Thursday, February 26, 2015

Wanderlust: Paris

Traveling to Paris the second time around was a different experience for me. On my first trip which was around 6 years ago, I did the typical tourist things such as going to the Louvre, spending the day at Versaille, climbing the Eiffel Tower and Arc de Triomphe, and buying sandwiches for take away to eat and people watch at Luxemburg Garden. The itinerary was packed because I wasn't sure when the next time I'd be coming back. Since I was visiting my friend Mel this time around who was there for a month, and already conquering all those must see/do tourist  things, this was a much more relaxed and go with the flow kind of trip. Good times and missing Paris already. If you've never been, I highly recommend visiting, but during the warmer season. Enjoy the pics!

Taking in the city views of Pont Neuf and Philippe Starck chairs from the top floor of KONG bar/restaurant (same place in the SATC episode when Carrie met Aleksandr Petrovsky's ex-wife). View is amazing but cocktails are overpriced and the food was mediocre. 

Making a couple of trips to the Goyard flagship store to buy gifts for myself and loved ones;) The store is beyond chic and I highly recommend coming here if ever interested in Goyard products (or just to window shop) because the prices in Paris are way cheaper vs the US. Post on that coming soon. 

One of the most unexpected memorable meals I had in Paris at La Creperie de Josselin. I'm not a crepe fan by any means but Mel told me we should try this famous place she heard about from a French couple she sat next to on the plane that was known for their crepes. The menu boasts both savory and sweet crepes and the savory ones are called galettes because they're made of buckwheat flour so the edges are crispier and darker in color.  Apparently it's appropriate to eat crepes with apple cider so obviously we had to follow tradition even in the early afternoon;) We tried the sweet crepe as well and my feelings still haven't changed how I feel about it-still not the biggest fan of the thin soggy texture. I would come back for the galettes. Prepare to wait. Recommended by David Lebovitz which I'm sure helps with the popularity. 

Walking back to the flat and passing this ol' thing in the evening all lit up in its beauty. Casual.

If you're a macaron fan, definitely make stop at Maison Laudaree. A cup of hot chocolate and macarons totally hit the spot after a long day of walking around in the chilly weather. Do the macarons taste different from the ones at the US location? Nope--still delicious but no difference in my opinion. I also tried the macarons from Pierre Herme and taste wise, they were on the same level as Laudaree. 

Having steak and frites, obviously.

As well as indulging in many meals that involved escargot that were appropriately doused in butter and garlic. Delicious. 

I ate so much duck on this trip because…Paris.

Looking around and seeing these Paris flats. The view never gets old. So lovely.
Waking up and smelling fresh bread and pastries from boulangerie patisseries in every corner. Literally.

Picking up the gorgeous Japanese flavored (green tea, black sesame, etc) pastries from Sadaharu Aoki.
Feeling the love at Pont des Arts and admiring all the padlocks and engravings on the bridge.

Hope you enjoyed these little snippets from my Paris adventure. Pictures from London will be coming soon. Xo.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Weekend Snapshots

This weekend I….

1. Have been on an avocado toast kick lately. I know…I sound like every blogger out there but it's actually really good. But then again, anything that involves avocado is most likely going to taste good to me so there's that. It's been my breakfast of choice for the past week and have been toying with the idea of posting a "recipe" for it because it's so stupid simple and doesn't involve much steps or ingredients. Thoughts?

2. Checked out the new Founding Farmers restaurant that opened in Tysons Corner, VA for dinner. The restaurant is fairly spacious and was bustling. I've been to the original location in Washington, DC several times along with their MD location and prefer their breakfast/brunch menu; however I've never quite understood the hype behind this restaurant. They are probably one of the earlier restaurants to grasp the farm to table gimmick but beyond that this restaurant is just okay (minus their fried green tomatoes). Not worth the 2 hour wait I overhead while getting seated to my table.

3.  Celebrated the end of a chapter and the beginning of a new one in terms of my career. I'm fairly private when it comes to my professional career but I will say that I am very much looking forward to new beginnings and challenges with my new job (it's been an anxiety-ridden 6 months in the making). My new position will be vastly different from the job I have been at for the past 5.5 years but eager to keep growing professionally. I'm also looking forward to being a lazy bum for the next couple of weeks! Kidding…kinda…I suppose this would be the ideal time to organize my closet and start on my taxes.

4. Have been wearing these Blank NYC ripped jeans constantly. My uniform as of late for this bone chilling weather has been these jeans and cozy knits (with layers underneath).

How was your weekend?

