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san francisco + marin county

May 17th, 2011

It’s been a month since Aaron and I took a trip to San Francisco and Marin County and oh how I miss it! It was hands down one of the best vacations we’ve had. Mostly because we really relaxed… something that can sometimes elude us on a vacation. We’re lucky enough to have friends in the area who took good care of us, showing us great little places to eat, drink and just enjoy ourselves. I did my best to capture photos of some of my favorite places, but I wasn’t able to snap a photo of everything so please just trust me when I say… everything below is awesome.

I have to admit, this trip was different from the last time we visited San Francisco and ate at Chez Panisse (Berkely, I know) and A-16. We went a little more low-key, off the beaten track this time and had a blast.


pot + pantry
This new little shop is a must-visit on your next trip. Filled with vintage as new, unique kitchen goods, it’s the kind of place where you want to just move in. Plus, the Donna the shopowner is super sweet.

omnivore books on food
I missed out on this shop last time I visited, so you can bet it was one of the first places we stopped. It was everything I thought it would be and more—every book you could ever imagine about food, new and old, organized in a lovely former butchershop. The owner, Celia, is sweet as can be and is incredibly helpful. I found a few hard-to-find Brit cookbooks and picked up a signed copy of Super Natural Every Day.

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brooklyn travel guide 2011

March 1st, 2011

I fell in love with Brooklyn the second I stepped foot onto it’s dirty sidewalks seven years ago. I was living in Michigan at the time and our senior class took a trip to New York to visit design studios. One of the people we met, Wally, offered to give us a tour of Brooklyn and my boyfriend-now-husband and I took him up on it. After a tour around Cobble Hill and dinner at one of my still-favorite-restaurants, Robin des Bois, we were sold. Three months later we were living in the Fort Greene neighborhood and we haven’t looked back since.

A little info about Brooklyn:
-It’s awesome.

-Brooklyn is one of the five boroughs that make up New York City (the other four are Manhattan, Queens, the Bronx and Staten Island).

-It’s a short subway ride from the city, ranging from 15-45 minutes to any of the neighborhoods I’ve listed.

-Brooklyn is huge. It’s filled with many different neighborhoods full of people from all over the world. I have yet to explore them all.

-You can usually easily get cabs in Cobble Hill and Williamsburg, however, some of the other neighborhoods aren’t as easy to flag down a cab. Car services are available in every neighborhood, simply ask someone in the restaurant or shop for the local car service and they’ll give you a phone number.

This is not meant to be a complete guide to Brooklyn, just an overview of my favorite restaurants and shops. I’ve organized this guide by neighborhoods.



Bark Hot Dogs
The most delicious hot dogs, hamburgers, french fries and onion rings.
My favorite: cheese fries! and believe it or no, their burgers are pretty darn good.
No Reservations

Flatbush Farm
One side is a restaurant, the other “the BARn” is a bar that serves a smaller menu. The menu is fairly seasonal and local. If it’s warm out, make sure to sit in their beautiful backyard.
My favorite: the drink, Mo Stormy, a blend of a mojito and a dark n’ stormy.
No Reservations

One of the first restaurants in the city to elevate the art of pizza. Franny’s is the ultimate when it comes to seasonal, fresh and ethical ingredients and you can taste it. A note, they say the pizzas are individual, but I have yet to see anyone complete one in a single sitting. They’re definitely sharable, the problem is narrowing it down to just one.
My favorite: the house olives and the Tomato, Mozzarella and Sausage pizza.
No Reservations

Gorilla Coffee
The most delicious and strong coffee!
My favorite: Cappuccino

zuzu ramen
Some of the most delicious ramen I’ve ever had. Deliciously complex and warming.
My favorite: Hot & Sour Ramen with Shrimp, Tomatoes, Thai Basil & Lemongrass
No Reservations

A great example of local and seasonal food perfectly prepared. Try one of their homemade sodas, especially if it’s served in a cocktail.
Reservation accepted

Food Shops:
Bklyn Larder
From the owners of Franny’s and right around the corner from Bark Hot Dogs, the Larder is full of delightful snacks, delicious cheeses and charcuterie along with handmade basics like stocks, peanut butter and ice cream. They also serve freshly made sandwiches and prepared dishes.
My favorite: The almond butter is amazing as are any of their sandwiches.



