Sunday, September 30, 2012

Baked and Wired

My roomie was in Georgetown and was kind enough to pick up a red velvet cupcake from Baked and Wired. It was delish. I'm sure this shop and Georgetown Cupcake are rivals since they're both so big in DC. At the moment, I can't tell what I like more. This one is much prettier, and I like the moistness and the cake to frosting ratio (thin layer of thick frosting over a big cake). But Georgetown Cupcake's whipped cream cheese frosting is just so so good. This is difficult, I guess I'll have to taste test more to decide...

1052 Thomas Jefferson Street NW
Washington, DC 20007
(202) 333-2500

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

King Arthur's Brioche

This, my friends, is the bread recipe of all bread recipes. I have a bread machine and have been experimenting with it for the past year, but ever since I came across this recipe, I haven't found the need to try anything else. This is the one.

I wanted to bring a loaf in to work the other day, and panicked when I was baking it and double checked the bake time online, only the King Arthur website was down. The bread still came out fine but I'm posting the recipe now to archive/cherish (if King Arthur and blogger both go down then I would be screwed). If I've made this for you and you are now gasping at the sheer amount of butter and egg that it contains...sorry, I never said it was healthy.

Recipe adapted from King Arthur Flour

2 3/4 cups flour
1/4 cup milk
3 tablespoons sugar
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
1 tablespoon instant yeast
4 large eggs (separate the egg and yolk from one)
10 tablespoons butter

Plop all the ingredients into the bread machine, minus the separated egg white, and turn it onto the dough cycle (two knead/rise cycles). You can then bake it, either in the bread machine which will give you uglier bread, or braid/shape it into a prettier loaf. To shape, you would need to punch it down after the second rise and chill overnight so that the dough is more compliant. Glaze the top with egg white when done shaping and bake at 400F for 10 minutes followed by 350F for 35-40 minutes for one large loaf (reduce to about 30-35 if doing 2 smaller loaves, or 20-25 for dinner rolls).

Photocred to Ming again!

Monday, September 17, 2012

Georgetown Cupcake

I can't believe I found a cupcake shop that I like more than Sprinkles. The salted caramel is amazing. The red velvet is among the best that I've had. The chocolate^2 might be too rich for me, but it's flawless otherwise. It's only blocks away from where I work, which is awfully dangerous considering my huge sweet tooth.

4834 Bethesda Ave
Bethesda, MD 20814
(301) 907-8900

Yelp Fantasy Land

I dragged my coworker/only friend/new bff to a Yelp event, and we had a blast. Props to DC, you've thoroughly impressed me. My friend has a fancy camera and took a bunch of pictures (so I'm in a bunch of them).

They had a petting zoo with an alpaca. 

I love him but he is indifferent

What a cutie patootie

I'm excited about bacon. JK

I'm very pleased, but he is unimpressed

After I was done cuddling with all of the animals, we went to explore the rest of the venue. They had free brow threading, so I got it done as a small group of boys standing nearby conversed about how they didn't understand this strange grooming ritual.

I then proceeded to get a massage. Aw yea.

And a free cupcake!

And silent dancing. But moreso just me laughing and running away.

We then went to the photobooth. This is me trying on props, aren't I handsome?

I love 'em glasses

Photocred goes to Ming and his super fancy camera that impressed the professional Yelp photographers.

New Life in DC

I'm finally all moved into my new apartment! Sorta, we still have no furniture. We're on the 8th floor, so this is the view from the balcony.

Our huge empty kitchen. I'm beyond excited to outfit this with some fancy stuff.

Best new discovery - Ben & Jerry's Greek Froyo. Holy crap this is delicious. There's three flavors and I've already tried all of them. You cannot go wrong.

I also bought a new bike and biked by all of the famous monuments in DC.

I'm glad DC is a beautiful city, since I had high expectations after Chicago.

