Since my last post, I’ve been to the wonderful city of San Francisco and back. In those few short days, I had a picnic under the Golden Gate Bridge, toured a vineyard castle in the Napa Valley and roamed the halls of the newly reopened SF MOMA.
One night we had dinner and drinks in a dimly lit red-hued Mediterranean inspired restaurant in SoMa. We ordered a mezze of tasty vegetarian sides like baked cauliflower, salads, vegetarian kufteh, roasted eggplant, and hummus with crispy lavash. We had soup to start, a modest chard and bean soup so good I wanted to come home right away and recreate it over and over. It was so simple, delectably nuanced and flavourful that I want to tuck it in my recipe bank for when the cold season rolls around.
I’ve been on this kick lately, of trying to recreate meals I’ve had in restaurants and loved. The Brazilian style black beans, we had them for the first time last spring at a vegan restaurant in the Upper East Side.
I don’t remember the first time I bit into a macaron, but I’ve always been in love with the delectable dainty treats. A good macaron is special; light, airy and fragranced with a crisp crackly shell and smooth sweet filling. I remember standing in line at the Ladurée on the Champs Elysées for macarons during my first visit to Paris. Getting my hands on the beautiful ornate box filled with pieces of pastel hued sweets felt decided Parisian and thrilling.
I’ve had many good macarons and there has been some terrible ones too, but today’s post is mostly about good macarons.
My friend N will be passing through Vancouver on her big North American vacation this summer. I’m really excited; we have a date to make these baked potato falafel, but with sweet potatoes. N and I met a few years ago trying on Maison Margiela boots at one of the grand magasins. I clearly couldn’t afford them, even on solde; yet she managed to convince me that the boots would change my life, almost. Later, she helped me navigate the purchase of my first pair of Repetto oxfords, a more practical choice.
We met again that same day, at the City Pharma in St. Germain! Clutching our coveted French beauty products in the hot cramped store, she decided it was a sign, we were supposed to be friends. A few days later, we had drinks at a cosy bar filled with books on art, philosophy and French literary classics in the Marais – we drank rosé with tapas and talked all night. She’d moved to Paris from Montreal for love, and was getting married that winter.
I love weekend getaways. I literally live off that rejuvenated feeling I get after being some place different for a few days. Luckily for me, I live a hop and a skip away from cities and towns ripe with endless exploration opportunities.
We spent a weekend in Portland last month, so I’m putting together this rough guide to having a fun weekend in Portland.
Portland is one of a few cities that I’ve always wanted to live in. Except I’ve learned this lesson that moving to a city you love is a sure-fire way to fall out of love with that city. Instead, spending a few days or weeks here and there, is what keeps the love affair going. It’s sort of like a fling that way.
I brought a brioche pan with me from vacation a few years back; a round fluted tin with sharp edges that I am yet to use. I envisioned a lot of bread making that year, and there was this brioche recipe I wanted to try so badly, it justified getting the pan.
Years earlier, I got a bread machine, it felt like an adult thing to do; I baked a few loaves, which made me so very proud to be making my own bread.
I weave in and out of this bread making cycle; lately it looks like I’m back on the wagon. I’ve been baking a lot of bread recently, averaging one a week in the last month or so.
I reserve my Sunday evenings for this – I love the slow pace of measuring, prepping, kneading and waiting… I end my day with the comforting smell of freshly baked bread, and a meditative heart. It sets a gentle mood for the rest of my week.