project, I had to search etsy for more to share. All of these would be acceptable presents.

My Cellar Door

Iris Jewelry Design

Irina Tsafir

Technically, not a geode. But awesome.

i'm not a breakfast person

When at brunch, I always choose the "-unch" options, not the "br-" options. That said, there's something about Oliver Schwarzwald's interpretation of breakfast that I fancy.

Can you guess where these breakfasts are from?
(From top: United States, Russia, France)

See more at

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

olios blogger meetup

I'm just getting into blogging and also still feeling really new to Richmond, so I was super thrilled and honored to be invited to a Richmond area food bloggers meetup. I had enjoyed checking out some of the blogs ahead of time but wasn't expecting anyone to have read mine. Embarrassing story: I had just gotten a beer (Olio comped our first drink, so nice of them!) and was pouring it into a frosty glass when a woman I introduced myself to said "oh! you're percentblog!" I was so shocked I didn't realize my beer was super foamy and spilling out of the glass. But I had a great time and met amazing people so you'll see the Richmond blogroll over to the right grow quickly.

But on to the food. Obviously the foodie who chose the place did so because of the wonderful food and atmosphere, but you would think that a room full of self-proclaimed foodies would have critiques. The whole evening I didn't hear one. What's not to love about a market that does food excellently and sells beer and wine at retail prices? I had the Sopresatta Suzanna Pizza with tomato vodka sauce, fortina and provolone, and sopresatta salami. A friend and I sat in wonder as we ate the salami. No full review here but go try Olio yourself.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

RIP McQueen

Finale look from the presentation of Lee Alexander McQueen's last collection.

music of the day: OK GO- This Too Shall Pass

Delightful! Short writeup here.

cupcake craze

A lot of people are over the 'cupcake trend' and I admit that most cupcake places are overprices and oversugared. That doesn't stop my love of cupcakes, however. I've been craving cupcakes for months but didn't own cupcake pans. I was about to crack and buy some when they were on sale at the grocery store! Yes! So I bought regular and mini sized pans.

I knew exactly what I wanted to make. Chocolate cupcakes with raspberry jam filling and vanilla cream cheese frosting. Thanks to the amazing women at Big Girls Small Kitchen I found the perfect recipes for the cake and icing. I think I overbaked just a tad but the icing adds enough moisture back that it's okay. Stuffing the cupcakes was the trickiest part and while they didn't come out tasty, I think they will be eaten all up just fine. Any hints on filling cupcakes would be much appreciated. I just cut little slits in and shoved the jam down, but the more they cooled the harder that got. The jam mixed into the icing a bit on some of the 'cakes.

Photo quality's not so great due to my rush to eat one! I love the big cupcake with the jam hidden inside and the little baby cake next to it with a dab of jam sweetly on top.

Monday, March 8, 2010

quick pic: best if used by MAR0810

Best if used by March 08, 2010. Today. Normally best if used by is a flexible guideline of sorts, but I couldn't bring myself to use this as much as I wanted to make aioli. I did open it and even took a little taste but I swear it was just off.

get your vitamins

My local grocery store doesn't always have the best vegetables so when I went in Sunday to find easy parking (rare) and great looking broccoli rabe (say what?!) I was so excited to get it. I knew I wanted it sauteed with red pepper flakes. I'd never cooked broccoli rabe before so I did a quick google search and found exactly what I was looking for!

I didn't want the broccoli rabe cut so short, so I just trimmed the edges and left it. It turned out just as I hoped. The rabe was still crisp and fresh tasting while still coated in delicious delicious oil.

I paired it with roasted potatoes (red and yellow potatoes cubed, tossed with olive oil and salt and roasted for 40 minutes in a 400 degree oven) and a nice red. Perfect easy meal for a day when winter is becoming spring.

maya lin

quick pic: robot sandwiches

Maybe my incredibly picky little cousins would eat these sandwiches?
I know I've fallen in love with

weekend review

This weekend I was in Richmond all on my own since roomie was out of town. I was looking forward to kicking back as much as possible and for the beginning of the week that meant avoiding grocery shopping and cooking. I also wanted to get out and explore a little, even if it meant doing it by myself.

Wine Tasting
To kick off the weekend I stopped by two wine tastings that were Twitter recommended to me by RVA Foodie. I first stopped by Grape and Cheese in the Fan. Sadly, they weren't having a wine tasting this week but the owner did give me a taste of a bottle he had opened. I also found a red wine from my favorite label from the summer. I'd only had the white before so I bought it and am excited to taste it soon (before it gets too spring-like outside for me to ever want to drink red!) The owner seemed very knowledgeable and there were several other people browsing, but sadly the shelves seemed a little empty and dusty. I hope it isn't a sign that the shop is in trouble. I'll have to stop by next Friday as well.

