Sunday, October 19, 2014

CBD PROVISIONS: BIG D BREAKFASTING

The trick with nice restaurants is to go for breakfast.

It's like a 3 for 1: quality food, reasonable prices, and a wondrously uncrowded restaurant (and thus readily available waitstaff).

...Yah just kidding; the only time we'll ever have that luxury is during holiday breaks while we're still in school. But I am sooo glad I took advantage of it, because CBD Provisions seriously lived up to the hype (especially being the only Dallas nominee for Bon Appétit's 50 nominees for America's Best New Restaurant 2014 whaddup!!).

Presented to be a "modern Texas brasserie in the heart of historic downtown Dallas adjacent to The Joule Hotel" and aptly phrased by the Dallas Observer to have a "lavish yet laid-back" feel, CBD exceeds expectations upon experience (#intensealliteration).

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(I was too self-conscious to move around for better angles...so excuse the awkward column lol)
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The details! Surrounded by suspended cylindrical lights, muted brick walls, and industrial-rustic chairs + tables, I could sit and contemplate life with my best friend all day long (with that pleasantly attentive service yes please). Actually we did stay for most of the morning, so I guess we were halfway there already.
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Egg White Frittata with toast (mushrooms, tx goat cheese, comeback creek greens) and the House Made Sausage and Egg Sandwich (chilies, sunny farm egg, skillet potatoes) 

This picture really understates our portion sizes. My frittata was chock-full of mushroomy goodness and beautifully complemented by creamy goat cheese for a flavor punch. As for the toast + jam, CBD proved its ability in giving classics an elevated twist - the well-crisped skinny toast and light housemade blueberry jam were great side additions.
"CBD’s kitchen is dedicated to making everything from scratch and sourcing ingredients from regional farmers and ranchers who produce small quantities, an impressive goal for a hotel restaurant that must offer three meals a day, seven days a week, to guests while also functioning as a destination for Dallas diners."
D Magazine 
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I very much respect places with open kitchens.
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In light of its downtown location, the complimentary valet sealed the deal (that, and the bathrooms that were almost too fancy for me to handle).

Favorite restaurant in Dallas status? Check.

CBD Provisions
Brasserie, American (Trad'l), $$
1530 Main St.
Dallas, TX 75201

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Saturday, October 11, 2014

MONOCHROMATIC SIMPLICITY

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Gap shirt | Forever 21 shorts/skirt | Belle sandals | J. Crew necklace | Michael Kors watch | Kate Spade bag
Special thanks to Jenn for the pictures!

This tee is hands down my favorite plain v neck. Bummer that Gap stopped making them (in case you're wondering, it's the pure pocket v neck); I should probably start washing them on the delicate cycle so they can last me the next 10 years.

Also, I'm always impressed at how good Chinese companies are at making transportation-related products (though I would think it's largely due to walking being so integrated into the Asian lifestyle). I literally climbed the Great Wall in these sandals (I agree, not the greatest time to forget to pack my tennis shoes), and felt nothin' but comfort. #gochina

Monday, October 6, 2014

BLIND DOG CAFÉ

Blind Dog officially holds favorite DC café status.

Down-to-earth baristas who serve locally roasted coffee, a relatively expansive café menu, and eclectic decor to complement the spot-on ambiance - yes, yes, and yes pleaseeee. Though the commute may be long, it's definitely worth visiting and appreciating an area of our city so rich in heritage and history (U Street).

