Monday, August 29, 2011

the weekend

breakfast at Bouchon

beyond happy

sweet as a blueberry tart

The French Laundry's Garden

a photo from the wedding ... just a taste

Over the weekend one of my long time childhood friends got married!!! And, not only was I there to celebrate but I was there as her photographer and her makeup artist. Marc and I were asked to do her photos last year and I did not hesitate in saying yes. The day was all together beautiful and went off without a hitch. Each time I snapped a photo I realized that I have found my calling ... photography simply makes me happy. Later in the evening, Marc and I were able to dance the night away with the bride and groom and it just so happens they will be staying with us for several days in France while they are on their honeymoon.
Congratulations Emmy and Scott!!!
I also wanted to share one of my favorite photos from the day. I will share more photos once the bride and groom have seen all of them.

Yesterday, we headed to Napa with the foodie crew and savored in the sweet Napa air. The weather was beautiful. We stopped by Bouchon for breakfast, took a stroll in The French Laundry's garden, went on a leisurely drive while baby Evan slept, and stopped at Mumm for some sparkling wine. For lunch, we went to Rutherford Grill where we sat outside and had the Oreo Cookie Sundae for dessert (quite possibly my favorite dessert)! We ended our day at Oxbow Market where several lattes were enjoyed and oysters were consumed. And while we were sitting outside, a sweet little French Band serenaded us and as I sat there I couldn't help but feel anxious for Friday as Marc and I will be headed to France!!! This past weekend was truly a weekend that I will always remember.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

oh how Summer lingers

lunch at Magpie Catering

enjoying the Davis Farmers' Market

loving a chai iced tea sweet potato popsicle from Fat Face

loving my Schwinnn

the perfect seat

cofeee. YES please.

Knowing that Summer is coming to an end I am enjoying every last bit of Summer. This past weekend was filled with Summer goodness ... lattes, popsicles, farmers' markets, and a sweet little purchase that will extend my Summer into Fall. I found a bike that is perfect for lazy afternoon rides and farmers' market adventures.  I love how the last couple weeks of Summer are always warmer, sweeter, and they always seem to linger, at least in California.

Right now
reading: Poser a book all about Yoga
loving: dinners with long time friends
enjoying: doing nothing and being ok doing nothing
trying: a new jam

Monday, August 22, 2011

More Macarons

I love macarons!!

taking photos and being photographed

for you

Bonjour Coeur de La readers!! I hope all of you had a wonderful weekend. My weekend was filled with lattes, a best friend's bridal shower, photo taking, dressing up, farmers' market perusing, and a visit with my mom that made me all together happy.

Something to Fun
A couple of weekends ago I got together with my friend Monica to make macarons for a feature on The Glitter Guide and I am happy to say it is up!! Monica and I had such a fantastic time dressing up, making macarons, and to say we had a few macarons would be an understatement. They were so, so, so tasty. The macarons came out a lot larger than typical Parisian macarons but they tasted ... divine. Recently, I've been dabbling with the idea of styling ... paying attention to the little details that makes food stand out in photographs and I went wild with my creativity for this shoot. I am always completely inspired by my friend Lauren who gave me the tip to use what I had when it comes to styling. And, that is exactly what I did for the shoot. I love scrabble and thought wouldn't it be cute to have baking related words on our table scape. Monica and I love teacups so we used colorful teacups and a small little teapot to pour our Lambrusco. The table cloth was Monica's and I loved how it was bright yellow. I wanted the table scape to look whimsical, fun, and stay true to our personalities. Macarons are fun so the photos needed to reflect that.

You may be wondering ... if I took all of the photos ... how exactly am I in the photos? Well, it just so happens that Monica and her husband Daniel are great photographers and, my husband Marc is an out of this world photographer as well. So, I would personally like to thank Marc, Daniel, and Monica for all of their talented photography and help with the macaron feature. Monica you are a doll and a macoron making inspiration ... so thank you!!!

I hope all of you check out more of the fun at The Glitter Guide!!
Bisous. Bisous. Bisous.

my husband Marc behind the lens


Summer Whimsy

Bake Macarons

Lambrusco with raspberries


having fun


our first macaron adventure

The Photographers

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

From a Food Cart?

I love Food Carts



a Banh Mi from Lardo

we hear you have escargot??

loved the details


well worth the wait ... l'escargot

cooked in white wine, butter, and garlic ... YES PLEASE!

