When I was in middle school my mom would always take me to Phil's for a milkshake after school.  Once I reached high school we switched to picking up Cokes.  Phil's had the best fountain soda, mostly due to their use of crushed ice.  In college the highlight of the morning after a party was a bagel and a Coke from Bodo's Bagels.  And anytime we could scrape together the money, we were off to Take It Away for delicious house dressing and the grand poobah of fountain sodas (32 ounces of amazing restorative power.)

Fast forward five years and I am perplexed to find that it's impossible to get a fountain Coke in Manhattan.  Very quickly I begin to realize a possible reason why (hello rodents and pests) and I shy away from any location that offers them.  I assume everything will change once I move to the suburbs.  But unfortunately that is not the case, and I can only begin to think that it is a regional thing (so sad, because what would be more complementary to an authentic Italian Combo?).  And so like a typical New York resident I drink coffee six plus months of the year (convenient since it is usually freezing) and Starbucks  iced tea otherwise.  BUT, I am heading south tomorrow and I plan to pick up a drink every day, particularly at Libbie Market in Richmond, which is the place to see and be seen.  And if the Coke pounds start to pile on (I'm afraid my metabolism might go into shock), I can always get a great iced tea there.  Cheers!

Wedding Wednesday: Let Them Eat Cake

We headed to Richmond this past weekend for a wedding.  It was great to see all the UVA Sigma Nus reunited and enjoying each others' company.  It was equally reassuring to know their dance moves haven't changed in the past 10 years or so.

The reception at the Country Club of Virginia featured a gorgeous cake in two flavors: Spice and Red Velvet.  Sadly, I only had a quick bite between dances (someone requested two playings of Miley Cyrus' 'Party in the USA??' from the band).

I did  have more than my share of dessert at Friday night's Rehearsal Dinner at the Boathouse.  In addition to key lime tarts, Pearl's Cupcakes were served.  They did NOT disappoint.  I sampled the Candy Cup and the Deep Dish Apple.

Is it wrong that I could eat one right now for breakfast?

Upstairs Downstairs

Has anyone else been watching Upstairs Downstairs on PBS?  It's been really interesting, especially after seeing the same time period in The King's Speech.  I think I really am going to have to order Downtown Abbey on dvd now.

Cooking Update

This is our last week of "no restaurant April" due to travel plans next week.  Things we have been eating:

Chicken Enchiladas adapted from 1001 Ways to Cook Southern (basically this recipe).  More appetizing than my version looks- yikes.

Chicken Piccata, roasted asparagus topped with parmesan, baguette.

Variation of the chicken piccata dinner.

Using up that asparagus- rissoto with asparagus, peas and parmesan (disaster).

  • Chicken and parmesan should be my best friends. 
  • Cilantro adds a nice kick of "fresh" to even the least healthy Mexican food. 
  • Lasagna goes a long way. 
  • When in doubt, make it a taco night and impress everyone with homemade tortilla chips.  (Throw some cilantro on the tacos and you are really in business.)

Typically Dutch

I'm just returned from a 9 day work trip to Amsterdam. Thanks to Lauren for keeping up with the blog while I've been on the road!  Although, I was in the hotel 98% of the trip (such is the life of an event planner), I did get out for a few hours before our flight home to do some power-sightseeing.

On the must-see list was Keukenhof -- home to the most amazing array of Dutch tulips imaginable.  A few shots are below, but it was hard to even begin to capture how gorgeous the flowers were.

Computer Meltdown

Hope to have my computer back from repair by the end of the day.  If not, have a great weekend!

The Ultimate Local Food Experience

Last night we were lucky enough to eat at Blue Hill at Stone Barns.  We had the eight course farmer's feast, which reintroduced us to a lot of foods that I dismissed long ago as unappealing (radishes, beets).  We had some foods that I knew I liked without realizing how much more amazing they can be when fresh (homemade ricotta cheese, carrots).  We also had a few things that pushed me way out of my comfort zone (pig liver).  It was an extravagant meal, but truly an amazing experience all around.  If you are in the area I highly recommend stopping by to see the operation and maybe pick something up at Blue Hill Cafe

Flash photography isn't allowed inside, but I was able to get some pictures around the farm.  It's amazing that this is only thirty miles outside of Manhattan!