Char No. 4
Oh sweet goodness. Bourbon and barbeque, you just can’t go wrong. Even the intoxicating smell of this place will make you want to move in.
My favorite: House smoked spare ribs with side of bacon-jalapeño cornbread & baked beans.
Reservation accepted

Robin des Bois
Classic but casual french food in an eclectic space (supposedly everything in the restaurant is for sale). If it’s warm out, check out the backyard.
My favorite: Roasted Chicken with mashed potatoes and green beans.

Buttermilk Channel
Indulgent comfort food that’s totally worth it.
My favorite: Fried chicken and waffles, almonds with bacon.
Reservation accepted for parties of 5 or more

Frankies 457 Spuntino
Delicious homemade (from the pasta to the sausage) Italian food. One of our favorite nyc restaurants.
My favorite: gnocchi with ricotta, the cavatelli, meatballs.
No Reservations

Prime Meats
By the owners of Frankies 457, this is a great example of farm to table eating. The food is influenced by German cuisine with a New American slant.
No Reservations.

The Clover Club
Delicious cocktails that change with the season. Food is more like elevated bar food, not complete dinners.

The Brooklyn Social
Classic cocktails done right.

Food Shops:
Stinky Bklyn
A lovely little cheese and condiments shop filled with local and artisanal products.

A crazy food shop that’s always packed. Locals stock up on bulk dry goods from nuts to dried fruits to olives. Also a large selection of cheeses.




The Vanderbilt
Delicious seasonal food in a lively atmosphere. They now have a late night happy hour (11pm-2am) with $6 cocktails, free popcorn and a late night menu.
My Favorite: brussel sprouts. seriously, get the brussel sprouts, they’ll rock your world.
No Reservations.

A lovely neighborhood restaurant with seasonal fare. The specials are always delicious, as are the cocktails. Brunch only on Sunday.
No reservations.

Chances are you’ll walk right by this bar, since it has no sign. Luckily it’s white-tiled facade makes it easy to find. Cocktails are made with homemade syrups and precise measurements. Try it out on a weeknight, the weekends tend to get a little crowded. If it’s warm out, check out their backyard patio.



General Greene
Seasonal and local, they’re a good option for vegetarians (lots of delicious veggie-based sides).
My Favorite: salt and pepper ribs
No reservations.

Italian comfort food with a menu that changes daily. Brunch is delicious.

Brooklyn knows how to barbeque, and this place is no exception. All meat is smoked in-house, so it smells like a little piece of heaven inside.
My favorite: Brooklyn wings and spiced french fries.
No reservations.


This michelin-starred restaurant serves up inventive, seasonal fare in a semi-fancy dining room. Cocktails are equally as tasty as the food.

Fatty Cue
Delicious barbeque and small dishes. Drinks are quite tasty too.
My favorite: Manila Clams, the broth is like crack.
No reservations.

Barbeque that will blow your mind.  If you like meat, this shouldn’t be missed. They also have a great selection of beer.
No reservations.

From the same owners of Roman’s in Fort Greene, Marlow & Sons right next door and Marlow & Daughters down the street, this little restaurant looks like a dive from the outside but has amazing food. Menu changes daily. Great for brunch.
No Reservations.

A casual cafe and bakery with delicious sandwiches and salads. Perfect for lunch.
My favorite: Little Chef Sandwich

A casual eating destination, Caracas serves tasty Venezuelan fare.
My favorite: Los Muchacho
No Reservations.

Food Shops:
Marlow & Daughters
Local and artisanal foods complete with an in-house butcher.

This slightly out of the way shop is work the visit, it’s a mecca to all things food and cooking related. From cookbooks and cookware to hard-to-find ingredients and an in-house butcher, you’ll certainly find something to like. Plus they have a wide-range of affordable classes ranging from knife skills to homemade bitters.

Step in and get swept away by the amazing smell. Sample the chocolate and by a bar to go.
My favorite: Sea Salt

Coffee that will leave you jittery up just smelling it.
My favorite: New Orleans Iced Coffee

Nice, neighborhood cookware shop with cookbooks and a wide selection of utensils.
A small shop tucked away in a strange little mall, Spuyten Duyfil Grocery has a wide range of hard-to-find bitters and other cocktail accessories, along with a ton of beer.

paris: a tale of eating, wandering and eating some more

November 29th, 2010

Well, we’re back from Paris and pinching ourselves. How can a city be so amazing even when it’s gray, cold and even a little rainy? I just loved it! And quite frankly, I can’t believe I’m so lucky to welcome my 30′s with such a bang.

