Sunday, August 22, 2010

A night in the city

Every time we go to Washington D.C., I think, "Hmm, it's rather nice here, but I could never live here". I don't think I am a city kid. I enjoy VISITING cities, but I prefer to live on the fringes of a city or in a rural area. My dream is to own a farm and have lots of goats, sheep, and cats. In my dream vision of my life, I make goat cheese and honey, and spend my days pickling, canning, and baking bread. I digress...

So we spent a night in D.C. last week. I had been itching to spend the night in a hotel, so the change in locale was most welcome. About three times a year I get an urge to take a long bath, and a hotel is the perfect place to do so. We got a great last minute deal via Tablet Hotels. If you like to stay in boutique hotels as opposed to the big chains, I strongly suggest that you check out Tablet. We got a free upgrade, 4 free bottles of water, and a 4pm checkout because we are Tablet Plus members.

I loved the hotel. It had a mid-century aesthetic, which always makes me swoon. The view of Thomas Circle was amazing. The location is fairly central and we were able to easily walk everywhere we wanted to go. The bed was the most comfortable hotel bed I've ever slept in and the Frette linens were divine. That said, this is a hotel for the younger set. The bed is a low platform bed (which I generally prefer), the lobby plays techno music, and the lighting in the rooms is quite dim. For us though, it was perfect.

We took advantage of Restaurant Week and had dinner at Siroc. We both thoroughly enjoyed our meals, especially the house-made pasta and the poached pear. I experienced some sticker shock over a $10 Hendricks & tonic I had ordered, but I suppose that is to be expected in a large city. Next time I'll just stick to tap water.

The next day, we met my parents for breakfast at Founding Farmer's, and then went back to the hotel to hang out (and Steph had to work remotely for a few hours). When it came time for lunch, we went on a tour of the D.C. food trucks, which I will discuss in my next post.

Pictures from the hotel, all taken with my iPhone.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Another camping trip!

We went camping again! This time we stayed close to home and went to Elk Neck State Park for the weekend. Jess, Mike, and their dog Charlie, joined us. Elk Neck is close to the border of Maryland and Delaware, making it an easy 1 hour drive from our place in Baltimore.

The weather was quite cool for August, and the rain held off until we started to pack up our gear on Sunday morning.

I would rate Elk Neck State Park a 4/5. The grounds are beautiful and the sites and park are obviously well tended. There are numerous hiking trails-- we went on a hike to Turkey Point Lighthouse, which was great fun. The camp store is the best I've seen so far. We had a site in the Susquehanna loop that overlooked a marsh, which was picturesque. Negatives: The bathrooms were not clean. Not human waste unclean, but just old, moldy, and filled with bugs and frogs. Yes, frogs. In the shower. It was not a good thing. I am seriously considering buying a shower enclosure and water bag for camping so we can just shower at our site in the future. Camp bathrooms are definitely the worst part of camping, but you just have to overlook it in favor of having the pleasure of sleeping out in the woods and sitting by a crackling campfire at night. The sites, while spaced far apart, were on the smaller side. I would say that Keuka Lake in NY and Assateauge in MD still rate as my favorite campgrounds.

Hoping to get one more camping trip in before it gets too cold, maybe in October. I'd like to camp when the air is crisp and the leaves are turning.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Easy Homemade Bread

For a long time, I resisted baking my own bread at home. I consider myself to be a competent and good cook, but baking is not my thing. I tend to improvise a lot, and most baking requires that you be exact in your measurements. But seriously, nothing beats homemade bread. You don't know what real bread is until you make it yourself. It tastes like bread from a french bakery, only better because it just came out of the oven.

One of the gifts Steph's mom gave me for my birthday this year was this great book, Artisan Bread in Five Minutes A Day. If you want to make bread, but are intimidated by the process, then this is the book for you. I know Andrew and Chad have a copy, which they love. Jess is now so addicted to my bread that I bought her a copy as well. Spread the word and the love of bread, people!

What makes this book so great is that it teaches you how to make bread WITHOUT kneading. It is such an easy process. You allow the gluten to rest, which allows you to skip the kneading. You can make a huge batch of dough and leave it in the fridge for up to two weeks. Just cut some off the "mother" and bake it! As the dough matures, the flavor changes and develops. Right now there is a 6 quart container in our fridge filled with dough. I'm going to bake off a couple of loaves tomorrow for our weekend camping trip.

This photo is one of the first loaves I made using the master recipe from the book. Taken with my iPhone.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010


**Taken with my iPhone**

It's hard to get out of bed in the morning when I have this cutie curled up against me, looking at me with those big blue eyes. Also, he squees at me. He doesn't meow, but rather, squees. In case you're wondering what a "squee" is, it's like a squeak, only cuter and more pathetic. I feel like I'm breaking his heart when I get up and ruin his happy sleepy times.

Monday, August 2, 2010

The Precious

Well people, I was going to wait for the white iPhone 4 to come out before upgrading my iPhone, but Apple had to go and ruin my life by not once, but TWICE, delaying the availability of them. At this point I think they won't even come out until 2011. My iPhone 3G had cracks in both the front and the back and so I was sorely in need of an upgrade. I say that like I NEEDED the upgrade. I guess, in the interest of full disclosure, I should state that my old phone still worked just fine. It was really out of consumer greed and a lust for Apple products that I bought the new one. That and jealousy-- Andrew and Chad already had theirs and whenever I saw them using their new phones, a dirty dirty feeling would rise up in my chest.

I won't bore anyone with a review of the phone, but suffice it to say that is it incredible. I've experienced none of the dreaded antenna issues and think it is far superior to the 3G that I had.

I love the dual cameras on this model. The photos are worlds better than the 3G camera took, so be prepared for more photos from my iPhone to be posted to my blog. The photo pictured here is the first photo I took with the new iPhone.


I've been neglecting my blog. Tsk tsk tsk. I did not realize until just now that it's been over a month since I posted. Well, time to put a stop to that silliness. Thank you, Julie, for bringing my attention to the matter.

Prepare for an onslaught of posts, people!

So, what's been going on in my life, you ask? Many social engagements and lots of cooking, to sum it all up.

We went to Erin's baby shower in late July. She is due to have a little girl in late September. She looks BEAUTIFUL! I love pregnant women. I think they are some of the most gorgeous women in the world.

Erin's mom, Kathy, put together the shower and it was so much fun! She decorated with Erin's old baby clothes and photos of Erin as a baby, which I thought was quite creative. As the shower was in Philadelphia, we also got the chance to spend some time with Andrew and Chad, which is always lovely, especially because it means a trip to the Korean Bakery

A few photos from the event...