Friday, March 27, 2009

The Great Cake Debacle

I ordered a birthday cake for my dear boyfriend (who's birthday was yesterday), from Sucre, which is a lovely shop on Magazine that has gelato, chocolates, pastries, coffee, and wine. They also do specialty cakes. The cake I ordered was a hazelnut cake with salted caramel filling and shiny chocolate icing, decorated with chocolate shavings. I wanted it to look like a particular cake that they regularly carry (that has a different filling inside). However, when I picked the cake up, it was iced with a salted caramel butter cream, then decorated with a few sparse chocolate shavings. It wasn't pretty. In fact it looked uncannily like the cake had a full head of hair.

When I opened the box to look at the cake, the clerk who was helping me immediately realized that this was not the cake I'd ordered and went to get the lady in charge of the cakes. She was really nice, took pictures of the ugly cake so that she could chew out the people who made it, added a lot more chocolate shavings to my cake so that from the outside is looked like a chocolate cake and actually gave me an additional cake that was really pretty.

I am going to a garden party tonight, and so I figured that the new cake would be a perfect hostess gift. It is a chocolate cake with almonds on the sides and chocolate truffles on top. The icing is beautiful, shiny dark chocolate.

I drove home very carefully, but when I checked on the cakes, two of the truffles (which must have been top heavy) had fallen over and messed up the chocolate icing. I was convinced that the cake's beauty was ruined and that my dear boyfriend and I were stuck with two ugly cakes!

When he got home, I told him the whole story and he was appreciative but baffled. He wouldn't have known that the original cake was wrong in the first place. I pointed out to him that the point of getting a fancy cake is not just having it taste great- it also should look professionally made. He did convince me that the pretty cake is still pretty and a good hostess present despite the marred icing- it is a very small area. We then had some of the hazelnut cake and it was delicious!

The rest of his birthday was really fun. We went for a light dinner at Cochon's sWine bar which was really good (highlights were pimento cheese sliders, a duck pastrami sandwich with bechamel sauce, and a good selection of tasty meats, cheeses and rillettes) , then went to see the Marie Antoinette ballet. Afterwards we had a night cap at another wine bar and our friends got the piano player to play happy birthday.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

More Delicious Healthy Things

My go to snack for the past week or so has been apple slices paired cheddar cheese cubes. I think they're best when eaten together- a small bite of apple with a small bite of cheese. The combination of sweet and savory is absolutely addictive, and it's surprisingly filling.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

The Four Schnauzers of the Apocalypse

I am dog sitting my parent's two miniature schnauzers this week while they are on vacation in Italy. My two miniature schnauzers are far from the best behaved doggies in the world, but my parent's dogs are far less disciplined. So far we've had 3 incidents of urination (Although one was from my dog Bernie, in reaction to another dog peeing in his house! The nerve!), but the dogs are far less barky than they are at my parent's house. Its amazing how effective telling them to stop barking actually is.
My parents, I might add, think I'm incredibly cruel for putting their little tinklers in dog cages when I leave the house. They really don't believe me when I tell them that crate training is a good thing!
My poor boyfriend, cat person extraordinaire, is tolerating our four legged house guests as well as possible. He gets bonus points for not staying somewhere else this week (which is actually his birthday week, to boot), since they have decided that they want to sleep with him on his side of the bed at night!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009


I went to a reading by Billy Collins last night. I'd actually never heard of him before (I say as I pause to regret not pursuing a double major in both chemistry and English...sigh), but he was Poet Laureate from 2001-2003. I'm so glad that my boyfriend suggested we go to the reading because he was wonderful! His poetry was brilliant and beautiful but also incredibly witty and irreverent and approachable.
I bought a copy of his newest book, Ballistics, and was able to get it signed.
Here's the text of one of the poems he read last night that I particularly enjoyed.

You are the bread and the knife,
The crystal goblet and the wine...

—Jacques Crickillon

You are the bread and the knife,
the crystal goblet and the wine.
You are the dew on the morning grass
and the burning wheel of the sun.
You are the white apron of the baker,
and the marsh birds suddenly in flight.

However, you are not the wind in the orchard,
the plums on the counter,
or the house of cards.
And you are certainly not the pine-scented air.
There is just no way that you are the pine-scented air.

It is possible that you are the fish under the bridge,
maybe even the pigeon on the general's head,
but you are not even close
to being the field of cornflowers at dusk.

And a quick look in the mirror will show
that you are neither the boots in the corner
nor the boat asleep in its boathouse.

It might interest you to know,
speaking of the plentiful imagery of the world,
that I am the sound of rain on the roof.

I also happen to be the shooting star,
the evening paper blowing down an alley
and the basket of chestnuts on the kitchen table.

I am also the moon in the trees
and the blind woman's tea cup.
But don't worry, I'm not the bread and the knife.

You are still the bread and the knife.
You will always be the bread and the knife,
not to mention the crystal goblet and—somehow—the wine.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Where to eat in New Orleans....

I often find myself giving friends recommendations of places to eat in New Orleans, so I thought it would be fun to start a recurring subject on this blog as well.
My first subject is a tricky one: Where to eat in New Orleans if you don't like seafood. Great non-seafood options can be found in New Orleans, but they are in the minority. More menus than one would think contain appetizer lists that are composed solely of seafood.
Good options for those who dislike seafood that I love are:

Zea- a local New Orleans chain that specializes in tasty rotisserie cooked meat.
Slice- Yummy gourmet pizza on a thin crust, and tasty Italian specials
Cochon (or the new Cochon Butcher)- upscale warehouse district eatery with a focus on house cured meats (hence the Butcher), and fancied up down home style cooking.
St. James Cheese Company- located next door to a wine shop, this is the perfect place to bring your bottle of wine, then relax on their patio with a meat or cheese plate.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Delicious Healthy Things

My breakfast for the past week or so has been a cup of 0% Fage Greek Yogurt with 1/2 a cup of raspberries (previously frozen, then allowed to thaw overnight), 2 tbsp. of nuts (I prefer almonds or walnuts) and honey (to taste).
It is hands down the best diet food ever. :)

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Lost and Found

I found my lost ring last night! I moved my car seat so I could get into the back seat (we were taking a friend to dinner) and the ring fell out of the seat!
Talk about a pleasant surprise!
In other news, I've been exercising like a mad woman. I've even started getting up early to get in a quick 2 mile run before work. This is all in the name of losing the bit of weight I put on over the holidays, but I'm really enjoying the sense of achievement I get from finishing a good work out. I feel like I'm in really good shape and that's a good feeling.
The healthy eating I'm enjoying a bit less, but it is a necessary evil until I meet my goal weight. I did have a rather decadent dinner last night that was finished off with a Krispy Kreme Bread Budding, which was a nice break from all the veggies and lean protein.