Monday, February 13, 2012

Funny Valentine

I have a Valentine's Day Problem. It's a sick obsession. 

The pink. The candy. The heart-shaped EVERYTHING!

Valentine's Day is my Christmas.

There is nothing I love more than a saucy Valentine. 

Because if you can't be saucy on Valentine's Day, when can you be?

In between studying for the LSAT, I managed to squeeze in a few crafts in anticipation of February 14th. This year, my lovers and friends found this little gem in their mailbox:

Here's to hoping! 
Happy Valentine's Day. 

S'more Love

S'more brownies have been a signature treat of mine since high school. I used to make them, along with rice krispy treats, for all our concert tailgates. 

I may or may not have seen The Dave Matthews Band eleven times. Before I was even a junior in college. I might have worn Doc Martins and Flannel. 

What do you want from me? It was the 90's. 

S'more brownies were the perfect sustenance for long afternoons hanging in stadium parking lots drinking...soda...and getting high that is what you do at concerts, drink soda and get high on life, right? right. 

So given the amount of Dave concerts I've been to, plus various other concerts I've been to, (One of which might have been Jewel. No big deal.) I've made these brownies quite a few times. 

When one of my coworkers announced he was leaving a few weeks ago, we planned a small gathering at our post-work watering hole. I wanted to bring a special treat and since I knew these paired so well with, uh, soda, I had a hunch that they might go with alcoholic beverages as well. I'm still unclear about the pairing, but they were gone by the end of the night, so I'll take that as a good sign. 

Given the ease, I thought this would be a perfect time to share the recipe. They make a great last minute treat for your Valentine. Dave Matthews Concert, Optional. 

Start with your favorite brownie mix. Any mix will do. Mix according to package directions. This usually requires eggs, water, and vegetable oil, but be sure to check the back of the box for exact ingredients!!

I know, they are from a box. Just hide the evidence. If you don't tell, I won't tell. 

Pour batter into a buttered 9-by 13-inch baking dish. Bake according to package directions. 

Sidebar: Licking brownie batter off of a spoon ALWAYS reminds me of my college roommate. Now that I think about it, that sounds kinda creepy...

Remove brownies from oven 5 minutes before suggested baking time. Sprinkle evenly with 2 cups mini marshmallows and 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips. Return to oven and bake until chocolate is melted and marshmallows and puffed and just starting to brown, about 5 minutes. 

Meanwhile, break 8 graham crackers in half to make squares. In case you are not good at math, should have 16 squares.

Remove baking sheet from oven and immediately top with graham crackers. You'll want to leave a little space in between each cracker to make it easier to cut. You will not be able to fill the entire top with graham crackers. As you can see, I could only fit 15 crackers on here. Let cool completely before cutting. 

Trim excess, saving scraps to snack on, or even better yet, to serving with ice cream! The, using a sharp knife, carefully cut between graham crackers. 

Continue cutting between graham crackers until you have individual squares. 

Serve to your Valentine, your coworkers, or your fellow Dave Matthews Fans. Everyone will be sure to want S'more!

P.S. Did I mention my former coworker is somewhat of a hipster. For some people, the love of Flannel just. won't. die. 

P. P. S. Don't forget to enter my Dream Job Giveaway! For details, see my previous post!

S'more Brownies
makes about 15 brownies
Unsalted butter
1 box brownie mix, prepared according to package directions
2 cups mini marshmallows
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
8 whole graham crackers, broken into 16 squares

1. Preheat oven to required oven temperature (check your mix as temps. will vary). Butter a 9-by 13-inch baking pan and set aside.

3. Remove baking pan from oven and scatter marshmallows and chocolate chips over top of brownies. Return to oven and bake until chocolate is slightly melted and marshmallows are puffed and slightly golden, about 5 minutes more. Remove from oven and immediately top with graham cracker squares, pressing down to adhere and leaving space between crackers to cut.

4. Let brownies cool completely before carefully cutting between each graham cracker square.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Dream Job Giveaway!

Oh Hello! 

You're all still here I see.

Where have I been, you ask?

Well, friends, that is a very good question. 