When we decided to go to Paris, we made the decision to do it our way, which meant doing things that we wanted to do, not what the guidebooks or other people told us to do. Ok, really it meant this trip was going to be about eating the best food we could find, searching it out and exploring the different neighborhoods, perhaps fitting in a little art when we felt like it. While we love art, neither of us wanted to spend time in museums looking at it, at least not this trip.

I did a bunch of research before we left, looking into blogs, magazines and asked friends for recommendations for their favorite places and things to eat. We were able to visit most of the places I’d been hoping to see, but of course I’m sure there are a million other places to discover. Here’s a recap of my favorite places in Paris.


a few tips about Paris:

• make reservations. Almost every restaurant, especially the good ones, requires a reservation. Sometimes you can get away with calling the day of, but usually you need to plan a few days and up to 2 weeks before.

• portion size. I expected portions to be small, but at almost every restaurant we went to (ranging from inexpensive creperies to fancy pants restaurants) the portions were much larger than we expected.

• take advantage of the Metro. It’s super easy to use (much easier than NYC subways) and has a ton of locations.


where to eat:
a little note here. i am not a fan of “white table cloth” restaurants. i just feel like they’re so often impersonal and sterile, which makes me uncomfortable, regardless of the quality of food. i’d much rather visit a small, neighborhood restaurant that’s cozy and comfortable, so those are the type of restaurants i’ve listed below.

rose bakery :: 46 rue des Martyrs 75009 Paris :: 01 42 82 12 80
no reservations needed
rose bakery is easy to miss, as there’s only a small sign to indicate it’s location. in fact, we walked past it the first time and had to search a little to find it, but boy am i glad we found it! the front half of the bakery is filled with general store-type items along with baked goods while the back is filled with informal tables and chairs.

we ordered ratatouille and quiche and were blown away by both. the flavor of the ingredients was simple, bold and refreshing without being overwhelming. i’m not always into vegetables, but even the side salad of chopped cabbage and carrots was incredible.

miroir :: 94 Rue des Martyrs, 75018 Paris, France :: 01 46 06 50 73 ‎
reservations required
i think this was my favorite restaurant that we visited. perched in the super cute montmartre neighborhood, miroir feels like the perfect neighborhood bistro where the waiters know the diners and the chef even makes an appearance in the casual dining room. we had an epic meal that ranged from duck foie gras, a paté plate, to broiled duck and some crazy pigs feet dish that was much better than it sounds. the real kicker was dessert where we had chocolate sorbet sprinkled with a pop rock-like sugar. the waiters speak english if asked and were very nice and helpful.

l’as du fallafel :: 34 Rue des Rosiers, 75004 Paris, France ::  01 48 87 63 60 ‎
no reservations needed, closed friday evening and saturday
this was one of the first places we ate when we got paris, as it was recommended on a few different blogs. as soon as we turned the corner, we knew we were in the right place as countless people walked by with pitas in hand. i got fallafel and aaron got shwarma, both of which were packed with flavor, especially when topped with the housemade hot sauce. you can get take out from a window outside or eat in their informal dining room.

le bistro paul bert :: 18 Rue Paul Bert, 75011 Paris, France :: 01 43 72 24 01
reservations needed

tucked on a lovely little street with the same name, le bistro paul bert was the first dinner we had in the city and it was a great place to start. it like a place the locals go to eat the classics. we had some more daring dishes (for me) like foie gras and leek terrine and some sort of pigeon dish (!!), but also classics like steak frites and whitefish tartare. for dessert we opted for a cheese plate and the paris-brest, a choux pastry filled with nut-flavored cream. the paris-brest was incredible (and huge, definitely shareable), but for the cheese plate they simply dropped a big block of wood with all sorts of cheeses, none of which they described and we were just told to take what we wanted. i liked le bistro paul bert, but didn’t love it; however, it is well loved by chefs and lovers of food alike.

unico :: 12 rue Paul Bert 75011 Paris, France :: 01 43 56 73 55
reservations needed

after a week of eating french food, we opted for a little argentine fare at unico after walking by and reading some good recommendations. we decided to share a sampler of all their appetizers and a flank steak. the appetizers were quite delicious including sausage, empanadas and ceviche. we also got a flank steak, which was huge and perhaps not the best steak i’ve ever had. dessert was dulce de leche, which is hard to beat. the wait staff speaks english and is very friendly.


