Saturday, October 19, 2013

levain cookies

Bobby Flay's "Throwdown" TV show was on the other day & I was barely paying attention until I heard the words "Levain" and "cookie." I have talked about those heavenly cookies here before while visiting NYC. Not exaggerating, they are the best cookie of my life. So of course the only thing to do is to attempt recreate them. 

I used this recipe from Brown Eyed Baker. The dough is actually very simple to make - you just form them into huge balls and bake them (I actually froze some dough balls for later... which was a smart move, because after one of these cookies you'll be stuffed). They were so good, especially right out of the oven. If I can't have the real Levain cookies, this is definitely the next best thing! Make them on a rainy day and you won't regret it. 

Monday, July 29, 2013

porch drink: fruity beer

each summer robert & I unwittingly adopt a "porch drink". the past few summers I was obsessed with making arnold palmershoney whiskey with ginger ale. this summer we've been busy with house projects, so we've kept it as simple as popping a top. 

I have tried for many years to become a beer drinker. the phrase "pizza & cold beer" sounds so appealing to me. but even after a trip to belgium, the best that I could do was a lambic. this summer I discovered stiegl raddler graprefruit beer, and it's right up my alley. it tastes like a delicious, fruity, fizzy soda (warning: it's easy to consume one too many of these). and for a backup, we've also kept some of these michelob ultra pomegranate raspberry beers on hand. it's light, refreshing, and doesn't taste too much like beer :) 

Friday, July 19, 2013

nyc anniversary trip, day 4

alright, alright- I promise this is the last nyc post (unless I ever get around to making a video...). thanks for reading! 

new york city: day 4

I was dying to see the rain room exhibit at moma before we left town, so we headed down there and got in line to get tickets an hour before they opened. I happened to notice a staff member walking around as we were getting in line and when I asked her how long the wait would be, she said, "you don't even have tickets yet? probably an hour wait to get tickets and then four hours to get into the rain room." uh, never mind. so instead we went to the moma store & did a little shopping. this store is so inspiring, I wish I owned one of every single thing in it. 

ours stomachs were rumbling so walked on over to sprinkles for breakfast (if you call cupcakes "breakfast"). maybe someday I'll make it to every sprinkles location. so far I've got dallas, beverly hills, san diego & now new york under my belt. 

after breakfast we did some more walking & shopping & eventually ended up meeting my good friend kristin at keste pizza on bleeker street. that is definitely some of the best pizza I've ever had. we got a regina margherita & a proscuitto di parma & both were amazing. 

{I'm still trying to figure out the target audience for this china pattern}

kristin took us through washington square park (where we got splashed by the fountain spray), to some fun vintage shops & then over to the best italian bakery, verniero's, for some mini cannolis (and cookies to take back to my family - I always bring some tupperware in my suitcase!). and before we headed to the airport, I had to grab a couple packs of baked by melissa mini cupcakes. best bite you'll ever have, I tell ya. I planned to save them but once we got to the airport, our 8pm flight was delayed by 5 hours, so the minis disappeared rather quickly. 

it was such a fun getaway, with my favorite person on the planet. happy 7 years, robert!

(more nyc trip pics here: day 1, day 2, day 3

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

nyc anniversary trip, day 3

new york city: day 2:

on sunday morning we walked a couple of blocks to the clinton street bakery, which was voted "best brunch in the city" a few years back. boy, do these new yorkers like their brunch. the restaurant is tiny & we got there right when they opened at 9am, but the wait time was still 1 1/2 hours (luckily they seated us after an hour, or I probably would have chewed my arm off)! robert got the eggs benedict & I got the buttermilk biscuit sandwich. good, but not really worth the wait, in our opinion. 

after brunch we did some walking around the 'hood & eventually headed over to smorgasburg at dumbo. it's basically a giant food fest with tons of different vendors representing practically every food you could dream of. the bad news is that we were still stuffed from brunch, so we just got some people's pops & sat on the grassy lawn, admiring the views of the river & the brooklyn bridge. 