Without my fill of free wine, I headed to River City Cellars. The shop was bustling. Sometimes I feel awkward asking for wine tastings when they are out but no one is really pouring. Here there were no feelings of awkwardness. Apparently the drill is you bring your own glass or else you are served in 'medicine cups' as the server called them, or small plastic condiment cups. This week's tasting was Austrian wines and we were given helpful sheets with information about each wine.

Moshi Moshi

After the wine tasting, I decided to get dinner at Moshi Moshi, a Carytown sushi restaurant. I had thought it would be a good place to eat alone since I could sit at the sushi bar, but it turns out they don't have a sushi bar so I sat at the normal bar. To start I wanted to get a cocktail. Despite being right in front of it, I failed to realize there was a full bar so I ordered one of their saketini specials listed on the menu. It was pear-melon which sounded amazing and I hoped for a clear mixture of vodka and sake. Instead, the addition of some kind of melon liquor turned the whole thing a bright green and I couldn't tell if it was the green liquor or the sake that gave the drink a strange taste. The bartender was teaching a fellow staff member how to make it, however, and she loved it so maybe it just wasn't to my taste.

As I was deciding on my rolls, I ordered a cucumber melon salad with cilantro. I love tart and vinegary, but sadly this salad was all tart and the melon pieces were diced cubes that didn't lend any juiciness to the salad. If they had been left off, it would have tasted the same. The cilantro didn't really come through either, so I was disappointed with the starter.

I also ordered a yellowfish roll and spicy tuna roll. The yellowfish roll was fine, but nothing special with perhaps too much rice. I should have ordered the yellowfish sashimi to enjoy the fish. The spicy tuna was much more delicious, with spicy tuna, avocado and cucumber.

It's hard to give a full review given that I ordered only two rolls and no speciality rolls. I like the vibe so I'd definitely come back here with a friend or two to give it a second try.

Total: $24ish + tip

Black Sheep
Saturday afternoon I slept late and at 1pm started to think about lunch. Lunch turned out to be the highlight of my weekend. I've been wanting to try The Black Sheep, which is near my house and I've heard is excellent.

The Black Sheep is known for it's huge sandwiches also known as 'Battleships' that are served on baguettes. I knew that was where I had to start. I ordered the CSS Virginia, substituting roasted chicken for the fried chicken livers (I just couldn't bring myself to order liver, sorry Daddy.) It came with shredded cabbage, green onions, granny smith apple & remoulade sauce. I ordered the half and still only managed to eat half of it.

I also ordered the Mason-Dixon which was half hard cider and half lager. It was tart but mellower than most hard cider and less sweet. Very good but I love cider so was sort of craving more of a punch. A few others were enjoying brunch drinks, but most folks were going for the Southern standby sweet tea (though several folks were getting their sugar rush from a Mexico-made sugar Coca-cola classic.)

Deciding to save half of my half-sandwich, I still had a little room for dessert. I ordered the banana pudding, described as lady fingers layered with a fluffy ripe banana & rum spiked pudding, nutmeg & sweet whipped cream. One bite and I was in love. The lady fingers made the dessert very light and the banana pudding is sweet but not cloying. I had made friends with table next to me and had to give them a bite as well. I think it convinced them to order dessert.

When I arrived at 2pm the small seating area was full, but I was seated within 5 minutes. The whole time I was there, folks kept arriving and there wasn't an empty table until 2:30. The hostess and two servers were super friendly and I loved the vibe the decor gave The Black Sheep. I'm already planning on bringing my Dad here because he loves good sandwiches and banana pudding. I'll also be back more afternoons on my own. I kept checking out the sides and other sandwiches other tables were eating, and I have to try the cauliflower, mac and cheese and the Miss "E".

Total: $18 + tip for sandwich, beer and dessert

Post lunch, I did some thrifting and will share the spoils later once they are re:purposed. I'd have to say though, even with my delicious meals and great finds, the best part of the weekend was the warm sunny weather!