where to snack:

pierre herme :: 72 Rue Bonaparte, Paris :: 01 43 54 47 77
these macarons will blow you away. seriously. not only are they some of the most beautiful little treats that i’ve ever laid my eyes on, but the flavors will leave you in awe. from creme brulée to salted caramel to crazy flavors like vanilla truffle. we also indulged in a eclair which on the outside looked like a lovely, cream filled eclair but was indeed filled with this amazing orange/chocolate cream that left both of us in awe.

poilane :: Rue du Cherche-Midi, Paris :: 01 45 48 42 59
this was one of my favorite places in paris. seriously, i wanted to stay there forever. all of the baked goods are displayed on the walls around the perimeter of the shop, allowing you to really take it all in. the croissants are pure perfection, the bread, which you can buy by the slice, quarter or whole loaf is delicious and they have a little basket of cookies called punitions, or punishment cookies, which they hand out to all customers. chances are after tasting one of those buttery cookies you’ll leave the shop with a bag full in tow.

L’Etoile d’Or Denise Acabo :: 30 rue Fontaine 75009 Paris :: 01 48 74 59 55
I first read about this candy shop on David Lebovitz’s web site and then after a friend came back and raved about it, I knew I’d need to stop by. The shop looks totally unassuming, but once you walk through the doors and meet the owner, denise acabo, you know you’re in a special place. The walls are filled with chocolate and caramels, along with various tables and cases peppered with more treats. denise will greet you and begin talking to you like you’ve been friends forever. you can just feel her love of chocolate as she speaks about it and once you taste some of the treasures she has you’ll know why she loves it so much. read more about her here.

merci :: 111 Boulevard Beaumarchais 75003 Paris, France :: 01 42 77 01 90
this is a super cool “concept store”, full of bits and pieces ranging from clothing, dishwares, furniture and stationery. we happened by it after a long day of walking and found their cafe to be the perfect resting place to sip a glass of wine or cup of coffee and just relax.

ladurée :: 21 Rue Bonaparte, Paris :: 01 44 07 64 87
a classic favorite stop for macarons, ladurée’s windows and counter filled with the colorful gem-hued treats is worth a visit.

fauchon :: 24-26 Place de la Madeleine 75008 Paris, France - 01 70 39 38 00
a high end treat shop, this place is quite lovely and it’s filled with all sorts of beautifully packaged food that make for great gifts.

la grande epicurie bon marche :: 24 Rue de Sèvres, Paris :: o1 44 39 81 00 ‎
attached to the high end department store, le bon marché, la grande epicurie is a beautiful, fancy grocery store. it’s quite large is full of beautiful produce, meats, cheeses, wine, olives and everything in between. we picked up a prepared cheese plate that was perfect for an afternoon snack.


other resources:

here are some of the places i found recommendations.

david lebovitz

dorie greenspan

chocolate and zucchini

30/30 list: a look back

November 26th, 2010

Well friends, today I turn 30. Whoa! To celebrate, Aaron and I are spending a week in Paris eating, wandering and eating some more. While I didn’t complete all my 30/30 tasks by my birthday, I still have hopes of completing them! I had so much fun crossing things off and challenging myself. I highly recommend it.

I also wanted to take a minute to say thank you to you. Having this blog and hearing from my readers has truly been a highlight of my 20′s. Ten years ago I would have never imagined what my life is now. I mean, I made mayonaise for goodness sake, back then I could hardly even make a box of macaroni and cheese! Now I have a constant urge to try new things, to make new things and to share them with you. So thank you for coming along on my journey. I can’t wait to see what my 30′s bring.