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Paired with quality iced coffee (or in Joone's case, iced milk with a little bit of coffee) in a mason jar, this was hands down the best and most intricate meal/salad/biteofasandwich I have ever consumed at a café. (Pictured is the Crimini Mushroom salad with cherried tomatoes, pickled shallots, candied walnuts, goat cheese, mixed greens, and house dressing)

Also, I am so ready to emerge from the darkness that was Starbucks beans into the light of Vigilante. Dorm room coffee press, meet new babe Vigilante beans.
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More vivid decor + furniture and beautiful Josie with a totally hipster-cafe-esque outfit.
On second thought, the picture right above Josie makes me look like a total creep (#embracingit), but what can I say...I make reputational sacrifices to capture industrial-meets-artsy brick walls.
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 I always have to restrain myself from these bundles of buttery love. And the megasized cookies too.
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Can you say h i p s t e r? I cringe at using that word again, but I'm too lazy to think of another way to define Blind Dog. Actually, here's two more words: housemade sodas (lime and blood orange pictured below).
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Of course the outdoor patio seating is perfect as well - too bad Julie photobombed my picture of the quaint little red picket fence (hehe love ya Jules). Anyhow, Blind Dog is my jam. And all y'all should go check it out!! (That was homage to the baristas who were both wearing plaid button downs and cowboy hats last time #southernpride4ever)

Blind Dog Café
Café, $-$$
944 Florida Ave NW
Washington, DC 20001

Sunday, September 28, 2014

BEIJING PT. 2: ULTIMATE FOODIE TOUR

International, national, regional, and local - the whole geographical spectrum of foodie experiences awaited us at Beijing! Though our stay was short, it was quite the whirlwind tour and definitely veryyyy (ful)filling.

International
First up, the breakfast buffet at the hotel likeomgsogloriousicannoteven. These pictures barely encompass like a third of the bounty.

Anyhow, I would say our hotel generally adhered to international standards (aka was pretty Westernized), so breakfast was usually my most Western meal of the day whilst in Beijing.

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And a dirty little secret about me: I've never been a big green tea fan...but this green tea doughnut was w o w game-changer. The Chinese also deep fry their pastries a little differently from the way we do it in America (highly recommend the fried apple pies at Chinese McDonald's seriously 'murica should take notes), which always brings a refreshing twist on my beloved carbs.

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Warm morning porridge complete with a toppings bar - I usually alternated between plain, red bean, and green bean.

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It's always a struggle trying to figure out what's inside all the different steamed bun varieties. I usually resort to guess and check (yunno, just applying my high school geometry lessons).

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Eggs, bacon, french toast...quite the aesthetic relief from the school cafeteria.

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So I also discovered coconut rice and I am officially in lurv (left plate in picture below). The coconut flavor is pretty subtle, and there are literally tens of toppings to choose from - I topped mine with egg strips, 肉松 / rousong (meat wool?), dried fish strips, and scallions.

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Local/National - 全聚德 (QuanJuDe Restaurant)
And what would a trip to Beijing be without 北京烤鸭 (Peking Roast Duck) at Beijing's trademark roast duck restaurant?

The placemat presentations and food styling are always so impressive, as are the various body parts of duck they manage to make look effortlessly gourmet. (I can't even remember half the things I ate, but you probably would rather me not go into detail, so you're welcome lol.)

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A duck-cutting chef comes out to each table for an up-close demonstration. I bet they're used to all the picture taking by now. #noshame

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Thinly sliced duck, cucumber (I think?) spring onions, special duck sauce (sorry don't know the actual name), and delicate wraps - seemingly nonrelated foods, yet together merge into awesomeness.

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It's so cute!! You roll it up like a burrito...er, a classy and delicate one.

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Honestly speaking, I would say QuanJuDe is more for the experience. Not that the food isn't good, but you don't really walk out praising the restaurant in the name of a heartily full stomach. Though they do get extra creativity points for converting essentially the whole duck into edible format.

Regional
Lunch at the hotel! And my sister going in for the kill a couple pictures down haha.
I really like northern Chinese style food - it's not as heavy as southern style tends to be, yet it's still just as satisfying. Plus it's so preeeeetty.

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Monday, September 15, 2014

BEIJING PT.1 : STARTED FROM THE BOTTOM

...Now we here! (But actually, though.)

