Category Archives: Food

Weekend Recap (x3)

Now that the dust has finally begun to settle on our crazy busy and fun filled summer I’ve got some weekend recap catching up to do.

The last three weekends put me in Minnesota at the lake for a family reunion, at a beautiful park for Labor Day Monday, and just this past weekend at my favorite restaurant in Boulder with friends.

I live a pretty charmed life with some pretty great people.

Some refreshing Marg’s at Zorbaz after our exhausting horse riding expedition.  

…and with that, my Minnesota lake season ended.  Couldn’t have gone out on a higher note.

Next up…Labor Day!  We took it easy and picnicked in the park.  It was great.  And the beautiful pregnant woman in the photo’s experienced her own day of labor just four days later!  Welcome to the world Lola : ) You are crushingly beautiful already/We find ways to gamble no matter where we are : )Ahhh successful relaxing day at the park.  Good times.

Moving on!

This last weekend I spent the day and evening in Boulder with my girlfriends Katie and Ashley.  We don’t get together very often, so this needed to be special.  We decided on lunch at Pizzeria Locale.Now, let me just say, I turn into a little bit of a freak when I’m at Pizzeria Locale.

That’s because it is not simply a pizza joint.

Nay.

It does something to me and I’m almost convinced they put some sort of additive in their foods.

Actually they do.

It’s called cheese.  And love.  They drizzle their pizza with cheese and their cheese with pure love.

I’m actually pretty annoying about how much I love this food.

We sat on the patio and I exclaimed to every passerby “(sigh)…i’m just so happy”.

It’s that good.  It’s the number one restaurant I recommend to people when they come to Colorado.  This is coming from a girl that doesn’t even like pizza that much.

But this isn’t pizza.  It’s so much more that that.We must’ve said “LOOK at these EFFING tomatoes” at least a hundred times.Yes.  That’s a salad with cucumbers, cantaloupe AND GOAT CHEESE!

I don’t even have a picture of the fried cheese balls we started with because I finished mine before the waiter even set down the plate.

End of summer days don’t get much better than that.  Fantastic food, gorgeous weather in a gorgeous mountain city, and incredible company.

Sigh…I’m just so happy.

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Hawaii Part 4 – Kauai!

Welcome to the Kauai portion of the program.  Please do not be alarmed by excess amounts of beauty, skyline, ocean, and spoiled rottenness.

See?  It’s SO lush and green here it borderlines on too much.  I’ve never been so close to sensory overload in my life.  We were really excited to see Kauai and spent a lot of time trying to decide which part of the island to stay at.  The decision was basically North shore vs. South shore and North won for many reasons, mainly because we wanted a change of scenery from just beaches.  We had a hankering for some jurassic park style greenery and boy did we get it.

Well.  THAT greeted us not 15 minutes after we stepped off the plane.  To put this into perspective, that my friends is higher than Niagara Falls.  

Alright fine.  We’ll stay out of your dangerous waterfall and instead proceed North to our cushy hotel.  We decided (on occasion of the delayed honeymoon) to spoil ourselves and Jon surprised me with a stay at the St. Regis Princeville.  The whole drive up from the airport we told ourselves that the hotel couldn’t possibly be that nice, we’ll probably be disappointed, let’s manage our expectations and anticipate it being pretty average.

Ahhhhh what a bunch of dummy’s.  AFTER we got through the winding road lined in flowers and beautiful tree’s, past the gorgeous homes, multiple fountains, and pristinely managed golf courses.  After Jon told me to stop gaping out the window with my mouth open because I was embarrassing him…we were shown to our room.  To say our expectations were exceeded is a bit of an understatement.

It’s basically a hotel made out of windows with absolutely breathtaking views of the Napali coast everywhere you look.  It was spectacular. 

Welcome Mr. and Mrs.  Hendrickson, we have upgraded your room on occasion of your honeymoon, please allow me to hang your lei’s and open this complimentary bottle of champagne while you enjoy the view.

You should have seen us trying to keep our cool until he left.  At which point we started dancing and squealing and jumping on the bed.  And by we I most certainly mean me.  Just me.

There was a flipping lei hook in the room for goodness sake.

The amount of times we said “are you kidding me” on this leg of the vacation is pretty high.  I mean – look at that photo?!  It looks fake!  This was the view…from our room…it’s essentially a living postcard.

Nothing was overly showy.  It was all in the details at the St. Regis combined with the most world class service I’ve ever seen.  Really fun to experience.  All that and we haven’t even stepped outside yet!We got in the pool, turned to each other and said ‘weird…it’s the most perfect water temperature of all time’.