I had planned to post sooner. I honestly did. I had a dip I wanted to share for Super Bowl, chicken parm I thought would make for a great Saturday evening dinner, but I promise I'll post those sooner or later. 

While birthday tour 2012 got started very early in the year, I've also been busy doing something else. Something I have practicing for months and months. Something that may change my entire life as I know it. 

For those of you who follow me on twitter, you probably already know that this life-altering experience I speak of is the Law School Admissions Test (LSAT), which I am taking tomorrow morning at 8:30AM. 

My decision to apply to law school has not been easy. While many of my friends and family support this decision now, they were very apprehensive at first. Not to mention the time I had to dedicate to studying caused me to alienate a lot of people I was close with. Although many understood it was only temporary, not everyone did. While I try not to let what others think and say determine the outcome of my decisions, it was hard to shut out much of the negativity I faced: the difficulties of school, the expense, the lack of jobs in the legal profession. Many questioned "Why law school? Why now?"

I mean, I MAY have just woken up one day and said "I think I'll go to law school", a la Elle Woods, but it's not as if it happened exaaaactly that way. 

For a long time I always imagined myself in a legal career. In high school, I even toyed with the idea of going into politics, until I realized being a poli-sci major is just as meaningless as being a communications major, except you don't get to watch as many movies for class credit, so I chose the latter. I saw myself wearing cute suits, going to important meetings, making exciting business deals. After college I thought the natural transition would be to head to law school. But then I turned 21 and wanted to go out with my friends. And then I started dating a guy and wanted to spend all my time with him. And after a failed attempt at the LSAT in 2004, I knew I wasn't ready. 

I also knew, that there was something else I wanted to do with my life. Something I was so passionate about, it consumed almost all of my time...well all of the time I wasn't at the bar or with my boyfriend. It was food. I wanted to talk about it, I wanted to read about it, I wanted to taste it, and most importantly, I wanted to cook it. I followed my passion to culinary school and and shortly after I landed a dream job working on the culinary segments of a very famous television lifestyle show. 

For the past six years of my life, I can truly say I've been living my dreams. My job isn't always glamourous and it certainly isn't always easy. But most days I enjoy what I do and everyday I learn something I didn't know the day before. 

The problem with achieving your dreams so early in your career, is that in order to keep growing you have to have new ones. Sometimes you just wake up with them, which is sort of what I did when I recently decided to take another stab at law school. Sometimes, they are also forced upon you, which is something that also happened when I received news that our TV show would no longer exist in it's current format. Would there be a place for me in its new format? That was unclear. What was clear was that this was an opportunity for me to explore other dreams life had to offer. This is not to say that I will give up my culinary career altogether, or that I will definitely pursue law school. I am just keeping my options open and no matter what I do, I will always have a passion for food and cooking and try to find ways to share that with others.

Studying for this exam has been exhausting, stressful, and at times, downright awful...and it is just the beginning of the hard work and effort that goes into being a lawyer! While partaking in a little online retail therapy study break one afternoon, I was browsing one of my go-to gift giving websites, Nico and Lala, and came across the most adorable note cards that said '"Soon-to-Be" (a real) Housewife"'. As a fan of the infamous Bravo TV franchise, I knew I simply must have them! Talk about a dream job! Okay, so maybe I don't want to be a "real housewife" in the TV sense, but I'd be lying if I didn't tell you one of the reasons I am thinking about going to law school not only to get my J.D. but also for my MRS. I mean is IS a good place to meet a husband. (At least as good of a place as anywhere else!) While I doubt I would ever fully give up my career to be a "housewife" one of the things I HAVE learned from the Real Housewives franchise is you don't have to give up your career to be a real housewife. You CAN have it all. (or at least almost!)

While I loved these notecards so so much, there was a slight problem. I am not "soon-to-be" or even "kinda-soon-to-be" or "maybe in the next five years I could possibly be" a housewife. Or any kind of wife for that matter. (Though, with the help of blogger pal Hopsy, that could all change soon!). I only new that someday in the future I would eventually might be a "real" housewife. 