Sunday, March 7, 2010

quick pic: paper mache

papier mache peacock jane grey for stray dogs designs at gwg
My paper mache masterpiece, done in 9th grade.

urban farmhouse review

Since I've moved down to Richmond I've been intrigued by a storefront near my office at 1217 E. Cary St. For months coming soon was plastered in the window but slowly things were happening inside. Weeks before the opening, Urban Farmhouse established themselves on twitter, which only increased my interest in the restaurant that promised "locally sourced seasonal food and organic coffees & teas." Finally about a month ago, it opened! I checked it out on the first day it opened, stopping by as I walked past going to work.

Fresh bread and pastries.

I loved this container of animal crackers at the register.

Cozy couches and tables.

The market had a variety of food items, along with some lip balms and other simple beauty products. While small, you could theoretically come in and pick up everything you need for a simple meal from nonperishables. There are no produce, meat or dairy on sale, though the Farmhouse does sell fresh bread.

On to the food, for my first visit since it was morning I just grabbed a chai and the toast and jam option. There was an option of bread and I of course choose the delicious sourdough roll option. While delicious, it was extremely pricey for bread and jam. I did get about half a pear and a quarter of an apple in fruit slices, but the cost was high even for organic produce. I'm also doubtful of the local organic pear in January and wish Urban Farmhouse did a better job of listing where their food comes from. The chai was fine but I think if I'm just getting coffee or tea, I'll stick to Shockoe Espresso.

More food reviews and ethical debates after the jump.

About a week later I stopped by to get takeout for a lunch meeting. I was there before the lunch rush, ordering around 10:50 (for a 11am meeting!) and was hoping that I would be in an out in 5. Sadly, my order took a bit long than that (my bread and jam had taken 10 minutes but I gave them a first-day pass on that one.) The salad was solid, with good dressing. It was a lemon-cesar so less creamy than usual, perhaps due to being egg-less. (Thus possibly vegan if you don't order chicken.) The chicken was the biggest disappointment, it was dry and seemed less fresh than I expect from a local-food place. Without it, however, it wouldn't be a very satisfying meal. This was the least strong of the three meals.

This past week, I stopped in without planning ahead (thus the Blackberry picture.) I found myself very satisfied by this meal- a cuban and farmhouse salad. The cuban was great with a huge slice of pork and delicious Virginia ham. The pickles were delicious and added great flavor. The salad was also well done, with a good amount of orange pieces. My only complaint was that the dressing hadn't been tossed with the salad, instead it was just drizzled on top, which made it a bit hit or miss for having dressing on my lettuce.

Overall, I liked the meals I had there. The prices are high, which is largely due to the organic and local sourcing of food. I felt in some cases the prices could be slightly lower but I imagine the location is an expensive one as well (and likely low dinner crowds, though unlike a lot of nearby places, they are open for dinner.) Local Richmond blogger Babs Wilber felt the meals were small, finding herself hungry again 3 hours later, perhaps because she got the grilled cheese. She said she thought the chips were homemade, but I think they were salt and pepper Kettle Chips. I liked that I still got the chips with the combo deal, some places cheat you out of that. For more delectable images of their food, check out Farmhouse Goodies.

My favorite part was the beautiful design of the place and how the sustainable elements of the design were communicated.

Not so awesome was the prominence of bottled water. I understand that some people really want bottled water, and I don't really oppose selling seltzer or other bubbly water, but the bottled water was everywhere. Not cool, local sustainability place, not cool.

They won me back a bit on the beautiful bathroom, however. I kind of wished I could eat my meal in there (joking! Kind of.)

All in all, I'll be back but the high costs means it won't be as frequently as I'd like. I hope that they continue to improve the speed of service so they get heavy lunch traffic and they better convenience all of us of their sustainability and value. Twice when I've been in, the owner, Kathleen Richardson, was behind the counter and was incredibly friendly so I hope her passion for her business makes The Urban Farmhouse a success.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

esty loves babies

With one of my childhood friends and my cousin pregnant, I've been checking out the cutest baby items on Etsy. There are so many adorable things, but I think my budget and practicality is leading to my buy the teething rings for them. Here are some of my favorites:

Baby teething toy and rattle by little saplings toys

Shoes by DimmaLimm

Baby wipes case by Little Chic Boutique

Baby sling: bronwenhandcrafted

Onesie from Silk Oak

I did get my cousin a onesie from Silk Oak, which I first saw at the Ithaca Farmers Market. She loved that it was all organic so I think she'll love the all natural teething toy as well. I was at school when her son was born and didn't see him until he was a year old. She's off in California now so I'm sad that it will be a while until I see her daughter, but hopefully I can visit her not too long after the birth. Other cute baby items suggestions?