Sunday, September 20, 2009

Back home

We're back from our vacation in Cape Cod. much happened...I'm not even sure where to start. We spent a lot of time with Steph's family, which was surprising. I got to meet her mom, her younger sister, and her stepfather. Well, more later.

This is a photo from the jetty in Provincetown. We walked across it during low tide.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Chocolate Leg

If you ever find yourself in the market for a life-sized chocolate leg, you can pick one up at the Naked Chocolate Cafe in Philadelphia. It will only set you back $90. It's good to know these kinds of things.

Lens Flare

This is another photo taken in Philadelphia. It is of a church by the Sofitel, where we stayed, in Rittenhouse Square. I was experimenting with lens flare. I like the rays of sunlight, but not the blob of light. I am going to work on photoshopping the blob out of the photo.

Bar Ferdinand

We took a two-day trip to Philadelphia and had the opportunity to have dinner with Chad and Andrew. We went to Bar Ferdinand in Northern Liberties. It was tasty and inventive, but I still prefer Mezze in Baltimore for tapas. These are grilled watermelon skewers with prosciutto and tarragon.

Boulder Field

While we were camping, we went to the Boulder Field. It was huge and incredible. I only wish that I had worn shoes that were more appropriate for the occasion so I could have explored the boulders more.

Here is a photo of Andrew and Chad amongst the boulders.

Camping: Tent Debacle

We went camping with Chad, Andrew, Kathy, and Rich in August. We camped for two nights at Hickory Run State Park in PA. It was great fun, although we did not come prepared with a proper tent. We started with a small tent that Steph used for herself when she went camping in the Grand Canyon 10 years ago. It barely fit our air mattress and it gave me a panic attack because I felt like the walls of the tent were closing in on me. So we took a little trip to the nearest Wal-Mart to purchase a tent that would fit our air mattress. We ended up buying a palace of a tent, as you can see. It made camping so much more enjoyable.

Louis and his Ugly Doll

Louis LOVES this little Ugly Doll that we have upstairs on the couch in the den. He likes to use it as a pillow. He seriously is the cutest, sleepiest little kitty. When we were in Philadelphia for our anniversary, we bought another Ugly Doll so he could have one for downstairs as well.

Animal Menagerie

This is my display of amiguruni that Steph has knit or crocheted for me. The turtle on the right is my newest addition. She made him for me for our wedding anniversary. Isn't he cute? I think next I'll ask her to make me a penguin or a lemur.

Eames Lounge Chair

I have coveted an Eames Lounge Chair for quite some time. In celebration of our anniversary, we finally bought ourselves one. It is so comfortable and gloriously stylish. I love it even more than I thought I would. We also got new chairs for the kitchen, and another armchair for the living room.

Garden Haul

Our vegetable garden has been quite successful this year. We had an excellent harvest of kale, cucumbers, and lettuce. Right now we are picking a TON of tomatoes and baby pumpkins. We also have some watermelons that are coming along quite nicely. Next year I want to plant butternut squash as well and probably less tomatoes (I have 8 plants this year).

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Stupid Stupid Baltimore City

The city is working on the water mains on our street. They've been "working" for about a month now. Every day they waste I don't even know how many thousands of gallons of water. It's like there is a constant river running down the street. They also block the street with their trucks and make it nearly impossible to drive anywhere. Also, every few weeks the water shuts off for a few hours or so while they place us on the temporary line. Ugh, so annoying. I came home one afternoon to see this huge geyser of water spraying everywhere. Hopefully they will be done with their "work" soon.

For Erin

This photo is for Erin. After we checked out of our hotel in DC, we walked over to a little cafe for breakfast called Bread & Chocolate. I had a breakfast sandwich, which was fine, but I noticed that the "egg tuckage" was horrible and I thought of Erin.

Westend Bistro

We spent the night in DC and visited with Melissa. We want to try to spend a lot of time with her before she temporarily moves to Israel in October! Her fiance, Amos, is in the Foreign Service and he is stationed in Tel Aviv right now, so she is going to join him there in October. The three of us went out to Westend Bistro by Eric Ripert. I had a roast chicken entree, which is pictured here. It was SOOO GOOD. It was moist and tender. The entire meal was exceptional. Expensive, but exceptional. If you are ever in DC and want to have a great casual dining experience and don't mind blowing some dough, check out Westend Bistro. We stayed at the Westin Grand, which was conveniently located a block from the restaurant. It was fortunate because when we left the restaurant, it was POURING RAIN, but luckily we only had to walk one block.