I love China more every time I go back. Personally, I've found that the beauty of Asian culture is that it becomes more beautiful with each successive step of immersion. The older I am, the more knowledgeable I become, the more of the world I see—the more receptive I am to embracing China in all its horrendously humid glory. But in all seriousness, I've learned to appreciate the lifestyle of a people shaped by extraordinary joys and hardships, both historically and culturally. It's really all about seeing how a country evolves after opening up to the world after centuries of isolation.

Honestly, when you truly seek to understand a culture so rich in history and deep in complexity, it will blow you away. Asian cultures assail the senses; there's just so much more of everything in terms of sights, smells, sounds, taste, and touch.

Culture is comparatively so much more underrated here in the States. At the same time, the US is beautiful in large part due to the plethora of cultures we have, but they're often diluted and overlooked by those who have yet to realize that the American identity is made more whole through racial reconciliation and crosscultural respect.

Alas, it'll take time.

Meanwhile, here is the beauty of history. And ice cream.

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Oh look, the least challenging level of the Great Wall! (Yeah, we go hard.)

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Hanging out at the Great Wall...literally (ohoho so clever).

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I don't think words can express the feels that came upon seeing this sight (aka the bottom right portion of the picture) at the peak of a long climb.

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Success never tasted so sweet - or refreshingly cool.

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Hands down the most satisfying ice cream of my whole summer.

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And of course, a selfie to commemorate ice cream well deserved a workout well done and history well preserved!

(I know you're wondering where the food is, but no worries, there will be many posts to come yessirrr.)

Friday, September 5, 2014

PISTACHIO BISCOTTI

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I know it's legit when my mother enthusiastically approves of something I make that comes out from the oven. (I say enthusiastically because she technically approves of most things I bake...but yunno, they're not always the wisest choices to my health-conscious mother. Love ya too, Mom!) 

I'm still kicking myself in the foot for forgetting to add in the grapefruit rinds, but 'twill definitely happen next time (read: once I get out of a community kitchen). And hopefully I'll also have some melted white chocolate on hand for dipping or drizzling. Or maybe also some cranberries or dried cherries (oh the possibilities). 

But what I loved about these was that the pistachio and vanilla alone were still enough to give it pronounced flavor, and the texture was perrrrrfect! Not rock hard, but solid enough to break off and sufficiently smooth for easy chewing. 

Recipe adapted from: Food.com

Ingredients
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
3 large eggs
1 cup sugar
½ cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
½ teaspoon grated grapefruit, rind of
1 cup shelled pistachios, chopped (or almonds)
½ cup dried cranberries or cherries
White chocolate chips (for dipping)

1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
2. Combine flour, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl.
3. Whisk eggs, sugar, butter, oil, vanilla extract and citrus fruit peel in a large bowl.
4. Gradually stir in dry ingredients and then nuts.
5. Form dough into a rectangular log (or two) on prepared pan lined with parchment paper.
6. Bake 30 minutes or until edges are lightly browned.
7. Cool for 10 min (leave oven on), and use a serrated knife to cut log into diagonal slices of biscotti.
9. Bake until bottoms turn golden - about 10-12 minutes. Turn cookies over and bake 10-12 minutes more (or until desired hardness).

Saturday, August 30, 2014

EAST HAMPTON SANDWICH CO

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Fried Chicken + Jack sandwich: southern fried chicken, pepper jack, greens + cured bacon, avocado mash, jalapeño cream sauce. 

Served between white and black sesame brioche buns, sided with housemade potato chips, and speared with a skewer, this sammie is real talk. Though the sandwiches are on the pricey side, I got a solid mouthful of flavor and crispness (yay for lightly breaded yet sufficiently crisp chicken!) in every bite. The interior is reminiscent of a brighter, fresher Chipotle, and the oversized tomato red adirondack chairs outside are sooo cute for patio seating (scalding hot Texas weather permitting). 

I don't eat sandwiches all too often, but when I do...I make sure they're dang good. And East Hampton is definitely doin' it right.

East Hampton Sandwich Co.
Sandwiches, $$
7300 Lone Star Dr.
Plano, TX 75024