after smorgasburg, we took the subway to over to chelsea market (mainly so we could get inside to escape the heat!). we had lunch at the counter at milk bar & then grabbed some gelato from l'arte del gelato & ate it while walking along the high line. there was a new section open that I hadn't seen before, so getting to see that was fun (I took some photos of the high line in a previous trip here if you'd like to see). 

we headed back to our hotel late that afternoon for a quick rest before the yankees game that night. they just so happened to be playing robert's favorite team (the red sox) while we were visiting, so I had surprised him with tickets as an anniversary gift. as it turns out, it was actually really fun! the stadium is beautiful & just being there felt like a scene from a movie. we got some delicious junk food to snack on (at one point robert went back to get us another "snack" & came back with fried oreos! shame, shame). anyone remember the scene at the end of "pee-wee's big adventure" where he's got the cardboard box full of hot dogs & snacks that he's passing out at the drive-in? well it was a total pee-wee moment (minus the sharing part). and the best part of the game were the seats! they weren't those hard plastic seats- they were super plush & comfy. I can't believe I'm saying this (I am clearly not a baseball fan), but I actually could have sat there through the entire game (ironically, the game got rained out by the 6th quarter inning). but robert's team won. fun was had by all (minus the pissed-off yankee fans...). 

(nyc trip day 1 can be found here and day 2 here)

Monday, July 15, 2013

nyc anniversary trip, day 2

new york city: day 2:

on saturday morning, we headed out to meet up with our friends jenn & dustin at the donut plant for breakfast. but you know that saying, "life is short, eat dessert first"? well that is pretty much  my life motto & on the way to get donuts (which are not "dessert", by the way), I got distracted by the gorgeous macaron case at la maison du macaron. holy cow, if that wasn't the best $5.50 i've ever spent... way better than the famous macaron's that we ate ladurée in london. if you're ever in the city, you must splurge on a few from this place (we got caramel fleur de sel & pistachio).

don't worry- we still had room for a cinnamon sugar, pistachio & crème brûlée donut for breakfast at donut plant. they were heavenly. and I had not been in this location on 23rd before - it was super cute & we had a great time catching up with our friends. 

we all took a walk down to madison square park to burn off our breakfast. there was a really cool painted rope exhibition that we wandered around in. and of course we had to stop to take some pics in front of the flatiron building. seeing that building never gets old. 

to escape the heat, we hopped on the bus & headed uptown to the metropolitan museum of art. I love this museum- it's huge but well organized & alway seems to have great exhibits. the rooftop is amazing & has some of the best views of the city. and best of all, it's "pay what you wish," so you don't feel like you have to stay all day to get your money's worth. I was looking forward to seeing the punk exhibit I'd heard about. the space felt more like a concert than a museum, with graffiti walls & the ramones blaring in the background.

for lunch, jenn & dustin had been telling us about "the best taco restaurant in the city" called tacombi, which serves tacos from the shell of a vw bus (which is known as a "kombi" in europe. hence the name, tacombi. get it?). this was hands down the best meal I've had in a long time. the tacos were all super fresh, served with a side of the sweetest corn I've ever tasted & a refreshing watermelon juice. please don't tell your friends.

after lunch we did some shopping nearby in stores that we don't have back home (zara, cb2, madewell, dean & delcua). by that time my feet were blistering out, so we took the subway back to our friend's cute place on the upper westside to relax & recharge our phones. on the way, we stopped and got the best cookie in all of the world (in my humble, sweet-toothed opinion) at levain bakery

we got super lucky that evening & won tickets to the public theatre's free shakespeare in the park. so we headed over to central park to pick up our tickets & wait for the show to open (I wrote some postcards in the grass while we waited). the performance was "the comedy of errors," starring jesse tyler ferguson from "modern family." sitting there in the outdoor amphitheater, watching these talented actors perform on stage, in the most perfect summer weather- a slight breeze with a glowing moon above- it just felt so quintessential new york. it was the perfect end to the perfect day. 

(nyc trip day 1 can be found here)


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