With that in mind, I sent a little email to Nico and Lala asking if they could customize the cards for me to say "Future (real) Housewife". They were more than delighted to meet my requests and promptly sent me these:

Now for the Giveaway!

As a thank you for all your support and sticking with me and my blog during stressful times with a lack of postings, I am giving away a set of my custom "Future (real) Housewife" notecards. They are perfect for the gal who someday dreams marrying a dashing gentleman, the single mom who is waiting for her cookie business to take off, the married woman working both hard to manage her career and take care of her family, and always fun to send to friends who love anything "Housewives". 


1. Leave a comment on this blog post no later than Wednesday, February 15th at 9PM EST telling me what your "Dream" Job would be. 
2. You will get an additional entry if you mention this giveaway in a blog post, on twitter, or on Facebook. You will only get one additional entry, so you do not have to do all three unless you really feel like it. Just let me know where you mentioned it in your comment with your dream job. 

*Disclaimer-This giveaway was sponsored entirely by me and all thoughts about the product are my own. At the current moment Nico and Lala have no idea I am giving away any of their products, but I do love them and encourage you to visit their site. I love to support young women who follow their dreams, not mention they have wonderful gifts and their customer service is amazing. After talking to Lala herself I may or may not have also been inspired to start a small business doing something I love myself. Maybe I should see where law school takes me first...

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Low Risk, High Reward

Since we've been on a theme of birthdays lately, I thought I would post a favorite recipe of one of my college gal pal's husbands, who turned the big 3-0 the week between Christmas and New Years.

"Gary" (as we've been affectionately calling him by his middle name) is what one might call a simple man. He's a guy's guy. He's low on drama and doesn't go into a lot of detail to explain a situation. Even though I spent four years in college with him (most of which I always knew he would marry his wife, even if it took them three years to get there), it wasn't recently that I really got to understand Gary and his philosophy on life.

Over the past few years, Gary and I...oh, and his wife, have spent a lot of time together, mostly traveling to friends various wedding events (and even their own!). We've caught early morning flights by the skin of our teeth, shared hotel rooms and fought over whether or not the TV stays on while we sleep, sat on church pews and listened to wedding vows, and panicked over whether or not one of us caught the last trolley back to a reception (okay, mostly I did the panicking). To be honest, I was kind of upset when they didn't invite me to join them on their honeymoon- I thought we were a team!

This fall, a last minute decision was made to take a trip to DC for our university's homecoming events. Gary decided he didn't want to come with us.

"I'd like to explain why I'm not going to homecoming", Gary said to his wife

"Um, okay, but you know you don't have to."

"I know, but I want to. Going to homecoming is 'high risk, low reward.'"

It was a simple answer, and a true one. Gary's risk/reward scale has now become the standard by which we measure all potential situations in our circle of friends. Even The Mother has started using it in her everyday life to make decisions.

When Gary's wife informed me that she was throwing him a little 30th birthday shindig during the week between Christmas and New Years, I was torn. I love a good birthday. And I love Gary. But as you've read from my posts, my holiday week was jam packed and I had already made plans to head up to the ski house on the night of his birthday. But as the day progressed, and I still wasn't packed to leave, I had to assess the situation. Going to the ski house that late in the day was "high risk, low reward", and I immediately knew what I had to do. I joined Gary and his wife for a few celebratory beers at what turned out to be a very "low risk, high reward" evening.

Because of my last-minute decision to go to the party, I arrived empty handed. Gary has been asking for these noodles ever since they debuted at one of our holiday parties, so here you go! I hope you'll find this recipe "low risk, high, reward".

Toss one package of cooked spaghetti with 1 teaspoon sesame oil and set aside.

Cook garlic and a pinch of crushed red pepper flakes in 2 tablespoons of oil over medium heat until golden brown.
Reduce heat and stir in peanut butter, brown sugar, cider vinegar, soy sauce, Sriracha, and sesame oil. Mixture will become dark and thickened.
Add 1/4 cup boiling water (I used pasta cooking liquid) and stir to thin out.
Remove from heat and season with salt and juice from one lime.

BTW the nail polish color I'm wearing is "berry hard" by Essie. As in "This dish is not 'berry hard' to make".

