This weekend I paid a visit to my last life, in Washington, DC. Although I’m on to more Clevelandy things these days, it’s nice to return to old friends and favorite spots every now and then. Most especially my sister Louisa and kitten niece, Amelia Bedelia.
It was a great mix of good friends, outdoor playtime, indoor swanky gym time, cooking, wining, dining and when Saturday’s endless rain got tired, a whole lot of not-so-intelligent Netflix watching. Oh my helicopter.
Smitten Kitchen’s Gnocchi in Tomato Broth
Cheestique for wine and cheese
One of the BEST meals in recent history at the very excellent Curious Grape
Spring vegetable salad on the Flying Fig patio, back in Cleveland on Sunday night. Well okay, that has nothing to do with DC but I just can’t resist that photograph :).
An all around, exceptionally delicious weekend. Easy travel, great food, excellent company and a whole lot of laughing. There is no kind of weekend that makes me happier.
It’s springtime, it’s smoothie time.
Not in an I-ate-too-many-Christmas-cookies-now-I’m-going-to-drink-green-smoothies-until-I-feel-righteous-again kind of way, just in a cool smoothies on a warm day taste delicious kind of way. Which is a much better way, really.
Cool smoothies on a warm day are an excellent combination, this is true. An even excellent-er combination? Peanut butter and banana. Probably the best in the world! Marry the two in smoothies, oatmeal, sandwiches, cookies, even on their own as a snack…they’re just a decadently delicious pair. And healthy too! How did that happen.
So drink this smoothie that tastes more like a milkshake, give yourself a pat on the back for being such a health nut and go enjoy that sunshine. Slurp.
Peanut Butter Banana Milkshake Smoothie
- 1 banana, cut in chunks and frozen
- 1 cup of milk
- 1 cup of vanilla yogurt
- 1/4 cup of peanut butter
- pinch of cinnamon
- pinch of nutmeg
Pop all of your ingredients except spices into a blender, top with the lid and blend at high speed for 30 seconds or so. Split the smoothie between two glasses, top with a pinch of each of the spices. Serve immediately.
First of all, can we just talk about how happy a really good beer in really beautiful weather in front of really gorgeous spring blossoms can make a girl? Very.
This non-stop spring weather is so inspiring! It makes me want to do all kinds of positive things, like get out of bed in the morning, put on bright spring clothes, run around the Metroparks all afternoon, say hello to everyone, read a good book on the deck, smile for no particular reason.
And of course, eat French Toast.
A week or two ago my little group of ladies who brunch tried and failed to get in at Bonbon on a Sunday morning. Ever since then, it’s pretty much all I can think about. I was so ready for that French toast! So today I decided to give it another go. Turns out a party of two on a Monday is much easier to accommodate than a party of eight on a Sunday. Go figure.
Their all day brunch menu just turned over, into fresh warm-weather inspired dishes. And although I was pretty excited to try the winterized Nutella French toast, the above version: VANILLA BEAN FRENCH TOAST – blueberry compote, sweetened mascarpone, fresh corn was summertime divine. While most people use Monday as a day to detox from the weekend, I started mine with 3 whole slices of delicious and I’m not sorry.
Post-brunch we partook in a little homemade shopping up the street at Salty Not Sweet. I just adore it!
French toast, coffee, sunshine, shopping…
A glorious Monday indeed :).
For the last two weeks I’ve been sitting my kitten-niece, Amelia Bedelia, while my sister was away in Hawaii. She’s absolutely adorable…although a little too much trouble for her own good. But it was a nice excuse to see Louisa as she dropped off and picked up my pest of a babysitting charge on her way to and from far more exotic locations.
Louisa arrived back in town on Friday and last night we gathered for a delightful meal, along with our parents and a few good friends. It was multi-chef collaboration that resulted in one very decadently delicious Saturday night dinner!
We enjoyed three awesome wines over the course of the evening: Trump’s Cru sparkling white as our aperitif, Twomey Sauvignon Blanc with our main and Bouchane Pinot Noir with dessert. I certainly do not drink that well every night. Luxury!
For our main, my dad made one extremely gorgeous paella, paired with a lovely fresh salad from our friend Diane.
The paella most definitely tasted at least as good as it looks. So if you love that vibrant photo as much as I do, it should tell you something :).