Bowling Adventure

We went bowling with Lauren. She kicked our butts. Apparently she was in a bowling league as a child. Cheater! Steph and I sucked hardcore, but it was still a good time. We drank cheap beer in plastic cups, as one should do when bowling.

New Bathroom Light Fixture

We bought this new light fixtures for the bathroom when we were at Home Anthology with Andrew and Chad. Actually, they aren't new at all, they are vintage mid-century modern. They are really supposed to be wall sconces, but we used them in the bathroom on top of the mirror. They are also supposed to be installed vertically, but they would not fit, so Steph installed them horizontally. They look nice and make the bathroom look so much brighter and more put together, I think.

Robert E. Lee Park

We went for an early morning walk at Robert E. Lee Park. The trail is very pretty and runs right next to a large creek. Alex was going to come with us, but she had just come off of working a night shift and was exhausted, so she slept in her car instead. Aww, poor thing. Steph and I still had a good time though.


Every month now we go to Leadbetters to see Lauren play. We like it there-- the drinks are cheap and the atmosphere is very friendly. This crazy drunk chick wanted to sing "Me and Bobby McGee" with Lauren. It was pretty funny.


For the 4th of July, we went out to McCormick & Schmick for dinner. It's a seafood restaurant right on the harbor. The food is just ok, but I knew the view of the harbor fireworks would be awesome. I took a lot of pictures. I used my large tripod, which helped with the slow shutter speeds I was using. Next time I will set up in advance of the fireworks though. I like this picture because it looks like some sort of deep sea creature.

Flowers from Alex

Haven't blogged in a while, so I have a lot of catching up to do. Alex gave us flowers. She's such a wonderful and thoughtful friend. She came over for dinner and Steph made paella salad. Mmm, I think that's my favorite summer meal.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Explosion of green

The vegetables are loving all the heat. The tomato plants are HUGE! I am especially proud of them because they are so tall, green, and plentiful. The feeling of attachment I have for them runs deep because I started those suckers from seed. I nursed them with water, sunlight, and the most foul smelling organic fish fertilizer liquid that you can imagine. They were just tiny little seeds and now look at them. Ah, the miracle of life. The plants are full of flowers and I've read that it generally takes 30 days from flower to ready-to-harvest fruit, so I'm pretty excited. There are even two small fruits that are growing-- they must be one of the earlier varieties that I planted. I planted all heirlooms, but I forget which kinds. Oh well-- I'll find out when I eat 'em!

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Baltimore Bound

Chad and Andrew came down to Baltimore to spend the weekend with us. They drove down Friday night and we all went to Mezze, our favorite Baltimore restaurant. Mmm, tapas. On Saturday, it rained (of course-- it does not but rain lately), so it was a low key day. We went to a yarn store, a vintage furniture store, H-Mart, and out to brunch. We spent the afternoon at home relaxing-- we played Phase 10, chatted, and drank hard cider. After our enormous brunch, no one felt like having a real dinner, so we went to the diner at 10pm to get some food. Our waiter looked a lot like my brother and it freaked me out! On Sunday morning, we woke up to head over to the farmer's market. It's always so nice when we get to spend time with Chad and Andrew-- we've all known each other for so long that it is really low-key and comfortable. We're looking forward to seeing them again in August when we go camping together in PA.

Reading Terminal Market

We spent the night at the Downtown Marriott in Philadelphia, which is directly across from the Reading Terminal Market. After we checked out of the hotel, we went over to the market to check it out and get some lunch. We got lunch from DiNic's, which is famous for their pork sandwich. Words cannot describe how juicy and delicious this sandwich is-- the pork is tender, the hoagie roll is fresh, the provolone is sharp and aged, the broccoli rabe is garlicky, and the pork juice drips off the sandwich. So so good.

Andrew is a Master!