Pour peanut butter mixture over noodles and toss to combine. Transfer to refrigerator and chill for 2 hours.
Garnish with peanuts, scallions and chiles

I like to serve these for parties in small take-out containers. That way you don't have to sit down and eat, which Gary, by the way, hates to do. 

A bowl would also work. 

Cold Asian Noodles
Serves 4 to 6 as a Main Course or 12 as a Hors d'Oeuvres

Coarse salt
1 (13.25-ounce) package spaghetti, preferably whole wheat
1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
2 tablespoons light-brown sugar
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons Sriracha sauce
1/4 cup boiling water
Juice of 1 lime
1/2 cup coarsely chopped dry roasted peanuts, for garnish
1/2 bunch scallions, green parts only, thinly sliced on the bias, for garnish
2 to 3 chile peppers, such as Thai birds eye or jalapeno, stemmed, seeded, and finely chopped

1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Generously salt water and return to a boil. Add pasta, and cook, according to package directions, until al dente. Drain and rinse pasta with cold running water. Transfer pasta to a large bowl and toss with 2 teaspoons sesame oil; set aside. 

2. Heat vegetable oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add crushed red pepper flakes and garlic; cook, stirring, until garlic is golden, about 3 minutes. Stir in peanut butter and sugar; cook until peanut butter is smooth and sugar is dissolved, about 1 minutes. Reduce heat to low and stir in cider vinegar, soy sauce, Sriracha, and remaining tablespoon sesame oil. 

3. Remove skillet from heat. Stir in boiling water to thin out. Squeeze lime juice over peanut butter mixture and season with salt and pepper. Transfer peanut butter mixture to bowl with noodles and toss to combine. Transfer to refrigerator until chilled, about 2 hours. Serve cold garnished with peanuts, scallions, and chiles. 

To make ahead: Toss pasta with an addition teaspoon of sesame oil and transfer to a large resealable plastic bag. Let peanut butter mixture cool completely and transfer to an airtight container. Keep pasta and peanut butter mixture refrigerated until ready to serve, up to 3 days. To serve, transfer pasta to a large bowl and fluff using your hands. Stir a little hot water into peanut butter mixture to loosen. Toss peanut butter mixture with pasta; garnish and serve.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Have Birthday, Will Travel

I know, I know. I've been terrible about posting. But I've been busy, I swear! I really wanted to share another new recipe with you, but until someone shows up at my door to take care of the pile of dishes in the sink, I won't be whipping anything up for you anytime soon. 

Just have a few cocktail onions. They'll fill you right up. 

While most people have been settling into a post-holiday routine-keeping resolutions, taking down twinkle lights-my schedule has been jam-packed celebrating milestone birthdays. 

I guess springtime really does make people feel romantical. 

Since I graduated high school in 2000 and college in 2004, you could easily do the math to find out that most of my peers are approaching the 30-year mark. 

P.S. Don't even think of trying this math on me. I was very smart and skipped many many grades AND there is still a boy down at the Jersey shore who believes I am a "very young looking 25-year old". There is no reason he even needs to know I am really 26...ish. 

The first weekend of 2012 was spent on a multi-city whirlwind birthday tour. I planned to come back from the weekend and tell you all about it, but a dear Junior League friend was also celebrating a milestone birthday (greater than 30, less than 40) and I spent the night hitting NYC hotspots Brandy Library, Odeon, and Employees Only to help her celebrate. 

Then, even though he is spending his actual 30th birthday on a tropical island with the rest of my pals from Chez Ledge End in VT and didn't invite me (so now I am currently freezing my you-know-whats off here in the NYC cold), I still had to make chocolate guinness cupcakes for this guy:

You're welcome :)

But back to the whirlwind birthday weekend.

A few months ago it came to our attention that two of our college friends were celebrating back-to-back birthdays in two different cities: one in NYC, and one in Pittsburgh. So we did what any good friend would do: two birthdays, two cities, 6 girls, 48 hours.