Then turned around and said ‘weird…it’s the most beautiful pool view ever’.

Saw these guys and declared “weird…that’s the coolest boat I’ve ever seen”.

You get my point.  Everything was amazing.

We took a seat under some cabana’s to gather our thoughts and be brought delicious cocktails by a very friendly waiter.  You’ll notice the difference in lighting in a lot of these pictures and that’s because it goes from cloudy to bright sun to sprinkling and back all in 15 minutes.

The waiter brought us our drinks, pushed a magic St. Regis button and just as we took our first sip, after thinking we had soaked it all in…this happened:ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!?!  I stood up and said ‘I can’t take anymore, I need to go to the room and lie down to process this’.  I opened the door to our room and the bed had been turned….down….for….me.  At this point I decided to pretend to be the queen of england for the remainder of the trip and not be surprised by anything.  Even if they offered to chew my food for me.  Let’s move on.  Stunning.  Not me…the view.  I’m obstructing the view!  How dare I tarnish such a spectacular sight.Jon enjoying his ‘crown and pog’ (his favorite).  We brought along some of our own drinks because along with tipping every person that even looks at you, you also have to deal with things like this:Oh hey!  $16 for a bottle of Jack Daniel’s brought to the room + tip?  That’s not so bad.  Wait what?  You’re telling me that’s for 2 ounces in a glass?  Ummmm…go to hell.

Jon told me to settle down and informed me that we’re spoiling ourselves while in Kauai.  So we enjoyed our hotel, swam in the pool, drank lots of drinks and ordered the most ridiculous sushi dinner from room service.  I would like to be able to adequately express how delicious this food was…but I can’t.  I just can’t with the food.

After enjoying being spoiled for two days we decided to FORCE ourselves to leave the hotel and go on a hike.  Thank the gods we did because it was…you guessed it…ridiculous.

On our way to the take off spot for the hike I forced Jon to pull over because I missed the hotel too much and I thought I was going to have a panic attack.  “WHO’S GOING TO OPEN ALL THE DOORS FOR ME? WHAT IF I NEED SOME ICE? WHERE WILL I HANG MY LEI? WHO WILL FAN ME WITH A FERN?!?!” Jon slapped me in the face and luckily we found a glimpse so I could get my fix.

Bye hotel….see you soon my love….

Then I opened my eyes and looked around and remembered we’re in absolute paradise.

From here we drove to the trailhead for our hike.  I’m going to TRY and let the pictures speak for themselves.

It’s amazing to me that more people don’t meet their deaths on these beautiful hikes simply from looking around.  The terrain was rocky and wet, not to mention one wrong step and you’re tumbling down hundreds of feet into the rocky ocean.  There is so much to see that you have to stop every time you want to look around or else you’ll definitely trip and be dead.  Here lies the destination of our hike:

Sweaty and muddy as hell.  It was intense.

After our hike we rushed back to the hotel to get changed for our ‘every book says you should, you can not miss it, you must do this while in kauai or you’re a moron‘ helicopter tour.  This is when things started to unravel.

We arrive at the helipad only to find that our helicopter tour was cancelled due to predicted rain that afternoon.  We knew this was a possibility.  The center of the island is the rainiest place on earth.  Literally.  That’s a fact.  Google it.  So we weren’t exactly surprised and made plans to reschedule.  Well it did rain that afternoon.  The thing is, it never stopped.  It did not flipping stop for the rest of the trip.  We made due the first 24 hours.  We actually sat outside in the hot tub with an umbrella determined not to let this ruin our trip.

Turns out the helicopter tour could not be rescheduled.  “That’s ok” I said, “we’ll go on the boat tour instead!”  Nope.  Cancelled.  “That’s ok” I said, “hopefully Jon will still get to golf at the brand new world renowned princeville golf course”.  Nope.  Cancelled.  Very sad husband.

It was tough to take.  In my mind that just means we have to go back! : )

To numb our pain…we ate.  We ate THE MOST incredible brunch that exists on the planet.  I’m convinced.  It was a whopping $60 a person (not including drinks) and after seeing the spread we did not bat an eye at the price.  It maybe should have been more.  I took a few photo’s but didn’t want to be super embarrassing.  Turns out I was anyways because I didn’t stop eating for like 6 hours.  These in no way fully explain what the hell was happening at that brunch, but I’ll throw em up anyway.