1. Take a knife skills class
2. Go to a dance club  5/14/10 ladies night
3. Interview my 92 year old grandmother
4. Make mayonaise 8/08/10 seriously easy!
5. Watch a burlesque show
6. Have a dinner party not so much a dinner party as people over, but it was still good!
7. Take a dance class
8. Finish the kitchen 10/16/10 cabinet is built!
9. Perfect my margarita skills 7/05/10 it’s all about the Cointreau!
10. Spend a day above 59th street
11. Get an asymmetrical haircut 9/12/10 woohoo!
12. Have a picnic in Central Park 8/14/10 super dreamy!
13. Visit the doughnut plant 6/13/10 coconut creme & vanilla blackberry… yum!
14. Eat sashimi 8/18/10 …i like it!
15. See a ballet/dance performance
16. Enjoy a tasty cocktail or two at PDT Had drinks at Tipsy Parson instead. 10/09/10 Food & drinks were delicious!
17. Enjoy a tasty cocktail at Angels Share 6/26/10 amaaazing!
18. Try wall climbing
19. Sleep in past 11am
20. Visit Kitchen Arts & Letters
21. Spend a day in Greenpoint 7/31/10 Um… it’s awesome.
22. Try 5 new vegetables  fava beans, butter beans, cranberry beans, spaghetti squash, sweet dumpling squash
23. Empty the long-neglected storage unit in MI 7/16/10 so glad it’s done!
24. Go to Shipshewana 7/14/10 whoa! that place changed… junk city!
25. Take time to relax  5/22/10 Block Island
26. Cook duck 10/31/10 It was so easy & delicious! used this recipe
27. Make friends with the farmers at my new market this whole summer
28. Drive in Manhattan
29. Ride my bike  all summer long!
30. Go to Paris 11/20/10 oui oui!

blue hill at stone barns

August 4th, 2009

A few weeks ago Aaron and I made a trip up to Blue Hill at Stone Barns, a restaurant, farm and research center started by Dan, David and Laureen Barber. If you’re unfamiliar, Dan Barber is at the forefront of the locavore movement. This year he was named one of Time magazines most 100 influential people and won the Outstanding Chef Award by the James Beard Foundation. Basically he’s awesome and after visiting Blue Hill at Stone Barns, I’m ready for him to adopt me.

Blue Hill is a working farm, with trails and paths wound throughout the property, allowing visitors to view the gardens, animals and incredible scenery. We stayed pretty close to the barns, but saw baby turkeys, garlic being dried, sheep, a few farmers, bees and a whole lot of chickens among other things. It was a dreamy day, even with a quick rain shower. Beyond wandering the property, we were really there for the food, specifically an unforgettable dinner. Oh boy did we get one.

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san francisco: omnivore books on food

June 24th, 2009

On our recent trip to San Francisco one of the places I just had to visit was Omnivore Books on Food. I’ve been wanting to visit ever since Lisa gave me a head’s up about this dreamy cookbook shop last year. Omnivore not only carries an amazing assortment of new cookbook titles, but also a fabulous array of vintage cookbooks not only from the US but the UK as well. Unfortunately I happened to visit on a day when they were randomly closed. Wah, wah. Lucky for me, my lovely husband Aaron made an extra trip to scout it out for me. He came through in a major way when he surprised me with a lovely assortment of vintage cookbooks from the shop.

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san francisco travel guide, 2009

June 12th, 2009

Today’s happy hour is extra special. It’s not the usual cocktail, but more a recipe for how to eat yourself silly in San Fracisco. On our recent trip out west I fell in love with San Francisco. The food, the coffee, the people… I just loved everything about it. I’ve compiled a little recap of some of the highlights of this awesome city.

Chez Panisse
As soon as we booked our flight to San Francisco I knew we had to make reservations at Chez Panisse. I dutifully called the restaurant exactly one month before the day we wanted to dine and secured a reservation. We arrived in Berkeley early and wandered the quaint streets, even happening upon a little farmer’s market.

The restaurant is small and comfortable, intimate without being intimidating. Everyone was extremely nice and helpful. The menu changes daily and there aren’t any choices, you simply get what the kitchen is making that evening. Each course that came out was simple, yet full of flavor and each topped the next. From the most amazing, fava bean, fennel and spinach soups to a pork entreé topped peas and turnips to a mouth-watering meyer lemon and passionfruit ice cream dessert, I was in a happy, happy place.

To top things off, if you ask your waiter, you can tour the kitchen and meet the people who make your food. It was definitely a dreamy place and most certainly worth a trip to Berkeley.

Chez Panisse
1517 Shattuck Avenue
Berkeley, California 94709
………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….. Read the rest of this entry »

san francisco love

May 20th, 2009

Ahhhhh… it’s hard to come back home when a trip is so good. And this trip was good my friends. I have so many tastes and places to share with you I can hardly wait. I tried my first burrito, had the most amazing coffee of my life and ate at some of the best restaurants in the country. But unfortunately it will have to wait a few days until I get myself and my pictures sorted out. It will be worth it, I promise.

I’ll be back the rest of the week with a tasty snack for you to try and I’ll end the week with the last installment of infusions… I hope you’ll stick around.

images above from the Ferry Building in San Francisco