January 23, 2013 § Leave a Comment
We haven’t been the BEST at this, but James and I have tried to take one night off a week from screens. That is—computers, TV, even phones (that one is hard), and we will do something together and enjoy each other. This was a heck of a lot easier when the weather was warmer and the cozy couch with her many blanket friends weren’t calling our names every night. But we’ve been having game nights every now and then, and that’s a great way to take a vacay from technology and spend time as a family.
Yahtzee! Do you do anything like this? Tell me!
January 9, 2013 § Leave a Comment
Our Jan/Feb 2013 issue is on newsstands now! Go get your copy! There are some exquisite party ideas, fabulous photo styling, a beautiful design (plus printable party art), and AMAZING recipes! Click here for a sneak peek.
January 3, 2013 § 2 Comments
I went to lunch awhile ago with a fabulous lady just a week before her wedding day. I still hadn’t tried Tin Drum AsiaCafe at the Summit, and I wanted to give it a shot. My dear friend so willingly obliged.
This casual spot is quite accurately described as an “Asia” cafe. Its menu didn’t pick an allegiance to any specific country within the continent, but featured Thai, Chinese, Japanese, and Vietnamese fare. It certainly put its own spin on classic flavors and boasted a menu that had a long list of street-food type dishes I wanted to try. Also, after a bit of reading up on the semi-local chain, I was surprised to discover that the first Tin Drum was on Georgia Tech’s campus and had expanded from there. The service was great, and the staff was friendly.
When we went to order, we were told that nothing was frozen and that everything was fresh and prepared daily in-house. That’s always a plus.
So, to start, I tried the Crab N Cheese Roll, which was delightfully fried and greasy and cheesy (three of my favorite food characteristics), however, I couldn’t detect very much crab; I definitely would have appreciated more.
And then I went with the Thai Basil Spring Roll. I liked the first bite—the brightness of the basil with the deep savory tamarind sauce was a nice pairing, but as I continued into the roll, I felt a lot to be lacking. It felt a bit too dry to continue, even with the addition of the sauce. Plus, due to its spring/summer roll nature, it started to fall apart.
As my entree, I chose the Tin Drum Curry.
The chicken was tender, the curry was spot on in depth, spice, brightness, and that hint of sweetness. The rice was perfectly sticky. I enjoyed the fresh spinach, but I felt there could have been a bit more of it and perhaps a bit more to it. I would have enjoyed some additional flavor added to the spinach—a quick sauté perhaps? A bit wilted? For some reason it seemed a bit out of place in the dish, but then again, I liked how the warm curry handled the wilting of it. So I guess overall I’m undecided on how I feel about those baby spinach leaves. I would definitely take them rather than leave them, though, as a bit of freshness is always appreciated.
Everything aside, the prices were good. My little rolls only set me back about $3 altogether, and my curry dish was $8. I will be giving this place another try (I’m anxious to sample their street tacos), and I recommend you do, too.
January 1, 2013 § Leave a Comment
I probably should, but I don’t make “resolutions” for a new year, because truth be told, I forget I’ve made them by February 1. This year, I do intend to get off the couch after my “wintery/holiday” break of serious comfort food eating and whining that it’s too cold to leave the house to exercise. I also intend to persistently craft healthy yet budget-friendly meals for my husband and me. I often take the lazy way out, and ask myself just what really is more budget-friendly than a box of Kraft Macaroni and Cheese? With a beer. (Don’t judge me.)
In addition to these food/health-related intentions, I have a few more I’d like to share. Every year, I feel like I grow more into myself. I become closer to who I want to be, and for that I am grateful. I feel like this year, I was given a bit of an advantage. Somehow, getting married and starting a life with someone has made me feel all the more my own person. I feel braver, more confident, and more ready to take on the world. Not just because I have my husband beside me, but because I know me better. No one can love my husband the way I do, and together we make our life that no one else can live but ourselves. Together, we live, we love, we make choices, and we make moves. I’ve felt an overwhelming desire to grow myself, forgive myself, and live as myself.
Here are a few quotes that I hope better illustrate my thoughts and hopes for 2013. Happy New Year!
What are your intentions for 2013?