Meet Aloha Mary.  She was delicious.Let’s asses.  Waldorf Salad, duck gnocchi, fresh ahi with avocado, fried rice, incredible fruit, honey glazed halibut, crispy bacon, and parmesan and prosciutto wrapped asparagus.  Shut. Up.  My mouth is watering again.  These items are approximately 1/100th of what was there.  No lie.  It was impossible to try everything, but try I did.

Not only was everything world class, fresh, and indescribably delicious…but it was all beautiful as well.  Brunch will never be the same again.  Nay.  Food in general might not ever be the same again.

Don’t make me talk about the desert table.  I just don’t have it in me.

Meanwhile, THIS was happening while we were enjoying our delicious brunch on a covered patio. It may not look in on the computer, but those waves are ENORMOUS.  The storm had arrived.  Let me try to get this through to you.  These were monsoon conditions the likes of which the island hadn’t seen in 30 years.  On our vacation.  : (

It was raining two to three inches per hour for over 48 hours.  People were stranded.   Stranded at the St. Regis but STILL.  We barely made it to the airport and if our flight would have left several hours later we might still be in Kauai.  Don’t believe me?

Those are pickups.  And not the worst of it.  It was an adventure, but we were glad to finally take off after 48 indoors.

At first it felt like two days of our vacation/honeymoon were a waste.  That’s just not the case.  Looking back over all the photos and experiences has truly shown me how lucky we were to be able to do ANY of it.  It’s been really fun to share our trip and (for those that haven’t) I hope you all get a chance to experience Hawaii someday.   It’s so beautiful and everything the books tell you it is.  I just wouldn’t recommend visiting Kauai during peak rainy season, unless you hate the outdoors and sunshine.

This FINALLY concludes the Hawaii recaps.  Thanks for reading and for all of you that have already said such nice things about the photo’s – to me, to Jon, on Facebook or wherever – thank you so very, very much.

February Recipe

My very late recipe for the month of February is called “Gentleman’s Whiskey and Honey“.  No it’s not a scary boozy chicken dish, it’s an approachable boozy cocktail!   If I had actually thought this out I would have made a green cocktail in honor of St. Patricks day tomorrow, but I can’t go down the scary road of wondering what would be different if I thought things out before I did them.

So.

My February recipe IS indeed a cocktail, it IS a month late and it IS very very delicious.

A preface:

I hate liquor.  I dislike the taste, I HATE the way it makes me behave, and most importantly I feel like I’m cheating on wine.  If I’m drinking liquor for a night out I’m either the hilarious fun to be around life of the party (in my mind) or crying somewhere in a corner (in real life).  I am very hesitant around cocktails.

Well…Sean is the bar manager at the restaurant I work at and he is a mix master.  One night at work Sean asked us to try his new drink creation therefore enabling us to better promote it.  I say “us” but the only person that tried it was me because I swallowed it all in one delicious gulp while batting my coworkers away with my free hand.  This drink is delicious.  Why?  Because it doesn’t taste like booze.  This drink is extremely dangerous.  Why?  Because it doesn’t taste like booze.

Let’s do it.

The first thing you’re going to want to do is make some honey water.  This is the most difficult thing you’ll do for this whole recipe and all it takes is mixing equal parts honey with boiling water.  You can make a pretty big batch and just keep it in your refrigerator for those lonely Tuesday afternoons.  A quarter cup of each will make about three of these cocktails.

Set the honey water aside and proceed to assemble all necessary bar tools.  By necessary I mean ‘really fun to buy from Williams Sonoma with wedding gift cards’.  I’m sure you could do without, but the most clutch for me was the measurer (technical term).

You’re going to freshly press/squeeze one whole orange and one half lemon into your cocktail shaker.  Before you cut the orange, shave off a little strip to be used as a pretty twist later.

The next step is the good stuff.  You’re going to measure and add 1 and 1/2 ounces of Gentleman Jack (no substitutions…it’s so smooth).

Get that honey water back in your hands to measure and add 1 ounce to the shaker.  Add some ice, shake it up, pour it out and enjoy.

It’s so smooth, so light and refreshing, and it’s filled with vitamin C!

Honestly though this is a great cocktail and so simple to prepare.  I suggest it for those nights when you want to be the life of the party, have a good cry, or if you need to knock out a toddler.

*No Finley’s were harmed in the making of this cocktail.  : )

 

Weekend Recap Part 2

So this is awkward.