California Road Trip: Manresa

This is the last post of the Cali road trip series, and I reserved this meal for something special. David's birthday and our one year anniversary were coming up, and since we wouldn't be able to see each other on the actual events, I wanted to surprise him. Unfortunately, he wasn't surprised at all. I asked him when he guessed that we were going here, and he said that he knew before the trip even started ಠ_ಠ

Our dinosaur napkin. I stole the idea from Reddit and requested this, hoping that since we were celebrating a lot, they would honor our request. I was successful yesss, although the staff must've been rolling their eyes that these kids were dining at their fancy restaurant (they were 100% professional and sweet). 

The menu. We were too full for the chef's tasting, so we settled on the prix fixe :( But it was still good

Excited David is excited

I'm pretty excited myself

Garden beignets and crispy leaves. They were kind of like airy cheese-filled donuts. The leaves were kale chips. 

Tomatoes, barely cooked, flowering coriander ice. Like a cold tomato soup.

Summer clams, lightly smoked, tomato and lemon ice, savory granola. Yum, this was when the meal began to pick up. I loved the fruitiness and the combination of textures.

The started unlimited bread service at this point in the meal. This is the baguette, aka the best bread they had. I ate at least three of these, as well as tried their other three options (rosemary olive, sourdough, and poppyseed). It took a lot of self control to turn the bread guy down, he was so persistent. 

Summer clams, lightly smoked, tomato and lemon ice, savory granola- Abalone and roasted sunchokes, seaweed persillade. Very interesting textures, although I have no clue what a sunchoke is.

Salmon marinated with herbs and citrus, beets. This was such a gorgeous course.

Duck roasted in salt crust, fig, and wild fennel confit. Yum I'm a huge duck fan.

A transitional chamomile mint tea to ease us into the dessert course

Reine claude plums with buckwheat and Crescenza, saba. I have no idea what all the words in the course description mean, but I'll take it because this was delicious.

Cards to us, signed by the staff...

And two complimentary desserts, one for each occasion. Chocolate cake with caramel ganache, just perfect.

Raspberries and yellow peach curd, basil and peach leaves, old-fashioned vanilla ice cream. A light and fruity course to finish off the meal. This was my favorite dessert of the night.

Chocolate and lemon verbena macarons, as concluding remarks. Macarons are my favorite, so it was like they read my mind. 

The restaurant started to empty

We took a picture by the fireplace. They then proceeded to offer us fleur de sel caramels and we were allowed to take as many as we wanted. I took 4 and felt like a hog, but in retrospect, I should've just stolen the canister. I ate them on the plane ride (also with a bread/cupcake thing gifted to us with the check) and they were incredible. 

What a beautiful, memorable place.

320 Village Ln
Los Gatos, CA 95030
(408) 354-4330

California Road Trip: Harajuku Crepes

My parents used to live a block away from Harajuku Crepes. Unfortunately, I only got to visit maybe twice in the time that they lived there. We came here on the second to last day of our trip, and it was just as good as I remembered it being. They serve Japanese crepes, which have tapioca flour that makes the texture super crisp yet fluffy (I don't know how to describe the texture, but you know it when you taste it). Add fresh fruit, nutella, green tea ice cream, and wow. I wish I lived near a crepe shop permanently :(

9405 S. Santa Monica Blvd
Beverly Hills, CA 90210
(310) 285-3946

California Road Trip: Fig :(

I tend to blog about memorable meals. This meal was memorable, but not in a good way. David heard about this restaurant through a friend, and the restaurant has an amazing 1/2 off happy hour deal. Anything on the menu is half price before 6pm, which is insane because the restaurant is quite fancy. You might've noticed a constant trend that we are always too full to order a full menu at restaurants that turn out to be extremely delicious, but Fig was different. We were quite hungry and were looking forward to nomming on a three-course meal when we showed up at 5:30 for dinner. Unfortunately...

...the Kampachi crudo was medioce and not too fresh scallops were rubbery, smothered in orange sauce, and just awful

...and David's halibut was so bland that we had to add salt and pepper to help it along.

The highlight of the meal was the passion fruit semifreddo with basil donuts. It was actually fairly decent. The semifreddo's texture was off because it was ice-y instead of creamy, but the flavor combination of fruit, basil, and sugar was very interesting. But still :(

Fairmont Miramar Hotel & Bungalows
101 Wilshire Blvd
Santa Monica, CA 90401
(310) 319-3111