December 16, 2012 § Leave a Comment
As Christmas approaches, I’m missing California more and more. I love my home here, though … but it’s ok to be a little homesick.
One thing I am quite homesick for are my momma’s tacos.
She always makes them when we’re at home. And of course, we pull out our little collection of La Victorias from the fridge. My personal favorite is Salsa Brava, which I’ve found is much spicier when purchased in California.
Last Christmas was no different from any other time periods spent at home, and we set the table with boxwood and red-ribbon accents. Brikki had a friend over, and it was wonderful.
I will miss those tacos this year. I will miss my mom, dad, and sisters this Christmas. But I am grateful for what I do have: my husband! My husband’s family! My pup! And, of course, I’m grateful for having two of my sisters so close by. Though they will spend Christmas in California, knowing I get to see them year round makes the distance not sting so badly. I am truly blessed.
December 14, 2012 § Leave a Comment
Ok, so confession — this post is extremely delayed because I’m a bad blogger. I don’t think I’m going to review this restaurant, I’m just going to highly suggest that you go there and try it for yourself.
Our last night on our honeymoon in San Francisco, James and I had a serious sushi craving. And after some research, James discovered that our hotel was just a few blocks from Ryoko’s, a family-owned little spot with great reviews. We hungrily headed over in the blustering July breeze. It opened at 6 pm, and we arrived at about 5:50. We were the first ones there, and a line started to form as we waited outside. I knew we had found a great spot.
The atmosphere was rockin’. The restaurant was small, underground, dimly lit, and chill music was playing. I hear they have DJs weekend nights starting at around 8.
The service was great, and we started with a Sapporo on tap.
The sushi was so fresh and flavorful. I recommend the Alcatraz, the barbecued eel with avocado—that was our favorite. We also enjoyed the Spicy Golden Gate, which was spicy salmon, shiso, cucumber, and flying fish roe over the top.
Sushi by the sea—nothing I’ve had since that last night in San Fran has come close to this. I miss you, Ryoko! I will visit you again one day.
December 13, 2012 § 2 Comments
I hope you all will forgive my absence. I feel so bad about it! I think the truth is that a 1-hour commute to and from work has made me a little less inclined to spend free time on my computer and more anxious to savor precious time with my little family. But every time I blog, I realize how much I miss it. So please pretend it hasn’t been so long, and let’s pick up where we left off.
About, uh, two months ago now (sheesh), James and I had the splendid opportunity to take a quick trip home to California (James got a work invite to a press event, and I was his guest!). It was such a quick trip that it almost felt like a secret. We literally touched down in LA, had a quick couple of days, then turn around and left.
That Friday we landed, headed to our hotel, and my parents + Brikk met us for lunch. Ever since my family had brought it up what felt like a year ago or so at this point, I had been dying to try Umami Burger.
There are about a handful of locations within five miles of where we were staying. (Actually a Pasadena location just opened up! It wasn’t open at the time). So this a local chain, and a darn good one. We chose to head to the one at The Grove so we could follow lunch with some shopping.
As the name of the restaurant indicates, its focus is on deep, savory flavors. It is said that umami is one of the five basic tastes: sweet, sour, bitter, salty, and, of course, umami, which can be translated from Japanese to mean “pleasantly savory.” This flavor profile was first proposed in 1908, according to my lengthy research on Wikipedia, and was officially added as a scientific term in 1925.
The restaurant boasts that it has mastered the art of “creating the perfect mouthful.” Their house-ground beef is fused with their Umami Master Sauce which is the base for each burger. Going over the menu took quite some time as I deliberated each beautifully described burger. At the end, I chose the Port and Stilton.
This burger has blue cheese, onions caramelized in port. It was rich, so deep.
This was probably one of the best burgers I ever had. I don’t think I’ve ever had a burger where I can taste how well thought out each flavor truly was. The meat was cooked to perfection and I could taste the subtle sweetness of the caramelized onions with the depth of the savory meat. The saltiness of the stilton was the perfect finish.
Next time I am in Pasadena, I’m going back for more! Have you been here? Did you enjoy it?
On a finishing note, I’m so grateful for this precious time spent with my parents and youngest sister. As it turns out, James and I won’t be able to head to California this Christmas. So this trip was truly a blessing. Thank you, Lord!