On Friday night, these pretty ladies came to town:

To celebrate the birth of this handsome gent:

When your mom finishes making your bed and your dad has plugged in the last electrical cord on your first day of college and say their goodbyes, leaving you with with a group of strangers who will see you at your best, your worst, and probably "the drunkest you've ever been in your whole life". And then over the next four years those same strangers develop into the best friends you've ever had, seeing you through hearbreaks, spring breaks, study abroad, and even the dreaded housing lottery. You end up spending your post-college years together supporting moves, job searches, engagements, bachelorette parties in Vegas, and a marathon year of wedding, and you become sort of a family.

So really, what' s 2 birthdays, 2 cities, 6 girls, and 48 hours among friends?

We started out the evening at dinner, keeping it classy, per usual

And after a few cocktails got the better of us, we ended up crammed in tiny room in midtown at 1 AM doing this:

What 11:30 AM flight to Pittsburgh?

But even though some peoples flights were delayed and others were yelled at by the flight attended for "talking to loudly", we managed to arrive in Ketchuptown.

Sidebar: Can we just talk for a second about how NEVER in my life did I think I would EVER go to Pittsburgh. Wasn't even on my raidar. What is in Pittsburgh? Where is Pittsburgh? But here I am, in the home of Mr. Rodgers for the third time in a six month period. It's my sixth trip total! I'm so glad I've had so many opportunities to travel there. Everytime I've been, it's been a beautiful day in the neighborhood. Just goes to show, you never know where life will take you.

It took a lot of beautifying to recover from the night (morning?) before. The home we were staying in had the ultimate gal-pal feature: an entire wall of mirrors! Is there anything better than getting ready to go out with all your girlfriends in ONE room, rockin' out to good tunes without fighting for mirror space? No, there is not. Heaven really is a place on earth.
We arrived at the birthday girl's sister's house, ready to party once again.

Who am I kidding, we are ALWAYS ready for a party.

Did I mention the birthday party in Pittsburgh was a surprise? Talk about keeping a secret. No FB posts, no twitter.

Surprise! Happy Birthday SH-dub!

We all flew back to our respective homes early the next morning. Not sure what's harder, hangovers or goodbyes.

I'd also love to give some happy birthday shoutouts to my little cousin (who just got his drivers lisence!), the lovely Blair's Headband and UGA Bama Belle, who also recently celebrated birthdays, and TAG over at JGIWC who has a birthday coming up! May all your wishes come true!

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Anyway, It's About Old Friends

Harry: What does this song mean? My whole life, I don't know what this song means. I mean, should old acquaintance be forgot? Does that mean we should forget old acquaintances or does that mean if we should happen to forget them we should remember them, which is not possible because we already forgot.

Sally: Well maybe it just means that we should remember that we forgot them or something. Anyway, it's about old friends. 
-When Harry Met Sally

New Year's Eve. Some people love it, some people hate it. Over the years I've learned how to prevent myself from the inevitable New Year's Eve let down: I remember it's not about what I'm doing but about the people I'm with.

This year, I spent the weekend at my ski house in Vermont. It's a share house that I've been doing for four years now. The people in the house have become some of my closest friends...and to think, I actually met them on Craig's List! 

And that I'm still alive! (I kid, I kid)

The snow wasn't great so we spent a lot of the weekend doing this:

That would be wearing pajamas in front of the fire and playing Guitar Hero, in case you couldn't tell.

I did put on sequins and pearls and pop a bottle of the good stuff for the main event. 

I may or may not have slept in those same sequins.

I even put on my party shoes!

Okay, they are slippers. Everyone in my house hates them (did I mention these people are my friends?) and is convinced that I have teleported here from the 80's due to my affinity for neon colors. 

I think they are rad! Oh. Maybe they are onto something...

We had a potluck dinner at home before some house-party hopping around the mountain.

The first party we stopped at had a "VIP" section. The guy standing next to me has pretty nice legs! Too bad he had to wait OUTSIDE the velvet rope. 

Notice I put on real shoes. I do have some sense of decency. Though not much when it comes to the shenanigans that take place at Killington. 

Then again, neither does anyone else. 