It’s the weekend and I’m doing a recap of last weekend.  So not my fault.  I blame WordPress for deleting my hours of hard work on Part 1.  In retrospect, WordPress MAY have been looking out for my best interest considering the post ended with me pee’ing in a portable ‘bathroom’.  I’ve never been good at seeing the signs.

Anyway, Jon was gone last weekend so I had a nice and relaxing selfish weekend at home.  I did work quite a bit, but also got to catch up on time with good friends.  It was a good time because it was time NOT spent at a concert or bar where yelling is required to communicate.

Erin and I met up for a long overdue solo brunch at Lucille’s.  Neither of us had ever been there before so it was fun to try it out!  The bloody mary’s were delicious, the weather was beautiful and the food was of the brunch variety so it should go without saying that we devoured it.

WHY is brunch so delicious and so bad for you?  Another question – why does brunch always involve about 6 different beverages per person?  We had a coffee, waters, two bloody mary’s, and a latte all on our tiny little table combined with beignet’s, two giant plates of food, miscellaneous sauces, brown sugar, creamer etc.  It takes a lot of ingredients to make up a successful brunch I guess.

This weekend I also had the pleasure of hanging out with Miss Finley so her mom and dad could go enjoy a concert and night out.  Excuse me did I say Miss Finely?  I’m so sorry.  What I meant to say was Princess Finley.

Finley is very unique and didn’t wan’t to follow trends by making just any old Valentines day cards for her parents.  I took her to Target and let her choose an art project to make for them and she chose sea life window decals that she got to color herself : )

After Finley went to bed, Ashley came over to visit and watch the Grammy’s!  Not much to report there except for how gorgeous Adele looked…

…and how much I hate Gwyneth Paltrow for looking this amazing…

…not fair.

I’m going to change the subject and stop boring you with my weekend and instead bore you with my Valentines Day!  Yay!

Jon and I celebrated as married for the first time and it was really nice.  We had a great dinner at Ocean Prime at Larimer Square.  I always love going to Larimer because it’s so beautiful and festive 365 days a year.

I gave Jon a round of golf at the Princeville course in Kauai and he got me a beautiful bracelet from my favorite jewelry designer.

I ALSO received a single rose from the restaurant before we left and I decided to be incredibly generous and re-gift it…

…Happy Valentines day Marlo!

She went absolutely bonkers over it for about five minutes until she eventually turned it into a chew toy.   Because she’s a cat/dog.

In honor of Valentines Day and of Love, here is a video for you all to watch.  My best friend Vanessa is getting married this summer and these are her engagement photo’s!  I did not take the photo’s for I did not yet have my camera nor do I live in Texas (where she lives).  She did send me the raw files and I did my best at editing them on my ancient programs on my ancient laptop.  I think they’re fantastic because THEY are fantastic.  Enjoy!

I Will Regret This.

Alright.

I’ll just tell you since in the last post I promised to be ‘more real’.

Sitting in our lovely hotel room in Santa Fe on New Years Eve, waiting to leave for dinner, Jon and I each wrote down five resolutions and sent them to one another.  The sending was done in an effort to support (nag) and remind (harass) the other to stay true to said resolutions.  We spoke prior about making them realistic and beneficial to our lives.  They were.  They are.  They’re probably the most attainable and bettering resolutions I’ve ever made.  So far I’ve kept them.

I will tell you two of the five…for now.  The first was always going to be about this blog:

1.) Write 4+ blog entries a week.

So far I’ve done this, I’m sure that I won’t always.  I aimed higher in hopes that it would at least guarantee me two a week.  The second also happened to be about the blog, but more so keeping Jon happy in our marriage:

2.) Try one new recipe a month and blog about it.

THIS is much more difficult than it sounds.  I work in a restaurant and work mostly nights, and when I’m not working at night, I absolutely do NOT want to be serving somebody food.  However, Jon loves my cooking (so easy to please) and it’s fun to blog about and take pictures of food.  It in turn supports resolution number one.

What I’m getting at is that last night was the 31st of January and in true Ali fashion (procrastination) and effort to keep my 2nd resolution, I tried a new recipe.  It was pretty half assed but (here come the excuses) I got done working way later than anticipated, still had to go to the grocery store, and drive home through traffic.  Oh yeah – and then cook/eat/cleanup said meal.  I was trying to get it done quickly, trying to watch Mitt Romney speak, and do not have my dads natural talent for timing food therefore I didn’t snag many photo’s.

