All posts filed under: Taste.

galaxy cupcakes.

My friend (Laura!) and I made cupcakes and they turned out not bad! 🙂 Which was good because we were sharing these at the Galaxy Grandma shower we threw. We made a batch of chocolate and a batch of vanilla. To make the cupcakes galaxy themed we made purply-blue buttercream and topped them off with a sprinkle assortment. We painted our makeshift piping bags with food gel, filled with buttercream, and piped on. It was our first time using food gels, but we followed tips from Sweet and Savory Meals which made it super easy and less stressful. The gels were relatively simple to use, just a bit messy. It helped to cover our work area with parchment before opening any of the food gels. Our test cupcake above. 🙂 We got sprinkles from Fancy Sprinkles. OMG they are so fancy. I’m obsessed and excited to make more sparkly treats after the way these cupcakes turned out! After our taste test, we decided on adding less buttercream for the ‘real’ cupcakes. We ended up smoothing …

will stop for farmer’s markets.

While we were in Alameda over the weekend, a farmer’s market caught my eye. So we swung by and drooled over all the fresh fruits and veggies. This market is relatively small, with maybe 20-ish booths, including some pre-made food booths, but was filled with lots of fresh produce. September meant lots of kale, peppers, cucumbers, peaches, plums, and berries…and so much more. We snagged some Indian and Thai eggplants and Thai basil. Mmm, the basil made the car smell so good. Generally speaking, if I see a place that catches my eye while driving I will stop if there’s an easy parking space near by. Who else stops for farmer’s markets (side-of-the-road markets count!), too? Share below.

third culture brunch.

Last weekend my crafty lady friends and I got together for a special Founders Brunch at Third Culture Bakery. We had been waiting weeks for this event, counting down the days. Owners Sam and Wenter welcomed us into their retail space with the spirt of Third Culture – with kindness and with heart. Each course was planned carefully and thoughtfully, and each came with a story. They shared memories from their childhoods and from their life together. The table was set up usually where their retail counter is positioned (they moved sales for the day outdoors). And, it was dressed in all pink. On the menu: Savory scones and bottomless lychee mimosas to start. Then, a five course menu: Rice porridge: a little sweet, a little savory, and super comforting. I could eat this for breakfast everyday. Dumplings: To quote Wenter’s Mom “it’s not a dumpling unless the skin is handmade.” Truth! The skin was delicate, and there was so much more filling to skin ratio in these dumplings. It was topped with a savory …

wild terra.

After visiting Topo, I walked over to Wild Terra, which had caught my eye when I was looking for parking. I was drawn to the brightness of the shop – lots of natural light. I didn’t know what would be inside and I had to find out! Turns out, Wild Terra had just opened three weeks before my visit. They sell teas, spices and herbs, and lots of natural beauty and health products, plus art prints and some home goods. Wild Terra holds workshops onsite, too. (Big fan of workshops!) And they sell local honey. (Big fan of local honey, too!) The space is inspiring and the staff are very welcoming. They encouraged me to open up the jars to smell all the aromas. Mmm…I ended up getting some Earl Grey tea – the “Earl Grey Creme” – which was indeed creamy, even without adding any milk. Wishing you lots of good vibes and success, Wild Terra!

pretzels.

Guess what, guess what! I’m super happy to report that I know how to make pretzels now (at least under professional supervision!). They are a lot of work, but so worth the effort. I took a pretzel class at Firebrand Artisan Breads in Oakland. Our instructor Colleen shared pretzel making secrets and tips, including preferred equipment and ingredients. We learned the science behind the ingredients, and how to appropriately use and efficiently throw flour to prep the work surface. We learned how to make, weigh out / portion, roll, and shape the dough. We made three basic shapes: knots, the Firebrand signature twists, and balls (stuffed with cheese!). A lye bath gives the pretzel a shine and some added orangey-brown color. This was my first time using lye, and I got some extra practice time because a few classmates didn’t want to try it. After the lye bath we added the toppings – sea salt, everything bagel spice, cheese, more cheese, paprika…. Then into the oven, a little cooling on the table, and taste test! We …

nearcation’s all I ever wanted.

For our second wedding anniversary, Hubs and I planned an almost 24-hour nearcation adventure across the Bay in San Francisco. Since we thoroughly enjoyed last year’s SF nearcation, and there is so much to see, do, and eat in the City, we decided to do it again. Plus, we lazy and didn’t want to drive or fly far away. 😉 This time, we stayed at Hotel Nikko. I love the art in the rooms and throughout the hotel, and the squishy beds, and the touch pad on the nightstand that welcomes you by name. They have the most amazing line of bath products, too; the custom scent is bamboo lavender, but to me it has notes of chai spices which I love. Also, I’m into the separate stand up shower and bath options. Note to self for future home. The hotel sits between Union Square and the Tenderloin. I made sure we stopped to see some of the mural art nearby. A lot of the ones I wanted to spot were either painted over or …

sunnies and snacks.

I love planning events, trying my hand at making different foods to share, and setting up activities for friends to try. For birthmonth I threw a picnic party – great friends and yummy snacks all afternoon made for a fun and relaxing day. For snacks I made tabbouleh, a green salad with tahini lemon dressing, sunomono cucumber salad, veggie wraps, and French onion dip. I also gathered shortbread cookies, nuts, mandarins, blackberries, chips, and black sesame crackers. My new fave (accidentally made) snack: what I’m dubbing “tabbouleh nachos” topped with Green yogurt French onion dip. I can’t wait to make it again! I set up some crafty play stations – origami and photo decorating. Plus park friendly activities – bubbles, lawn bowling, dominos, and sportsballs (Hubby taught me how to properly throw a football!). My niece also brought the Bean Boozled jelly bean game. Gross fun! And party favors because that’s how I roll: everyone got a pair of sunnies. More picnics please! What are some of your go-to picnic foods and activities? Do share!