Oh Portland ... you've done it again!

One of the thrills I get from traveling to Portland is that there are so many places to eat.  Each time Marc and I leave Portland we list off numerous places that we must try on our next visit. And to tell you the truth ... I like it that way ... it keeps me coming back.
Each trip is even more exciting than the last.

This past trip Marc and I were craving a new place to grab coffee and Lauren knew just the place ... Heart. On our second day we grabbed a latte to share and sat by the window. I loved everything about Heart ... the prints on the wall, the tiles, the coffee, and the mugs!! Afterwards, we headed back to the food carts on Belmont for Lardo (another recommendation from Lauren). I grabbed a fizzy lifting drink from The Sugar Cube that I sipped on while Marc and I shared Lardo's parmesan fries and Banh Mi ... the fries and the banh mi were so good that we came back the next day for more. After we finished our lunch we were tipped off that there was a food cart with escargot. YES ... you heard it ... escargot. And, being the snail obsessed escargot lovers that we are ... we sprinted over to Creme de la Creme.

I knew after reading the description of l'escargot we had come to the right place ... snails smothered in white wine, garlic, and butter served with a baguette and mixed green salad .... um ... YES PLEASE! The first bite was perfect and I am sure a tear of happiness fell onto my plate. I simply could not get over that I was eating escargot from a food cart and I thought ... Portland you have done it again!! So, some of you may be squirming or might be slightly repulsed that I love snails however, if and when you get adventurous try them ... I promise if they are cooked right there is nothing quite like them. Happy Thursday!! Bisous.

prepping: for shooting my second wedding in a week
making: breakfast smoothies that include pineapple and cinnamon
trying: at home circuit workouts
perusing: all of your blogs
reading: I need a good book recommendation
feeling: excited 14 days till France

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

The Pacific Northwest: Seattle and Olympia

This week on Coeur de La I will be doing a series focusing on The Pacific Northwest. I am honored and excited to have my friend Monica sharing her adventures from Seattle and Olympia. Stay tuned for more Portland adventures to come. 

Seattle and Olympia by Monica
photos by Monica

One of the surest telltale signs of a great eatery has got to be the line.  A long line slowly winding around the block making its way to a tiny, often simply decorated shop usually means you have hit the jackpot.  This is certainly the case for Oakland’s Bakesale Betty, Portland’s Voodoo Donuts, and our latest find in Seattle, Salumi. 

Salumi, run by Mario Batali’s father, was definitely at the top of our list of must stop destinations.  Almost as soon as we checked into our hotel, The Ace, we were off on a mad quest through the city in an attempt to be one of the first in line before their 11:00 opening.  Speed walking through the Seattle rain, we finally made our way to the end of an already growing queue, drenched and seriously hungry.   As we waited, chatted and giddily took pictures, an employee walked down the line with an assortment of thinly sliced meats.  Score!  Who doesn’t get excited at the prospect of free samples? Daniel and I both tried the molé salami.  Oh, man, was it good—sweet and acidic, melt-in-your-mouth good.  Once inside we decided to be a little gluttonous and order three sandwiches (hey, Evan counts as a full person right?).  We chose the porchetta roasted pork with fennel seeds, the fig, goat cheese and proscuitto sandwich and the special, a cinnamon pork butt sandwich. I can definitely see why so many people keep coming back for more.  In fact, we came back a few hours later to buy more salami—albeit the slight embarrassment of being recognized for returning so soon, it was definitely worth a second trip.

After exploring Pike’s Place market and Seattle’s landmark Space Needle we met up with friends at Serious Pie later that evening.  Since Daniel, my husband, bought a wood fired oven a couple years ago we frequently find ourselves sampling other wood-fired pizza wherever we go.  Serious Pie’s pizzas are made in the same style that Daniel and I have come to love—the soft, chewy crust and lightly sauced pies of Naples.  True to my opening statement, the restaurant was fairly small and already packed with patrons by 5 o’clock. Between the four (and a half) of us, we shared several pizzas including a morel and truffle oil pizza and a clam and pancetta pizza All were pretty darn delicious (putting Serious Pie in our #2 spot for must stop Seattle eateries), but none were quite as amazing as Daniel’s—but then again I am self-admittedly biased.