But when it came time to ring in 2012, I wanted to make sure we were with these guys:
My former ski house neighbors who have since moved to the other side of the mountain to Chez Ledge End or Chez End of the World, depending on where you are driving from ;)

I actually met most of these guys a year ago ON New Year's Eve, when they 'rescued' me from a shady bonfire in our old neighborhood. If anyone had told me a year ago that they would become some of my closest friends, I would have called them a liar. But we managed to keep in touch beyond ski season and visit each other in different cities. Their laughter is endless and their unending support is beyond necessary. I actually had to think long and hard to remember that we really aren't "old" friends, it only just feels that way.

After all, only an old friend can still laugh with you after you have to bolt from a limo to get sick.  

Not that I would know this...I've just heard. 

I hope you were all able to kick of 2012 with some of the people you love most too. Happy New Year everyone!

Happy New Year everyone! Welcome to 2012. 

Thursday, January 5, 2012

"We'll Call it Tapas!"

As hard as it might be to imagine the mother and I would have wanted to do anything on our trip besides hang out at the hotel, one of the main reasons we decided to travel to LA was to check out some new restaurants and visit a few favorite standbys. 

On the flight home, I came across this article in the NY Times dining section. I'm not sure about anyone else out there, but I could completely relate. Most of our trips revolve around when we are eating, where we are eating, and what we are eating when we get there. Often times I find there just aren't enough meals in the day to satisfy the number of places I want to try on any given trip. After reading this article, and indulging on a trip of my own, I was happy to know I wasn't alone. 

I already mentioned our delightful lunch at the famous Fountain Coffee Shop at the Beverly Hills Hotel. But here are a few other places we visited:

Our first stop was Dan Tana's, a very unassuming spot on Santa Monica Boulevard. In fact, other than the valet outside, sometimes it looks like its barely open. But inside you'll find gaggles of people waiting at the bar for a cozy booth to enjoy the delicious food at this red-sauce Italian Joint. 

I am a lover of all "Joints", a sucker for any place with red check tablecloths, colored christmas lights, and wood panelling. Bonus if the food is good, which at Dan Tana's it is. As is the service. It's probably one of the few places in LA with consistently good service, something so hard to come by in a town of waiters/wannabe actors. Dan Tana's is frequented by celebs, but you don't have to be a movie star to feel like one here. 

The mother and I enjoyed fried zucchini, chicken parm, and chicken Tana. (A delicious mix of chicken, potatoes, and onions, which I hope to replicate on the blog here at some point.) We polished off our meal with a slice of tiramisu, one of my all-time favorite desserts.

Sorry there are no interior shots, the restaurant frowns upon them. They do have great photos on their website though! 

I am always surprised when I talk to friends in LA who say they've never been. It's a place I go back to time and time again and I always find myself wishing for an NYC equivalent.

Another one of my LA traditions has become meeting my former coworker, bestie, and LA native S for brunch at the Blue Plate in Santa Monica. The food is so fresh and flavorful despite the lackluster service. We enjoyed some delightful girl talk over shared strawberry-banana pancakes which are always well worth dealing with the grumpy waitstaff. 

I may or may not have also had half a chicken and avocado wrap. I just cannot pass up the opportunity for avocado when I am in CA!

There may also have been sweet potato fries. For this, I have no excuse. 

After lunch we decided to stroll down Montana avenue not only to walk off lunch, but also to visit Cabana, a Lilly Pulitzer Via shop. One of my favorite things to do when I am traveling, other than eat of course, is to check out the local Lilly Pulitzer Via shops. 

Cabana is one of my favorites as they always do such a great job decorating the store and making you feel like you are really part of the Lilly Pulitzer lifestyle. The pink tree was the perfect holiday touch! Also, Anne, one of their sales girls could not be nicer. I have spoken with her on every occasion that I've popped into the store and she is always full of wonderful information about the brand and gives great wardrobe suggestions too!

Not sure if it was the seaside shack-inspired menu or, most likely, the wood panelling, that drew me into our next restaurant, but for months I've been dying to try LA newcomer Son of a Gun opened by the guys who cook at the famed LA restaurant Animal. The place was packed, as it had just been named one of LA's top 10 best new restaurants of 2011 by Los Angeles Magazine, but luckily, we made a reservation for one of the very few non-communal tables the restaurant offers. 

