Monday, February 27, 2012

A few from San Francisco

It felt good to be back in the old 'hood.  Brian and I wandered for a while, just checking up on our old streets, and our old spots - Le Beau, the Nook, the weird Tea place on was comforting.  A relief, really, to know that we could come back and it would still feel like home.  I truly love this place.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Birthday Weekend (No. 2)

On Sunday morning, I woke up to the cutest surprise birthday brunch.  My parents had set the whole thing up, invited over family and a few of our closest family friends, and my mom decorated the dining room beautifully.  We made savory waffles with parmesan and parsley, and sweet ones with cinnamon and berries, and my grandma made chicken-mushroom-wine pies wrapped in filo, and a fantastic napoleon cake.  And there was carrot cake, too.  It was delish!

{Stepford-husband face}
{grandma's cake}
{Emily, whose wedding my mom and I will be photographing this summer!}

(In case that made you hungry, too....)
Savory Parmesan-Parsley Waffles (recipe from William Sonoma Kitchen

4 eggs, separated
2 cups milk
2/3 cup unsalted butter, melted
1 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
1/3 cup minced fresh flat-leaf parsley
2 1/2 Tbs. minced fresh chives
1/2 tsp. minced fresh rosemary
2 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1 1/4 tsp. salt
Poached eggs and bacon for serving

Preheat a waffle maker on medium-high heat according to the manufacturer's instructions. Preheat an oven to 200°F.

In a large bowl, whisk together the egg yolks, milk, butter, cheese, parsley, chives and rosemary. Over a sheet of waxed paper, sift together the flour, baking powder and salt. Add the flour mixture to the yolk mixture and whisk until smooth.

In another bowl, whisk the egg whites until stiff peaks form. Using a rubber spatula, fold one-third of the whites into the batter, then carefully fold in the remaining whites.

Pour 1/2 cup of the batter into each well of the waffle maker. Close the lid and cook according to the manufacturer's instructions until the waffles are golden brown and crisp, about 6 minutes. Transfer the waffles to a wire rack set on a baking sheet and keep warm in the oven while you cook the remaining waffles.

Serve the waffles warm with poached eggs and bacon.   Serves 4 to 6.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Escondido Falls

A waterfall in Malibu??  Yep!

Hiking up to Escondido Falls felt like a vacation.  It really felt like we were somewhere far far away from LA, and to be honest, sometimes I kind of need a break like that.  The hike takes about 2 hours round trip, and there are three water falls, with the last one being the biggest and most spectacular.  The scenery is so pretty and for part of the trail you get to use ropes!

It was a very well spent Sunday morning and I would totally recommend the hike to anyone!

I hope you have a relaxing weekend, my friends!  See you all next week!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Monday, February 13, 2012

Birthday Weekend (No. 1)

Last Friday was my birthday - my 26th!  I was lucky enough to have two birthday celebrations this weekend, and I've got another one to look forward to next weekend up in SF!  Here are a few pics from the celebrations this weekend to brighten up your Monday :)

Friday night, Brian took me for oysters and wine at Gladstone's in Malibu.

And Saturday, I got all my new LA friends together for dinner and drinks at Naresh's, a cute place super close to our apartment.  There was  pizza, prosecco, and a delicious red velvet cake from Susie Cakes (thanks, Stef)!

{p.s. I'm really excited about that new chair}

To 26, and all the adventures it will bring!

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Words to Remember

"It is important to know that the opportunity we give to the arts is a measure of the quality of our civilization.  It is important to be aware that artistic activity can enrich the life of our people; which is the central object of government.  It is important that our material prosperity liberate and not confine the creative spirit."

- President Johnson, at the groundbreaking ceremony for the John F. Kennedy Center for the Arts on December 2, 1964

Monday, February 6, 2012

Ktchn 105

Whew, last week a busy one.  Lots of work to be done!  But after a short trip up to Santa Barbara on Saturday and an awesome Superbowl party at our friends' house on Sunday, I'm back to feeling like Ashley, human, rather than Ashley, litigation associate.

Anyway, we've got a lot to catch up on, at least in the food world!  Thanks to my friend, Stefanie, I discovered another great brunch place!  (This city is full of 'em, I swear.)  This one is Ktchn 105.  Have you heard of it?  Maybe you have, but have you been able to find it?  That is a totally different question.

{love the logo}

Ktchn 105 is both too cool for vowels and too cool for signs.  And I love that about it.  Say what you will, but I'm easily impressed by anything remotely secret, hidden, or underground.  Marketing ploy or not, it totally works on me.  So obvi, the yelp reviews had me at "unmarked."

So.  You arrive in a warehouse district just east of downtown.  It's not exactly shady, but it's not exactly un-shady.  You park on the street and start searching for address numbers.  Good luck.  I just hope you find the random apartment building with the gated parking lot and the Ktchn 105 sign stuck to it.  Maybe you should plan for a few extra minutes of searching time.  Ha.

Once you're in the parking lot, you'll see a random piece of furniture with assorted towels on it (so unclear).  Go toward it.  Where there are towels, there must be food (...or something).  Just around the corner is a darling patio (we all know that's my favorite dining accessory, right?).  Nothing beats brunch in the sun.

And the inside is pretty cool too.  It's got that industrial vibe that makes you think, man, I want a chalkboard wall in my kitchen.  (Just me?)  The kitchen is open to the entire space, and so is the bar.   There is something comforting about seeing someone prepare the food you're about to stuff in your mouth eat.  And they have cooking classes here (because it's so cool), so the open-kitchen thing makes sense.


OK.  The first thing you have to do is order a Bloody Mary.  I don't care if you're hungover and you don't like spicy things and tomatoes aggravate your acid reflux.  (Ew.)  Just do it.  If you don't absolutely love their Bloody Mary, I'm not sure we can be friends.  Maybe don't tell me.  This bloody gives the Bloody accessorized with scotch egg and crab claw at Ramos House a run for it's money.

I ordered the special that day -- a cornmeal waffle BLT with maple syrup.  It reminded me of the pancake lasagna I had that one time at Eric Greenspan's pop up at Tart, and I loved that it was both savory and sweet.  Solves the eternal brunch dilemma and all that.  Plus, food like this makes me smile :)  (They also had scrambles and french toast for the more traditional breakfast eaters.)

This is my new go-to spot downtown.  It's a keeper for sure.  Just don't forget to make a reservation (it's required)!  And don't forget they're only open on Saturdays and Sundays!  Because, you know, they're elusive like that.  (OMG I love it.)