In true foodie fashion, we walked everywhere, eating and sampling throughout our entire trip.  Some of the most scrumptious stops included a salmon paté pastry at Piroshky Piroshky, a wedge of Beecher flagship cheese, mouthwatering salted caramels from Le Pichet, chocolate raspberry cupcakes from Blackbird Bakery on Bainbridge Island and seared haloumi and balsamic drizzled figs sizzling straight out of the oven of Lola’s restaurant. 

Although we were thoroughly enjoying our stay in Seattle, around the third day Daniel and I both started craving something more.  In retrospect, I think we were craving humble simplicity and the desire to be truly swept away by our surroundings.

It was around this time that we decided to drive south to Olympia to visit a good friend of mine.  It was here that we found exactly what we were looking for.

Here, at last was amazingly good, simple food.  Everything from the café au lait to the perfectly gooey balsamic glazed poached eggs was out of this world.  Even my friend Ellen, who has spent a considerable amount of time in France, agreed that the pastries here were on par with, if not better than, the baked goods in France. 

After breakfast, we headed down the street to the Olympia Farmer’s Market.  The sun was shining and the smell of the Puget Sound mingled with the aroma of fresh apricots, peaches and wild lavender as we strolled through the semi-covered stalls.  Daniel and I both turned to each other at one point and agreed that this was absolutely a town worthy of falling in love with (so much so, that since our return we have nostalgically Googled homes for rent in the area).   We explored the pier, saw a massive jellyfish, ate the best smoked salmon of our lives and played with Evan in a fountain just beyond the capitol before heading to the rural town of Tenino—put plainly, it was a magical day.

In our quest for the perfect dish, for the best of the best, I have come to realize that the greatest food is often the most humble, cooked with both fresh ingredients and lots of love.  These are the bakeries, restaurants and home kitchens that, although adored by enthusiastic patrons, have not yet been visited by the likes of Anthony Bourdain, nor reviewed in mass on yelp or urban spoon.  In reality these are the secret local gems that in fact have no lines…or at least not yet. 

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

too good for words: The Sugar Cube

a fizzy lifting drink

waiting for this little beauty

salty and sweet

out of this world

loving every spoonful

a surprise from Kir ... cherry and passion fruit floats


One of the reasons Marc and I love Portland is for the food. I love the wide variety of food you can find, the sweets, and the coffee. This trip we stayed with our friends Lauren and Craig and it made us venture to places we had yet to discover. The last couple of trips to Portland we stayed downtown at The Ace and while I love downtown this trip far surpassed our expectations. We made it our mission to discover new spots, new areas, and new food carts. So, being that Marc and I love food carts I knew we had to venture to Belmont Street for a pod of food carts that we never knew existed (thanks Lauren).

The Sugar Cube
Today I want to showcase a food cart that in two days ... quickly became one of our favorite food carts. Lauren had told me that Kir's desserts would be right up my alley ... creative, salty, sweet, and simply out of this world ... and they pretty much held up to what Lauren said. The desserts were works of art. Each dessert was plated on a piece of china, some desserts were served in cute little jars making the desserts taste that much better. Our first trip to The Sugar Cube I ordered a fizzy lifting drink that sent me into food loving heaven. Then we had Kir pick two of her favorite desserts for Marc and I. As I giddily peeked at what desserts she was making I anticipated dessert perfection as it is always a must to have the chef choose. And thank goodness we did, she made us a dessert with meadowfoam honey, Greek yogurt panna cotta, vanilla roasted apricots served with two gingersnap cookies. Then if that wasn't enough she made us an Oregon roasted hazelnut and chocolate chip ice cream sandwich with vanilla bean ice cream and salted caramel. Both desserts made Marc and I completely quiet and awestruck: the desserts were too good for words.

The very next day, true to form, Marc and I were back. Kir surprised us with cherry and passion fruit floats and two more desserts that made me deem The Sugar Cube one of the BEST food carts ... EVER! So, if you live in the Portland area and have not been to The Sugar Cube ... GO. And, if you have yet to visit Portland .... VISIT. The Sugar Cube is waiting for you!! Bisous.

The Sugar Cube
must: have Kir pick your desserts
try: a fizzy lifting drink
order: a fizzy lifting drink
skip: lunch and order dessert
one item you must order: a passion fruit float
location: SE 43rd on Belmont