Monday, February 16, 2015

Weekend Snapshots

This weekend I…

1. Woke up to leftover Georgetown cupcakes from the previous day so I had it for breakfast, naturally. Not pictured are the crumbs from the 4 other cupcakes I devoured the day before. Oops.

2. Had Spring on my mind when I received the prettiest bouquet of tulips for Valentine's Day. This frigid weather we've been having for the past couple of days has got me in serious hibernation mode.

3. Dined at Little Serow (sorry for the blurry pic but it's extremely dim lit inside). It's been a year since I've eaten here and once again, this place did not disappoint with their Thai dishes.

4. Started to organize some neglected travel photos from my phone and DSLR that I haven't had time to get around but will hopefully upload on the blog soon (picture taken from my Japan trip in April '14).

How was your weekend?

Friday, February 13, 2015

NomNom: Brazilian Truffles

Since Valentine's day lands on a Saturday this year that means you have time to spend in the kitchen (or not) and put extra love into that meal or in today's case, dessert. This sweet truffle concoction, called a Brigadeiro, comes from Brazil and requires just 3 ingredients. They are so easy to make yet yields something so pretty that also looks like much effort was put into it that you're going to look like a dessert hero. I got you, friend.

This is a very adaptable truffle recipe when it comes to toppings. Since Valentine's day is tomorrow I figure it would be fitting to add heart shaped sprinkles and anything red/pink. Very girly. Very Valentines Day. However I like chocolate flavors mixed with nutty flavors so I included chopped walnuts in my toppings (a personal favorite). Feel free to get creative and cover these addicting sweets to your hearts desire with other nuts such as pistachio, peanuts, or almonds. These truffles don't taste like the standard rich truffles but lean towards the caramel-y ooey gooey goodness side--totally not a bad thing.

However you spend your Valentines day or this weekend, these truffles should be included in your plan. Have fun decorating and enjoy eating these treats.

Have a great weekend. Xo.

Ingredients (Adapted from Yields: 24 truffles
1 can of sweetened condensed milk (14-ounce)
2 tablespoons of butter, plus extra for your hands
2 tablespoons of unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon fine salt
sprinkles, for coating
chopped walnuts for coating

1. Combine the condensed milk, butter, cocoa powder, vanilla and salt in small saucepan. Place over medium heat and bring to simmer, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon. Reduce the heat to medium-low and continue stirring until the mixture thickens and when stirred, pulls away from the bottom of the pan, about 10 minutes.

2. Remove from the heat and place the mixture in a greased shallow pan. Refrigerate until chilled all the way through about 2 hours.

3. Lightly butter your hands. Using a tablespoon or small scoop, scoop some of the truffle mixture into your hands and roll into a bite-size ball. Roll the truffle in one of the coatings and place on a plate. Continue with the remaining chocolate. Store the truffles in the refrigerator for up to a week.

Monday, February 9, 2015

Weekend Snapshots

This weekend I….

1. Got back from my two week trip from Paris/London. Already missing the city of love, fashion, and art.

2.  Went to dinner at Crane and Turtle, a fairly new French-Japanese fusion restaurant that opened up in the Petworth area in Washington, DC. It's a small restaurant that probably seats around 25 people with an open kitchen where you can see the chefs prep your meal. We ordered the tuni and hamachi tatataki, scallops, pork belly salad, duck schezuan style and a savory dessert of petit pont-l'eveque. The stand out dishes of the evening were the tuni and hamachi and the dessert which was melted pony-l'eveque and gougere stuffed with pear mostrada (I could've easily eaten another one of these dishes). The service was attentive and top notch and when our server asked us how our dishes were as they came out, I mentioned to her that the pork belly salad was a bit too salty for me and found out later she took it off our bill. I was pleasantly surprised and very impressed at her gesture.

3. Added this Caudlie elixir to my skincare routine after picking it up in Paris. This is a French brand that's also sold in the states at Sephora and Nordstrom. I've been spraying it on my face before my serum every morning and it's extremely refreshing and hydrating.

4. Was unpacking my suitcase from the trip and wanted to share my favorite Uniqlo down jacket I brought with my on my travel. Because we were walking around everywhere, we would have to be out in the cold all day so bundling up was a must. Though this down jacket feels ultra thin, it keeps you extremely warm--I would even say that it's on par with North Face jackets. The great thing about this coat is you can easily pack it for travel because it comes with a pouch so anything that saves space in my suitcase is a win for me. I bought it for $89.90 several months ago but it's currently reduced in price to $39.90(!!!) so if you're looking for an affordable down jacket that will keep you warm, I highly recommend this one. Melanie ended up buying one at the Uniqlo in Paris after she saw how warm it kept me.

How was your weekend?