Post-supper we cracked open our third bottle and took a brief intermission while Louisa and I went to town on dessert. While in Hawaii Louisa enjoyed the chocolate lava cake of her life. We heard allll about it. So for our Saturday night pudding, it seemed only fitting to recreate our own.
Luckily, my idol Joy the Baker has an epic recipe for a Single Girl Melty Chocolate Cake in her new cookbook. We made seven :). They were absolutely dreamy – super rich in the best, most molten chocolaty way possible. Served with a scoop of local Mitchell’s vanilla bean ice cream melting over top, spilling out a delicious pool of chocolate with each dip of the spoon. They were a perfect ending to a great night.
And now my little sis is back home in DC and I miss her already. And Amelia too. Kind of, not really. Of course I do ;).
This much I know. If you are what you eat, then I only wanna eat the good stuff. – Disney’s Ratatouille
Although I normally cannot stand rats, Remy the rat is pretty much the cutest thing ever. And so wise! I love that little quote and try to apply it to my own daily foodie philosophy :).
It was way too gorgeous outside today, which put my taste buds in the mood for something full of fresh summer flavor for dinner. In deciding what that would be, I flipped straight to the Summer Supper section of Miss Dahl’s Voluptuous Delights.
I know, I know – it’s not even close to summer yet and none of the veggies used in this dish tonight are locally grown. But for one night it’s okay to pretend, right? In that case I did not spend the day frolicking through the Metroparks but rather harvesting a bounty of summer vegetables for tonight’s dinner. Sure thing.
Packed full of eggplant, zucchini, bell pepper, sweet onion and tomato, sprinkled with fresh cilantro. Served over a fluffy bed of cous cous, which pairs deliciously with the spicy crushed coriander stirred into this dish.
Warm Ratatouille <- Recipe Here
A bountiful bowl of “the good stuff”. Dig in!
I think the Cleveland Museum of Art is one of my very favorite places to be in the city. It’s SO gorgeous and I can’t believe we have such a beautiful (free!) museum right in our backyard. Every time I go, I fall in love with University Circle a little more. I swear to go back…and then I forget…and next thing you know it’s been 8 months and I’ve been missing everything.
Like the opening of the new atrium, restaurant and cafe! How have I missed these crucial developments.
Luckily last night, the OBA April Blogger Meet up was held at the CMA, to visit the special “The Last Days of Pompeii: Decadence, Apocalypse, Resurrection” exhibit.
First we enjoyed a lovely dinner at Provenance Cafe, which was very impressive! Lots of casually-gourmet options to choose from, from paninis, soups and salads to flatbreads, pasta and even some yummy-looking sweet treats. Plus wine! Who doesn’t want to sip a nice glass of wine in that gorgeous new space?
And then we carried on to the exhibit for our tour. I really loved the combination of art work on display; modern art, historical works, sculptures, paintings, posters…and so on. The variety kept things interesting, while tying all the pieces together under the Pompeii theme. Of course, I liked decadence the best :).
A fabulous night. Now I am just dying to go back and dine at their fancy Provenance restaurant. They have a prix fixe menu that complements current museum exhibitions! Yes, I need to partake in that immediately. Hopefully, in much less than 8 months :).
The list of things I am thankful for is long and eclectic: today’s absolutely lovely 70 degree weather and having the day off to enjoy it, tonight’s delicious homemade dinner and the cookbook that inspired it, my job, this blog and my readers and blends, my home, my family, my friends, most especially that they are all safe and well tonight…and finally some daylight during dinnertime for foodie photography lighting perfection.
This Black Bean Ragout is a Smitten Kitchen recipe that hit. the. spot. Hearty, spicy ragout over thick garlicky toast, topped with cumin-scented crème fraîche, lime-pickled onion and fresh chopped cilantro. Plus a few wedges of avocado for good measure. A squeeze of lime and a few cracks of salt over the whole plate and oh my, are we in business.
The recipe is unfortunately not to be found on Deb’s blog but it can most certainly be found in her delightful book. Or just come on over and enjoy some leftovers with me! I made a full pound of beans my friends, there are a delicious lot.
My deepest sympathies go out to the victims of today’s tragedy in Boston. I can’t imagine. If anything, it is a strong reminder to be thankful for the little things, because we never know when someone or something might take them away. Lots of love and lots of hugs.