Wedding Pictures: One Year Later

Last year Farrell posted pictures of my amazing flowers (go Flower Girls!) and  delicious cake when I was on my honeymoon.  Now that everyone has recovered (ha!) I thought I'd share a few more pictures that never made it onto the blog:
Interior detailing on my Coren Moore dress.

The full effect of the dress (with my father).

Detail of sash with my grandmother's pin.  You can also see the dotted tulle overlay on the dress.

Bridesmaids!  Also in Coren Moore.

On the back of the trolley:  a Richmond tradition.
First three pictures by Farrell, fifth by T. Spelman.

Wedding Gifts

Sunday is my first wedding anniversary (!!) and we have recently received a few more gifts.  Technically guests have one year to send a present, and I have very much enjoyed finding something on my doorstep these last few days- it reminds me of last year's excitement!  These wedding gifts have also turned out to be some of the most thoughtful ones I've received:
Martha Stewart's Dinner at Home and 1001 Ways to Cook Southern could not have come at a better time.

My mother and her mother both chose Towle's Chippendale silver pattern when they were married.  Other silver patterns in my family include Fairfax (Gorham) and Repousse (Kirk Stieff).  What I like about Chippendale is that is a perfect middle ground between the other two.  It has the clean lines of Fairfax and the more feminine feel of Repousse.  And so I determined that Chippendale would also be my pattern, but I chose not to register for it.  Lucky for me, a family friend was thoughtful enough to track down this serving spoon and have it engraved with "O'C".  I'm so pleased to add my own piece to the silver set I've inherited- a nice mix of the old and the new!

In other news I finally made something for dinner last night:
Veggie lasagna- YUM!  Good thing I liked it- I estimate that it will be on the table for dinner and lunch until this weekend!

New Vice

Things have been busy around here - lots of work, little sleep.  As such, I have been enjoying the occasional (okay, occasionally more often that occasional) afternoon caffeine in addition to my morning coffee.  I have to tell you, I might just been hooked on Starbucks' VIA Iced Coffee.

It is so easy - take the packet, mix with 16oz cold water, stir it up and serve over ice - with a splash of skim milk if you are me.  All the deliciousness of Starbucks without having to leave home or change out of your pjs.  I may be totally late jumping on this bandwagon, but if you are, too, I suggest giving VIA a try immediately if not sooner.

Yes, it is pictured here with a few of my other vices:  giant monogrammed Tervis TumblerOPI's Lincoln Park After Dark, and my very over-worked computer on a very chaotic desk.

No Restaurant April

As I mentioned before, our household is experimenting with a no restaurant April.  The rule is that we can only eat meals that do not involve tipping a server.  This allows us to indulge in some takeout on weekends.  However, the spirit of the experiment dictates that we eat homemade foods as often as possible.  I was sick the first week, and fear of my germs preventing us from doing this as much as I would have liked (Cosi tomato soup was a big part of our diet).  This week one member of our household will probably be working late a few nights (sad) so I don't have much to report.  In fact, I've mostly been eating what I ate before when alone:
Quesadilla, refried beans and New York magazine.
Hopefully I will have a better report later in the week.  The good news is that I'm sure we've already saved a ton of money AND I've lost a pound.

In other news, we have our first married plant.  It's a pothos, because apparently they are hard to kill.  I say "we'll see."  I've never kept a plant alive, but maybe it will happen this time.  To encourage the proper care of said plant, I've give it a name:  Pot.  Pot is enjoying his new home by the window.
Pot the pothos
Doesn't he look nice in his blue container?

Spring Salads

With Spring allegedly around the corner, we're looking forward to lots of fresh, delicious produce coming our way.

After discovering some fun ingredients at Charlottesville's local Oil and Vinegar store, we've been whipping up some Springy salad dressings already.  Do you have a local shop like Oil and Vinegar?  I love it --  if you are getting a gift from me any time soon, it is likely coming from here.  They have all kinds of fun ingredients and treats, but the giant selection of - you guessed it - oils and vinegars in the back of the store available for taking home in a selection of cute bottles are so tempting. 

Our favorites for salad dressings right now:  strawberry balsamic vinegar and tomato balsamic vinegar.