Or so we thought. The mother and I were meeting another former coworker, a young Jewish man who could have been plucked straight from a Woody Allen film, who hates the beach, and whom I thought I would NEVER see off the island of Manhattan. But he picked up one day and moved- to LA, of all places. He even drives a convertible now! And they say you can't change a man...

We had worked together for years before his cross-country move and both share a passion for food and dining out, so what a fun adventure to try one of LA's hot new restaurants together. 

Our table wasn't quite ready when we arrived so we had a drink at the bar. And then a second drink. And then we waited. And waited. And waited. Only to find out, that the hostess had given our table away. 

While I was quite displeased with the situation, we decided to stick out the wait for another table. My coworker and I were having a lovely time catching up so we didn't so much notice the wait, other than the fact we were salivating over other people's plates. When we did finally sit down to eat, the hostess apologized profusely (it was her second night on the job) and the restaurant made SO good on their mistake by comping our bar bill, sending out a few extra dishes, and making sure my glass of (pink!) champagne was always full. 

Some of the highlights included the lobster roll, the fried chicken sandwich, the linguine with clams, the hanger steak, and the king crab legs with Tabasco butter. 

Of course, no trip to the west coast is complete without a trip to their mecca of fine-dining:

So naturally, I stopped for a double-double before flying home.

Come to think of it, after eating all of this, I probably should have walked back, non?

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Such a Lovely Place...

Is it possible that The Beverly Hills Hotel is the place the Eagles speak of in their iconic hit "Hotel California"? The answer is unclear to me, but what IS certain is I don't know that I will ever be able to stay at another hotel in the Los Angeles area again! I had such an amazing time and was more relaxed than I had ever been, I WISH they told me I could never leave. 

Even from Sunset Boulevard you can see the pink and green beauty beckoning in the distance. Did I mention the hotel is pink AND green? No wonder it's so amazing. 

Pulling up to the pink and green awning at the hotel you are greeted by the lovliest and most attentive valets. 

I may or may not be have the biggest crush on one of them. We can get married in the Rodeo room of the hotel and live happily ever after...

Wait, where am? What happened? 

Le sigh. 

Another photo of the entrance to the hotel in all it's holiday glory. 

Why hello cute valet, how are you this evening? I'll be dining at Dan Tana's tonight, what time do you get off your shift? 

We were originally supposed to stay in this part of the hotel in a balcony room. But then the  owner of the hotel aka the Sultan of Brunei aka the richest man in the world showed up. With his 23 wives, 47,000 security guards, and countless merry band of lord knows who. They apparently needed the entire main building of the hotel to house them all. So they moved us. 
Not to this bungalow.
Or this one either.

But to this one. With the awesome fireplace,

an amazingly deluxe mini bar, AND a heated toilet seat! You will never know how much you want a heated toilet seat until your behind has been on one. 

Too much?

Our bungalow even had this cute little private courtyard where we sat and read the paper every morning. Well the mother read the paper. I was still sleeping.

Hi mom!

We did not eat in the famed Polo Lounge at the hotel, which I personally feel is more about the atmosphere and the scene than the food, and instead ate lunch at the Fountain Coffee Shop located on the hotel's lower level. 

It's where the REAL people in Hollywood go to lunch. We stop on every visit to LA, even when we don't stay at the BHH. On our last visit we sat next to Rob Reiner! It took all the strength in my being for me to not quote "When Harry Met Sally" all through lunch.

This counter in the photo is the only seating in the shop and the chicken salad is just to die for! I also may be replicating the turkey burger on the blog here soon, so be sure to stay tuned. Southern Vogue you may want to take note: they do not serve free diet coke refills here. 

Having been to Southern California at Christmastime in the past, I was nervous about the weather. Last time we were out there it was COLD! And of course I only packed sundresses. But this trip we were blessed with absolutely gorgeous weather. I was able to take an afternoon swim everyday of our stay.

If only I didn't have to go up to my ski house for the New Year...and you know, had an unlimited bank account...I don't think I would have ever come home. 

Maybe when the cute valet and I get married we can move in at a discounted price? You could all come visit!