After I don't even know how many years, Andrew graduated with his master's degree in Environmental Engineering. YAY! To celebrate, he invited some of his friends and family out to Yakitori Boy in Philadelphia for karaoke and dinner. Luckily, we were able to make it up there to join in the festivities. It got off to a rocky start, with Andrew's Mom falling on the street outside the restaurant and dropping the cake (by chance it landed flat on the ground and still in the container, so all was well), but after that slight misshap it was smooth sailing. The songs people chose were great, the company was fun, and the food was tasty. I was really glad that we were able to take the time to come up to Philadelphia to be there.

(From the top: Matt singing "Paint it Black", Andrew singing I forget what, Erin and Rich (Andrew & Erin's dad), and Steph and Chad.

Monday, June 15, 2009

She's my cherry pie...

Since practically the first day of Spring, Steph has been asking me to make her a cherry pie. It's her favorite pie. I keep telling her that she needs to wait for sour cherries to come into season, which usually happens in early July. But all the heat and rain we've had lately must have made the season come early, because I found sour cherries at the farmer's market this past Sunday. I was quite excited and I called Steph at work to tell her the good news. I made the cherry pie today using a combination of recipes. I use my mother's pie crust recipe, but I cut the water in half and substitute the other half with vodka (a trick I picked up from Cook's Illustrated). The vodka evaporates during baking, so the crust is still flaky and not tough at all, but the added moisture before baking makes the dough MUCH easier to roll out. For the filling, I used the recipe from the Williams-Sonoma Baking Guide. The pie turned out beautifully and it was super tasty as well.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Erin's blog makes me hungry

Erin posted a photo of an omelet she made for breakfast on her blog the other day and ever since I've been craving an omelet of my very own.

I'm not a big breakfast eater, so I made an one for dinner this evening. Having breakfast food for dinner is always so fun. I made my omelet with a sharp local cheddar, local spinach, and tomato. It was freakin' delicious...really hit the spot. I also had a piece of pumpernickel toast (I got the bread at the Amish market last week) with peach jam (local, and good, but not as good as Andrew's jam), and a thinly sliced radish.

In slightly related news, do you see how fabulous and natural the light appears in this photo despite the fact that I took it at 10pm? It's because I bought a speedlight flash for my camera. Not only is the flash superior to the built in flash on my D80, but it also gives me the ability to bounce the flash off the wall or ceiling, thus making the light appear more natural. It has vastly improved the quality of the pictures I take in low light. I will have to post comparison photos so you can really see how much of a difference it makes.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

A belly full of food and a heart full of happiness

Today was a relaxing, rainy day. I like rainy days because I don't feel guilty about not getting out into the garden to do work! We went to the Pennsylvania Dutch Market, which was awesome. We had never been there before, so it was a new adventure for us. They have raw milk butter!!!! If only they had raw milk as well... The quest continues.

We ran some errands and then came home, and I made dinner while listening to Jeff Buckley. I roasted leg of lamb and asparagus, and Steph made a delicious salad. The greens came from our garden, and the asparagus was local. I feel like the asparagus at the farmer's market has been especially good this year. I think this may be the last week for it though, so I will need to stock up on Sunday and freeze some.

And yes, we let Winston sit at the table with us when we eat. He's so cute about it. We put that plate in front of him for the photo opportunity, but after we finish eating we usually give him a couple of small pieces of our meat or a bit of cheese. He is a spoiled little Prince.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Golden West Cafe

Alex's friend, Danika, came to Baltimore this week, so the five of us went out to Golden West Cafe for dinner. The best thing about this place is that they serve excellent tex-mex breakfast food all day, like chorizo burritos. Their whole-wheat banana pancakes with coconut syrup are also delicious. We went here because Danika is a vegetarian and they have a lot of vegetarian options. Golden West is in Hampden, so it is pretty hipstery and quirky, like the rest of the neighborhood. Good times.


I loved the shirt on Woot Shirt today, so I bought it! It should be here on Tuesday. I am really into t-shirts this summer-- last summer I was all about the button downs, but this year it's t-shirts all the way.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Dining Al Fresco

Our friends, Callie and Alex, joined us for dinner earlier this week. I grilled kebobs, and made local roasted asparagus and a rhubarb tart using locally grown rhubarb. We ate, laughed, talked, and drank wine. After dinner, I started a fire in our firepit and we sat around the fire and enjoyed the lovely evening together. It was an awesome evening.