I found the recipe online and chose a pasta dish because starting tomorrow (February 1st) there will be no carbs for me until after Hawaii.  Wish me luck.  So tonight we indulged.  It’s called Pancetta and Leek Pasta and honestly, it was average for a final carb fest.  Alas, here is my lame first attempt at food blogging. I’m already embarrassed.

We had olives to start.  I bought them pre-mixed.

The recipe did not call for baby’s breath, they were just too lovely to pass up.

The recipe DID call for leeks.  They were far more beautiful than I ever realized.

My (our) new chef’s knife that came in the set I bought at Williams Sonoma would be mad at me if I didn’t mention him.  He’s handsome isn’t he?

I was pretty pissed at that red wine for ruining my shot of the cheap flowers.  We don’t allow wine in our house.

I realize this looks nothing like pancetta and leek pasta.  That’s because it’s the primary color themed salad I whipped up while the pasta was overcooking.  Al dente can suck it.

This was the second pancetta attempt (note: READ the recipe carefully) after I yanked the first try out of the oven and nearly set off the fire alarms before running the smoking tray out to the patio.  Sad, but true.

Recipe goes like this:

Don’t burn the pancetta, add leeks, nondescript amount of butter, Ramona Singer (you have to have Bravo T.V. to get this) amount of dry white wine, guilty amount of heavy cream, simmer simmer stir stir, add soggy overcooked pasta and vioula:

…cat puke on a pretty plate.

Yum.

I spoke of my old blog earlier this week and one of my favorite quotes from it was:

“an experience is what you get when you didn’t get what you want”

This meal was an experience.  Better luck next time.

Weekend Recap.

This past weekend was deliciously indulgent for Jon and I in more ways than one.  The main reason being that my weekends are usually filled with something that could be called the opposite of indulgent…work.  Problems are created where having fun is concerned because nearly everyone else on the planet has the opposite schedule.  However, this past weekend I was blissfully free.

I did have to work Friday afternoon/night but, I finished up early and went to see a late movie with my girlfriend Ashley.

We indulged in some popcorn and chose to see one of our favorite books that the movies chose to ruin.  Alright not ruin, but change.  For several years now, when anybody asks me for a book recommendation, I excitedly push them towards Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer.

The book is wonderful and one of my all time favorites, though i’ve heard from others that it’s tough to get started.  I believe that’s because the narration of the book comes from inside the mind of Oskar Shell, who is a smart, funny and sometimes heartbreaking nine year old boy.  It’s a unique point of view for a book, but surely not the strangest.  Well they went ahead and made a movie of the book (of course) and Ashley and I went to see it.

It’s got a big name cast, centers around a big event in history, and is sure to be a big success in theaters.  It’s just not as big as the book.  Read the book.

Saturday morning Jon and I got up bright and early to walk down the street and meet friends for brunch at Lola.  We were celebrating our friend Ryan’s 30th birthday with delicious food and even more delicious flavored mimosa’s.  Brunch turned into neighborhood bar crawl which naturally turned into beer pong.  It was a gorgeous 58 degree sunny January day, so indulge in it we did.

My skills in beer pong proved once again to be pathetic, so I bowed out gracefully and let the real champs go to work.

It would be tragic if I left out Nick and Leah’s adorable dogs who are one of the main reasons I want the kind of dog I want.  A mini poodle.  NOT a toy poodle.  A mini one.

This is Remy.  He posed nicely (by nicely I mean for 1/4 second) for a few photo’s.

This is Mojo.  He had zero interest.

It was a great afternoon.  Happy Birthday RyGuy!

Jon and I got home starving so we decided to walk 1/2 a block (I love our neighborhood) to one of the most popular and well reviewed restaurants in Denver, Z Cuisine.

Jon had been there before with a client, but this was my first time.  Don’t get me wrong, he has tried to take me numerous times, but they don’t take reservations and it is ALWAYS packed.  It’s described as a French Bistrot and Parisian Wine Bar and it’s about as authentic as you can get.  If you live in Denver and are reading this…GO – but please call and invite me first.  It’s incredibly cozy and romantic, the waiters are intimidatingly knowledgeable, and the food is to die for.  We indulged happily in a beautiful cocktail, delicious wine, and the fact that even on the website they encourage you to linger.  No rushing through this experience allowed.

I can’t wait to bring my dad the next time he visits.  It just might be the place to finally convince them to move here.

Finally on Sunday Jon and I indulged in some lazy alone time at home of which I will spare you any boring photo’s.  We lounged around, did some Hawaii research, I blogged/facebooked and of course we watched about 45 hours of football.

I wish every weekend could be just like this one.